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"One Second After"- William R. Forstchen

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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. 


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.


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.



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.


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.


 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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