Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Reality, Meet Fiction: Man-Made Disasters

Just over thirty years ago, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster rocked the world. Equipment failure, human error, and other factors created the worst nuclear power plant disaster to date. The effects can be seen even today, with nearby cities still largely abandoned. A new containment facility is currently being built to attempt to contain the still-dangerous radiation.

Chernobyl Today (Wikipedia)
Five years ago, the Fukushima nuclear accident, triggered by a tsunami, re-ignited fears and concerns about nuclear energy.

These accidents, especially Chernobyl, have raised global concerns over the safety of nuclear energy. This is relevant as nations search for alternatives to fossil fuels.


Your world might not use nuclear energy, but what sorts of man-made disasters influence your world?

Did a magician cast a certain type of spell with disastrous consequences? How did the public or governing bodies react? New laws? Prohibition of magic? Scorn of sorcerers?

How does your storyworld's past (or present) shape its future? What barriers and challenges does this present to your characters? Do they have different opinions on the disaster? How has it shaped their lives? Technology in use?

Fun Fact:
-A coast-to-coast flight in the U.S. is about equivalent to 3 days of natural background radiation exposure. (radiologyinfo.org)

Well, I hope this wasn't too depressing. Do any of your stories integrate man-made disasters?

If anyone is interested, I have a couple of guest-posting opportunities coming up in mid-July! Contact me with your idea using the contact form in the left-hand column.


  1. Hahaha.... Now I'm depressed :/ It makes me really sad that nuclear energy doesn't always work out, because it'd be a better energy source than fossil fuels. Basically anything would be better than fossil fuels, I think. (Anywho. I'll see if I can get a guest post up, but unfortunately no promises. But I'll see!)

    1. In spite of the sometimes disastrous consequences, nuclear energy is really pretty safe, especially since there's been a lot of research into how to make safer reactors that slow down their reactions (rather than speed them up) when control systems fail.

      The Fukushima reactor was built in the 60's/early 70's.Chernobyl was built in the late 70's/early 80's by the Soviets who were not known for their stellar safety systems. (The design used at Chernobyl was designed to be cheap and easy to build and was actually designed in the '50s).

      These are really old systems and not necessarily reflective of the new and up-and-coming technologies, yet the public seems to think that these are the systems still being built. We wouldn't base our opinion on airplanes on 50-60 year old designs, but we do that for nuclear power.

      Anyhow, that's my rant on nuclear energy. I agree that it should be more heavily utilized.

      Thanks for the comment! I realize the guest post request is rather short notice, so no worries. I'll just take a little "blogcation" if I can't find anyone.

  2. Hm, this is really interesting. I've never thought much about man-made disasters in books. But it does sound like a good angle to explore!

    "Did a magician cast a certain type of spell with disastrous consequences?" *thinks of Once Upon a Time* *glares at Rumple and Regina*

    1. Good example! I didn't even think of that one.

      Thanks for the comment!


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