Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse, written by James Wesley Rawles tells a story about a group of people struggling to survive a drastic collapse in the financial system which leads to the worst depression in history. JWR is certainly one of the pioneers in economic collapse fiction and is perhaps one of the best known “preppers” in America. In some ways, Patriots is used by James Wesley Rawles as a pulpit where he is able to express his views on issues such as gun control and organized militias. However, if you can get past the long legal/political rants throughout the book, there is a good deal of useful information. In fact one of the criticisms about the book is that the characters are constantly going into great detail about the weapons and equipment that they use. If you approach this book with the intent to learn something about how to prepare for a disaster, you will get more out of it than if you are looking for a work of fine fiction. The characters in Patriots are developed on a very shallow level and lack any depth whatsoever. I would recommend this book only to those that are looking for information on ways that they could prepare for a disaster. The lack of character depth and the extensive politcal ranting left me less than satisfied in terms of entertainment value and fictional merit.
The Passage is an ambitious apocalyptic novel written by Justin Cronin that begins in the near future and spans almost one hundred years into the future. It is similar to Stephen King’s The Stand in that a virus that is being engineered in a secret government lab is released into the world. The government is working with a newly discovered virus trying to create “super soldiers”. This virus is unique in a number of different ways and takes on a life of its own through the death row inmates that are used as “guinea pigs” in the experiments. Obviously, the plan to create these “super soldiers” goes awry and the virus actually turns the victims into powerful, vampire like creatures that feed on the blood of other humans and animals. These vampire like creatures are responsible for both the spread of the virus and the destruction of the human population. The Passage is a haunting story that definitely left an impression in my mind. It is difficult to forget the armored steel passenger trains that are built during the crisis to transport survivors to safety. The Passage is a long story that is well worth the time. While some of the creations in The Passage are not new, Justin Cronin’s depiction of vampires versus survivors in a post apocalyptic world is entirely unique and satisfying.
Rick Grimes loses loses some blood in this episode called “Bloodletting” as some new characters are introduced and previous characters are developed. “Bloodletting” has a little less action than normal but I guess the more that you “know” the characters, it’s more exciting when they are getting chased by man eating zombies!
One Second After was written by William Forstchen and released in 2009. The book tells the story of a small town and their struggle to survive after an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) destroys the power grid in the United States along with all of the electronically based equipment. The story begins shortly before the power goes out and follows the characters for about a year into the post-electricity world. Through the book, Forstchen describes a number of “die-offs” and shows how and why these “die-offs” would take place. For example, the main character’s daughter is diabetic and requires insulin to stay alive – with no refrigeration and a limited supply it is inevitable that they will run out. Nursing homes are also abandoned by the caregivers, leaving the helpless to fend for themselves. Those with chronic medical problems that require medications to live are among the first to die. One Second After provides a wealth of ideas for preparing for a disaster and is an excellent thought experiment into the examination of life without electricity. Above all, it is very entertaining!
The Jakarta Pandemic, written by Steven Konkoly, tells a story about a family in a small New England town through the onset and spread of a highly deadly influenza virus. The main character, Alex Fletcher, works for a pharmaceutical company and markets a new anti-viral medication. Alex is one of the few people in his neighborhood that has prepared for such a disaster which makes him a target in the community. The Jakarta Pandemic explores some important ideas such as self-isolation to prevent the spread of disease. While I wouldn’t describe this book as a literary masterpiece, I would recommend it as solid entertainment.
Urbansurvival is at the top of my list of sites to recommend. I’ve been reading George Ure’s daily updates on his blog for years now. Urbansurvival has been predicting the Second Great Depression since its inception and I have found a lot of his information very useful in planning for survival in the future. For example, Urbansurvival recommended buying silver when it was valued at around $6 an ounce – it now sits at:
Mr. Ure has been practicing a more self-reliant living and freely shares his experiences for those looking to follow a similar path. I would add this site to your favorites and visit it frequently. Urbansurvival is an excellent source for news and insights that you will not find from the mainstream media. Here’s the link: http://urbansurvival.com/week.htm
From time to time I visit some of the “outer fringe”, “tinfoil hat” type websites in search for some alternative news that occasionally has little ‘tidbits’ of good information that you won’t find in the mainstream media. Obviously, most of the information needs to be taken with a grain of salt but every so often you will find elements of truth in this media. One such site that I enjoy visiting quite often is http://godlikeproductions.com . Keep in mind that most of the information that you may see on this site is complete BS, however, occasionally, you will pick up some good alternative perspectives and news tips that you won’t see on the mainstream media.
Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy have an excellent blog and podcast in which they share their wealth of knowledge that they have collected from their years in the health care field. Dr. Bones is a Medical Doctor and Nurse Amy is Nurse Practitioner. Their site is called Doom and Bloom and it is an absolute gold mine of information on taking care of yourself and your family in any type of disaster situation when modern medical assistance isn’t available. Go to their site at http://www.doomandbloom.net/ .
Another site that I frequent is Survivalist Boards. This message board contains a massive amount of information! Topics range from surviving a disaster to discussing your favorite apocalyptic fiction. The information you will find is often very specific and practical. I visit this site on a daily basis. Here’s the link: http://www.survivalistboards.com/
The Survival Podcast has been a very influential web site for many people including myself. Jack Spirko has a really unique perspective on prepping for disasters otherwise known as when shit hits the fan (shtf). He is living a lifestyle of self-sufficiency in which his actions will help him and his family to prosper, regardless of whether disaster/shtf ever occurs. His slogan is “Helping You Live the Life You Want, If Times Get Tough, Or Even If They Don’t”. In Jack’s daily podcast, he shares information to help others to develop a more self-sufficient lifestyle. From gardening in your backyard to choosing the best weapon for self-defence, The Survival Podcast is an excellent source for information and inspiration. Here’s the link: http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/
Another excellent resource for those wanting to prepare for all types of disasters is The Survival Monkey Forums. This site was one of the places that David Crawford, also known as Halffast, first released Lights Out a few chapters at a time. A word of warning: do a search of the forums before you post a question as your question may have already been addressed and the forum “founding members” or long timers tend to be a little grumpy with new members. http://www.survivalmonkey.com/forum/