The Aftermath: a Novel of Survival. (Books: a selection of new and notable books of scientific interest).
Florman, best known for his popularizations of the engineering profession in books such as The Existential Pleasures of Engineering, now puts his subjects in a fictional setting to explain how engineers could save the world. In 2009, a comet strikes Earth and wipes out virtually everything on the planet. In a heavily damaged but survivable zone on and near the coast of southeast Africa and Madagascar, there is a cruise ship with 600 leading engineers aboard. These engineers and their families join 25,000 other survivors on shore to begin rebuilding. Although they have been cast back to the Stone Age physically, they are equipped with 21st-century expertise and the natural resources to begin again and establish a new hub for the industrialized world. Florman's adventure follows this group as its members draw up a scientifically sound blueprint for surviving Armageddon, and depicts engineers as heroes. Thomas Dunne, 2001, 323 p., hardcover, $24.95.