One Second After
by William R. Forstchen
Read by Joe Barrett
Produced by Blackstone Audio
Approx 13.5 hours
Are you prepared for a natural disaster? What about a natural disaster that wipes out the entire United States of America's fundamental way of life? We all like to say that we have learned something from the disaster of hurricane Katrina or even the attacks of 9/11, but those disasters had something in common, we could turn on the television or radio and find out information and we knew help was eventually on the way.
"One Second After" by William R. Forstchen explores another aspect of an attack on the U.S, one that hits us in our soft underbelly, our lives in the modern age of electronics. Most of the world, especially the U.S, have come to rely on our electronic creature comforts, computers, television, diabetic monitors, pacemakers. In "On Second After" those are completely wiped out. There is a weapon in existence that can take this out, an EMP weapon. EMP stands for Electro-magnetic pulse, It was actually a side affect of a nuclear blast and the pulse created from early tests of nuclear weapons found that electronics were severely affected by these pulses rendering them useless. Today the electronic circuitry in every day devices have become more complex and more susceptible to this type of attack.
In this cautionary tale 3 nuclear missiles are detonated in the atmosphere above the United States and the U.S. is rendered useless. Every electronic device ceases to work, computers, phones, radios, cars and medical equipment. Basically anything with a chip in it ceases to function.
This story follows the citizens of Black Mountain, North Carolina as they fight for survival in what has turned the clocks back to medieval times. The town of Black Mountain is home to a small college which has a former Army colonel, who retired to be with his wife in her final days as she died from cancer. He is now teaching and raising his two young daughters in small town, U.S.A.
Once the power is out the community must reform its thinking to a survival mode, no supplies will ever come in, no one knows what is going on outside of city limits and only a small handful of cars will run. The town takes to rationing food and medical supplies as the population dies off from disease and starvation. They then begin to rebuild and try to survive with makeshift soup lines from the area's cattle farms and what little food can be hunted in the mountains.
Just when the town starts to level out from the deaths of those that would normally be treated at modern facilities, a horde of what used to be "gang-bangers" threaten the town. This threat is some of the more violent dregs of society getting by with what they know and are cutting a swath of death and destruction to loot the towns to survive. The most vicious of crimes this "gang" perpetrates is that of cannibalism.
Most of the issues explored in this story are told through the impacts of one family surviving. This creates a personal feel to the story and I was completely swallowed up by their exploits. The story even had me wondering, "What would I do?" and "How can I prepare myself?"
Joe Barrett delivers this audiobook with a great voice that easily gives you that hometown storyteller comfort and yet delivers the entire gamut of emotions in this story.
With the forward written by Newt Gingrich and the afterword written by Capt. Bill Sanders, USN. The reality of this situation is really hit home. Not a matter of If but When. While this may be what seems a sci-fi tale of a post apocalypse world, it does have its basis in reality. Be careful listening to this audiobook, you'll find yourself fully absorbed by the story and planning your survival at the same time.