Sign in to follow this  
Texas Bill

Survival Fiction or Learning is Fun!

Recommended Posts

Rod, right there with you on MHI. Check out Larry Correia Grimnoir Chronicles series, too. That I believe qualifies as an urban fantasy, with lots of guns. Come on, John Browning is a supporting character, for goodness sake. Yes, that John Browning.

 

Thanks! Did not know about that series. I will have to check it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going back to what oregonchick was writing about, you can't always tell about those paranormal romance or urban fantasy books. My sister is an avid reader and she has set me on to some writers in this genre that kick butt, like Kelley Armstrong and Michelle Sagara. Actually, though Michelle Sagara's Cast series is published by Luna Books, I don't think her protagonist has so much as kissed a boy. Or girl.

 

Anyway, I just finished Dark Grid by David Waldron and I was waiting for something to happen the entire book. Nothing really ever did, and the story ended. The moral of this tale is when the solar flare ruins your day, make friends with a recently discharged soldier and use him to finagle your family a sweet spot with a local National Guard unit. Actually, more involved than that but just not much drama, or prep skills, being transferred to the reader here. In retrospect, I should have passed but I am a sucker for Carrington Effect stories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read and really enjoyed Lights Out, One Second After and The Road. Patriots wasn't bad but to make any use out of the information in the book you need a few $100k laying around which I do not.

 

I look forward to checking out a few others listed here. I'm going to check out The Collapse and Half Past Midnight but the only one I can find on my nook is World Made By Hand so that is the one I'm going to start now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished reading "A New World:Chaos" by John O'Brien. Its pretty good, with some good ideas, I couldn't put it down til I finished it, had to see how it ends, but of course it's the first of a trilogy so I gotta read 2 more...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jerry, don't fall for this "trilogy" thing from O'Brien. He has three books in the series and the fourth will be out later this year. I enjoyed these as well and I am waiting for the next installment. I found these "night runners" to be way more scary than plain old zombies, BTW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oregonchick,

 

Thanks so much for your recommendation of Half Past Midnight . I did not order because I read some of the negative reviews on the Amazon site and foolishly took their advice to heart. After finishing the book in one night, I went back and looked at one review in particular and wondered if the reviewer had actually read the book at all, or read the same book I did.

 

This book was very good, well written and had some great prepper tips. I especially like the description of building a fallout shelter in the back yard. Yes, the protagonist makes mistakes, but so would anyone put in the same circumstances. I plan to recommend this book to all of my friends and family.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Texas Bill,

 

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Half Past Midnight really did make me think through some scenarios I haven't spent much time on and I found the group dynamics to be fascinating, too. I agree about the reviews on Amazon; some of them seem more like the reader had already decided what they wanted the story to be or what "the right scenario" should be, and then became upset because the book didn't match their expectations. Part of me wishes more time was spent on why/how the family started prepping, but that's just so that I could evaluate my own preps, not because I think it would make the book better! LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oregonchick,

 

I agree with your comment about wishing the author gave more of a background on Lee and his family. I find the fact that his wife was a complete pacificist a little hard to swallow. I understand having a wife who is leery of firearms (oh, yes indeed!), but I just thought this couple was a little unbelievable. Anyway, enough nitpicking.

 

By the way, I just finished The Prepper's Road Compendium by Ron Foster and I did not review it on Amazon because I cannot decide what I really think about it. The prep and survival advice seems very useful and even gives recipes and diagrams, but I feel a little cheated nontheless. First, this was advertised by the author as a combined volume that included all three of the first books in the series. It did not, so I found myself actually reading a couple of short stories and then the last book of the three. In fact, the apparent protagonist, David, does not appear until halfway through the book though we read about his mostly unexplained exploits for the first two hundred pages.

 

The writing, fiction-wise, is terrible and difficult to follow. Nothing much happens, the story does not move, and all we get to read about is the protagonist getting drunk every night. There are some very good sections dealing with trapping and the use of different types and sizes of animal traps and the manufacture of snares, but NO STORY. If the author wanted to write a non-fiction "how-to" guide, then that was what he should have done, because he really lacks the skills to tell a coherent story in written form.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am almost finished with TEOTWAWKI: Beacon's Story by David Craig and I wanted to recommend this Kindle title to the forum. This book is chock full of survival tips and Mountain Man lore, and the author seems to know what he is writing about. He also manages to tell a decent story along the way. BTW, under the subgenre of zombie fiction, I just read Mountain Man by Keith Blackmore, which is NOT chock full of Mountain Man lore but is a darn good read regardless. Also available on Kindle. This Blackmore is one heck of a writer.

 

On the other hand, I found The Survivors: Book One by Angela White to be unreadable. I had to put it down after I got about halfway into it. It had some good reviews but for some reason I just could not hack it. Jumbled, seemingly incoherent plot and vague references to magic just don't cut it for me. Anyway, that's just my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just read Patriots by James Wesley Rawles (here's a link to the review on the Survival Cache site). It really is quite an achievement, with so much instructional information about prepping included along with the storyline, although I feel the "readability" of the book suffered at times because of it. For example, I didn't need 5-10 pages of explanations of all of the potential military and civilian comms and the history of encryption using coded book passages to understand that secure communication was essential. The first half of the book is the scenario that worries me most, so I found it especially enlightening; the second half got a little preachy and far-fetched, IMO.

 

I found it ironic (or perhaps fitting?) that one of the authors that is mentioned a few times in Patriots is Ayn Rand, because Rawles does fall into some of her patterns... specifically, picking action/characters that perfectly illustrate the point the author is trying to make, then after apparently deciding the reader is going to be too clueless to understand that point, hammering away at it again and again until it's more annoying than illuminating. By the end of the book, I was sarcastically thinking, "Wait, was I supposed to think that the Federal Reserve, Washington fat cats, the UN, and big government are bad? And the Constitution has been undermined due to mercenary, power-hungry agendas and the foolish and unaware permissiveness of citizens? And you say something about Jesus being Lord, and how reading The Bible is good?" LOL

 

That said, Patriots is a great book. I was thoroughly impressed by the breadth and scope of the writing, as well as how involved I was in the struggles of a fairly large group of characters. For someone relatively new to prepping, this could be a great way to kick-start asking those important "what if?" and "how would I?" questions. And for someone who simply likes a dynamic story, this is also a good choice.

 

Even though it's not quite as well-reviewed as Patriots, I'm moving on to Survivors next!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rod,

 

You crack me up! Forgot to add the ending! Actually, I think he is just setting us up for the third book. I agree with Oregonchick's points completely about being beaten over the head with Mr. Rawles' political/philosophical beliefs. Survivors is the Empire Strikes Back of Mr. Rawles' work. Good enough, but lacking content if you don't read Patriots first.

 

BTW, I finished TEOTWAWKI: Beacon's Story last night and I have to say, this is a book that manages to properly combine a compelling story line and provide a huge amount of survival/prep information. The title is the only thing unwieldy about this book and I highly recommend it to you Kindle readers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently finished reading 'Patriots' as well. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. Made me wishing I had a high paying stay at home job that payed good enough for me to get a retreat and all the fancy gear and stuff.

 

One thing that confused me in the first half of the book was how he went off track and had a few chapters about those two brothers and their run ins with the law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jace, I think that was 1. to illustrate his particular stance on how certain parts of the Constitution are interpreted, and interpreted poorly and 2. to introduce them so that you'd know who that Keane guy was who led the assault in Moscow, Idaho near the very end of the book. It was - I guess - to give you a flavor for who ELSE wound up in various "militias" in the northwest, instead of only the folks in the Northwest Militia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Rawles follows form, I have a feeling those pesky Keane boys are going to show up in Book 3. I enjoyed the book as well, but I really do not like being preached at constantly. That attitude strikes me as "If I say it enough times it must be true." Make your point and move on to the next subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was just thinking of an author that always gave me an escape growing up and I think maybe inspired some of my prepping...Louis Lamour

Yes! Did you know he wrote a modern day survival story called 'Last of the Breed'? It's about an Air Force pilot who gets downed in Siberia, and has to evade the soviet military and survive the weather. His american indian heritage and survival training are what he relies on to get home. A good read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robert Henein and Louis L'Amour. Two of my favorite authors when I was growing up; not that they were aimed kids, but they were full of action and adventure. If I recall correctly, some of Mr. L'Amour's books set in early settler days had some pretty good homesteading tips.

 

Also, even though I have mentioned before, Gordon R. Dickson's Wolf and Iron devotes several chapters to building a dugout home and constructing a primitive blacksmith shop. Get this book and skip the stuff about bonding with a wolf if you are not interested and read the rest. This book is all about surviving a massive societal breakdown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes! Did you know he wrote a modern day survival story called 'Last of the Breed'? It's about an Air Force pilot who gets downed in Siberia, and has to evade the soviet military and survive the weather. His american indian heritage and survival training are what he relies on to get home. A good read.

 

One of my favorites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked up many a useful tip from Louis L'Amour books. Pretty sure I have read every single one that he had published when I was in my teens. The one that sticks out most is that pine sap is extremely flamable. Used that tip in my teens to win a fire building contest in an outdoor class that I took around the age of 13. Good times!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Farnham's Freehold by Robert Heinlein...science fiction, from way back. A family that preps for, then survives, the end of the world. Explores some of the psychology of survival, in typical Heinlein style.

 

One of my all time FAVORITES! Heinlein always tried to have his hero be a real person. Even in some of his weirder writing the hero was always "right" inside, even if not the best skilled or trained he had the moral fiber to do the right things. Some of his ideas on survival were spot on, I think.

 

But heck, he was an academy man (Annapolis but I won't hold that against him) so he had the "honor code" pounded into him. I still think the world would be much better off it more folks followed that code.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One of my favorites

 

L'Amour is my all time favorite western author. If you think a return to late 1800's America is a possibility then his stuff is instructive. His non-western stuff is also very good, especially his sea stories. The Haunted Mesa is also a solid read. It has a bit of "alternate universe" possibilities that I think are instructive and I appreciate L'Amour's respect for the spiritual aspects of the old races of various places.

 

Not everything in the universe is explained by Physics. Shakespeare was correct , "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." -Hamlet. It is sometimes good to remember that we are more than just a collection of chemicals in a saline solution.

 

Prepping is body and spirit; we ignore either at our peril.

 

Just my not so humble opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Even though it's not quite as well-reviewed as Patriots, I'm moving on to Survivors next!

 

So, I just finished reading Survivors. It was not nearly as good as I hoped, especially as it "functions" as a prequel to several things that happened in Patriots, with a fair amount of action happening simultaneously to events that were explained in the first book.

 

I have to say, getting in-depth background on characters from Patriots AFTER you know how things turn out for them is incredibly anti-climactic. He goes in-depth into the story of how Ian Doyle meets and marries Blanca and their journey to reach the BOL where 90% of the action in Patriots takes place - a story that has already been told to a certain extent in that book. I was just annoyed by their saga - I KNEW what happened with them, so I was frustrated to be switched to deep background info when I was more interested in the central story of Survivors, namely the journey Andy Laine must undertake to get from Afghanistan to his family ranch. He also introduces another group of characters in Kentucky, mostly focused on a woman, Sheila, who stockpiled seeds and was able to barter her way through the crisis. And he gives a few glimpses into the two kinds of people who try to consolidate power after order collapses (one a roving gang of marauders, the other a group of politicos who appoint themselves as the "legitimate" government). But again, Patriots has already told us a little of how things worked out for those groups, so it's not particularly compelling stuff. Perhaps even worse, the book just... ends. There isn't really a conclusion; the big battles of Patriots are still ahead of the characters in Survivors, and there's no summary/reminder given about how things work out for them.

 

Honestly, as far as plot structure goes, this comes across as remnants of story lines that were cut from Patriots instead of as a story in its own right. If this were music, Patriots was his single, and Survivors is just the B-side of the record. And it still has all of the same rhetoric and redundancy of Patriots as far as his political and religious beliefs go. Oh - and if you were wanting a crash course on every reason to buy gold and silver, this book will give you that information over and over again.

 

Rawles does do some things really well in this, just as he did in Patriots. First, he DOES get you invested in the welfare of the main characters. Second, he gives great in-depth information about different kinds of preps people might choose, weapons and ammunition, and so forth. Third, he offers a good balance of dire warnings and reminders about charity, providence, and community; some post-apocalyptic stories are so bleak you wonder why anyone bothers trying to survive. That's not the case here, as Rawles clearly has confidence that basic American values will make a resurgence if given the opportunity.

 

I'm not unhappy that I read this book, but I wouldn't recommend it. You will get plenty if you stick to Patriots and then read another author's work instead of picking up this one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this