Hammerfall is much slower and subtle than previously thought.
Lucifer’s Hammer has one of the best introductions in any book. The moment you turn beyond that page, though, you’re into the inevitability of a comet striking the earth, knowing it before the characters you’re introduced to in the initial chapters of the story even know.
It’s become a legendary book since its publication decades ago, as well as a kind of prepper guide; the comet strike is in the first third or half of the book; the remaining pages are devoted to the fall of civilization and the pockets of people who form into warring factions and how they survive.
It is a godless book, but most science fiction books of this type are. Everything is evolution, billions of years, and survival of the fittest. In Lucifer’s Hammer, if you show up at a fortification to seek refuge but have no real valuable skills, you’re left outside to die on your own. Thankfully, God operates differently. (For an alternative, the Planets Shaken trilogy offers much the same exciting story, but with God at the heart of it.)
The heady descriptions of sudden destruction and the aftermath in civilizational disarray are spellbinding.
But Lucifer’s Hammer started dropping in 2020.
I’ve watched grown men turn into ghoulish yellow-gray cowards, their physical health slipping away with their testicular fortitude. Safety from everything that stirs up fear now drives them, and each day, there is more to be afraid of.
I’ve watched grown women turn into harpies, vicariously hurting their children by turning them into safety showpieces, covering and injecting them with everything they possibly can, screeching at those around who are too close physically but not close enough virtuously.
Like the fictional Hamner-Brown comet of the story, part of the surprise is the breaking apart. The comet broke into pieces, which caught everyone off guard, puncturing the earth in multiple places. In 2020, nations and people broke into pieces, the splinter bits still falling to earth.
I was never sure of the right time to release my book about the pandemic; I had this sense that the roiling aftermath was going to build into its own destructive force, like the tsunamis that rolled in after the fictional comet struck.
If you write a book and publish it, does the topic of the book become history to you, at least, from that moment on? I wish it were so.
Because the 2020 pieces are really starting to strike harder now.
When reality struck. When the mea culpas started rolling in. When people tried to hedge their bad bets. When people realized the truth. When people acknowledged that they realized the truth.
The phrase “hammerfall” is like a single-note funeral dirge that is laced throughout the book, denoting what the characters were doing in that moment—and the immediate moments after—the comet struck.
When the hammer drops. When it falls. When the atmosphere is broken. When the volcanoes erupt.
Nearly every week, since March 2020, has had a kind of hammerfall. Lockdowns, mandates, arrests, protests, war, threat of nuclear war, drought, chaos, earthquakes, recession, economic crash—some kind of thing seems to drop.
Every time I see another “died suddenly” story of a young athlete or otherwise healthy person whose heart stops, every time I look around at at the news and simply consider people and situations today, I can’t not think about Luke 21:26.
Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.