A blend of science fiction and alternate history that “builds a potent new myth from the reality of radioactive waste” (George R. R. Martin).
Set roughly one hundred years after the 1979 event at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Middletown, Pennsylvania, In the Drift maroons the reader in a the radioactive future that could have been if the TMI-2 reactor had reached the height of its destructive potential. Creating a fallout zone known simply as the Drift, the disaster forms a wasteland of two-headed mutants, vampires, and other cast-out unfortunates struggling for survival.
Keith Piotrowicz is a trucker making waste disposal runs into the Drift from his home in Philadelphia, which is ruled by a group called the Mummers now that the US government has been dissolved. When Keith befriends a journalist keen on asking the most dangerous questions, the duo draws the ire of the Mummers, forcing them to flee into the barren wasteland.
The first novel from Nebula Award winner Michael Swanwick, In the Drift chronicles an apocalyptic collapse brought on by complete nuclear meltdown.