One Second After by William R. Forstchen

One Second AfterPublished: 2009

Genre: near future thriller

Length: 350 pages

Setting: Black Mountains, North Carolina, near future

Interest: I’d seen an online review and it made the book sound interesting, so I put it on my list.

Summary: An EMP is detonated over the U.S. and no one is prepared for the consequences. We follow the community of Black Mountain as they try to prioritize health care and food rations since they are cut off from most surrounding areas and anything that relies on electricity. At one point, they have to fight off being overrun by a cannibalistic Posse moving up through the mountains looking for resources. The community builds up a militia from a small, local college and only 20% of the community survives the first year, at which point the military shows up to save the day.

Final thoughts: I was a bit disappointed in the book. I’m not sure if I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for the story, or if the book was just a bit too gloomy without really excellent writing to support it (like The Road). The setting of the story was interesting and well done, but the focus of the story just seemed a bit off to me. The author spent lots of time spent talking about where food was going to come from to support the community, to the point they discuss eating dogs. Anytime any intense scene came up, though, the author would just skip to the end. For example, the big battle between the local militia was glossed over (we meet the enemy and then find out the good guys won with nothing in the middle). Also, all this time is spent in heartache that the main character’s Type I diabetic daughter medicine is going to run out, and once again we skip from “really sick” to “been in the grave for a few days”. The other part that annoyed me was the importance of all the college kids to the community. That part was understandable, but there was very little discussion about getting home to families. If it was a small, local college, their families should be relatively close by such that someone would either come and get the kid or the kid would head home, but everyone pretty much just stayed put at the college and helped out the community. Overall, the book left me unsatisfied for a number of reasons.

Title comes from: We focus on the time right after an EMP is detonated over the U.S.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 61/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge

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