A human darkness with a vast appetite for chaos and violence.
That is what simmers in the background, waiting to be released, which is exactly what unfolds in Steven Konkoly‘s The Perseid Collapse and William R. Forstchen‘s One Second After.
Unfortunately, what they write about in fiction is all too real a threat.
A Dangerous Situation
An aged power grid is becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks or natural or man-made EMPs. This really isn’t a secret to the powers that be. In fact, if they truly cared about people, they would have taken measures to shore up the grid years ago. They’re too busy figuring out how to buy votes and bail out their buddies. If this is all new to you, check out the latest threats to the grid here. A decade or so ago, the United States finally began deploying a missile defense system to protect us from human causes. Again, politics continues to threaten expansion and upgrades.
National Geographic aired the docudrama American Blackout which showed what could happen with the grid down for a few days. What would happen if this lasted weeks or months? Many people think (or hope) disasters like these won’t or cannot happen. Ask people who have lived through hurricanes and tornadoes or earthquakes. Fiction can remind us what is really important in life. It tells us action is better than hoping for the best.
Should protecting the country from nuclear holocaust or complete collapse really be a political issue? I’m thinking most would rather not be vaporized or watch their cities self-destruct. Sooner or later, disasters will come, whether natural or man-made.
Ignoring this is beneath human intelligence. Let’s do something about it.
Categories: Books, What You Can Do
Tags: 33 Minutes, A Nation Forsaken, American Blackout, EMP, grid, missile defense, One Second After, power grid, Steven Konkoly, The Perseid Collapse, William R. Forstchen
When William R. Forstchen wrote One Second After in 2009, the novel warned us of the dangers of man- or nature-caused EMP events. These can induce a domino collapse to civilization as we know it. Now in the recent sequel, One Year After, he writes in the preface that not much has changed:
…frustratingly, much is still the same. I had hoped that by now there would have been government action at the national level to better secure our power grid, create plans both for defense and for public preparedness, and a more robust foreign policy that makes clear that the acquisition by rogue nations a weapons that could generate an EMP will NEVER be tolerated. None of this has happened.
Rather than spending the money to secure the vulnerable and ancient power grid, and investing in defense measures, the government spends billions buying votes, pay off contributors and whatever else allows them to hold on to power. This isn’t a partisan issue, yet we (the citizens) have let them (the professional politicians) ignore an avoidable catastrophe that defies anything we have seen. Forstchen continues:
The books are fiction, but the scenario could be real…Our parents and grandparents of the “Greatest Generation” allowed their leaders to close their eyes to the growing threats around the world…and a terrible price was paid. History has a hundred such examples…I pray that thirty years hence, these books are forgotten as dark tales of warning that never came true…I pray that I never one day hear, “Bill, you were right.”
We saw it around Y2K. The End was near. Now it’s 2012. I’m surprised this hasn’t reached 2012 proportions yet. Even if you didn’t fall for Y2K, or 2012 is just another year, many are still fascinated with fictional depictions of the End.
Perhaps it is because disasters bring out the best, and worst, in people. Such fiction becomes a look into the minds of men. They also become cautionary tales. Stories that tell us to be prepared and not go through life like zombies glued to our cellphones.
I recommended a few weeks ago One Second After. After an EMP attack is launched against the U.S., all the power goes out. Chaos ensues and one town tries to survive. All too real of a disaster. One that many say we are not prepared for. NBC’s new show Revolution depicts a similar event, though the exact details have yet to be revealed.
In Book of Eli, we see the world in the aftermath of some civilization. In the stark, wasted land, books are a prized possesion. Knowledge is at a premium. Think about that if all your references are electronic.
So we turn to fiction to learn. To be reminded about man’s nature. To be warned.
Are people listening?