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Texas Bill

Survival Fiction or Learning is Fun!

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I read World of the Cheryni: First Strike by D. K. Richardson last night and fond it to be pretty good. Space debris impacts with the moon and parts of the Earth, leaving the planet in a shambles. Some of the characters were just a little too much, but overall a decent read. Nice thing about this book was it contemplates at least a partial recovery in the end rather than full scale dissolution of the country. Some people actually try to carry out their jobs and put things back together. Still lots of bandits and raiders, but people learn to band together to help each other as well.

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Score! Texas Mike the scrounger. By the way, I finished the three books in the World of the Cheryni series by D. K. RichardsonGood stuff and entertaining. Talks some about the stresses, some obvious other not, that the family of active duty military face at times of crisis. Also, pretty good analysis of raider and gang mentality if they are given a chance to rise into power. Scary.

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Check out A Distant Eden by Lloyd Tackitt. I think I wrote about this one in passing a little while ago but I wanted to go back and hit some of the high points. Part novel and part prepper guide, this is some scary stuff here. The author manages to work through multipler scenarios by following a group of family and friends cope with a mega disaster. Some bug in, some bug out, and all face challenges. I found it fascinating because it is set in and around North Texas (Fort Worth and points west, really) so I know the area a bit. One part, dealing with a family trapped in the city and having to bug in for a period of weeks before staging their breakout, was particularly gripping. The author's plan of making the house look already looted was not original, but his method of digging out a shelter under the house was well thought out.

 

The characters are not as well developed as you might like, and the author makes it clear from the beginning that he felt the need to sacrifice that in order to pour in all the teaching he felt needed to be included. I don't know that I certainly agree with that decision, but I appreciate the author's ready willingness to admit his baby is not perfect. Certainly grim, but hopeful in the end. I hope this is not the last I read from this author.

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I heard through the grapevine that Texas Mike is becoming the prime scrounger for foodgrade buckets and lids. So I am withholding all further reviews until we can work out some kind of an exchange program. He gives me buckets and I will tell him what is worth reading.

 

Just kidding. I just finished the Union Creek Journals by Toby Asplin, which appears to be a recurring installment story (up to five short tales so far). Entertaining and easy to read, these stories carry a definite political slant to them and discusses a small community in rural Nebraska coping with an economic collapse. I could not imagine surviving the brutal winters up there with only wood heating. Brrrrr. Anyway, quick, light reading.

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Well, I picked up Holding Their Own II: The Independents by Joe Nobody and I have to say I found the action in this one to be pretty darn cool. Not a lot of prepper stuff in here, but lots of descriptions of how to whack Columbian drug cartel soldiers/kidnappers. This one does give more detail into what Bishop did while working "corporate security". If you like action, pick it up after reading the first one.

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Here are another pair of books I picked up on Kindle that I found interesting. Let me know if any of you have read these, too.

 

First, we have H10N1 by M.R. Cornelius, which is another unfortunately titled book that might do better with a new name. This deals with a nasty man-made pandemic and the effects such a disaster would have on civilization. Not much time spent talking about the disease itself (other than if you get it you die), but I did enjoy the fast paced plot as a doctor and a maintenance man depart one of the last hospitals to seek a better place elsewhere. If you think rats fleeing a sinking ship, well, not really. This is an action packed tale and reinforces the idea that the last thing you want to do is let an enemy get away alive. The book has its flaws but ultimately worth the read.

 

Second, we have Day of the Dogs by Doug McIntosh, which is about a CME that will take out the world's power grid in 5 days. The story lacks a good point of view character and the author jumps around a bit but a well researched and terrifying story of "what if?". SPOILER: the book only gets to the actual grid meltdown in the last 10% of the story, while the rest of book deals with all the screwed up things we do to ourselves and each other while waiting for our world to end. Story is set in 2013 with Sarah Palin as president and Mitt Romney as VP. I had a good laugh at that.

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I just read Hard Roads by Terry McDonald and I have to give it a good review though it was not quite what I expected. The story is about survivors of a global pandemic but the readers quickly come to realize there is more to this plague than just a bad flu strain. The disease is caused by an outbreak of nanobots, and they are somehow interacting strangely with the world.

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I just read the two part series (hopefully to be continued) by Derek Murphy entitled Gulf of the Plains and I had some problems with the graphic nature of some of the action and the scenario is pretty far fetched (having to do with polar shifts, sudden climate change and vulcanism creating an inland sea stretching from Las Vegas to Oklahoma). Otherwise, one heck of an adventure ride with a core group of survivors trying to bring civilization back to their part of the country. They are based around a secure bunker complex that seems to figure into many of these tales (wow, I want some remote operated machineguns around my homestead, too). Not a lot of survival info here, but some pretty intense action and decent writing, which is always a plus.

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I picked up the Gulf of the Plains books, too, based on your recommendation. The series of events leading up to TEOTWAWKI seems a bit, well, crazy and unrealistic. But I do like the story of what happens after. I agree that you need to read these for the story and not for the prepping tips, unless you have literally millions of dollars to spend on creating your perfect bunker paradise. And even then, you may want to treat this as a cautionary tale about making it TOO perfect and therefore perfectly attractive to bad people. However, there were good reminders about not necessarily sleeping with power-hungry women and protecting against VD even post-SHTF. LOL

 

However, if/when I have my millions for building my perfect BOL, I now know I want:

  • At least TWO fortified fencelines/gates with active and passive defensive capabilities.
  • A way to defend simultaneously against ground and air strikes.
  • A turret with a .50-cal machine gun that is hardened and fortified so as to be impenetrable.
  • Tunnels connecting all buildings where people will be housed.
  • Generators and backup generators.
  • Remote operated machine guns and backups.
  • A barroom complete with kegerator.
  • Plenty of feminine hygiene products, soaps, and condoms, not to mention clothing and shoes in all shapes and sizes.
  • More Hummers and maybe trucks with fortifications, fewer sports and muscle cars.
  • A smaller backup BOL with similar capacities, but maybe a few less luxuries.

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I appreciate the idea for a kegerator, even though I don't drink. I really enjoyed the story for Padget- she was a trip. Imagine Paris Hilton turning into Snake Plisskin. I love how the bog dwellers became convinced she was a death goddess. Anyway, not realistic at all but I enjoyed reading anyway.

 

Speaking of not realistic, I picked up Surviving the Fog by Stan Morris for free. Entertaining read, but then I loved Swiss Family Robinson. Not a lot of conflict but focused on building a community of young kids and teen campers in the Sierras after an apocalypse kills 99% of the population. Spoiler here, but the kids don't go all Lord of the Flies on us. I was a little uncomfortable with some of the hookups, however.

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I just read Line of Control by Mainak Dhar and it has nothing much to do with prepping or survival but it was such a good read I felt the need to give it a shout out here. This book is about radical Islam taking over Pakistan and promptong a war with India. This was written in a very easy to read style and has a lot of information about the tangled relationship between these two countries. The Indians are the good guys, if you couldn't tell, but the story has plenty of interesting characters on both sides.

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Rats! I tried to get Susan Gregersen's books for my Nook, and they're not available from B&N. I may have to scrounge around the internet and see if there's some other way to find them.

 

I really do appreciate all the suggestions and reviews. Since I've been laid up, I've done a lot of reading, and have actually gotten a couple of the books mentioned here. (Dies the Fire is what I was reading when I had the surgery and it took me four days! Being drugged and dozing off will do that to you. I may have to reread it - I don't remember much.)

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I just read A Distant Eden and liked it. Yes, there's a ton of description about prepping, making use of preps, and options while on the fly (setting up simple water filtration and purification using sand and the sun, hiding out in town by digging a defensible position in a crawlspace and leaving your home looking like it's already been looted, simplest and most economical foods that you can actually survive on, etc.), and the novel does occasionally become bogged down by the detail in it. However, it actually does work as a story, too, and I enjoyed reading it. I think what may be as useful as any of the preps is explaining that there's a difference between the mentality you have in a world where rule of law and infrastructure are still in place, and a world where you have only yourself and your own group to rely on, and only limited resources to make that work.

 

If he writes sequels - and that seems like a possibility - I will pick them up.

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Nan,

Sorry to hear you have been laid up and I hope you are getting better. With my work schdule being so frantic lately with travel I have lots of time in the hotel room to read. As for B&N, I used to be a loyal customer until they changed the terms of their membership, jacking up the price and reducing the discount. Now with all the digital only books I pick up from Amazon I have not set foot in B&N in over a year. I still use my local booseller as much as before (some books I want in paper and they give me a decent discount), but many of my purchases go to my Kindle.

Oregonchick, reading A Distant Eden was a wake call for me and forced me to rethink my priorities. The author's speculation on survival figures were chilling, and even if he is way off I could not stop thinking about that 93% die off percentage he states. This and the practical advice handled out by Susan Gregersen has me more focused on the "beans" side of the equation. I can't wait for her to come out with more serious stuff. Her latest is entertaining and funny but not really helpful, but I did like her cookbook.

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Texas Bill, thanks for the good wishes! If you ever have surgery on your foot and they say you won't put your foot down for 6 - 12 weeks, believe them. Not fun, but could be a lot worse.

 

I'm pretty much stuck with what I can get for the Nook, as it was given to me as a gift and I won't put out the money for a Kindle.

 

We used to have two local bookstores, but we're down to one. While most of my books come from the library, I do patronize the local store here in town - have to if I want them to stay open. I like the B&N that's a couple of towns over, but I have to say that my favorite bookstore is Book People. That's an all-day trip, though - haven't done it in years.

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Nana, I can sympathize. When I was in college, I was barefoot and stepped on a water glass, broke it, and cut myself really good- needed to get a big chunk of glass cut out of the bottom of my foot. Nothing hurts like that when you have to go to work and class "hopalong" style. Anyway, your surgery sounds pretty darned serious so I hope you heal up soon.

 

Never heard of Book People. Where is that located? I live near Houston now but I have lived in Dallas and Nacogdoches/Lufkin in the past, as well as traveling ALL over the state for work.

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Good Lord, driving in Austin is a nightmare. That used to be a nice town twenty years ago but is now completely overrun with UT grads who will not move away. The congestion is terrible. I actually prefer Houston traffic. I know, crazy. I hear what you are saying about the Kindle price- I would not have one if a relative had not given me a gift card for Christmas that covered most of the cost. I have found I am actually saving money with it since most Kindle books are significantly cheaper than their paper counterparts, if not free.

 

By the way, I just finished reading Land by Theresa Shaver. This is really a Young Adult title (did not realize when I bought it) about a group of Canadian students stuck in LA after an EMP attack and traveling home overland. The story is meant to be covered in multiple books (the second book is about the travels of the other group going home by sea route) but this one stands alone fine until the cliffhanger (sort of) ending. The tale is a cross between The Breakfast Club and Mad Max and the kids have a little too much good luck to be realistic, but I found it entertaining and even funny in parts. it is available in paperback or Kindle ($1.99 I think) and it is short but sweet.

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Sorry for the double post but I forgot to mention another book here that I read a LONG time ago but which is now available on Kindle. Long Voyage Back by Luke Rhinehart is on sale for $4.99 and even though it was first written in 1983, this book is chock full of survival-at-sea details as a group of survivors flee the States in the wake of a massive nuclear war. Not a ton of sugar-coating here but gets kind of preachy and New Age towards the end, this book still shocked the heck out of me when I first read it. I still have a copy and reread from time to time. I keep this book on the same bookshelf as Alas, Babyon and On the Beach.

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