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One Second After by William R. Forstchen – What’s All the Buzz About?

one-second-after-forstchenWilliam R. Forstchen‘s latest book, One Second After could take a prominent position in our recent Post-Apocalyptic Fiction feature.  The story of the after-effects of an electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) attack on the United States, One Second After has been said to follow the tradition of other fear-inspiring novels such as Nevil Shute’s On the Beach and Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank.

The book, released last week, has garnered quite a bit of interest as opinions fly about the vulnerability of the United States to such an attack and that Forstchen is proffering reality in a fictional manner rather than simply presenting a work of science fiction. The book description even claims that the US Congress suggested that One Second After is a book that should be read by all Americans . . .

Book Description

New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real…a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages…A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP).  A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Months before publication,One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second. It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future…and our end.

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58 Responses to “One Second After by William R. Forstchen – What’s All the Buzz About?”

  1. First – this is a novel, not a prediction and as such there are some assumptions made. What’s not really stressed by Mr Forstchen (and please do a sequel to 1941) is the degree to which equipment is “hardened”. For starters almost all military electronics are hardened against EMP. Anything that runs on diesel won’t generally be affected – and unless it is actually switched on, most equipment won’t be.

    The Internet’s key points are certainly protected – fibre optics of course aren’t affected. Even the internal network at the college where I was responsible for IT would not be desperately affected – and it was set up with the ability to absorb problems caused by lightning – not an EMP.

    Power stations – especially older ones – are actually less likely to be impacted as there is shielding designed in. Any building where mobile phone reception is poor will probably be OK – the reason reception is poor is often because of the reinforcing acting as a Faraday cage.

    Yes – an EMP attack would be a problem but less so than an attack by “normal” WMDs – and would be responded to in the same way. All US Missile bases and military comms are highly unlikely to be damaged and retaliation would be pretty quick.

    So enjoy the book – but use your brains and think about the reality, not the paranoia. Sure, keep a reasonable stock of food and survival essentials etc – incidents like Katrina teach us it’s sensible to do so but don’t go dwelling on something that’s unlikely.

  2. Just finished “One Second After”…what an amazing read, I could barely put the book down. As a story, it was fascinating…I’m an avid reader since age 8…and am 41 now. This book will reside proudly on my bookshelf, I will tell friends about it…and I know it will remain in my thoughts for a long time to come.

    I’ve always been interested in self-sufficiency. My parents are my biggest heroes…my Dad who tells me stories of hanging butter & milk in a pail down the hand-dug well to keep them cool during summer months. Sometimes they had nothing more to eat then bread and molasses and potatoes…and fed people who had less. They borrowed money for a postage stamp because the family didn’t have enough money to buy one. The urine in the chamber pots froze over in the winter time. Kerosene lanterns were lit after dark so there’d be light to read by…this one generation removed from mine. They were poor, they worked hard…but they knew what to do. They didn’t hire people to do various tasks, as we do today, because there was no money. They did it themselves or did without. Maybe it’s growing up with stories like that…growing up following in my Dad’s footsteps back in the woods as he showed me how to set rabbit snares…learning to cook at age 12 or 13 on the old woodstove…I’ve always had an appreciation for a simpler way of life…and love reading books that explain how to go about it.

    But I don’t kid myself…we lost power for 4 days in December 2010 as a result of a freak windstorm. It really brought it home how dependent society is now on a functioning power system…and transportation. That rush to find a gas station that had power…and hadn’t sold out of gas yet…gas to power chainsaws as well…to clear trees that were blocking roads. Gas for the generator to save the food in the fridge. And as a nurse, memories of the H1N1 flu panic fresh in my mind…I have given extensive thought to what would have happened had it been worse. I wish I had the money to purchase more acres of land…to have a few more animals…a bigger garden…but I make do with my measly one acre…I have my chickens…my how-to books…my sweetheart with his mechanical know-how…his guns and ability to hunt.

    I’m not an alarmist or one of those doomsday folks…but I do believe we should be responsible for sustaining ourselves to some degree…I wish more people thought that way…maybe farmland would be preserved instead of giving way to development…maybe instead of big factory farms, we’d have small, family run farms still flourishing…maybe people would still know how to make bread and bake it in a woodstove instead of popping it into a bread-machine or buying it at the grocery store. Maybe we’d know our neighbors and have a sense of community, instead of isolating ourselves with our TV’s and video games.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you, William R. Forstchen, for providing such a thought-provoking read…it was more than just entertainment…it makes one look at the future more closely. For me, personally, it wasn’t necessarily a question of an EMP causing such chaos…I think one could substitute a number of causes…but it’s how we, as a society, deal with the aftermath of a disruption in power, communications, transportation. I really like how you looked at the issue from so many different angles…things I would not have even considered. I don’t believe it is fear-mongering, it is a realistic portrayal.

    Thank you.

  3. Get ready folks, I am a technical stock analyst and I can tell you that this scenario is very much likely to happen soon, very soon, now that US is just about bankrupt.
    Two years to go is probably max. today is 2nd of July 2011.
    Think also about HAARP technology.

  4. A very good read, indeed. As one who lives in a high-rise residential building in a large metropolitan area, this book really hit close to home on how dependent society is on electricity and efficient food distribution networks..I even conjured up a disaster plan with my family if something like this were too occur- meeting spot, where to go etc.

    Robert- How does the U.S. being bankrupt have anything to do with EMPs? I don’t see the massive defense budget going anywhere soon….even with budget cuts. As I’ve looked into readers’ responses to this book, I’ve encountered so much paranoia about EMP attacks and the inclusion of things totally unrelated, i.e. budget fights, Obama’s a terrorist. Very ridiculous considering this book plays up the theme “We are all Americans” no matter what our politics, race, gender, etc.

  5. August 18, 2011 Just watched program on C-Span with a panel of James Carafano, Peter Pry, Drew Miller, Frank Gaffney and Congressman Roscoe Bartlett…all Supporting passing the “Shield Act” in an effort to harden grids etc. including all equipment of our Military (Anthony Sept 2010 is wrong ) Our Military is NOT hardened against the EMP Threat. Contact your Representatives and demand they pass the Shield Act.

  6. The book is good, the characters are well defined, it is inteersting, worth the time on the money.
    But also there is too much “we are Americans”. Come on …

  7. I appreciate your details in this post. It’s smart, well-written and effortless to recognize. You’ve got my attention on this topic. I will be back.

  8. Many thanks to the author. Very useful post. I hope more of these.