Book Review: POD

Told through the perspective of fifteen-year-old Josh and twelve-year-old Megs, this compelling sci-fi recounts the terrifying days that followed the appearance of PODs, Pearls of Death in the skies above earth. After a head-splitting screech the round, smooth, pearl grey alien crafts filled the air, cutting all communication technologies, zapping cars off the streets and any human caught outdoors. Josh and his engineer father were caught at home with Dutch the family dog. Josh had no choice but to watch helplessly as uncertainty and forced confinement eroded his father’s sanity while slow starvation and water rationing took its toll on them both.

While her mother went off for an early morning “job interview”, Megs was left in their car with orders not to leave the vehicle no matter what. From her vantage point in the parking garage, Megs watched in horror as the alien PODs zapped people off the street, creating chaos and death. Driven by hunger and thirst, Megs began raiding vehicles left on the seven-floor garage for anything useful while staying hidden from thugs who took refuge in the adjoining hotel. Despite short rations, Megs adopts a kitten that later becomes a bargaining chip when the thugs demand return of a gun they think she found. In the process of attempting a rescue, Megs makes some difficult decisions that will change the course of her life.

The shortage of basic needs quickly reduces the world Megs and Josh once knew into a hellish existence as they tell of their daily experiences and choices that literally, mean life or death. The two main characters approach the situation very differently, Megs is remarkably mature for a twelve year old and is determined to do what it takes to survive. Josh’s response to the crisis is fatalistic, he thinks his father’s efforts to stockpile water and ration dwindling supplies is a futile effort as they are all going to die anyway. The nature of the aliens is never revealed, their appearance and eventual disappearance remains a mystery although there are some interesting hints about their agenda. The entire package makes for a bracingly inventive read that grabs reader’s attention without resorting to gratuitous blood and gore, enjoy.

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