The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The action in Earth takes place at a time when overpopulation and environmental destruction have pushed planetary resources to the limit. With natural habitats destroyed by war or global warming, and with Earths ozone layer depleted by pollution, many plants and animals have become all but extinct, with a few remnants kept in steel and glass arks. Refugees from nations flooded by rising seas drift on rafts across the oceans; there is no land on which to settle. In the United States, tribal gangs of teenagers without jobs clash with the growing elderly populations of vast suburbs. In this future, computer technology has emerged as the one bright spot, linking everyone on Earth into the ultimate free press: an interconnected information network that spans the globe.

In an attempt to solve Earth’s energy crisis, brilliant young physicist Alex Lustig uses the illegal technology of cavitronics to create a tuned cosmic string, or black hole, inside a power plant. When his experiment is destroyed in a riot, the black hole escapes confinement and sinks into Earths mantle. Afraid that its uncontrolled growth might engulf the planet, Lustig recruits the help of Maori billionaire George Hutton, whose geophysical surveying company has the technology to locate the tiny singularity. Although their work shows that Lustigs black hole is dissipating, its orbit through the mantle reveals that it is not alone: A second, much larger, black hole is gnawing at...

(The entire section is 544 words.)