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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Shiva Descending

Copyright 1980 by Gregory Benford and William Rotsler

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (2/5)

I most recently read this on the 12th November 2002.

A giant asteroid, Shiva, is approaching the Earth. Along with it is a whole cloud of big and small rocks. These have already started hitting, demolishing cities around the world. The USA struggles desperately to mount a last-chance mission to demolish it. The favoured plan is to detonate a stack of nuclear weapons next to Shiva's surface, to divert it away from its lethal path.

Faced with a near-inevitable end of the world, people give themselves over to extremist religions, escape through suicide or simply indulge in hedonistic orgies (tough choice, hold on a minute, which one would I go for?). While the country and indeed the world goes to hell in a handbasket, bands of deranged religious fanatics swarm across America, destroying space facilities and technology in general. The economy grinds to a halt and the President's playing banjo in the White House. Against all this the army and the National Guard struggle to defend the Earth-based facilities that will support the spacecraft as they attempt to complete their mission.

We follow a host of characters as they play their parts in this desperate adventure.

As Mr Benford points out in his 1991 Afterword, during the '70s there were a rash of what his friend Larry Niven called "Big Rock Hits Earth" novels. This is another one, in response to an eventually-aborted film deal. To think this could have been "Armageddon". That's an interesting thought.

It was good read as a near-future disaster thriller, but doesn't hold a candle to Niven and Pournelle's "Lucifer's Hammer".

Loaded on the 30th November 2002.
    
Cover of Shiva Descending

Reviews of other works by Gregory Benford:
Great Sky River
The Martian Race
Eater
Beyond Infinity