A local book club assignment, The Quiet Zone deals with a current, and growing problematic phenomenon in the future of our society. Once I started reading, I noticed parallels with other current books, movies, and media: for example, the series Better Call Saul, and Netflix documentary Afflicted.
A century and half ago, Green Bank, West Virginia, would be no different than any other rural location. But since 1958, it’s one of the last, if not the last, quiet places in the continental United States.
The region is not as “quiet” as proclaimed, as many tourists, local residents, and even staff in the facilities, secretly use cellphones, personal computers, and other devices that emit electromagnetic signals. Though the “quietude” is difficult to enforce, personnel are on duty around the clock to monitor these “illegal” signals.
The concept of the “quiet zone” is very alluring to me. It may seem a deprivation to some, but also may seem like a welcome relief from the alerts, notifications, and spam, that plague us all. But this concept becomes more and more impractical with progress, as the idea of an area completely free of progress dwindles. The observatory is not having the funding success it has known in decades past, and may soon be a thing of the past.
Besides the national observatory, there are other more discrete government installations in the area. Perhaps the observatory is merely a ruse?
Progressing through the chapters, I found myself getting bogged down in the local stories and dramas. It seems that the seclusion serves to enhance the murder rate and other secret criminal activities.
All in all, an interesting first book by an up and coming author.