Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on June 23, 2009 By Draginol In Books

Review: One Second After


One Second After is a fictional story in which the United States is attacked by an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon.

What’s scary about EMP weapons is that they’re not far-fetched. When a nuclear explosion takes place in the upper atmosphere, it rains down a huge electromagnetic pulse that will take out most electronics that aren’t hardened specifically for it. That means your car, your electricity, everyone else’s electricity, and all your gadgets are fried. 

When the power first goes off in the book, the scenes reminded me of when the power went out for a few days a few years ago due to a failure of the grid here in the north east United States. Neighbors getting together and having cookouts with the meat they had in their freezers before it spoiled.  The big difference here being that their cars did not work either (at least modern cars).

But pretty soon, things get pretty bad.  How long would you be able to go in your household without food? Where would you get fresh water without electricity? How far can you go without a car? How dependent are you on any medication you’re taking? If you do have supplies, how effectively can you defend them and yourself?

The breakdown of society happens remarkably fast but at the same time, predictably when one thinks about it.  It’s a compelling read that has had me thinking for the last several days.

Comments (Page 2)
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on Jun 25, 2009

But the question is wether that sentiment and interpretation, which are from the 18th century and the beginning of the idea of a national state, should still be valid for todays contemporary US society.
And that answer can be negative or positive, but even asking the question seems to turn the asking party into the antichist for some, who feel that it means taking away their freedom and making them easy prey for the government. It is sounds really really strange from the outside, i can tell you that.

on Jun 25, 2009

I've requested the book from the library . .thanks for the recommendation.

on Jun 25, 2009

I have read some dystopian novels, and if you liked that book you might also like Oryx and Crake from Margaret Atwood. It is a brilliant book, very well written.

on Jun 25, 2009

yes, it must be a missile, because the explosion would have to be 250 km over the central US in order to be effective)

Didnt you ever watch James Bond: Golden Eye? The one with Peirce Brosnan and the driving the tank through Moscow and the EMP blasts etc etc?

Anyway, in case you didnt see it, the Russians had been experimenting with EMP blasts, and so put a bunch of nuclear warheads above what appeared to be communication satelites. Then they were detonated, the explosion didnt reach the ground but the EMP did and wiped out all sorts of tech in a remote part of Russia then it all became fantasy.

There was another movie... Space Cowboys i think it was called... the Russians built a 'communications satelite' filled it with 12 or so multi-warhead ICBM's and put it in space during the cold war. Then nuclear war didnt ensue and the Russian economy collapsed and everyone forgot about the satelite. Then, somehow, it was damaged and became active, so the russians went to the americans and asked for help repairing it. and thats how the americans found out.

Also, there have been a number of other books and things talking about EMP attacks. There was a weird micro series in Australia called Afterworld (im sure it aired in the US as well). it was basically 5 minute episodes that aired 3 times a day and you had to get all the info you could and try to guess the ending. what happened was one day all technology (on the planet, as far as we know) stops working, and like 90% of the earths population just diappears (im not sure if it was 90% of the people on earth or just the US we didnt find out before i stopped watching)

There is a really good book called Sunstorm by Stephen Baxter and Arthur C Clark. Its about a massive coronal ejection (solar flare) that shoots all kinds of nasty light, heat, radiation and whatever else right at us (Earth). It started with a massive EMP that shorted out most systems on the face of the earth (the face that was facing the sun at the time). then scientists learned it would happen again in 5 years but 100 times worse, and if they didnt do something to stop it the earth would be made uninhabitable. and the funny thing is that the flare was caused by an advanced race of aliens that believe that all energy in existence is finite, and will eventually run out at which point life and the universe will cease to be, so they are trying to stave off the inevitable by being super energy effecient, and policing other lifeforms to do the same. so when a race like humans come along and waste energy on weapons of war and space exploration and microwaveable popcorn, they try to eradicate us, using, funnily enough, the sun.

so this super energy conservative race tries to wipe out a reckless energy consuming species, by expelling enough energy to destroy a planet... ironic huh?

anyway, i wont go into the story more, because its too good a read to be ruined by explaining, but its DEFINITLY worth looking into.

on Jun 25, 2009

Do you believe that you still need militias to defend yourself from the government?!

Because of the variety of American views on this, you will get a variety of answers.  Many people do not trust the American government because America is extremely polarized, and one side will never trust the other, especially if the it is the other side that is office, or controls the majority of the House or Senate.

If you do not trust your government, then you are likely to believe that there may come a time that you need to defend yourself from the government.

In that line of thinking, removing the 2nd amendment is validation of those fears and mistrust.


on Jun 25, 2009

Questioning the validity of the 2nd amendment and having an academic debate about it, which include all different positions there are - pro and con, does not automatically mean changing the constitution. It seems that even talking about it (having a neutral debate) is already a sacrilege to some - and that is just nuts. I have discovered this entrenchment in certain political oppinions on numerous occasions, and it is rather primitive if you ask me. You should always be able to have an argument about anything in a neutral and polite tone. Chanting paranoid slogans about corrupt governments and taking away freedom or paranoid militias and redneck uneducated republicans is seldom very productive.

on Jun 25, 2009

I am assuming that you are referencing your Floridian friend here? 

Considering that he is an American, and evidently very emotionally involved in the debate, it's understandable why he couldn't argue the point from a nuetral standpoint.  Very few people can when they are emotionally involved.


on Jun 25, 2009

Nope, have to disagree on that one. It should not be impossible to have a neutral debate about a political issue, no less. lol it is a wonder that your political system works at all if everybody that is emotionally involved is automatically excused from acting rationally.

on Jun 25, 2009

In Germany, people do not have guns en masse and pretty much listen and trust the authorities

And that worked so well to prevent the holocaust.

on Jun 25, 2009


It should not be impossible to have a neutral debate about a political issue, no less.

I would not say impossible, rather, it is very unlikely.

lol it is a wonder that your political system works at all if everybody that is emotionally involved is automatically excused from acting rationally

Well, in actually being in America, I wouldn't say it "works," it is simply what we have.  (That of course is my own opinion.)  In fact, I think it has been our downfall as Americans that we can't, or simply wont, think outside of our emotions.  That is how our political games are played, all candidates attempting to play on the emotions of voters, and that has been what has caused our extreme polarity.  For example, "The other side is EVIL because they believe in ABORTION, and abortion is MURDER of little INNOCENT BABIES!"  What part of that doesn't play on the emotions, for both sides?

on Jun 25, 2009

The holocaust and world war 2 had nothing to do with wether guns were available to the german population or not. 


on Jun 25, 2009

The holocaust and world war 2 had nothing to do with wether guns were available or not.

I believe that taltimar is making a reference to your statement on trusting the authorities, not on the availability of weapons. 

on Jun 25, 2009

I was debating with myself wether to open that discussion or not, because it is a ugly can of worms for me. The Holocaust and WW2 are never very far away from the collective german mind.. it is not easy. Whenever I read or research its history, I can't really grasp how they were able to rationalize genocide, to perfect the process and logistics of killing millions. And how so many germans after the war claimed to never have been Nazis and to have had no knowledge about the deathcamps.. and so many got away with it. If you research trials and verdicts for warcrimes, it is appaling how many got clemency from the American occupation administration after a short time and were released. By then, the cold war was in full swing and after its founding the new federal german republic was integrated into the west and joined Nato 1955, which gradually lead to a transformation into what Germany is today. The experience of WW2 changed Germany and Europe forever though. But some characteristics and stereotypes are rooted too deeply to get rid off, and one of them is loving order and rules and trusting the authorities. That is still true, but the german mentality of today is not the same as 75 years ago. You can not compare it.

on Jun 25, 2009

That is still true, but the german mentality of today is not the same as 75 years ago. You can not compare it.

While that is likely true, Americans see that as an example of what can happen when you trust in the authorities.  That it happened only 75 years ago is proof that trust in an authority can prove to be a mistake no matter the time period, and so the 2nd amendment is, therefore, still logical.

"If it happened then, it can happen again."

on Jun 25, 2009

As to reasons why Hitler was so popular and was able to do all he did - that can not be answered shortly. Many different reasons acummulated, loss world war 1 and the treaty of Versailles with its extensive restrictions left the German populace with a resentment against the treaty and ultimately contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler. The form of government after ww1 in Germany (Weimarer Republic) was a unstable democracy with too many loopholes for dictatorial power for the president in cases for emergency and was abused, it had too many political parties and ultimately failed. The great depression and world wide recession fell during that time as well. Hitler was elected as chancelor in january 1933, and the people were happy to have a strong leader that wanted to bring Germany back to its glory, get rid of the treaty of Versailles and enable the people to feel proud again. Democracy was well, disregarded as a failed experiment.  And the rest of Europe was not overly against a strong Germany, either.

It is not possible to draw a completely black and white picture in regard to the holocaust either. In the last few years, historians have started to research voluntary colaboration with the Germans in france, poland, ukraine, italy.. they had so much support, and without that support Hitler would have never been able to go through with it. The Vichy regime in France opted to cooperate completly with Germany in the deportation of jews without being prompted. The french rounded up the jews in paris and handed them over to the SS.

All in all, nobody was against the holocaust, not the germans and not the rest of Europe, and knowing about it relativly early did not prompt the US to join the war, either. There are no simple answers available.

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