Book review

Hurricane Force by Malcolm Rose (2005)

I don't think any of us are in any doubt about the power of the weather. We've seen plenty of examples. A major hurricane, like Hurricane Katrina for example, can kill hundreds of people, displace millions more and cause damage running into billions of dollars. All in the space of a few hours. If you could only learn how to control the weather, just imagine how much power you would wield... Or how much money you might make... You can explore these ideas when you read this book.

Jake Patmore has a feel for the weather. You might call him a weather prophet. It's a gift that runs in the family. And if he can use his gift to earn a bit of cash, well, obviously, he'd like to. It's a good idea then, when he submits to the local university Department of Natural Sciences, to have his powers checked out. And it's great when they refer him to Henson Insurace:

'...The 1987 storm cost Henson millions. And it's much worse in America. Hail did six hundred million dollars' worth of damage in Denver, back in 1990. Hurricane Andrew cost us twelve billion dollars, around fifty deaths, a quarter of a million homes destroyed. Don't even get me started on floods and forest fires. My pacemaker couldn't cope. Let's just say they're not good for the insurance business. And it'll get worse if global warming picks up even more.'
Jake was puzzled. 'Why have you come to see me? I can't stop a hurricane.'
Timo said, 'You might be able to tell us when and where it'll strike - with enough time to minimise damage and get people out of harm's way.'

Excellent idea. And Jake will be following in his father's footsteps by using his gift for the general good. Jake's father developed a master computer model to predict the weather. Unfortunately, he died before his work was properly complete - and there are a few loose ends surrounding his death that Jake would like to clear up.

A spare time job at his father's old place of employment is just what he needs, and Castleton Computing are keen to place Jake in their Weather-Modification Team. But as Jake gets his feet under the desk at Castleton he begins to understand that what can be turned to good can also be turned to evil...

It's a lesson well learned, for all of us. If you are interested in the implications of scientific research, in any area, I think you will enjoy this book.

What can I read next?

Interesting area. What kind of future do we want? It seems to me, it's the small decisions that lead us, inexorably, to the bigger picture. If you enjoy Hurricane Force, you might like to have a look at this thriller by Philip Gross:

Or this science fiction story by Conor Kostick:

Or you might like to read this strange, unsettling story by Sally Prue:

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