Author Topic: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen  (Read 6885 times)

Offline YoungMike

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"One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« on: June 24, 2010, 04:00:57 PM »
One of my favorite genres is post-apocalyptic fiction; it's always been an interest of mine to ponder over the possibilities of how mankind will end. Mind you, I'd prefer not to be called a pessimist-- many narrow-minded people have entitled me as such when I attempt to explain why I am interested in this sort of thing. A person might inquisitively read Carl Marx's The Communist Manifesto and be immediately labeled the communist type-- curiosity does not equate to association.

I've came across One Second After about one year ago while I was in Traverse City for vacation. The synopsis that started the book was enough to get me interested. The story centers around John Matherson, a small town professor from North Carolina who is in the midst of one of the deadliest terrorist attacks upon the United States-- an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) detonation causes all of America's electronics, communication, and technology to be rendered virtually useless. With accessible resources at its lowest and food become scarce, John must help his family and community survive the disaster.

For me, the book was very enjoyable, but it also left me with numerous questions. One Second After was extremely accurate in the descriptions of the consequences and horrors of such an event, which left me questioning the true security of our country. The novel left me with a considerable truth: No matter how strong our military or government is, we're always vulnerable. Not only did I leave me questioning our security as a nation, it began to extend questions towards modern humanity. A lot of us can probably agree that in a large-scale crisis a good majority of people would be doing whatever necessary to ensure their survival. But in this book, William Forstchen has expanded this fact to the point where it occurs on a daily basis; an idea that American's are rarely exposed to. It left me imagining the type of struggle that you only hear about in third-world countries. What's even more horrific is the idea of extreme survivalism occurring in your own community. The book, overall, was amazingly done-- the only problem I found with it was the occasional recycled dialogue between characters. 



Offline misfitguy

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2010, 07:02:18 PM »

I've heard of it but haven't read it.  I have pondered the anarchy that would be created by a cataclysmic event.  I believe that in this sort of happening many would not survive.  I used to ponder, when I was a teenager, an army coming through my county that needed guiding.  I pictured myself being the one to guide them and wondered just how far from my home I could be of help.  I will have to pick this book up.

Mick
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Offline YoungMike

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2010, 08:48:57 PM »
I believe anarchy would be the first effect once it becomes obvious that order has been shattered-- it still is haunting to imagine that people's morals could be overturned in a crisis. But yes, it has been estimated that in a worst-case scenario nationwide EMP attack, 9 out of 10 Americans would die. Yes, I can easily recommend this book to you, Mick. :) No doubt, it would be right up your alley.

Offline misfitguy

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2010, 05:50:14 AM »

Mike,

Good hearing from you again.  We are in the middle of the Car Show in St. Ignace and last night I did a quick check and a quick answer.  I don't see any harm in fantasizing about dooms day.  The world has already ended as we knew it.  That happened with the advent of the Industrial Revolution.  Mankind had been blessed with the wheel and seemed not to be able to think beyond it and then this explosion of curious thought and invention came along in the 1800's and the world has never been the same.  The world you was born into is even so much different than the world I was born into.  Space travel to me was a comic book feature and to you it is a reality.  The word computer had no meaning to me and to you it is a mainstay in your existence.  The electronic calculator didn't exist before the '70's.  Can you fathom that?  It is not an atmosphere where anarchy exists, but change does and it is a daily occurrence.  Your generation, it seems, would be helpless if they can't be in constant contact with each other sending meaningless phrases back and forth.  I talked to a young man in East Jordan, MI last week that was texting (by the way, my spell check doesn't recognize the word "texting"), and told him to put the phone away and quit texting for a minute.  I said you probably don't even like the guy.  He looked up at me and said he couldn't stand him.  I asked him why he was answering him and he said he didn't want to make the guy mad.  Of course I had to ask him if he was afraid of him and he gave me a silly look and said, no, of course not.  He seemed to totally understand some sort of obligation to answer a text message from somebody he didn't like and I am clueless.

So, Mike, we are in a revolution and you are in the forefront of it because of your age and your awareness.  I will pick this book up and I will comment on it in the next few weeks.  By the way, one of the great 'time after a cataclysmic event' books is Stephen Kings, "The Stand".  In the book, a virus is loosed and one out of, I don't really remember, but maybe one out of 100,000 people survive.  There is eventually a "stand" taken between those that are evil and those that are not.  I am not a Stephen King fan, but this book is one that sits on my bookshelf.  It is a must read for somebody that is interested in this type of event.

Mick
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Offline Smokebender

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 04:19:56 AM »
I have not read this book, but I would like to. I do know that an EMP attack is a very real threat and my guess is that most Americans don't have a clue about it. It is a greater threat now than it was years ago when I read this report.

 http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/congress/2004_r/04-07-22emp.pdf

 This threat does not worry me personally because I'm prepared to deal with it if it were to occur. At the same time I understand this would be no easy task. However if one is prepared and is able to understand what is going on if it happens, the odds are in your favor. I would add that being prepared for this type of thing also enables us to weather almost any other storm that may come our way. I would not for example, sit and wait to be told what to do. I don't spend much time on this type of thing, but I am prepared. My truck would start and run after an EMP attack. Would yours?

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Offline Smokebender

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2010, 04:41:53 AM »
I believe anarchy would be the first effect once it becomes obvious that order has been shattered-- it still is haunting to imagine that people's morals could be overturned in a crisis. But yes, it has been estimated that in a worst-case scenario nationwide EMP attack, 9 out of 10 Americans would die. Yes, I can easily recommend this book to you, Mick. :) No doubt, it would be right up your alley.
I believe your correct in that many people would die after an EMP attack. Not from the attack, but because they would at some point start killing each other. Anarchy to say the least, and there would be no stopping it.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
We are the ones we've been waiting for.
A Hopi elder speaks.

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Offline misfitguy

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 06:22:31 AM »
I ordered the book and when I finish it, Smoke, you may read it.  I warn you, though, I found that Newt Gingrich wrote a forward for it.  I believe he is one of the scare mongers that confused this nation for so many years.  I am going to read this book simply because Mike suggested it.  I have enjoyed the conversations that Mike and I have had and am interested in what he is interested in as well. 

By the way, Smoke, your comment on your truck running and others won't is interesting.  I remember in the 60's, a friend called and said he had read that there would be a shortage of gasoline and many or most Americans would not be able to buy gasoline.  He wanted to buy a large tank, store a lot of gasoline and then we would have gas when others didn't.  I asked him what would we do with this gasoline?  He said, for one, we would be able to get to work and also go to the store to buy food.  I said if gasoline was going to be so difficult to get, then wouldn't it hold that our companies we worked for would probably close?  And what would the grocery stores have to sell if there was so little gasoline?

You would surely have a truck that would run, but where would you go?  Anarchy is about surviving the moment, moment by moment.  The smartest thing we could do would be to hunt out pockets of people that would be trying to create order and join them.  Having a truck that runs could be simply a target for those that don't have one, same as having petrol when others don't have it. 

Mick
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Offline YoungMike

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2010, 07:33:48 PM »
Thank you, Mick. :) I appreciate your consideration and interest. Hope you enjoy the book. Perhaps we can talk more about this when the Birch Run Expo comes around? Definitely would like to hear more about this topic from a good friend.

I personally believe that nobody can be absolutely prepared for something as tremendous and unbalanced as an EMP attack. It's difficult to imagine assured safety based solely upon resources and precautions-- even with superior funds and knowledge, it would seem like a bit of it would be ultimately useless in the face of an event. I've heard accounts of people stocking their houses with unheard amounts of provisions with the intent of surviving the "unsurvivable". I can easily respect a person's forethought... but in my opinion, this sort of extreme preparation could be dangerous when the time comes to act. When the nation is without power or government, I wouldn't prefer to be the one with the notable stockpile in the neighborhood (a point Mick had mentioned). I can imagine that word-of-mouth spreads quickly when catastrophe strikes, and even if someone manages to keep their reserve a secret, it would only be a matter of time before rumors circulate and Martial law is executed, resulting in the seizing of your goods. Mind you, I am not dismissing the importance of preparing. To me though, excessive hoarding isn't the wisest choice in a disaster.

I can see what Mick is saying about the use of a vehicle. It probably wouldn't hurt to keep one (assuming it was functional after an EMP) in the garage with a generous amount of gasoline, just in case you need to get out of Dodge. I'd probably choose to walk; not only because driving could make me a possible target, but because walking would allow one to blend into the woodwork. Maybe it all comes down to the purpose of the vehicle and where you would be driving it? I dunno, perhaps my priorities are a bit misguided. In any case, my focus would just be to keep my head down, complete any tasks and precautions, and ensure that those who I am taking sanctuary with are well. It would be hard for a kid like myself, but I believe my chances are stronger than most.



Offline Smokebender

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2010, 01:07:20 AM »
 Unlike the book we have been discussing here, the government report is not a work of fiction. As highly unlikely as it is to happen, I take comfort in having a plan of action. If an EMP attack were to occur transportation as we know it would come to a end. Only old cars or trucks would run or even start for that matter. In this example anyone wishing to relieve me of my transportation or any other gear had better be willing to die trying.
 
 I'm not one to stockpile or plan hide in a hole. Nor would I seek out other people. In fact I would distance myself and my family from all other people. Everyone with a plan like mine already has a "bug out" destination in mind if sheltering in place is ruled out. After all only three things are needed to survive. Food, fuel, and shelter, in that order. In my example when I say fuel I'm not referring to gasoline. My plan requires only enough gas to reach the bug out location. Something I always already have in day to day life. After that the needed fuel becomes firewood.
 
As far as becoming a target or victim goes, no one would be exempt. I believe that most people would sit around and wait for others to help them. At least until they came to the understanding that no help was on the way and at that point for most it would be to late. As we have seen in the not to distant past, if martial law was ordered, and it would be, those that showed up to do the job would be busy in the cities for months at the least. Just think what that would be like. I'll sit that one out in the woods. Martial law resulting in the seizing of my goods? If they can find me, try it.
 
If this scenario were to occur it would seem, and or be, the end of the world for many people. However if one has the tools and ability to supply the three things needed to survive that's all there is to it. Would it be easy? No. 
 
You are correct Mike when you say "nobody can be absolutely prepared for something as tremendous and unbalanced as an EMP attack" However, not having a good plan of action and being able to execute it, is not the place you will find me.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
We are the ones we've been waiting for.
A Hopi elder speaks.

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Offline misfitguy

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2010, 07:18:36 AM »

Smoke,

You brought up or at least underlined a good point.  Martiall law...  Anarchy would prevail, I am sure and Martial Law would be put into effect.  I think we can look at recent tragedies such as the earth quake in Haiti, or the current flooding in Pakistan, or the hurricane in New Orleans where all order basically disappeared and the strongest survived.  Many pitched in to help others but there was also many that took advantage of the chaos.  Martial Law is normally the first attempt at returning order from chaos.  I would think that it would be a few days of bloody chaos and then the slow process of people uniting to recreate order. 

I, too, Smoke, would be a survivor or at least one that understands that a person would need to be independent and defensive to survive.  Who knows, some knucklehead could simply blow my head away for the fun of it or because he/she was scared.  Good guys don't always finish first.

Mick
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Offline Smokebender

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Re: "One Second After"- William R. Forstchen
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2010, 03:00:27 PM »
It's easy to underestimate the impact of a major EMP attack. My study suggests it would be several years before things were back in place as before. I'm not one put a lot of time into this type of thing, but I have invested some hours of study. Even less time has gone into preparedness because my lifestyle and interests already provide me with all the tools one would need. It is true that "Good guys don't always finish first" and in my way of thinking it is also fair to say that guys without a plan of action will always be finished first. I just want to be in the race.
   
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
We are the ones we've been waiting for.
A Hopi elder speaks.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/michiganbigfootgroup/  Just click it now! Then get back here right away or I'm tellin Mom.