Yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, an occasion I’d planned to mark with a post on what happened. But the fact is, you can find better information elsewhere. I know because I’ve been looking into it recently, as the event caps the first long section of the big novel I’m writing, which covers a couple weeks in 1986. I’m a novelist, not a historian.

Then it occurred to me that perhaps posting an excerpt from that final 1986 chapter might be the best route. After all, what I have to say about the event I’ve already put into this.

So after the link, you’ll find excerpts from chapter 38 of Falling Sickness.

Many of the names—Katja (and her husband, Aron), Imre and Bernard—will be new even to those who’ve read my books, since the younger militiapeople begin arriving in the 4th book in the series, Liberation Movements, due out later this year. There’s an “I” character, who is me, at the time 16 years old, with a girlfriend (in reality as well as in this fiction) named Jennifer. “Mister Shevchenko” is my high school math teacher, who has been kidnapped by a Ministry agent named Gavra (one of the stars of Liberation Movements) and is subsequently killed. The Agota mentioned is Agota Kolyeszar, daughter of Ferenc, first seen as a child in The Confession. The photographs at the end are meant to be in the book, and the stuff about Hashimoto syndrome is sadly true.