Vanishing Point by Michaela Roessner
Vanishing Point was originally published in 1993. This new publication comes at a time when dystopian novels have become the rage.
It’s been 30 years since a huge percentage of the population just Vanished. No trace was left behind. The Vanished took nothing with them and there were no bodies. Those who were alive back then lost many loved ones and trying to rebuild their lives has not been easy. A lot of them live their lives in fear; not knowing if it will happen again, wondering if their loved ones will ever return to them.
The population has split into many cult-type communities. The Homers refuse to leave the home they lived in at the time of the Vanishing, thinking their loved ones may come back in The Return. The Watchers spend their time taking shifts to watch over each other in case another Vanishing takes place. The Hackers spend all of their time researching the source of the Vanishing, looking for anomalies that might reveal the early warning signs of another such happening. The Penitents are busy making amends so they aren’t left behind if it happens again. These are just some of the cult-like groups that have formed.
The main focus is on a group who has taken up residence in a house which was a well-known tourist mansion in San Jose, California. Those who live there call it The Home. Legend has it that the old woman who owned The Home was visited by spirits, who told her to keep building on to the house. It is thought that these spirits may have been preparing the way for those who are living there now, giving them a safe haven in which to rebuild their future.
The Home now includes a couple of generations born after the Vanishing. The first generation, those approaching 30 years old, were all born with a metallic sheen to their hair. They can see an aurora in the skies that the older generation can’t see. They have been raised without modern conveniences and taught strong survival skills. Although their children were not born with metallic hair and better vision, they are somehow different too. These children speak in a strange slang, they seem more intuitive and they call the Homers “ghosts.”
As in any world, the peaceful societies are threatened by those who have a different agenda. In this case, the threat comes from those known as the ‘Bounders, or the Heaven Bound. The ‘Bounders believe that everyone who Vanished has ascended to Heaven, and that anyone who got left behind must have done or not done something, that excluded them. They also believe that no one person will be allowed to ascend to Heaven, until all have faith and live their lives accordingly. It’s everybody or nobody, and they disapprove of those planning for an earthly future.
When the ‘Bounders become more dangerous with threats of war upon those who stand in the way of their salvation, the other groups must band together to fight back and save what they have built.
Vanishing Point is not fresh material in the heyday of dystopian books, but it probably was at the time it was written, making it somewhat of a classic read. I liked the characters. The main character Renzie, is a tough, independent woman with a bit of hidden loneliness. Nesta is a middle-aged researcher who lived through the Vanishing, and works with the hackers to figure out what caused it. Of course, a lot of the research includes physics, but not too much and nothing that you can’t follow along with or learn from. Interesting premises abound, everything from theories you might have heard about on “Aliens Among Us”, to a time warp, the Left Behind theory…….
No, I won’t give away what it really was! I recommend that you read and find out for yourself:) This is a tightly woven story in which the author paints a broad picture and ties up all the loose ends, leaving us with no unanswered questions.
By the way, “the Home” is based on a real place in San Jose! Go to Winchester Mystery House to read more.
I want to thank the publisher (Endeavor Press) for providing me with the ARC through Netgalley for an honest review.