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Death Cloud

Novel by Michael Mannion 1976.

University student Paul McLain moves to the town of Dorchester, a small place with an annoying smog problem, which soon proves to be much more than simply annoying as people begin to die during the worst incidents. Paul helps with subversive research into the problem, blaming it on excessive toxic emissions from the local factories. However it turns out to be an unknown form of radiation which kills a huge amount of people when the smog descends to ground level for an entire week.

One of those disaster novels in which there seems to be a happy ending which doesn't last: it's soon followed by a far from happy ending; the smog does lift and those who survive live on in peace, but the story ends with reports of similar smog coming in from various parts of the globe. Why this is surprising is that it's not done with a sequel in mind, but purely as a damning attack on the world-wide reactions to today's environmental problems. Disturbingly prophetic.


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