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One Second After Hardcover – Mar 17 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1 edition (March 17 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317582
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 16.3 x 3.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #175,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Friesen on Jan. 20 2010
Format: Paperback
I have liked other works by Forstchen, and its post-apocalyptic premise was intriguing.

Basically the premise is that a rogue nation/terrorist group sets off a couple of nuclear weapons at a high altitude over the continental US causing an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) to fry electronics all across the US. Society goes from the Information Age to Middle Ages "One Second After".

Having read lots of other post-apocalyptic fiction (Alas Babylon is one of the best BTW), this novel had promise. A mix of fairly interesting characters caught in a situation not of their making. A need to rebuild society from the ground up, and so on

Regrettably, the book doesn't live up to its promise. It follows the fairly typical plot line of most post-apocalyptic works - disaster, starvation, adaptation and finally conflict with some 'bad' people (usually outlaw bikers or such) and for this reason, I felt disappointed. It would have been nice to see something unexpected happen. Instead, the barbarian outlaw biker gang appears and threatens their idyllic little community. The stereotypes are IMHO, the worst, painting city people as fat and lazy (for the most part), and rural dwellers as smart, savvy, salt of the earth types who must rescue their inept urban neighbours from themselves. Cliched characters, like the stern retired military officer and inept bureaucrats are liberally sprinkled throughout the book.

It's not a bad book (like Levar Burton's Aftermath was), but it's not a great book, and doesn't really add anything new to the genre. On the other hand, John Birmingham's "Without Warning", takes the genre in new and exciting ways and is highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jon Archibald on Nov. 18 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is inriguing technically and the plot moves fast enough which kept me reading. Still there was this right-wing tone evoking in my mind the Mel Gibson vehicle "We Were Soldiers". Here the good guys are all ex-mil and the bad guys are just bad: druggies, gangs etc.

Examples were lines like that alluding to global warming which "may be a threat", or "...Don't insult me Tom (or was it Charlie?), you know my politics", when it was suggested to the protagonist that sharing supplies equally among townsfolk was communism (read "socialism" now the Red Scare has fizzled). What's the dramatic purpose of that? How is it necessary to advance the plot?

Then there's family values: the protagonist's new girlfriend, nurse Makala, has no kids, but he reassures himself that if she did she'd "claw her way back to Charlotte". Women, except the mayor of Black Mountain, are nurses or homemakers, proud and strong though they are.

Then of course everyone has and is adroit with a gun. I could go on.

I'm a Canuck, and as such even at our most right we're still slightly left of Clinton or Obama. In US terms I'd fall under the pinko label, but I do cherish and applaud the rule of law, a strong and uncorrupted military, and the sanctity of home and private property so often cited in this book. I'm just too spoiled by government-paid medical care to not notice the subliminal language of wild-west heroism, fierce individuality and survival of the most armed and dangerous.

The story line is arresting (especially to a some-time physics devotee like me) and keeps one interested, but there were too many distracting ideologic reminders for me to digest it unimpeded.

My first clue should have been the fore-word by Newt Gingrich, the author's good friend.

Jon A.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By crazybatcow on Sept. 21 2009
Format: Hardcover
You know how a book is "supposed" to have something in the first few pages, or, at least, in the first chapter that grabs you and keeps you reading? Well, this book does not have that. If it wasn't for the fact that you already know what the book is about, and that this event must eventually be interesting/exciting/gripping, you'd be bored to tears with how the author TELLS you everything (no showing here folks, it's all neatly explained, word by word). So If you have never heard about what an EMP is/does, don't worry, you'll be well-versed after the 10th time it's explained in the book.

If you tend to forget what items are run by electricity/computer chips, don't worry, the author will remind you that your coffee maker won't work and your car and your cell phone and your water pump and - well, pretty much every single "powered" item you might use is identified at some point...

The main character roams from scene to scene (town hall, new town, campus, store, etc) and meets other men and they have a confrontation which is resolved by either a) his superior military training and intelligence b) sharing cigarettes (yes, I'm serious, one of the main threads in the book is how important cigarettes are as a "friend-making" tool)

I know there are a lot of reviews calling this a right-wing political book. This didn't deter me from buying it. If anyone had mentioned the lack of characterization, the abundance of clichés and stereotypes, the complete lack of women (other than nurses or sex interests), and the very dominant "strong white male as savior" theme, I would have saved my money.

As a informative research paper on the outcome of an EMP, this is a 4 star. Unfortunately, I was expecting to read a novel, not a research paper... so 2 stars it is.
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