I’ve always been a reader and I’ve always lost myself in the stories I read. Even as a child, it was easy for me to understand different sides of an argument or experience empathy for others. I’m certain my reading contributed to this.
It’s rare for me to review a book beyond a basic star rating on Goodreads, but I wanted to review this book here for y’all. NOT because it’s such a great book (trust me, it’s not), but because it does present an idea worth discussing. The book is One Second After by William R. Forstchen.
I don’t know where or how I found this book. Usually I make a private note to myself on Goodreads if a book is by an author I haven’t read before. But I have no notes for this one, so it will remain a mystery.
This an apocalyptic book, centered on the destruction of America due to a high-atmosphere nuclear bomb that emits an electromagnetic pulse. The EMP wipes out all our electronics in an instant, bringing our civilization to a catastrophic halt. The story is a disturbing description of how one town deals with the aftermath.
The author has an impressive bio of military history and history of technology. He says his description of how EMPs can be generated, and the damage they can cause, is accurate and true. I have to take him at his word for that – it certainly sounds plausible, and I have no technical knowledge in that area.
Oddly, for someone with so much to offer, he writes a book riddled with ridiculous errors. I am amazed that Purdue actually hands out PhD’s to people who don’t know the correct phrase is “could have” not “could of.” Or that “their” is not the same as “they’re” which is not the same as “there.”
Um, no these errors didn’t happen just once. They occur throughout the book. Sure, the editor is at fault, but the poor editor probably couldn’t believe a grown man with a PhD actually turned in something like this.
Putting all that aside, the book does have something to offer. It’s a dispassionate examination of life after catastrophe. Who dies first, second, third…, including famines, flu, and the secondary diseases that result from too many people dying all at once and how to deal with the bodies. Mr. Forstchen provides a good discussion, through his characters, of why there’s not much to be done to prevent these deaths. The story provides an even better example of how a community can work together to help each other, while policing the bullies and outlaws.
I believe in being reasonably prepared for emergencies – I’ve written before about our earthquake kit. Anyone who is even modestly prepared can probably survive long enough to join up with neighbors, and thus contribute to the larger group’s survival. I don’t think that means you should go out and dig a bomb shelter, stock it, and live there in perpetual hiding. But at least stock enough somewhere to take care of your own needs for a week or three, then maybe stock a bit more to help out someone else.
At its worst, One Second After is a gun-lover’s wet dream, with the far-right hawkish tendency to believe that all wrong-doers are evil devil-worshipers who never met a heinous act they didn’t embrace, and the good guys having guns and being willing to use them is the only answer. This is silly enough, but there’s also the fact that no one in the book seems to understand how wrong it is for the main character (a good guy!) to steal and horde all the insulin in the area, for his own daughter’s use. I know – parents will do crazy things for their kids – but someone should have called him on it. Since no one does, I’m left with the uncomfortable idea that Mr. Forstchen thinks this is heroic, or at least laudable, behavior.
But he does provide a top-notch description of how our modern global society has traded any possibility of self-sufficiency for convenience and cheap products. In fact, he uses the insulin to do this, starting with the oil coming from the Middle East, and following a byzantine trail around the world to produce the medicine and the equipment needed to administer it.
In the end, it’s this trade-off that kills so many people: without immediate and constant replacement of all consumables, most Americans are helpless.
Maybe it would be best to die in the first wave or two, eh?
I’m delighted that NASA is doing this. These are going to be great books!
Love this Goodreads review on Worlds Apart!
“This book was a great read and so different from the normal type of relationship. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, as I hope others will. Marlene Dotterer two thumbs up on this great book.”
And this great review is more comprehensive. Here’s a snippet:
“I’m so glad I took a chance on this new novel as I really enjoyed it. It’s full of suspense, intrigue, paranormal, action, and romance. It’s a well-developed story that’s written well that includes an interesting array of characters…”
My vacation continues to wreck havoc with anything approaching a writing schedule. I’m in a B-I-C, just-pound-the-keyboard phase, where when I DO manage to open a manuscript, I must write utter BS, just to get something onto the page. My mind has essentially shut down.
I’m thrilled with the response to Worlds Apart. All my books are selling more these days, which may have more to do with lowering prices for a couple of summer sales, than anything else. W.A. is selling briskly, so thank you to all who’ve snatched it up! I’m hoping for more reviews, if any of you have a chance. And please tell your friends about it. Somewhere, there are all those thousands of people who buy a particular book over at Smashwords or Amazon or Kobo. Make sure they know about Worlds Apart!
In the meantime, I am having fun on this trip. The grandkids are so much fun. I can’t believe the energy they have. Trying to keep up with them reminds me of how old I am. Keeps me from complacency, I guess. We’ve been doing some hiking, in the midday, July, Arizona sun. How crazy is that? Fortunately, it’s monsoon season, so we get some cloud cover and even the occasional spat of rain. I’ve put in 7 miles in the last two days!
Yesterday we had a close encounter. We think it was a chameleon. It was about 8 inches long. Kept its eye on me the whole time I was passing by.
Have you heard the rumor that Worlds Apart by Marlene Dotterer *might* be available somewhere?
Now you have!
Worlds Apart is up at Smashwords – whew! I think it’s actually finished!
There is also a Giveaway over at Goodreads. Sign up and win a signed paperback copy. US and Canada, only – sorry.
Amazon and others – not yet. Maybe tomorrow!
In another bow to Book View Cafe’s WWW Wednesday, I’m going to snatch the idea and post it here.
The meme is simple:
- What are you currently reading?
- What did you recently finish reading?
- What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading?
A Hidden Witch (The Modern Witch #2) by Debora Geary. I’m enjoying this series, despite it’s simplistic nature. In fact, that’s part of the fun. I like characters I’d be comfortable with at a picnic, and this crew of witches definitely fits that idea. So far, nothing much actually happens in these books – it’s sort of a Walden Family Witches. There’s a close-knit extended family with lots of kids and a tight community of witches that stay in contact through the internet and an online game. Everybody loves everybody else and there’s lots of sharing and teaching going on. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d like to be part of. Except for the gaming part. Trust me. I can’t even handle Second Life.
What did you recently finish reading?
Lyon’s Legacy (Catalyst Chronicles, #1) by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan. I gave this novella 3 stars on Goodreads, which is my default rating. I liked it well enough, although I found it hard to take seriously. Honestly, we discover a wormhole to a parallel universe slightly behind us in time, and we turn it into a tourist playground? Then send someone over there to steal DNA from a famous rock star so we can clone him?
The good thing about this is that it’s so ridiculous you go along for the ride. The characters are well-drawn, especially the MC. There’s no serious action in this book either, but there’s lots of angst.
What do you think you’ll read next?
I think I’ll go with Timeless by Gail Carriger. I loved the Parasol Protectorate series, and I’ve never managed to read this last book. But I’ve finally bought it and it should be up next!
What about you? Give us your answers in the comments or leave a comment with the link to your blog post.
I picked up this meme from Book View Cafe. I’ll post my answers here. If you want to play, go ahead and post on your blog or leave a comment with your answers. If you post on your blog, let me know in the comments that you did it!
• What are you currently reading?
Firebird by Jack McDevitt. This is not quite true, since I’m not reading it at this time. Let’s say I’m reading it, but taking a break. This is because it’s on my husband’s Kindle, so if I want to read it, I have to wait until he’s reading a printed book. I started it several weeks ago, but when we went on vacation, my husband needed his Kindle back.
This infuriates me, so PUBLISHERS – are you listening? It’s total bogus nonsense to not let people share their OWN purchased ebooks with members of their family. After all, we are sharing the book with each other. You’ve just made it difficult for us to do it. And guess what? We’ve only purchased one print copy of earlier Jack McDevitt books and we shared those. You didn’t make us each buy a copy before both of us could read it. Why are you trying to do that with the ebooks? Which, by the way, you aren’t selling for very much less than the print book.
For the record, the publisher in this case is Ace Publishing. A hearty Pfft to them.
Wow. So sorry about the rant. I had no idea I was going to do that when I started this. On to the second question!
• What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished Craving by Kristina Meister. I gave it 5 stars, and I don’t do that very often. I won’t say it was perfect, but that’s not what 5 stars means. It means I thought the book was amazing. It’s a fascinating twist on vampires. For a minute or two, I was afraid it would turn out to be horror and I’d have to put it down. But nope – just suspense, a little gore, and a lot of interesting characters.
• What do you think you’ll read next?
While I’m waiting for my husband’s Kindle (ahem), I’m going to start reading Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts. I’ve never read anything by Nora Roberts, so this will be a new experience for me. I’ll let you know what I think!
Okay, your turn. I want to hear from some of you quiet people, too. No hiding behind your mouse!
A few people have asked me about the fairies in Moon Over Donamorgh. They aren’t your normal Disney fairies at all, but they also don’t fit into the usual Seelie or Unseelie lexicon. If you haven’t read Moon Over Donamorgh yet (why haven’t you? Go buy it, now!), here’s how Bashen is described when Seamus first meets him:
(Seamus) never saw movement, but he suddenly knew that he wasn’t alone, that someone waited next to him with amused patience. Seamus turned his head to the side and then down, forcing himself to stay perfectly still at the sight of the creature squatting on the stump next to him. He looked like a little man, but a man with long ears tapering to points above his head. His nose was long, with a small black muzzle, and he had short brown fur that resembled soft, brushed hide. He stood a little more than a foot high, naked, with thin legs spread wide in his squat, balanced by equally thin arms, fingers and toes long and delicate. He seemed to shimmer, fading in and out a bit, but always there.
So what kind of fairy is Bashen? Where did I get the idea for him and his band of forest dwellers?
These fairies are really a combination of my imagination and Irish myths. The Irish have always had stories of strange creatures living alongside, but not with, human beings. One website which was instrumental for me is Hidden Ireland – A guide to Irish fairies.
Bashen most closely resembles the Grogoch, although that’s not what he is. Remember, in the end, I just made him up.
If Bashen and the others were real, I think they would fit quite nicely into the Seelie side of things. In Moon Over Donamorgh, my fairies fade into and out of a place they call Elsewhere. I have no doubt this place is in some hidden corner of the Shadow Lands.
One of the things I love about Irish myths, is how they flow right along with everyday life. The Fair Folk were a common and normal part of life, albeit, a slightly dangerous part. Care must always be taken when dealing with them. These are the fairies I wanted as friends of Seamus and partners with Donamorgh. Together, they can create a magic powerful enough to save their forest.