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Texas Bill

Survival Fiction or Learning is Fun!

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Guys, if you want a really detailed look at surviving in a cold weather climate, check out Fleataxi's "North to Alaska" where a guy has to sit out the Alaskan winter in an old trapper's cabin after he is stranded in the wild. The book is long and some of the details are a little tedious, but the story has some good ideas for food prep and storage. Also, the author recognizes the great help offered by snares and traps.

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Check out Random Acts by John Burke. Really interesting story about how a meltdown in the financial system might be used by the government as a springboard to take over the country by instituting Emergency Measures. There is a really good analysis of how the banking and insurance industries are in bed with each other, and how regulating agencies have no interest in fixing the system. Also, the author does a nice job of creating some characters you can really root for as the situation worsens. Be warned, you do have to wade through a somewhat slow start as well as enduring Chuck's depression induced bank robbery planning, but I thought the story overall was worth the wait.

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Read two books about CMEs/EMPs and the resulting chaos that might might follow, and one where the story picks up several weeks post-event.

 

Dark Days: Long Road Home by LM May

Obviously the first part of a series, this book actually reads in many ways like a romance novel. Gemma's best friend dies after a long illness and makes her promise to take care of her son, CJ... including informing CJ's father that he has a child. The catch? CJ's father, Christopher, is the man who broke Gemma's heart in high school. Leaving CJ with his grandma, Gemma takes a train 300 miles into the city to break the news. She and Christopher barely have time to speak before his law office - and the entire city - is plunged into darkness. As a client in another room dies when his pacemaker fails and a plan crashes a few blocks away, they realize this is much more than a normal blackout. Realizing that panic will quickly set in, they start making plans for how to get away from the masses and find their way back to the safety of their rural hometown and the little boy who is waiting for them.

 

This is a good but not great story. Some ideas about handy items to be found in an office environment and good warnings about calorie, electrolyte, and hydration needs when traveling long distances, but little that is new in terms of survival ideas. The book does give you a close look at what it would be like to wind up within a migrating horde, trying to escape an unlivable situation.

 

Into the Darkness by Doug Kelly

Dylan and two coworkers are on a business trip in Helena, Montana, when they are awakened by what seems to be the craziest Aurora Borealis ever. When cars, phones, laptops, etc. are plunged into darkness, Dylan quickly realizes that the lights in the sky were part of a giant CME and that they have a limited time to gather resources and start the long journey back to their families, who are located in Omaha and Kansas City. A brochure in the hotel lobby inspires Dylan to suggest a trip down the Ohio River via inflatable rafts, a journey they hope will save them a lot of time and keep them away from potentially dangerous people. What they don't consider: the Ohio River has a LOT of dams and big cities tend to be founded on major waterways.

 

Fairly good from a survival perspective in that they forage for food (like cattails, etc.), try to make smart decisions about where to camp, don't always make a huge fire, etc. However, they also make some stupid decisions, too, which end up delaying their progress and putting them in harm's way. And some of the things that happen don't make sense to me (the bad guys let down their guards at opportune moments, etc.). The pacing of the book is a little weird, too, because a ton of time is spent on the journey but the most dramatic events in the book happen in quick succession. This reads a bit like a standalone because it has a definite conclusion at the end, but it also seems possible that there could be follow-up books, because there are some questions about what happened to Dylan's family during the journey and so on.

 

Friends of the Family (Colter Saga) by Joel Baker

This is written like a family history, the story of how the family patriarch brought his family to Haven, Tennessee in search of peace and prosperity several months after a major SHTF event. It's more a family/Christian values, keeping it together and being willing to make hard decisions - like killing dangerous people - to make the world a little safer for the family and their neighbors. The central figure is Jesse, and there are warnings about how people might think he's a cold-blooded killer, but the story really paints him as a stoic, righteous sort of man. There are some interesting characters and they show the varied ways that people can endure and ultimately thrive during dire situations.

 

The story doesn't cover any particular new ground, but it is very well told. There is one odd element - a group of spooky dogs found in an abandoned facility - that make this surreal instead of a realistic story of struggle. But overall, it was a very satisfying read and I'll look for the next in the "Colter Saga" to see what happens down the road.

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Thanks, OC. I will need to check out Into the Darkness. Friends of the Family reminded me of some early stuff written by Dean Koontz with those uncanny "friends". Also, be on the lookout for Ian Daniels prequel to Against the Grain, entitled Pillars in the Fall. I'm not sure of the release date, but I'm really looking forward to it.

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I just read prepper non-fiction author Dr. Arthur Bradley's first fiction novel. It's called The Survivor (Frontier Justice). This is clearly well thought out in terms of survival, firearms, the need for human collaboration and interaction, and what might happen if world leaders are as ill-prepared as the common citizen (including making terrible decisions with possibly devastating consequences). A few things I absolutely loved is that the characters are more well-rounded than in many PAW novels, and there are some definite literary archetypes at play here, including the lone lawman/cowboy, a tween with true grit, a man on a path to redemption, etc. There are plenty of survival tips mixed in with a lot of action, so the book truly moves along... and I was very happy to see that there's a possibility for future books in the series, too!

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Almost forgot to review Fallen Summer (Haven Saga) by Richard Hydrick. It's actually a decent novel about Sam, a blue collar worker who is on the cusp of being able to make a living from his family farm, his stay-at-home wife, Sara, their children, and the few family members who all live on several side-by-side plots of acreage in South Carolina. The people are God fearing, salt-of-the-earth types and very likable, and in general I enjoyed the book. However, there is a lot of "we find just what we need as soon as we need it" going on in the book, which I am never a big fan of, and there are some things that occur that I didn't find particularly believable (for example, two guys with bows and arrows manage to attack and harry a group of 60 or so marauders for miles without any more consequences than being a little winded at the end).

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Yep, OC. I liked it too but I felt the same way about the bow hunting in Fallen Summer. I thought the scenario might have been better with half a dozen sniper teams in that same situation. I liked the family and friends setup and how they managed to work together, as well as their daughter who makes the trip home.

 

Thanks for the recommendation/review of Survivor/Frontier Justice. I was debating whether or not to buy this one so you have definitely got me over the hump on that one.

 

I recently read To the Survivors by Philip G. Henley, a long book about the recovery of humanity following a mutated cancer virus that wipes out 99.9% of the mammal population. The story takes a while to develop and you aren't introduced to the protagonist until well into the first third of the book-kind of a game to me after a while trying to figure out who was going to survive. Some really good "stiff upper lip" British military as well as some who are not so admirable, but the eventual leader is a kid who leads by example and is all too human. The story had some pacing issues but overall does a good job of showing how humanity might recover on a big picture scale.

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I read Survivalist-Frontier Justice and I liked it but I liked Tanner better than his son. The Marshal seemed to little too goody-goody while Tanner just did what needed to be done. I really enjoyed the book and I hope for new volumes soon.

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Completely agree about The Marshall. He really was a Dudley Do-Right kind of guy, which made him a little two-dimensional especially in comparison to the other characters, which were more nuanced. Tanner is fascinating and I'm interested to see how things work out with the "first daughter" situation.

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"Duddly Do Right" indeed, Oregonchick! Oh, the new P.S. Power book, Silence Within (Tiera Book Two) is out, and it is awesome. Answers a lot of questions and Tiera 2.0 is much better after Tor's "help". She is still a crazy killing machine, but is now capable of so much more.

 

I was wondering if anyone here has read Know Thy Neighbor by R.M. Straughs? I am going back and forth over where to buy it and I was just looking for an unbiased opinion.

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I just wanted to summarize some of the recommendations from recent days for your sumer reading lists. Not all break new ground but some have interesting ideas and I found all of these to be entertaining:

 

Dark Days Rough Roads by Matthew Mark

Surviving Home by A. American

AR Survival Dude by Culex Pipiens

Chocolate Cookies by Culex Pipiens

Random Acts by John Burke

The Survivalist-Frontier Justice by Dr. Arthur Bradley

 

Everyone, please add your own favorites. I am out of new things to read!!! Help!!!

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I haven't been reading any survival (or zombie) fiction lately, so I don't have any new recommendations. But I am hoping other people chime in with their suggestions, because when I've found new books to try, they seem to have bad reviews on Amazon or are otherwise unappealing. So yes, save me from vampire and werewolf books, people! LOL

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OC, the latest from TJ Reeder came out a few days ago. Another short novella, 102 pages I think, but still interesting if you want to pay the $2.99 for it.

 

Here's what I know is coming up:

The sequel to Dark Days Rough Roads is due out in September according to the author. I haven't seen any of this sequel so I am unsure what to expect. Also, Ian Daniels' prequel to Against the Grain is completed and is in final edits. That one was wall to wall action and reveals a lot about the protagonist only hinted at in the first book. Also, completely unrelated, but PS Powers has completed Goblin and it is out for proofing with release coming pretty soon. I loved Roadblocks and the Silence Within, btw. Tiera 2.0 silenced a lot of critics, apparently. Over on the zombie front, WJ Lundy is working on his next "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" book, and the first ten chapters are very good so far.

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I am really very disappointed by the scarcity of new PAW fiction coming out these days. Just not much being published and a lot of "disaster fiction" that is coming out is critical of preppers as being hoarders or worse. I see it as backlash against "Doomsday Preppers" and from folks who took the 12/21/12 warnings as gospel and are now experiencing buyers remorse.

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Exactly, Wally. That is why I enjoy some of Jerry D. Young's books where nothing earth-shaking occurs. Even if the S never HTF, those supplies and staples can get a family through rough times. Unemployment, financial downturns, natural disasters make more sense than asteroid strike, but the wise preppers get ready for a wide range of "potentials".

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it also chaps my hide when someone gives a prediction for a specific date or time becuase alot of people then get all paniced like then nothing happens they become very negative on preps...

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Anybody who says they can give you a date of any kind of disaster and is not a top notch astronomer at a reputable lab is just guessing. Even folks who predict earthquakes (vulcanologists? I think is the term) agree there is a lot of guesswork in their interpretation of data. The point is, we need to prep for real, potential disasters not some hyped up "Made for TV Ratings" garbage. Plus, there are a lot of mentally ill people out there who just don't need the extra stress.

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Wally, yeah it is a heart warming, coming of age story in the vein of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Mad Max". Seriously, I have been working on it for awhile but with work being so busy I have been relegated to working on it a piece at a time. Set almost two years after limited nuclear war with EMP strikes that cripple most electronics, my protagonist is a world weary 16 year old kid whose gotten tired of the killing, but doesn't see much in the way of alternatives. There are a lot prepper touches, including the intentional community built by the kid's grandfather, a long-time survivalist and rancher, and father, a disabled Marine Corp officer, but I'm not writing it as an educational tool because quite frankly I don't have the smarts for that. I've got my outline done, I'm writing the bulk the first draft in longhand (because that is how I roll) and I have the first eight chapters "finished".

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Sorry, guys, I didn't mean to tease about the book. I can't post any of it here because the of the language - "Reader Discretion Advised" but for anyone interested can hit me up with a PM and I will send them the first chapter. I'm not sure I can send more than that with what the limited amount of space we have in the "box".

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