A SUPERIOR STATE OF AFFAIRS
by Tom Maringer, ISBN 1418427624, 6″X9″ paperback, 500 pages
Here are the cover, back-cover intro, and first three chapters of my sci-fi/adventure novel……. The short description: The Big Bang Theory meets The X-Files at Northern Exposure.
It is January, 2017. The Copper Country, on the shores of Lake Superior, is socked in by the biggest blizzard of the century. Beneath a heavy blanket of snow, the simmering separatist movement in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (the U.P.) is coming to a boil. Ever since the United States merged with Canada and Central America and formed the new “North American Federation”, the state government had given scant attention to the problems of its northern outpost. Digger Puttonen is a freelance geologist who grew up poking around the old copper mines. Possessed of an uncanny ability to “find” things, he and two other Michigan Tech graduate students formed a small partnership called the Midnight Mining Company and developed a radically new technology based on an enhanced understanding of the laws of physics. With grudging university backing, they set up shop underground in part of the old Quincy Mine to work on their projects. Lost in an idealistic dream world of invention and research, the partners do not realize that their efforts have been noted with alarm at the highest levels of government and business.
George Frederick Sherman, a ruthless Chicago industrialist, gets wind of the tiny company through his computer people. He quickly sees how important it is, and decides that he must gain control of it before the government does, at any cost. The only flaw in his scheme seems to be a couple of his own employees, Steve Sanders and Eileen Donovan, a pair of computer geeks who have fallen in love with each other and seem to be just too damned smart for their own good. But then… that’s just the sort of problem that Sherman’s “board of directors” is so eminently equipped to handle.
Kicked out of his own laboratory by Sherman’s machinations, Digger Puttonen is trying to drown his sorrows in beer at a local tavern when he meets Arne Harjaala, an old-time miner down on his luck. Arne tells Digger an unbelievably tall tale of a mine disaster, yet Digger’s “finder” sense inexplicably alerts him that there is some real significance to the story. Digger and Arne leave the bar together and, apparently by chance, meet up with Joan Niemi, the beautiful leader of the separatist movement, who has some special abilities of her own. Digger has got to find out what happened to Arne, what it has to do with him, who is behind his ouster from Midnight Mining Company, and why Joan’s eyes seem to sparkle so strangely when he looks at her. Along the way, agents of the revamped FBI become involved, along with the local Ojibway tribe, Sherman’s members of the “board”, and operatives of the super secret United Nations Environmental Command. The struggle for control of the new technology erupts explosively upon, as well as below, the pristine snowbound landscape as even hard-boiled government agents, political extremists, and corporate assassins find that; with the fate of the world at stake, sometimes the most potent weapon you can have is a clean heart.