Lurkers by Lindsay Below
I’m a bit of a nerd, in that I love to learn. I choose books based on entertainment value, but those which also offer a bit of knowledge I didn’t know (such as a historical book in a time period I’m not intimate with) get fast-tracked to the front of my TBR pile.
So is it any surprise that when I sat down to write Lurkers, I added real science into the plot?
Before you roll your eyes and exit the page, let me assure you that it’s worked seamlessly into the plot. I promise, it’s nothing like Moby Dick, with dissertations on the anatomy of leviathans every second chapter. In fact, the science in Lurkers is pivotal to the plot. Why? Because the book is a science fiction.
If you’re thinking of space ships and laser guns, I’m sorry to disappoint you (although Jackson does, at one point, invent a laser gun). This is a looser definition of science-fiction… or perhaps you could say a stricter one. You see, the entire plot is predicated on a made-up chemical reaction which happened in Earth’s atmosphere. The result: that everyone over eighteen “disappeared” into thin air. This reaction also left some clues, for Jackson Sullivan, a 15-year-old genius, and his not-so-sidekick Kayla to figure out. Below is a never-before-seen excerpt showing some of the science incorporated into the book.
If you’re a lover of science like myself, please visit me at http://lbelow.blogspot.com. This month, I’m hosting an August Science Fest, where I not only discuss the science behind Lurkers, but also host many interesting guests talking about a myriad of other scientific topics. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!
If you like your fiction mixed with a bit of science, learn more about Lurkers at http://bit.ly/LurkersBook. It’s available in both print and ebook! Or you can download the Teacher’s Guide, dissecting all the science and other facts incorporated into the book, for free at http://bit.ly/LurkersForTeachers.
Tell me, are you a science geek like me?
Read on for the promised excerpt:
To say Kayla is bad at science would be a colossal understatement. So why does she carry the responsibility to figure out what went wrong? In the blink of an eye, everything she knows has changed. Her parents -- along with the rest of the adults in Toronto -- have disappeared, leaving her saddled with her whiny little brother.
Luckily, she meets Jackson Sullivan, a fifteen-year-old scientific genius bent on finding out what happened. But he wants her help. How is she supposed to help sort out all this science stuff when she can barely pass her tenth grade science class?
As Jackson’s sidekick? Not in a million years.
Jackson bent over his worktable, examining two devices at the far end. He glanced up as she stepped fully into the basement and waved her over. “Come here. Let me show you something.”
He lifted one of the devices. “These are Geiger counters.” He pointed to the dial he held. She couldn’t understand it at all. The name was vaguely familiar, but nothing else rang a bell. She waited for him to continue. He adjusted his glasses. “They measure radiation—gamma rays, beta rays, alpha rays.” He shot a glance at her, and when he saw that she didn’t understand, he sighed. Clearly, he knew what he was talking about. She struggled to get a good mark on her tenth grade science tests; he could probably teach the course. “You don’t know what those are,” he muttered.
It was true, she didn’t. She waited for him to explain, but from his tone, she was a little more on guard.
“Well, the sun gives off a lot of them. Too much of the bad sort of rays gives you cancer—but that’s UV radiation, not decay radiation, so it doesn’t matter. Point is, look at that.” He tapped the device. “It’s gone crazy since just about midnight last night. And the ‘earthquake’—I’m sure you felt it—”
She nodded, even though he wasn’t really looking at her.
“Well, first of all, I’m not so sure that’s what happened. I was halfway down the stairs when I felt it, and by the time I reached the floor, it didn’t feel like the ground was shaking—but anyway, it measured 4.1 on the Richter scale. I recorded the measurements over there,” he said, flapping his hand to his computer desk.
She sighed in relief the moment he said the word Richter. At least she knew what that was. It measured earthquakes. But...to be honest, she didn’t know how it worked. It could be a measurement out of five, or it could be out of a hundred. Josh was still inspecting the toy cars. He didn’t seem to care about what Jackson was saying.
She turned back to him, cringing even as she asked the question. “Is that bad?”
He rolled his eyes to the ceiling. “Oh my....” He let out his breath, slowly, as if he was praying for patience. She balled her fists. She wasn’t that stupid. She still managed to get good grades in most subjects, but science was her sore spot.
When Jackson met her gaze again, he explained calmly, as if she was two years old, “It’s not the biggest earthquake ever recorded—that was 9.5 in Chile, 1960—but it’s about the size of a small atomic bomb going off.”
Kayla thought she felt her heart stop beating for a moment. Then it started again with a vengeance, throbbing in her ears until she nearly winced. She swallowed. “An a-atomic bomb? Why aren’t we all dead?”
Even Josh raised his head, his eyes wide.
“No, no, no, no.” Jackson pinched the bridge of his nose. “I said it was comparable to an atomic bomb. An atomic bomb didn’t go off.” Josh returned to what he was doing, clearly losing interest in the conversation. Jackson continued, “The ‘earthquake’ we felt was about the size of the earthquake we would feel if a small atomic bomb was detonated underground.”
Kayla’s brow furrowed as she thought about it. Finally, she shook her head. “I don’t get it. What happened?”