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One Second After (A John Matherson Novel) Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Forstchen examines the effect of an attack on the U.S.A. using an EMP(or rather three EMPs). The electro magnetic pulse ruins most electrical gadgets; computers and anything controlled by them, data storage, modern vehicles and planes, electricity generators,water supply, medical equipment, phones and radios.
The small town in which the story is set reverts to a barter economy and its shops soon run out of food and medicines. Local law enforcement has to cope with increasingly desperate local citizens,stranded motorists, and refugees from the big cities hoping to find food and shelter.
Forstchen examines the big issues mainly by looking at the impact on one family. This approach works well, and the reader is drawn in, wondering "what would I do in that situation?"
The reason I gave this book 4 stars rather than 5 may sound trivial. Every single "could have, should have, would have, might have" in the book is written as "could of, should of" etc.After reading several dozen of these I almost ended up shouting at the book. I guess I'm getting old.
The book follows what happens to an American community after and EMP attack is visited on our country. EMP occurs when a nuclear bomb is detonated above the atmosphere, causing every single thing in it's range containing anything electronic to fail. Cars, planes, pacemakers, electricity, you name it, it's gone forever. The country is immediately plunged into the dark ages, the population far too large to be supported by 18th century technology. Different parts of the country fare better or worse depending on their locations to urban areas. Gangs roam the land, bringing death and destruction to any remaining survivors.
What is frightening about this book is the fact that it is a very real possibility. The government is currently studying EMP attacks, as it is probably a more real threat than the thermonuclear attack we have always been raised to fear. If you ever had a thought of having your home prepared for a disaster, you will be propelled into action after reading the horrors entailed here for anyone who does not.
The day after reading I could not help but realize how fully dependent we are on electronics and technology. I found myself cataloging each thing I did during the day. How long can you last with the food in your pantry and maybe a week's worth of water before it becomes contaminated and cholera, dysentery, and thyphoid break out?
You may not have ever imagined America as a third-world country. This book will force you to.
By the way, if you have a project due or deadline, finish it before you pick this book up. It sucks you right in and you are compelled to finish it instead of doing anything else. I really came to love and care about the characters. It was hard to "watch" as the worst befell them.
The EMP event he describes might presently be improbable, but is certainly possible. Nicholas Taleb would undoubtedly recognize it as a "Black Swan" event: something that lies outside the range of normal experience, but that has a catastrophic impact. Taleb pointed out that humans have a tendency to excessively discount and underestimate Black Swans, so I would encourage readers to be careful not to dismiss Forstchen's book just because the scenario he paints is improbable. Furthermore, an EMP attack is hardly the only thing that might result in the substantial or total collapse of the economy and civilization; there are a range of possible scenarios, and the practical effect of living through them and their aftermath might not differ all that much from what Forstchen describes.
Some might be tempted to feel depressed after reading "One Second After", or to consider Forstchen's outlook to be excessively pessimistic. On the contrary, I consider his to actually be a rather optimistic view. Importantly, his story line assumes that the townspeople DO come together and cooperate with each other; the town government does hold together, and the town leaders do lead. The town does not devolve into "every person for themselves" anarchy, as so many other post-apocalyptic visions presume. It is also optimistic in that the townspeople do actually win in a horrific battle against a nightmarish roving gang. It is optimistic in that the protagonist and the other characters do succeed in the struggle to maintain their humanity and deepest held values.
So, read the book. But then what?Read more ›
Given the above, one would imagine I'd be among the vanguard in extolling this novel. For reasons great and small though, I was ultimately disappointed. In my opinion the story's biggest flaw is its implicit assumption that EMP would render irrevocably inoperable any integrated-circuit based device -- i.e., anything more advanced than wires, coils, and vacuum tubes -- and by extension anything that depended upon such devices (your modern automobile, for example). My readings so far of the findings of the ongoing EMP Commission (in particular April 2008, see empcommission.org) suggest that this is a gross exaggeration.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely loved this book. Well written and informative. I'm now reading more books like this. We all should be aware that something of this magnitude could actually happen in... Read morePublished 4 hours ago by GardeniaGrl
great book. You will think frequently about what you would do in the event of an EMP after reading.Published 6 hours ago by R. Savage
This is by far the best book I have read in ages, it also gave me nightmares.....Published 15 hours ago by D. Gosnell
Thrilling and scary. Area this is concerning is approx 20 miles from my home ! This could really happen !!! Would love to meet the writter.Published 2 days ago by Baron
Excellent book, one of the best science-fiction novels I've read in recent years. The fact that the plot it's very likeble to happen makes it a chillinh read. Highly recommended.Published 2 days ago by Anthony
Thought provoking but a little light on character development. Enjoyed it overall.Published 2 days ago by James John Hellvig