Author Topic: Worst survivalist/prepper books?  (Read 55808 times)

Offline soupbone

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #120 on: June 12, 2015, 12:12:47 PM »
I have to admit that I've been spoiled - my first "survivalist" book was "Alas Babylon", and I use that as the benchmark to judge any other genre  book that I read. (If you haven't read it yet, do so. It's one of the first post-apocalypse books written - late 50's/early 60's - and is a good reflection of the times; our fears of what could have happened. It's still available, in the library if nowhere else. It's really a good book.

If you want to turn me off to a book, here's how to do it: =Forget the tools of the trade - writing - like how to write dialogue, how to write a coherent sentence, how to spell.......=Don't bother to learn the characteristics of the tools or weapons you include - constantly using full auto, and shooting anyone or anything at every opportunity, or making thousand yard head shots with an M-1A, or never running low/out of ammo. Or making an 800 mile non-stop flight in a Huey.....=If you're going to write about the military, know how it really works, how military people really interact, officers/NCOs/enlisted: Watching R Lee Ermey reruns does not qualify you to get into the heads of a RED HORSE unit, for example. And speaking of which, there's more to the military than SpecOps, grunts, fighter pilots and wimpy REMFs. You may want to include a few of the "others" - like some combat engineers - to spice up a story....=Totally ignore (or get too hung up on) the spiritual side of survival. Beans, bullets, mouths and 'members' alone won't get you through a real SHTF situation, why tolerate it in what you are reading.

As I see it, survivalist/prepper books today are in the same stage as SF was in the 50's. There's a lot of poor stuff out there now, but maybe, just maybe the Prepper's Heinlein is just around the corner.

soup

Offline strangetanks

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #121 on: June 12, 2015, 12:53:45 PM »
The Martian was an awesome book.  2 thumbs up!

Offline The Professor

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #122 on: June 15, 2015, 09:49:19 AM »

I would however, love to read some books about someone who is a normal human, being completely creative, thoughtful and resourceful surviving something more realistic like a localized disaster.  Hell, why aren't there any books about people who survived the stupid stadium camp after Katrina?

Because such a book would be horribly boring.

Average, non-prepping people have survived such localized disasters.  Even in the worst-case scenarios, let's say a hurricane or tornado, all they have to do is get to either a Red Cross location or out of the area to a hotel paid for by their insurance, or even go find some relatives to stay with until it's over.

The average person can survive a short-term "disaster."  It's happened many times before.  Scenarios such as the aforementioned tornadoes and hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. happen frequently.  To me, a book or novel becomes entertaining when what's happening is beyond the normal.  Extraordinary conditions overcome by someone special.

Let's take any EMP scenario, for example.    Write a book about a non-prepper who doesn't understand even the most basic rules of water purification.  Hell, that'd be over in 3-5 days as he slowly dies from dysentery.  Lock him inside his home?  I don't know many authors who could make cooking over a fire in the back yard exciting enough to charge a few dollars for the book.

There is one book, however, that does an interesting twist on the average-guy/duck-out-of-water disaster scenario.    It's called Survivor: A Modern Adventure by Robert "Steele" Grey.

(A quick aside: when I write a book, I'm going to have to use a over-the-top nom-de-plume. . .something like Lance Magnus or Rod Steel or give myself a heavily-testosterone-laden nickname like William "Jackhammer" Armstrong or Alexander "The Scimitar" Rockman.  I love some of these survivalist-authors' pen-names.)

In Survivor: A Modern Adventure, the MC is someone I'd characterize as a modern-day, 40-something tech dude, probably who spends half his day playin World of Warcraft.  He goes outside one night and KERWHACK!  . . . . a lightning bolt hits him and sends him back something like 10,000 years into the past.  With no tools or technology at his disposal, he has to figure out how to survive.  It's been a few years since I've read it, but I seem to remember that it was a surprisingly good book.

IIRC, One Second After was also along the same lines with the main character not being a prepper, just someone with good sense dealing with the aftermath of an EMP.

But, in both situations, the disaster was much more than localized.  If you make the disaster too small, then the solutions are almost too simple and unexciting.

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Online FreeLancer

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #123 on: June 15, 2015, 01:50:19 PM »
(A quick aside: when I write a book, I'm going to have to use a over-the-top nom-de-plume. . .something like Lance Magnus or Rod Steel or give myself a heavily-testosterone-laden nickname like William "Jackhammer" Armstrong or Alexander "The Scimitar" Rockman.  I love some of these survivalist-authors' pen-names.)

Prepper porn?

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #124 on: June 15, 2015, 03:41:55 PM »
Have you read World Made By Hand, Strangetanks?  Might be worth picking up. Best character development and writing you'll find in the genre.

Offline DrewfromOZ

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #125 on: October 28, 2015, 06:21:13 AM »
  I'd like to see a trailer of Mad Max tearing across the wasteland with Ryan Cawdor standing on the hood, beheading the mutant hordes with his parang, Christy Wroth reloading in the back seat, the Survivalist on his Harley, doing "double taps" with his Detonics, the Guardians rolling over bad guys, etc. etc. Those were the good old days.
OHHHHHHHH YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

I started reading a sample of a prepper fiction book recently, on Amazon.....I was about 3 sentences into it when I read "President Barry Soetero......"
and thought, yeah, I know where this is going.

1 click buy? nope, 1 click, exit, stage left......

So much of modern prepper fiction seems to have been inspired by Panic in the Year Zero, from around 62?
I also often wonder if Kurt Saxon has persisted as an evil daemon who possesses writers and makes them generate insane fiction.... :D

I love the early British stuff, written in the 50s and 60s. Day of the Triffids, Death of Grass, Wrinkle in the Skin.....

Omega, by Stewart Farrar from 1980, leans a little more into Wicca, but still one of the best descriptions of .Gov picking a minority(witches) and blaming them for all societies ills.  A great bug out description, as realistic I suppose as that in The Death of Grass, where everything goes to hell in Britain after a virus kills all grasses and grains...
If you like crossovers, check this trailer out- Fury Road crossed with Star Wars.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj1P1eEZRtY

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #126 on: October 28, 2015, 06:29:46 AM »
The Mad Max / Star Wars vid was awesome.

Offline SuburbanGardener

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #127 on: October 28, 2015, 07:10:30 PM »
I'm actually reading "Island in the Sea of Time" right now and loving it! But "Dies the Fire" didn't impress me in the sample I read, and from the reviews I saw, I thought the Wiccaness would get old for me.

I'll make sure it keep it close at hand ;)

I wouldn't class "Dies the Fire" as Prepper/Survivalist.  It is SF/Fantasy that uses TEOTWAWKI as a plot hook.  If you follow the series beyond the first book, you can see that it is a typical "what if" look of how society might develop after the end of the world.  Of course, the reasons that civilization falls is pure fiction.    ;)

Offline Biscuits and Gravy

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #128 on: October 29, 2015, 07:06:05 AM »
I digest a lot of prepper fiction.  I think with any prepper fiction its almost like buffets and you usually take the good and bad when sifting through them.  I do like the explosion of fiction on this area and Amazon's self-publishing though.  Kindle is great as you can find so much of the genre, typically in the 3 to 5 dollar range.  You want to know how to get a big collection going?  Get your retired mother-in-law hooked on the genre.  There will be several new books sitting in there every week.

I think the "how-to" prepper fiction was really a product of the 90's and was readable, but overall boring to me.  But when that's all you have, you read it.  Much like the early superhero movies, they were horrible, but what else was there?  Its funny how Patriots is the book that everyone has read that supposedly everyone hates.  I would say some prepper fiction comes from a point of proselyting and therefore you get more gear than necessary and less character development.  I think with any prepper fiction you have a lot of archetypes - the reluctant hero, the billy badass, the grizzled old retired sergeant, the wife that is a nurse crops up a lot too. 

I am not sure why everyone fawns over "One Second After."  It was OK, but I don't think it stood out much more than some of the other EMP books.

But having said all that, I do have a stinker list:

Survival by Ken Benton.  I give it four bleh's and a meh

The last 299 Day's book the 43 Colonels.  This is why I like to stay down in the cheaper range for prepper fiction. 10 bucks for this?

There are others that go from the crazy deus ex machina of winning the lottery before a meteor strike: Darrell Maloney's Final Dawn or the uber prepared billy badass families in Thomas Watson's Blue Plague series.  These are so far out there that it is hard to suspend belief.  It always nags me when I read through them.


Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #129 on: October 29, 2015, 07:34:10 AM »
I am not sure why everyone fawns over "One Second After."  It was OK, but I don't think it stood out much more than some of the other EMP books.

I personally don't fawn over it but the strengths of the book from the standpoint of handing a book to a person who may be interested in prepping include that the protagonist is not a prepper (easier for non-preppers to identify with), it is published by a mainline publisher and is relatively easy to find (it is easier to convince people it is not a fringe book when you can walk someone into a regular bookstore and point to it), and for a book with an odd number of grammer errors and clunky writing for a big publisher it is still edited better than many (though not all) prepper fiction works.  It feels more like a "real" book, whatever that means, than many specialist prepper novels.

I recommend it to non-preppers that may be interested in prepping and need a hard shove but I think will not be turned off to the topic of prepping by the harshness of certain plot elements.  I also have used it with a couple of friends that detest e-pubs and independently published books. 

Its big weakness to me is that it is a big time "scare" book.  While a certain amount of scare is inherent in any prepper work, I think a book that focuses on the positive sides of prepping, especially in minor emergencies.  Andrew Baze's ham radio-centric works The Road Home and The Day After are useful in that they show a large but local disaster (earthquake in Washington state).  It is a book where an individual can get prepared for that scenario in a reasonable way.  A lot of uber preppers will not survive the world of One Second After. Another aspect of the Baze earthquake series that I like is that while there is some violence in it, it is not confronting potential new preppers with insurrection/revolution/gurrilla warfare scenarios or the prospects of completely new political orders.

Offline Biscuits and Gravy

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #130 on: October 29, 2015, 12:49:15 PM »
Quote
personally don't fawn over it but the strengths of the book from the standpoint of handing a book to a person who may be interested in prepping include that the protagonist is not a prepper (easier for non-preppers to identify with), it is published by a mainline publisher and is relatively easy to find (it is easier to convince people it is not a fringe book when you can walk someone into a regular bookstore and point to it), and for a book with an odd number of grammer errors and clunky writing for a big publisher it is still edited better than many (though not all) prepper fiction works.  It feels more like a "real" book, whatever that means, than many specialist prepper novels.

I can see that Chemsoldier.  Where he does succeed is some of the emotional scenes and character interactions.  It is one of the few print prepper/apoc books that I bought before moving to the kindle.  I think your idea here of using fiction is good for non-preppers.  I typically approach that more with the gardening/financial stability side and hadn't thought about it that way.  In thinking about it, I am fairly insulated around me with people that think about some form of prepping or another.  Maybe I need to increase my interactions!  I will have to check out your recommendations on those other books.

One thing that does bug me about prepper fiction is the large amount of typo errors.  Let someone or several people review it!

Offline ag2

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #131 on: December 03, 2015, 09:48:04 PM »

In Survivor: A Modern Adventure, the MC is someone I'd characterize as a modern-day, 40-something tech dude, probably who spends half his day playin World of Warcraft.  He goes outside one night and KERWHACK!  . . . . a lightning bolt hits him and sends him back something like 10,000 years into the past.  With no tools or technology at his disposal, he has to figure out how to survive.  It's been a few years since I've read it, but I seem to remember that it was a surprisingly good book.

The Professor

I picked it up. I read it.  I loved it!  I will probably read it again in a few years.  Really, really liked it.  The lightning bolt time travel premise was, of course, far fetched, but it was something that hadn't been done before, and the author did great. He definitely knew his subject matter very well.

Offline CoralRives

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #132 on: November 02, 2017, 06:09:10 AM »

There is one book, however, that does an interesting twist on the average-guy/duck-out-of-water disaster scenario.    It's called Survivor: A Modern Adventure by Robert "Steele" Grey.

I got this book, used off Amazon.  It came today and it was a copy from the Houston Library.  It had an inscription by the author and his signature in the front.  Just thought that was kinda cool...

Offline Special K

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #133 on: November 02, 2017, 10:50:41 AM »
I really liked "One Second After". One scene in the book takes place during a local town government meeting where the town doctor explains the "die off". It was an absolute eye opener to me as I had simply never thought about it before, the order in which people die after a nation-wide disaster. Another example was the town hippie with his EMP-free antique VW Bus becoming the town's defacto delivery and ambulance service.

Note: The die off sequence has been edited out of the current OSA Wikipedia page. I found it using the Internet Archive's "Way Back Machine" page capture site. Here is the relevant wiki entry in it's entirety:

Quote
The book's premise sets the stage for a series of "die-offs". The first takes place within a week (those in hospitals and assisted living). After about 15 days, salmonella induced Typhoid fever and cholera set in from eating tainted food, drinking tainted water, and generally poor sanitation. Americans have lived in an environment of easy hygiene, sterilization, and antibiotics, making them prime targets for third-world diseases. The lack of bathing and poor diet will lead to rampant feminine hygiene infections; deep cuts, rusty nail punctures, and dog bites go untreated with antibiotics, tetanus shots, or rabies treatment as more die from common infections.

Critical medical supply and food thieves and others are executed in public as enforcement of martial law. In 30 days cardiac and other drug-dependent patients die off. In 60 or so days, the pacemaker and Type I diabetics patients begin to die off (although John's young daughter manages to survive until Day 163). The 5% of population having severe psychotic disorders that no longer have medication will re-create bedlam. Jury-rigged wood-burning stoves lead to carbon monoxide deaths and fires that cannot be controlled for the lack of a fire department.

Then refugees from the cities show up looking for food and shelter and the fight over scarce resources leads to confrontation, home invasion, and more violence-related die-offs. The community becomes an inviting target for free prisoners and organized gangs and more violence-related die-off. Ration cards are issued to conserve the little remaining food; regardless, the community slowly starves with the elderly the first to die off. Next parents starve themselves to save their children. Throughout this period suicides are common. After a year, approximately 20% of the initial population has "survived".

This was the "average" die-off for the country. Food-rich Iowa had the highest survival rate with a 50% die-off. New York City and Florida had a 95% die-off from its infighting among their large populations, low levels of cultivated land, high elderly population, the lack of air conditioning, rampant transmission of disease, and natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Taken from the following link:
https://web.archive.org/web/20111012003731/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Second_After#Die-off_sequence

The "299 Days" series was very good right up until the end of the series. It seemed like the last book or two were written solely to squeeze the remaining droplets out of the money sponge.

"The Survivalist Series" by A. (Angry) American had it's ups and down's, it's "neat! that'd work for sure" moments and it's "really?!?!? who in the hell could be THAT prepared?!?!?" moments as well. I had to struggle to stay with series when the FEMA camps inevitably arrived. Having personally worked with FEMA twice in major disasters they couldn't setup and run an escape proof resistant interment camp anymore than I could build a spaceship to take me to the moon. FEMA Camps? Hell, in real life they can't even get water distribution right!

In each book I've referenced above, "OSA", "299 Days" and "The Survivalist", I've noticed something curious. In my mind I've routinely found myself drifting into, and mentally wandering the streets and locations of each story, all of my senses in full record mode, looking around, thinking 'what if this' and 'would I do?' even going so far as to constructing detailed mental visuals of key locations, in the following example, Grant's "299 Days" lakeside retreat and the Grange Hall in the nearby town.

In MY mind the lakeside retreat is of typical 1950's construction, well maintained, tall windows and painted a hideous yellow in color. The floors don't creak because of the local humidity preventing the wood from drying out. The lower level "arms room" is chilly, damp, musty smelling and covered in cobwebs with only a single bare light bulb to illuminate it with.

Mentally I never felt at ease at Grant's retreat as I always found some tension in the air at the house. Exactly the opposite I found much warmth and welcoming at The Grange Hall where the community kitchen/meeting hall is run out of is a flat roofed cinder block almost bunker-like building, tall for a one-story building, with small operable screened vent windows set within larger glass-block windows, painted a sun worn light blue, windowless double gray steel doors on the front and a spring-closed wooden-framed screen door covering a single gray steel door with a small window located in the back by the kitchen , the hall itself is situated in the middle of a dusty undefined edge-less pot-holed gray dirt parking lot almost surrounded by tall trees and it sits at the Southwest corner of a t-intersection with the main road running North-South and the side road running to the West. Curiously there is an absolute lack of signage on the building or property. Why should there be? Everyone who lives in the area already knows what it is.

I think good writing should allow for the easy transport of the reader's mind into the story.

Offline archer

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #134 on: November 02, 2017, 12:19:31 PM »
In each book I've referenced above, "OSA", "299 Days" and "The Survivalist", I've noticed something curious. In my mind I've routinely found myself drifting into, and mentally wandering the streets and locations of each story, all of my senses in full record mode, looking around, thinking 'what if this' and 'would I do?' even going so far as to constructing detailed mental visuals of key locations, in the following example, Grant's "299 Days" lakeside retreat and the Grange Hall in the nearby town.

In MY mind the lakeside retreat is of typical 1950's construction, well maintained, tall windows and painted a hideous yellow in color. The floors don't creak because of the local humidity preventing the wood from drying out. The lower level "arms room" is chilly, damp, musty smelling and covered in cobwebs with only a single bare light bulb to illuminate it with.

I've stayed in the retreat in '299 Days'. The arms room below was a little more cleaned up than that when i was there a few years ago.... But the house is nice.

Offline Special K

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Re: Worst survivalist/prepper books?
« Reply #135 on: November 02, 2017, 01:46:49 PM »
I've stayed in the retreat in '299 Days'. The arms room below was a little more cleaned up than that when i was there a few years ago.... But the house is nice.

While I was wandering around down there (in my mind) I found a broom and cleaned it up. YOU'RE WELCOME!!!  >:(  ::)