One Second After by: William R Forstchen

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TITLE: One Second After
AUTHOR: William R. Forstchen
YEAR: 2011


Written By: Josh Mosh
Sep 27 2011

This is a riveting tale of the end of times.  Yet it is not based the same tired, clichéd end of times scenarios we are too familiar with.

In this nail biting tale the "end" is brought on by a terrorist attack in the form of an EMP or several EMPs for that matter.  If you don't know and EMP is a nuclear device that is detonated a couple of hundred miles above the surface of the planet that emits an Electro Magnetic Pulse.  The EMP shorts out all power grids, computers, radios, communication devices, transportation, etc, basically anything that has a computer in it.

The novel runs through the gamut of  what no electricity or "power" in general means.  Dude...nothing works, and I mean n-o-t-h-i-n-g!   Well, except for a few old cars that don't have computers in them and well...that's about it.  Anything that relies on an electrical based power source is fried.

Our story focuses on a small inland town on the east coast and their fight for survival.  Our main character, John, is ex-military and a college professor.  In short he's a pretty smart dude with an appetite for survival and some basic common sense and good morals.  His world is turned upside down and even though he is able to overcome obstacle after obstacle it remains that his daughter has diabetes and there is a very limited supply of insulin.  The impending death of his daughter haunts him throughout the tale and really draws the reader in making you reflect on what ailments your loved ones have that may not be able to be accommodated in a survival situation.

Every twist and turn of the story demands a reaction from the reader.  You cannot help but to wonder how you would act in the same situation.  Would you be able to eat knowing that your neighbors are starving?  Would you be able to triage your neighbors and friends on their importance to longer term survival and dole rations and supplies as that triage suggests?  Would you kill your dog if it meant a meal? Think about it...No electricity and the backup generators done work either.  What of the hospitals and nursing homes.  Death is everywhere, the suicide rate is through the roof.  Pretty heavy shit.  More than once I was choked up and even brought to tears.

There is a lot of talk and pondering of the Christian faith throughout the book.  At first I found this be a bit distracting but as I reminded myself that it wasn't written by an anarchist punk rocker and that we have a country that primarily subscribes to some form of Christianity you start to understand that even if don't agree on religious faith this is probably a very accurate portrayal.  People are going to be praying their asses off when the shit goes down, that's just the way it is.

I'll be honest here...The book gave me nightmares as I stayed up late reading and then tried to get some sleep with visions of plunders attacking my home and family.  I was haunted by thoughts of how I would provide for my family and protect them in a similar situation.  Let's just say that since I read the book I have bought a few extra bags of beans and other non-perishables.  I got a new badass knife too.

A little research explained how realistic the threat of an EMP is, but also suggests that the catastrophe laid out on these pages might be a bit exaggerated.  Some research suggests that we could be back up and running and 3 months or so and that anyone that can live "off the grid" (meaning no ATMs, no groceries, no support from the outside world at all) could most likely make it.  Clean water will be the big issue.

Note:  Cash will most likely become meaningless.  Precious metals and items to barter will become the new currency.  The hot items will be medical supplies and booze.  Yup, booze.  Stock up!

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