Wednesday, October 15, 2014

That Sinking Feeling

Unlike Kevin Boyer's Dread Lord Bob, which is still a work in progress, Joel Huan's Over Mount Fuji has been completed.

It began with the disappearance of a flight of F-18 Hornets near the south end of the island nation of Japan. Fishermen in the area reported strange streaks of light in the sky, and the US Navy never found any wreckage. Soon the usual rumors of UFO's and secret super-weapons were being tossed about.

Then the seismic activity began. The Japanese archipelago is part of the Ring of Fire, the area of volcanoes and subduction zones all around the edge of the Pacific Plate, where it grinds against the continental plates of North and South America, Asia, and Australia. As a result, there have always been earthquakes in Japan, but these go far beyond the usual.

Wilhelm Wulfstien, a controversial scholar, has come to the conclusion that the legends of dragons and other monsters are not just zoomorphic personifications of natural phenomena, but actual entities that have significant power over natural events. To prove his beliefs, he has developed a sophisticated new submersible vehicle capable of descending into the deep oceanic trenches near Japan and investigate what may be hidden within them, and how it relates to the strange visions survivors of the most recent earthquakes have been experiencing.

Eileen O'Neill has been struggling with a sense of foreboding ever since the death of her vulcanologist husband during a research trip. She joins forces with Wulfstien and several other people to make the daring descent into the depths, even as the situation in Japan rapidly disintegrates as a result of a synergy between the physical damage and the growing obsession of the Japanese people with the "sinking syndrome," the belief that the Home Islands are about to disappear beneath the waves forever.

What they find beneath the sea will change their notions of civilization forever. But it may not matter, if civilization unravels before they can record their findings.

This is disaster story, and its grim ending may not be for all readers.

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