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The Pluto Pact

Novel by Guy N Smith (England) 1982.

The king's witchfinder rides into Craiglowrie to rid the people of the black wizard Balzur. He does the job efficiently, but whilst burning to death on the stake, Balzur curses the town to die by fire. The ground opens up to take him and his home, and a fiery ball blights the area for the centuries that run until Craiglowrie becomes the new location for the country's biggest radioactive waste processing plant. Only Bob Coyle, the local newspaper editor, is fighting against it, as it is providing a much-needed boost to the area. But, guess what, the plant soon springs a leak, sending a violence-inducing radioactive cloud into the town. And inside the plant, the pressure is building. Can the walls contain the danger or will Balzur's curse become reality in the biggest nuclear explosion the world has ever seen.

Teetering on the brink of melodrama, the second half of this is relentlessly pessimistic (again), more so than Doomflight, but not quite as bad as Warhead. Smith must have been a tad worried as the 1970s became the 1980s, because he seems to have had a bee in his bonnet about the nuclear issue. Warhead is set around a nuclear base, with its inevitable explosion causing apocalyptic disaster for the surroundings; The Pluto Pact widens the implications to span the globe. If the Craiglowrie plant explodes, the force of thousands of nuclear bombs will wipe Britain from the map and cause huge and longlasting devastation worldwide. One for the 'not in my back yard' lot.


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