Thursday, March 11, 2021

Prepper Fiction

I was chatting with a prepper friend whom I've known most of my live, and we started talking about books that we've both read. Being veterans as well as fans of fiction, we have similar tastes and our libraries have a lot of overlap. We started comparing our views of some of the popular prepper books of the last 30 or so years and came to the conclusion that while nobody had a crystal ball that told them everything, they each foresaw a corner of what has happened in recent history (or could happen soon). 

I'm going to mention some titles that you may or may not have heard of; some of them have acquired bad reputations and others are just not politically correct. I really don't care what the SPLC thinks about a book or author; if a story is well-written and can make me think a bit, it's good enough to keep around. Here are a few examples:

I picked up a copy directly from the author when it was first published back in 2008. The story is fairly simple: the Federal government signs on to a UN gun ban and people in a western state decide that they will not comply. The story has a strong start and middle, but a weak ending in my opinion. Some of the scenarios are believable even 12 years later, which makes it a good source of “what if” material for my late night musings. I think I paid $10 and shipping for my copy; it was a form of crowd-sourcing funds for a larger print run. A quick check on Amazon shows that copies are now selling for $46 used to $910 new.

The “Enemies” trilogy by Matt Bracken

The fiction is strong, some of the heroes are borderline superhuman, and the concepts and scenarios are more believable now than when they were written ca. 2011. I have the paperbacks buried somewhere in a box. I bought them new for $6 or so; they're still available new for $20 from Amazon. Not quite as collectible due to a larger print run and continued popularity, but still four times the money in ten years.

The Turner Diaries

A truly racist screed that culminates in a race war and the extermination of “non-white” people, this book has been banned from eBay and Amazon. It's been a long time since I read a borrowed copy, but I recall some of the “predictions” and a few of them have come true. If I ever find a copy it will go on the shelf that contains other non-PC books as a reference library of things to avoid. I'm sure I could find a pile of them at a local gun show, on the same tables that sell other banned books.

One Second After by William Forstchen
A chronicle of the events following an EMP strike on the USA and the destruction of our electrical systems, this book gets a few things right and a few things wrong. Mass printed, so used copies can be found for a few dollars. Not a bad read, you just have to double check some of the science and remember that it is fiction so “artistic license” is being used.

Pulling Through by Dean Ing
The effects of a nuclear strike from the vantage point of one man and his extended family, as written by an aerospace engineer. The science is tight; the original edition even had diagrams in the back for building your own Kearny Fallout Meter. The interpersonal and logistical problems of the first week in a fallout shelter are well-written and ring true. I'm a fan of Mr. Ing, as he writes good fiction and this one is actually helpful. Used, you can find this one for less than $5.

I read a lot of books. I buy them when and where I can, and I have a diverse library that is heavy on reference books but also has a fiction/fantasy section for entertainment. I try to have a few books aimed at audiences of all ages and education levels so information can be preserved and passed on. I am a strong believer in having a physical library for anything more important than entertainment, as digital books are too easy to electronically delete (it has already happened with some copyright issues) and I don't like the direction our education system is heading when I see reports of “teachers” claiming that math is subject to social pressure. History is constantly being rewritten and I like to have hard copies of how the stories used to be told.

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