Tag Archives: One Second After

It’s True. Mother Nature Is Out To Get Us.

Remember a few months ago when I was talking about this book….

and how I couldn’t sleep after I read it?

To refresh your memory, it is yet another apocalyptic tome about evil terrorists who immobilize the entire electrical grid in the US (because all Americans are evil, of course). A high altitude nuclear bomb is set off and unleashes an electromagnetic pulse that paralyzes the United States. Death and destruction ensue. For over a year. The forward and afterword are written by a politician and a U.S. Captain in the Navy, telling us that this is a book describing not if these horrors will happen, but when, justifying their cause to get tough with terrorists.

Well.

I was listening to the news this morning.

And the book was right. It can happen. It probably will happen. But not by some evil dictator.

Oh no.

But by this cheerful, little guy.

Solar flares. They’re common. They happen all the time. But the big ones? The really, really huge solar flares? Happen about once a century. And we’re overdue.

Way overdue.

Scientists predict that the last really big one happened about 150 years ago. And because the only electrical-type system being used at the time was a telegraph, it only mildly paralyzed the area affected.

But today? When our very existence is dependent on electrical power? According to the scientist being interviewed, a really big one could paralyze an entire area (and we’re talking really big areas – like continents) for at best, a few months, most probably a year or more.

Are you kidding me? An evil terrorist I can deal with. (Well, two months ago I couldn’t deal with it but when you compare it to an act of nature, I can.) I can pray for a change of heart. I can send them love and light. But the sun? The whimsical, unpredictable flurries of the sun? Are you freakin’ kidding me?

I should just throw in the towel and start makin’ my sign.

This is so depressing.

I’m going back to bed.

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When the Apocalypse Comes I Know Where to Run

I enjoy science fiction. Let me clarify. Really good, classic or soon-to-be classic science fiction. I’m talking H. G. Wells, Issac Asimov, Ray Bradbury kind of science fiction.

It all started with Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” And then it was short stories by Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson. Or “Dune” or “Stranger in a Strange Land.” Even “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” I was hooked.

And I liked that while most of what I read seemed so very real, it wasn’t – really. After all, it was science fiction.

And then a friend lent me “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen. I knew, a chapter in, that I probably shouldn’t finish it. I knew it would be disturbing. I resented the scare tactic forward by Newt Gingrich and the “Not If It Will Happen But When Will It Happen” afterward by Captain Bill Sanders of the US Navy. I’m not convinced that this is a classic in the making. It’s an easy, straight forward read, sure. Yet there is not much depth to the writing style.  There are some (hopefully) typos.

But intriguing? Yes.

Captivating? Yes.

Like a nasty car wreck on the side of the road, I couldn’t NOT look. I finished it in two sittings. And when I finished? I was glad I hadn’t read it just before bedtime.

But almost seven hours after finishing it, I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t help wondering if, God forbid, my children or even I might experience something this horrific in my lifetime.

When I was in my teens, AIDS was being realized as more than just a “gay disease.” I remember talking to my dad and asking what was the point of bringing more children into such a depressing world. My father smiled and said, “In my day, it was polio. In yours, it’s AIDS. For your children, it will be something else. Life always finds a way to move on.”

So, upon finishing “One Second After” I think, OK. It was “War of the Worlds” back in the 50’s. Today, it is “One Second After.” For my children? Something else?

Apocalyptic thinking is not my style. I don’t have canned goods, bottled water and ammo in my basement. But this book has me thinking I should.

And then I shake some good sense back in my head.

I can not live a life based on fear. I can’t plot each day, imagining each horrible scenario that could be avoided and take the proper precautions.

But I wear a seatbelt. I have insurance. I take my vitamins.

What is reasonable preparation for the worst and what is going overboard?

Bomb shelters in the 50’s. Preparedness or overboard?

My brother-in-law with stock piles of water, canned goods and ammo in his basement? Is he prepared or just crazy?

Well, at least I know where to run should the apocalypse come.

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