I promise this is getting to the book soon. My sister, who has similar but differently focused interest in this stuff, recommended a book to me. It’s about an area of the US that suffers from an EMP. An EMP is an electromagnetic pulse. If one of those hit your house, anything with a computer/motherboard would be rendered useless. If one were to hit your town, this would include any plane, train, boat or automobile that has a computer built into it. Most EMP’s would be limited to a specific area and wouldn’t be enough to shut off a house or a town for that matter. If a nuclear weapon were to be detonated in the atmosphere, it could (I’m not overly versed on the science of this) cause an EMP that would cover several hundred miles. If a series of these went off over the US, it would put this country into the Dark Ages. It wouldn’t just set us back a hundred years, it would set us back to a time before people knew how to make soap. Strange reference, I know. It makes sense though, think about all the times you wash your hands (or should wash your hands) in a day. The soap would run out pretty fast and disease and infection would spread far more quickly than it does now. It would be millions of people who don’t know how to grow or preserve food. It would be a bunch of people who would kill for their next meal instead. It would be devastating. Now, I’m not saying that everyone needs to start preparing for an EMP. That is what happens in the book. There was also a show called “Jericho” that was on a few years ago about an EMP and a town (Jericho) in Kansas trying to survive. It’s a good show. I recommend it, but I haven’t actually finished watching it yet.
This book, “One Second After”, is about a man with a military history who is now a history professor at a small private school in North Carolina. The school is situated in the mountains, not far from Asheville. The man, John, has two daughters. One of the daughters is a Type One Diabetic. Now, put that information I gave you about an EMP to work with what I just told you. All major transport systems are down, all manufacturing systems are down, all refrigerators are down. There is ample food in the growing regions of the US, but how do you get it across the country when you don’t have the vehicles to do so? Also, the roads are probably littered with cars that would have to be moved. The insulin for a diabetic would no longer be produced or available. There would be no place to store it and the life of the medicine would decrease.
I’m telling you a lot about the story, but there is a lot about this story that I’m not telling you. There is a portion of the book that was pretty boring to read, but if you’re interested in this from a sociological point of view, then it’s pretty decent for that. Now onto my review.
I really enjoy writing. I hate rereading what I have written because it’s worded in a way that people don’t speak. That’s how this guy writes. There are a lot of “explainers” in this story. Lots of dialogue that tells you what you need to know for the story to progress. As I was reading it, I would read a line and think, “Oh gosh, I would have written it like that, and that’s the style I don’t like.” It’s not the best writing. The writing is average. On the other hand, he handles the emotional scenes well. There were a few moments when you really feel the emotion. The anger and the silent emotion he isn’t so good at. He turns it into sort of a righteous/just rage. Too much principle, not enough instinct. I promise you, if people were stuck in that situation, the instinct to survive would change people.
The story was pretty slow. I wasn’t too impressed with the action or the pace. The characters weren’t very deep, and there were a lot of unnecessary references in the book. I did, however, read the whole book and may or may not have shed a tear once or twice. If this is a concept that interests you, I recommend it. I like reading about how people would react in situations like this, and this book has a lot of that. If you’re looking for the science, I would look elsewhere. It is not a detail-heavy story. It’s a story of an ex-military man trying to survive with his family.
As a disclaimer, I do recommend that everyone prepare for at least a day or two without electricity or water. Northeastern Minnesota got hit with a totally unexpected and devastating flood this year. You know what they say, “Expect the unexpected.” I recommend a couple days food (if you use canned food, make sure to get the kind with the tab so you don’t also need a can opener) and a first aid kit (if you’re in cold climates make sure to have blankets or something like that). It’s a simple thing. It doesn’t matter if the power goes out for a couple days, there is a natural disaster, or there is a food shortage. I would rather have something set aside than have nothing.