Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Review: One Second After by William R. Forstchen

Title: One Second After
Author: William R. Forstchen Goodreads | Website
Published: March 2009 
Publisher: Forge Books
Source: Bought from Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2012

Disappointed. I was disappointed. The premise seems like something I'd enjoy reading: world that comes to a complete standstill and survival stuff. I was anticipating an action-y kind of read but nope, nothing of that sort came up. Except at the last few chapters, but I kind of didn't care anymore at that point. 

It is all talk/tell. A huge chunk of the book is about meeting (as in, people gather and discuss things together) and meeting and meeting. Meeting with the remaining authority in town, meeting with townspeople, meeting with the authority in neighboring town, meeting with friends at some shops and even meeting at home.  Talking, talking, talking. Oh God. You wouldn't want to know how many time I dozed off while reading this book. Pretty much a snorefest, for me.

The book tells the story of life after electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks in America. America has been hit by nuclear attacks that subsequently disable anything electronics and people who rely on them. Electricity just shut off and it never comes back.

The story follows the struggle of John Matherson, a father/historian/ex-soldier who has a diabetic daughter, another daughter who decides that baby-making activity is the right thing to do when the world go nuts and a townful of panicking people to take care of.

Basically, the book is about a small town in Black Mountain, North Carolina gets by/survives with whatever they had at the time. Loads of town management and  tactical  in battle and whatnot to protect this town. 

Some things that bothered me in this book are, other than the 'all talk, no show' part, one of them is : Everyone important in this book comes from military background. Soldiers, ex-soldiers or had experience with military stuff and equipments. Come on, it didn't feel real.

Another one is: John seems to have a reminiscing tendency whenever he touches things. *touches gun* "Oh, I remember I nearly kill someone point-blank with this when I was young". *touches chair* "I remember the chair that I used to sit when I was in service in Vietnam". *touches dog* "I remember the dog I used to meet in Vietnam." (not in exact words, of course. And I made up the chair and dog part xD). He also likes to reminisce his service in Vietnam, a lot. I get it, John, you fight in Vietnam. You don't have to tell me that over and over. Ughh.

The purpose of the book, as mentioned in the Foreword, is to educate the public on the effects of EMP attack on human and society. For that matter, I think the book did a pretty well done job. The things you have to face after the attack seems very probable.

When electric/electronic-dependent things just stopped moving, we (human) are basically transported back to the medieval era. Your legs and animals are used for transportation. Cars, trucks, and everything else will be useless (except for manual transmission cars). When the transportation is useless, every shipment (be it food, medicine etc) will be stalled. People will start panicking. Panic and hungry people are dangerous and tend to do stupid things. This will also put time bombs to those who depends on drugs to live (diabetics, people with pancreatic and immune diseases, for example). And many more. This book has managed to relay that point very well in that matter.

If you like town planning after an unforeseeable disaster, you might like this book. Prepare yourself to be bombarded with all those meetings they had in the book.

2/5 stars. Not a 1 star, just because I learnt something out of it.

May peace be upon you :D