One Second After Author:William R. Forstchen One man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages ... a war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies. — In a Norman Rockwell town in North Carolina, where res... more »idents rarely lock homes, retired army colonel John Matherson teaches college, raises two daughters, and grieves the loss of his wife to cancer. When phones die and cars inexplicably stall, Grandma's pre-computerized Edsel takes readers to a stunning scene on the car-littered interstate, on which 500 stranded strangers, some with guns, awaken John's New Jersey street-smart instincts to get the family home and load the shotgun. Next morning, some townspeople realize that an electromagnetic pulse weapon has destroyed America's power grid, and they proceed to set survival priorities. John's list includes insulin for his type-one diabetic 12-year-old, candy bars, and sacks of ice. Deaths start with heart attacks and eventually escalate alarmingly. Food becomes scarce, and societal breakdown proceeds with inevitable violence; towns burn, and ex-servicemen recall "Korea in '51" as military action by unlikely people becomes the norm.
Months before publication, One Second Afteris a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second. It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future ... and our end.« less
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Basically one big cautionary tale with the foreword (Newt Gingrinch), the novel itself, and the afterword (Capt. Bill Sanders) about the possibility of EMP catastrophe and its effects on a North Carolina college town and its residents.
As a (very) long time reader of SF and post-apocalytic tales, I saw lots of cliches. Lots of characters with no common sense or survival sense. I really don't understand why it got so many 5 star reviews on Amazon - there are so many more better written books out there. I should have paid more attention to the review that said, "It read like a novelization of a Lifetime Television disaster-movie-of-the-week."
I would suggest that readers new to this type of books read "Lucifer's Hammer" by Niven and Pournelle, or "The Postman" by Brin, or "Emergence" by Palmer, or even "The Stand" by King.
Before I get into a review, I have to start by saying: this book scared me to death. Thanks, Mr. Forstchen, for giving me something else to worry about late at night.
One Second After is a work of fiction, but the introduction by Newt Gingrich lends a somber air of credibility to the story. This could really happen, folks. And from page 1, the author tries to beat that truth home without dramatics, and with a good, healthy dose of survivalist know-how.
The story chronicles one community's struggle to survive the aftermath of an electromagnetic pulse -- a nuclear bomb detonated high over the US soil that renders all modern technology useless in one second. The anonymous foe that provided the first strike is never really identified, adding credence to the atmosphere of not knowing that causes panic nationwide when cell phones, TV, radio, the Internet and all other communication devices are silenced forever.
The narrator, John, is a likeable guy and provides a great perspective of the events. He is a former Army officer, current military history professor, widower and father of two teenage girls. As a parent, his obvious priority is protecting his children, finding them food, securing their home and -- most dread-inducing -- going to whatever lengths necessary to try to keep his 12-year-old diabetic child alive without a reliable supply of insulin and refrigeration.
The book follows the events of the first year after the EMP, as people pull together to plant Victory Gardens to feed the town, fight bands of cannibalistic gangs bent on taking over the community and struggling in the daily fight to stay alive. It is a chilling view of how much we take for granted every single day.
This book made a huge impression on me. I actually had to take a few days to process the story before I could think about starting another story -- that doesn't happen often. Forstchen does a wonderful job of creating characters that the reader will care about, conceiving a surreal natinoal crisis that is all-too-real, and drawing attention to a threat to all of us that is almost to horrible to think about.
As a final note, I hope that this book doesn't fall into terrorist hands. That sounds melodramatic, but seriously. I think that people that hate our nation would read this book cackling with glee and chomping at the bit. (insert shiver here) [close]
This was a great book to read! I was entertained and horrified at the same time. I wanted to go out and start stockpiling everything I could think of. I stood at my kitchen window one day and looking at my neighborhood, and I wondered which of my neighbors would survive? This book will stay with me for a long time.
This book is one of the books I can recommend without hesitation. The five star rating doesn't do it justice. I would give it at least a *7 Star Rating*. It is definitely a wake-up call to the people in our Country. The scary part about this book is that it can really happen in today's world using today's technology. If an EMP would be used against us we would certainly be left living like our grandparents or even our great-grandparents. We would be at a loss without electric and the ability to communicate with others. It is a fast read because you can honestly picture this happening in our society and the author keeps the story moving at a steady pace. I was riveted to my chair and had to finish the book in one evening. I even checked my pantry to make sure I'm stocked up and have been buying a few extras every week. The book had me pondering things, scared to be reading this with a knowledge of a conceivable future event and even crying at times. This story should open the reader's eyes, heart and mind to a very real possibility of hell breaking loose in the United States...May God have mercy on us! Renie.
I love apocalyptic and post apocalyptic works but they have to rise to a certain level of credibility and artistry: this should be story telling! If you keep hoping the bomb would RETURN and finish off the cast of characters, well....that ain't good.