A short novel by David F Pennant
Mark,a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator in a sleepy road does virtually nothing - he puts round two or three news sheets a year and sends out the odd email - until one day the world's computer chips stop working, everything changes and he has to fight to keep the residents from death.
Mark reckons the malfunction was caused by a flare from the sun, but this was never proved. Five days after I first web-published this story, the opening discussion on Radio Four's Material World (27.8.09) was about the severe solar flare of 1859, the so-called Carrington Event and its damaging effect on power cables, melting a transformer, etc. and that we are overdue for another flare. You have been warned...!
Horizon (BBC1) had a similar programme in March 2012, a time of unusually large solar flares; see July 2012 solar storm. The largest ones seem to have been in 775, perhaps ten times larger than the Carrington event.
Imagine the effect of a severe solar flare on today's electronic society. Well, that's what I did in this short novel.
The sun has an eleven year cycle. Are we prepared for the next solar maximum in 2023 or so, when such things are more likely?
Other relevant Wikipedia articles include Solar cycle and Solar maximum. See also Carrington Events | Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
I had Oriental Road in Woking in mind when I wrote this. Special offer of a complimentary signed copy to people that live in the road. Knock at number thirty. Fun!
The book finally appeared as a paperback in 2022.
For readers' opinions and feedback, click here, noting number seven especially.