Friday, July 18, 2008

My Kind of Subject Matter

Guest blog by Gail’s Computer Guy (while Gail is away at Readercon)

When Gail suggested that I read The Qwikpick Adventure Society by Sam Riddleburger, my first response was “why?” But she said it dealt with a wastewater treatment plant and a fountain of poop and that it might be just the book for me, a civil engineer who has designed septic systems and sewer lines. Sure enough, this is a fun book. Here are some of the things I liked about it:

1. The realistic description of the sewage treatment plant. I have been to a sewage treatment plant or two, and I can say Sam did his homework. You do get different “types” of aromas in different parts of the plant, depending on whether the sewage at that point is aerobic or anaerobic. I have never seen a “fountain of poop” (by the way, the technical term is effluent) type of aeration, but I’d sure like to.

2. The maps. Dave’s map of the route to the treatment plant is every bit as detailed as some of the preliminary sketches our field guys do before they prepare the detailed survey maps. Every book should include a map. I also liked Dave’s quote “a good orienteer looks at his map before he gets lost so that he doesn’t get lost”.

3. The kindly wastewater plant manager and the rational town manager. Too often, municipal administrators come off as evil or buffoons (or both) in books and movies.

Perhaps this could be the beginning of a whole series of civil engineering related adventure books.


Gail Gauthier said...

I love language like "anaerobic" and "aeration." If I knew what they meant, I'd try to use them myself.

Thanks for filling in for me, Civil Guy.

Sam said...

Guy, you've shown yourself to be a brilliant critic of kidlit! Your opinions were not only wise and well-expressed, but also 100% correct!

Seriously, thanks for noticing the map. Dave was really proud of it.

I do have another civil servant in the sequel (if that ever comes out.)

Gail, thanks for pushing my book on people! If you wouldn't mind pushing it on 6,438 more people, I'll be able to publish that sequel!