SIGMET ACTIVE by Thomas Page


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Project Windowpane, a Navy brainstorm for frying any target by laser perforation of the ozone layer above it, clearly has little real chance of producing Sigmet Active (Significant Meteorological Activity). But Page, who's partial to mixing science fiction with natural disaster (The Spirit, 1977), is up to something fancier than mere meteorology: a semi-sentient plasma--or electrical field, or gremlin, or something--apparently takes itself to be in charge of maintaining the electrical equilibrium of the ionosphere. So, within seconds of the Windowpane test firing somewhere east of the Philippines, this entity busily converts itself into a storm system in comparison with which Hurricane Agnes was a zephyr. It takes electrical ""fingerprints"" of all Windowpane participants and settles down to eliminating them, starting with the entire crew of the floating mission-control HQ. Project meteorologist Jeffrey Holden does make it back to his girlfriend in Florida. But by then the storm is heading for the American mainland, there to pick off the other three Windowpane survivors on the West Coast and start for the Gulf of Mexico. Page keeps up the howling-winds-and-lightning-bolts tempo with much dexterity. But there's something basically miscalculated about the plot wrinkles he tries to iron into this serviceable polyester script.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Times Books