I kept hearing about a science fiction novel by William R. Forstchen titled “One Second After” anytime the subject of national security and EMPs (electromagnetic pulse weapons) was discussed. For some it is just that … science fiction. Hey, what are the odds, really, of one of our adversaries just bursting nukes so many miles above our continent to fry our electronics and mechanics, instead of nuking us on the ground and throwing everything into mountains of craters and rubble, making it too radioactive and toxic to send in boots-on-the-ground troops to mop-up and take over? Right??? That’s old school. Our enemies are 21st century wise too. They want the spoils of their efforts.
I just finished the book and will be cracking open its sequel volume “One Year After”. Yes, it was that influential … and frightening. Forstchen has another volume to be released early next year, “The Final Day”.
The fact is, it is not the gamma rays from a nuclear weapon explosion that can do this. For years now scientists have been warning a major solar event is overdo. The last major disruptive solar flare happened in September of 1859. At that time much of technology was very basic, and not that widespread, but still it caused some major problems for society and governments. Should one happen today, imagine the complete and total crippling of not just society, but civilization as we know it.
Forstchen’s story centers around a small college town in the mountains of North Carolina. When the event first happens all the traffic on the highways, freeways, side roads kills the vehicles in mid-transit. Any aircraft in-flight immediately dies and crashes to the ground. There is no radio, TV, telephone (landline or satellite), internet, computers, or electricity to power anything on the ground anywhere. A second after the blasts high above the U.S. everyone on the ground below is hurled back into a pioneer existence that nobody but the main character (who is a retired military colonel and a current history professor at the college) is even remotely prepared for. This life change is quickly taken control of by the colonel/professor and various other town leaders who form a strict council and begin to plan a survival for their community. Not knowing exactly what happened, but suspecting EMPs, they do not know how widespread the after-effect is in the nation, or even the world, and how long they will be on their own. The U.S.government and the military were even caught off-guard (the main point and purpose of this novel). The president is dead, Air Force One not hard protected from EMPs well enough, crashing to the ground in the initial attack. The military and FEMA will not be coming anytime soon with aid and comfort. The U.S. government is completely collapsed. We are at the mercy of our allies/friends, those who weren’t attacked themselves, and our enemies who have wanted our soil for a long time.
The big cities in the region are hellholes of barbarianism with mass confusion and destruction. The little town and its neighboring town make an unsteady alliance in order to cover each other’s asses from the parade of refugees either stranded on the highways or escaping the horrors of the bigger cities. They two towns have an even worse relationship with the nearby city when they both refuse to take in the thousands per day the city demands they take. The one thing the town has to keep both in-check, leverage, is they have the reservoir that feeds water to both the other town and the city, and can blow the water mains at will.
The town is lucky to have various old cars and other vehicles scattered about that the EMP did not fry. They are able to get them running and have a supply of gas from the endless newer models now disabled on the nearby highways. The lack of electricity threatens existing food and drug stability with the lack of refrigeration. The mortality rates climb everyday as people drop dead from over exertion from doing various physical strains they never had to do before. Medical staffs abandon nursing homes and the unkempt patients not only are left to wander or die in their own bedridden mess, but diseases now rear their ugly heads to threaten anyone who dares enter the facility to tend to the abandoned or carry them home for care. The newly formed town council imposes Martial Law and everyone is kept in close check. As the days roll into weeks and then months this little enclave goes from colonial existence, through medieval, to stone age. As this happens the council must impose stricter and stricter rationing of food until it is down to a small cup of heated water with a trace of any vegetation or protein floating in it. Anything of sustenance or value had been completely scavenged from the highway vehicles and even the town buildings. The farm livestock is gingerly used in hopes of making it stretch, and reproduce. The forested mountain’s wildlife dwindles to near nothing. The various extremely important town leaders and college militia are secretly given more rations to keep them strong and able should the worst try to come across their barriers and into their town. People starve to death. People, even children, die from lack of daily medicines that have now gotten down to bare bones and are being rationed and kept for those who are believed to be more apt to survive, and for any surgeries that might be needed. It becomes Black Mountain’s own little hellhole, without the massive collapse of distopian uncivilized atmosphere, with just an occasional breakdown of civility here and there. And those are swiftly dealt with by public execution after council evaluation.
There are the anticipated gangs of highway marauders who are tearing through towns now that law and order is completely obliterated as they go about casually looting, raping, killing and even cannibalizing … and they head toward the novel’s little town of Black Mountain next. Thankfully a retired Marine drill Sargent had taken the bulk of the college students and turned them into a a well-trained militia from the start, arming them with any and all weapons that could be collected. By the last chapters of the book and months into the EMP attack these very young adults’ mettle is tested on the battlefield that is brought to their cloistered habitat by the cannibalistic “Posse”.
It is a chilling, but simplistic, massive canvas of possibilities, and probabilities. It is a post-civilized world where survival is not only futile but senseless. One of the book’s characters even implies an ICBM nuking where everyone and everything would have been immediately, or shortly thereafter, vaporized or choked to death in the fallout would have been more merciful. Suicide is part of a daily body count in the small college town.
In the novel’s “Afterwards” Capt. Bill Sanders, U.S. Navy, echoes former Congressman Newt Gingrich’s “Forward” about how this book was brought up on the floor of the U.S. Congress as a warning-read of this threat to our national security and sovereignty … and existence. Sanders goes on to point out in “One Second After” an accurate scenario of a what-if. He also points out something very important that was completely lost as a result of the terrorist attacks that hit us on 9/11/01 … the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack was released the same exact day, and has not been seriously visited since, it being buried in “the back-logged pile of congressional failures of implementation.”
Our heavily liberal think-tanked federal government has dismissed EMPs as a possible and probable scenario for attack on the US. It is not only a foolish stance to take, especially given today’s highly volatile not only terrorist atmosphere but the last eight years of the Obama administration critically weakening our status and strength in the world. Our enemies and foes have thrived and grown. Just look at the bullshit Iran nuclear deal and their funding of world terrorism, Putin and Russia’s growing arrogance around the world and off our shores, the NorK‘s insane dictator leadership within his own universe of paranoia and dick-waving, and China’s struggling to not only sustain its own vast communist state but come collecting on our debt they bought up. And Castro’s Cuba is more than willing to be a jumping-off point for any of these eager players. Venezuela as well, for that matter. What better to pull that failed socialist shit-hole (which, by the way, is a nice example of Forstchen’s premise) up than some money and severely needed supplies from Russia or China or Iran in exchange for readied military bases and naval ports.
William R. Forstchen has several other books related to apocalypse and survivalist themes. Check his books out on Amazon.com … and read some.
Jon N. Hall @ American Thinker: One Second After
… I’m here to tell you that everyone in America should read William R. Forstchen’s novel One Second After.
Forstchen’s novel takes place in post-9/11 America. And into that very real America, he introduces “the event” — an electromagnetic pulse attack. EMP is not science fiction; it’s been known about for decades. The Sun emits EMPs in solar flares, which have caused power blackouts.
An EMP attack involves detonating nuclear bombs high up in the atmosphere. With an EMP attack there is no radioactive fallout, nor bombed-out cities. But what a successful EMP attack would do is knock out our entire electric grid and fry all our electronic devices. An EMP attack would turn the lights out across America.
To reach more folks, Forstchen’s novel really should be made into a movie. But just as with Cormac McCarthy’s bleak post-apocalyptic novel The Road, it would be difficult to film. One of the problems with the film of McCarthy’s excellent book is that the boy just wasn’t emaciated enough. (Viggo Mortensen did, however, starve himself nicely.) But for One Second After, one would need to cast an entire town’s worth of anorexics.
Do we have the leadership in Washington to protect us from an EMP attack? After all, the feds couldn’t (or wouldn’t) protect Ambassador Christopher Stevens from al-Qaeda terrorists. The feds certainly didn’t protect Bostonians from the Tsarnaev brothers. The U.S. Army couldn’t even protect their own soldiers from a jihadist massacre at Fort Hood by army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, one of their own. Which prompted Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. to opine: “And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”
The current regime in Washington doesn’t understand that there are untold millions of implacable Muslims who would rather see this world incinerated than for faraway people to worship as they see fit or for a single infidel woman’s face to be uncovered. Even though the Muslim world is on fire, and Iran is closer to having the bomb than we had thought, some still cling to the belief that Barack Hussein Obama, in all his transcendent wonderfulness, can reason with these people. (I feel safer already.)
Besides our electric power system, America’s other infrastructure is also vulnerable to disruption. But an EMP attack has the potential to destroy America. We need to quit worrying about “diversity” and get serious about survival. […]
Hall mentions the very hopeless, dark, and bleak movie “The Road”. I saw that a couple years ago, and another time since. There is no clear indication of just what event threw the world into such distopian apocalyptic guttural chaos. Neither is there a reason in the movie “The Book of Eli”. Both movies could connect to some EMP scenario or even a massive solar gamma ray burst on the Earth. Either way, Hall is right when he says this needs put into movie form, including “One Year After” and “The Final Day”.