Friday, June 8, 2012

(82)One Second After by William R. Forstchen

One Second After 

Publication Date: November 24, 2009
Pages: 352

Yes.  I admit it, I am on a "kick" of sorts.  An "The End of the World as We Know It" kind of kick.   I like the creativity that is behind each story. I like how each author creates a different scenario and a different world.   Like I said when I read The End, a post-apocalyptic novel is whatever the author's imagination will allow.  The author of One Second After  has got a heck of an imagination!

Picture the idyllic college town of Black Mountain, North Carolina. The kind of town where everyone knows everyone.   Retired Colonel John Matherson teaches Military History at the small Bible college nestled on the edge of town. Since his wife died of breast cancer, John has been the sole caretaker of his two daughters, Jennifer and Elizabeth.  With the help of his Mother-in-Law, Jen, they have given the girls a somewhat "normal" life.

They are celebrating Jennifer's twelfth birthday when "the shit hits the fan".  It starts with the power going out and John realizes that there is so much more going on when not a single electronic in the house works, yet Jen's old Ford Edsel runs just fine. An EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) has essentially fried every piece of electronic rendering the nation helpless.  Fried electronics means no electricity, no cell phones, no heat or air conditioning, no refrigeration, nothing.  In rather quick fashion society as we know it completely breaks down.   Within days people are dying from lack of medication and John faces the very real possibility that he may lose Jennifer, a Type 1 Diabetic.  As things disintegrate into chaos John and the town's leadership team struggle to keep their town safe from famine, disease and wandering bands of thugs.  Will John and his colleagues be able to keep the peace long enough for help to arrive? Will help arrive or have they been abandoned by their country?

With any post-apocalyptic novel, any novel really, the reader is asked to use their own imagination to make the details of that world come to life.  And I must say that William R. Forstchen's novel put my imagination into overdrive. The "What-If's" that are generated by this novel is the stuff of nightmares.  Death, destruction, cannibalism, and other forms of mayhem can all be expected during the breakdown of society.  It makes me want to run out and stock up on all of the essentials.  Food, water, toilet paper, and Diet Dr. Pepper.  AND it made me Thank the dear Lord that (at this time) I am not reliant on modern medicine to stay alive.

While One Second After is not the most "literary" novel I have ever read it was entertaining and engrossing.  The characters, while a bit cliche, came to life as they struggled with this crisis. From the Middle-Eastern convenience store owner to the town's Mayor, the familiarity of the characters made me long for small town living.  I *do* wish that the author would have given a little more time to John's daughters and how they were dealing with "stuff" as he was off saving the town. I know the book was written from John's viewpoint, but including the girl's viewpoints would have made the book a little more well rounded.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a good book to keep you entertained give One Second After a chance.  BUT, go into it knowing the subject matter and knowing that it can be a bit graphic.


Sara Bell said...

Thanks for another link!
This one sounds amazing. I've of course added it to my list. We've been seeing all kinds of creepy CDC ads in Wyoming and my husband was joking that Wyoming must know something the rest of the world doesn't. I've been very post-apocalyptic here lately and it seems like all the books I'm adding to my list focus on that theme!

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