The Last Days of Krypton
by Kevin J Anderson
Harper Collins 2007
Everyone knows who Superman is, right?
And Everyone knows that Superman came from the Planet Krypton, right?
Well this novel is the long awaited story about the Planet Krypton, and how it destroyed itself and how young Kal-El was saved by his parents and sent to earth.
Once upon a time, a long long ago on Krypton, a man decided to conquer the world of Krypton and in the process, he destroyed one of the Krypton moons. After the man was killed, the Krypton high council made a decision that there was to be NO MORE science, no exploration, no research and no inventions.
So for a thousand years, life went on and eventually the people forgot about being curious and so they stagnated. Except one family. The family of EL. Jor-el and his brother Zor-el. Both were curious and their parents encouraged them to be curious against the rules of their society. So Jorel grew up being interested in astronomy and the skies, while Zorel studied geology and the earth.
Then a small alien showed up and changed the planent in a way noone ever expected. Jorel made friends with the alien and learnt that there were many worlds and many other peoples outside their own solar system. One of those planets was called earth.
The high council determined that the alien's presence was causing disturbances and that the alient must be destroyed and that all technology (including Jorels's inventions) and the alien ship must be confiscated.
One of the council members - Dru-Zod - was the head of the Technology Acceptance Committee. It was the committees jobs to determine if any invention was useful for Krypton society or not. Zod had been denying Jorel permission to build his inventions for many years. In fact Zod had been confiscating Jorels inventions and supposedly destroying them. BUT Zod was not destroying them. He was keeping them hidden because he firgured that they may be useful one day.
One day Jorel opened a doorway to another universe. He stepped inside and found himself floating in a space with no form, nothing was physical or solid and he had no way to get back. It was pure luck that a young lady came into his laboratory to speak to him. She was able to free him from this alternate universe. Her name was Lara and she was an artist and a historian. The doorway to the other universe was called Phantom Zone Rings. Having rescued Jorel, he and Lara fell in love and were married.
Another alien ship came down and carved out the city of Kandor from the planet leaving a huge hole in the ground. Kandor was the capital city - and the base of thre High Council. With the high council now gone, Zod stepped in and rallied the people together and set them to work building a new city. He also proclaimed himself as General Zod, ruler of Krypton and begans to act like a dictator. Anyone who resisted or spoke dissent against Zod just disappeared.
Jorel and Zorel organised a resistance against Zod and with the help of Jorels inventions, they were able to defeat Zod and imprison him in the phantom zone. During this time earthquakes began and got worse. Pressure was releived by a bore hole drilled down to the mantle to help relieve the pressure, this worked and the earthquakes subsided.
The missing people were found to have been sent into the Phanton Zone. They are released from captivity and Zod and his henchmen are sent into the Phantom Zone.
Things get worse when the new High council chooses to keep to the old ways and declares that all new technology and inventions have no place in Krypton society. They decide that noone shall ever release Zod from the phantom zone if the zone is destroyed. The council places the Phantom Zone Rings in the bore hole and it sinks down to the mantle. Jorel is pleading with the council to not do this as it will cause the destruction of the planet. The council laughs at him.
This is the end of the planet because the Zone rings feed on energy and there is TONS of energy in the mantle. The people have 3 days before the planet blows up. The people are committed to building ark ships to get away. Jorel and Lara build a small ship for them to get away. It does not work. Finally Jorel can only do one thing. Send their baby son Kal-El away in the ship to safety. They program the small ship to travel to earth.
We all know the rest of the story.
One thing to note - there is NO mention of any powers in this novel. So there is NO explanation as to where Supermans powers come from.