The Cloud Atlas is a novel by Liam Callanan, a northamerican writer. He is actually chairman of the English department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. So far, is the only known example of a fictional history that uses as central figure of the plot a real balloon-related topic.
Set in past and present Alaska, "The Cloud Atlas" is narrated by a missionary who spent World War II chasing down one of Japan's strangest weapons: firebombs that silently crossed the Pacific, tethered to balloons.
In 1944-45, Louis Belk was a soldier, not a missionary, dispatched to find and dispose of these improbable weapons, called Fu-Go, or Japanese balloon bombs, and then keep them secret from an already anxious public.
But the mysteries confronting Louis only increase when he meets his superior officer -a brutal veteran spy hunter of the Office of Strategic Services who knows all too well what the balloons can do- and a Yup'ik Eskimo woman who claims she can see the future. Chasing after the ghostly, floating weapons, Louis embarks upon an adventure that will lead him into the vast tundra, to a discovery and a choice that will change the course of his life.
In 2006, the book was translated to Japanese and published in the land of the rising sun.
Aside his books, Callanan has regularly contributed to local and national public radio, has briefly held forth on TV about zeppelins and jetpacks, and has written for Commonweal, Esquire.com (on swimming and flying), Slate, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Forbes FYI, Good Housekeeping, Parents and publications across North and South America. Liam is also the creator and co-executive producer of the Poetry Everywhere animated film series.