Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Have a Problem With The Passage

Hey all you Wha'Happen readers out there. Long time no see.

Anyway, I am reading The Passage by Justin Cronin right now. (Cronin is an English prof at Rice--his bio at Rice's website is curiously out of date.)

Anyway, this question is for people who have read the book, and it contains SPOILERS. Not big ones, but a bit.
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Now after the vampires have started infecting everyone (killing 9 out of 10 and turning 1 in 10 into vampires), the action turns to a small haven of human survivors called the First Colony. This is almost 100 years after the virus has broken out, and they have reverted to a medieval lifestyle except for the fact that they have electric lights. The lights are on at night because vampires don't like light of any kind. The lights are powered by windmills and batteries. But the crisis is that the batteries are decaying and they can't be repaired, only replaced. When this happens, it's curtains for the colony.

One other important fact--they are up in the hills, apparently on the side of a mountain.

So as I read this, my first thought was anxiety. But then it occurred to me. Batteries don't have to be chemical batteries. You can create mechanical ways of storing energy. they have generators. All they need is a way for the generators to be on all the time.

So what they could have done was to build a water reservoir high up on the hill. The reservoir would be filled by pumps run by the windmill (just as windmills used to pump well-water on farms). Then they would let the water flow out of the reservoir at a regular rate, running the generators, keeping the lights on, and protecting the colony from vampires.

Now I realize that this isn't a trivial undertaking, building a large-scale reservoir and pump system. But according to the novel, the knowledge of the future failure of the batteries had been known for a generation. That would have been time enough to build a mechanical replacement for the chemical batteries.

Anyway, I'm still reading it, but I had to get that off my chest.

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