One Second After
By William R. Forstchen
Forge, 2009. 352 pgs. Sci-Fi
John Matherson, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, moved to his wife’s hometown of Black Mountain, North Carolina when she was dying from cancer. Now he’s a history professor at the local college and raising his two girls alone. One day while chatting with a former colleague the phone the line goes dead. The problems don’t stop there, and he soon discovers that all electronics have been fried due to a widespread electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. Electronics have become so integrated into our lives that the sudden loss sends nearby towns into chaos. John must use his skills and leadership abilities to create order that will allow his town and family survive the dark times ahead, in spite of worsening conditions.
This was a fascinating story that, while science fiction, is based in science fact. A large EMP could truly destroy life as we know it, and survival would be extremely difficult. Highly populated urban areas would completely fall apart, while smaller towns with access to farms and fresh water supplies might limp along. Reading this book makes me want to learn new skills that could be utilized in case of a debilitating disaster. It was interesting and although it’s the first in a series, it also stands well on its own. I could easily recommend this to fans of survival or apocalypse stories.