Good Books

Most of what you will find here is fiction. Why is that, you ask... Because most of what could happen, hasn't (thank goodness!). A lot of people had theories on what would happen on January 1, 2000, and a whole lot of books were published about it. But what actually occurred was mostly a surprise for anyone who was at all worried. You can't predict an emergency. By definition, if you were ready for it, or saw it coming, then it isn't an emergency, but rather an unfortunate circumstance.

Fiction authors love disasters, and they tend to write about situations and ways of handling them that people may not have considered (thus selling an interesting book). They also usually spend a fair amount of time researching the subjects they write about, and many are considered "authorities" in one way or another. Don't discount a sci/fi novel thinking that it doesn't have anything "credible" in it. The scientific community would do well to watch a few episodes of Star Trek so that they have a preview of what will be tomorrow's technology. You doubt me? Turn on your tele and tell me what many of the ship's crew of the Enterprise carry around with them to take notes... Gee, that almost looks like a PDA. Or take twenty years off the clock and view a few of the original Star Trek series episodes. That flip-open communicator was pretty far-fetched at the time. Now, hardly a day goes by that I don't see someone walking down the street with one of those babies tucked against their head.

We (the prepared) are all about trying to figure out what could be. Open your mind and a good book, and let someone else toss ideas at you for a while.

How To Survive Y2K Chaos In The City
Ken and Nancy Eirich

Y2K & Survival Education - I'm on the fence with this one. The book as a whole is pretty good. It covers a fairly wide swath of topics, and has details and reference information that I haven't seen anywhere else. Granted, I haven't read a lot of "survival books", but this one has helped me solidify a few important details, making it worth the twenty bucks. At first, I was a little dismayed when I received my package and found the thing to be only 110 pages. But I knew that when I ordered it. I just didn't realize how small a book that is, I guess.

On the other hand, it was obviously put together in a hurry (probably to meet a late publishing deadline) and the URL that they give for the companion website goes to a lame excuse for an out-of-service page. They (I assume the publisher, not the ISP) claim they had a "massive hard drive failure"... "Hard drive"? Yeah, right... Anyway, even the mail link is bogus, so I don't know if they are really planning a site and just can't get their crap together, or the whole thing is just a marketing ploy because you simply must have a companion website and an included CD-ROM ("...packed full of useful information," as opposed to copies of the 1973 New York telephone directory) to sell a book these days. (rolling eyes)

UPDATE: It seems that their site is now up. I took a few minutes and cruised through most of the sections and was pretty disappointed. Granted, they are just getting started, but they have a wealth of information that they could have put online if they had wanted to. It seems to me that it is primarily a selling platform for their book, which is sad because even though I enjoyed the book, there were a lot of details that I hoped would come out in a companion website. They claim that they are out there to help others. We'll see. So far, all I'm getting is tidbits of old information that can be found elsewhere without the constant mentioning that more can be found in the book.

The designer side of me was quite disappointed. The site was slow, with no global navigation, and was plagued with low-quality jpeg graphics that made my eyes hurt. Why do people insist on using these huge rollover graphics that always bug-out and leave the wrong version sitting there for you to ponder? I couldn't understand why the site took so long to load until I realized that they had used Applets to do the rollovers... grrr.

The Parable of the Sower
Octavia E. Butler

Science Fiction - This is a very well written story of one woman's vision and strength in an otherwise apocalyptic world. Very dark, but also enlightening and quite possibly an accurate description of what could be. You might want to wait to read this one if you are still having trouble sleeping at night.

I hear that she has a sequel to this book called, "The Parable of the Talents."

Richter 10
Arthur C. Clarke & Mike McQuay

Science Fiction - Another disaster novel that will leave you a little nervous. Takes place mostly in the future, and is a good romp through society, technology and ecology.

Patriots - Surviving the Coming Collapse
James Wesley, Rawles

Fiction - I'm about half-way through this one. So far, it's amazing... Scary, but amazing. This book is considered by many to be one of the best how-to books around, and many readers (myself included) keep a hiliter pen handy to mark interesting things for further study. It's fiction, but don't let that fool you. This guy KNOWS his stuff. Big time. Be warned though, this book is hard-core survivalist literature. It's highly bent towards a sepratist, if not military lifestyle and makes very good points to support it. For those of us who can not make that kind of life change, this is very scary reading.

Lucifer's Hammer
Larry Niven

Science Fiction - This was the original "stellar object hits the Earth and wipes out civilization" story that all the movies were based off of. Niven's work is amazing, and like most apocalyptical tales, it's the kind of book that's really entertaining until a few hours after you've finished it and realize that it's YOUR world he's talking about. Aside from the obvious survival tidbits, this book is a lot more about how people and society might react in the event of a total collapse event. It also has a lot about what might be needed to bring back "civilization", and how science and technology become literal commodities of priceless value. VERY scary reading, but an excellent eye opener.

Yup, that's the end alright...