Author Topic: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]  (Read 52931 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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A bit of humor before the "real" thread starts...

In the scene where Mrs. Ngyuen asks Pow and his friends for help, he's referred to as his full name "William Kung".  For whatever ridiculous reason I remembered this dude: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_hung 

Hopefully this struck someone else as amusing and I haven't lost all credibility by sharing how my twisted mind can work.

Offline hedgewitch

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2012, 11:48:02 AM »
Loved the second book as much as the first it was just to short i ran out of book, can't wait till the others come out

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2012, 03:18:05 PM »
Loved the second book as much as the first it was just to short i ran out of book, can't wait till the others come out

I kind of felt the same -- the book flew by. But my reflection is that of course it would feel that way -- The Preparation covered, what, 45 years, and the Collapse covers about two weeks.

That said...how fast a read The Collapse is just made it all the more disappointing that Book 3 won't be around for another couple months. Ah, well.

Offline Grannywhiskers

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2012, 03:23:08 PM »
Enjoyed both books!

Offline Jeff NH

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2012, 05:24:51 PM »
Both were fun reads. Makes me really want a cabin :)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2012, 06:29:14 PM »
The only weird part of this book I couldn't reconcile was Lisa.  I understand the normalcy bias and the mechanics of all that, but the introspection of her internal thoughts a little awkward.

This is difficult to articulate, but wondering if anyone else had similar thoughts about Lisa's character?

Offline Jeff NH

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2012, 07:45:56 PM »
The only weird part of this book I couldn't reconcile was Lisa.  I understand the normalcy bias and the mechanics of all that, but the introspection of her internal thoughts a little awkward.

This is difficult to articulate, but wondering if anyone else had similar thoughts about Lisa's character?

Yes. It sure seemed to me that it was taken too far and, leaving the kids because the wife would not leave was also hard to take/believe.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2012, 07:43:04 AM »

Yes. It sure seemed to me that it was taken too far and, leaving the kids because the wife would not leave was also hard to take/believe.


The outside thought tells him to go and that everything will be OK.

Offline idelphic

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 08:11:22 AM »
Man am I behind... I haven't gotten book one yet....soon..very soon...

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2012, 01:26:27 PM »
Here are my predictions for the next several chapters (starting with book 3)...

1) Too many people show up at the cabin.
a) Matsons (4) + Lisa's parents (2) + chip (1) + team (4) + extras (WAB peeps/Jeanie?).  How many of us have primary houses big enough, let alone a "cabin" ?
b) this throws off Grant's planning

2) Nancy Ringman continues stirring up trouble
a) some aspect of OPSEC was compromised/overlooked
b) the breadth of the POI alert on Grant increases

3) Someone that Grant trusted turns on him

Offline Griz

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2012, 01:52:16 PM »
Just finished book 2, don't want to wait a couple months to read book 3..... :(  Anyway, each book took me a day each to read, could not put down once started.  Also, has made me kick myself in the arse to get back into prepping more.  Thanks for the push "Glen Tate"!

Offline Jeff NH

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2012, 07:38:49 PM »
The outside thought tells him to go and that everything will be OK.

Yes, that is true but Jack is not Yoda and neither is our outside voice. There are some things you don't leave to the hunch. The outside voice can help one decide between purchasing two seemingly equal pieces of property but leaving your kids without (real) protection with a mother who is as out of touch as the author makes her is NOT something to leave up to a Ouija board.

Of course it is just a book and I don't want to over state the impact of this sequence but I can say it was one of the areas that I did not enjoy.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2012, 09:29:00 PM »

Here are my predictions for the next several chapters (starting with book 3)...

1) Too many people show up at the cabin.
a) Matsons (4) + Lisa's parents (2) + chip (1) + team (4) + extras (WAB peeps/Jeanie?).  How many of us have primary houses big enough, let alone a "cabin" ?
b) this throws off Grant's planning

2) Nancy Ringman continues stirring up trouble
a) some aspect of OPSEC was compromised/overlooked
b) the breadth of the POI alert on Grant increases

3) Someone that Grant trusted turns on him


Some of your predictions are right and others... well, you'll really love Book Three.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2012, 09:31:07 PM »

Yes, that is true but Jack is not Yoda and neither is our outside voice. There are some things you don't leave to the hunch. The outside voice can help one decide between purchasing two seemingly equal pieces of property but leaving your kids without (real) protection with a mother who is as out of touch as the author makes her is NOT something to leave up to a Ouija board.

Of course it is just a book and I don't want to over state the impact of this sequence but I can say it was one of the areas that I did not enjoy.


You've only seen 2/10ths (two out of ten books) of the outside thought.  You will see in later books why Grant left his family after the outside thought told him to.

Offline Jeff NH

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2012, 05:10:17 AM »
You've only seen 2/10ths (two out of ten books) of the outside thought.  You will see in later books why Grant left his family after the outside thought told him to.


I'll make you a deal, release all the books this weekend so I can buy them and get back to reading and I'll let you off the hook  ;)

Offline DrJohn

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2012, 06:02:33 PM »
Just for the record: I feel like knocking Lisa over the head and dragging her to the cabin, screaming if necessary. 

Thanks G for manipulating me this way!  :P

Offline PrepperJim

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2012, 09:29:20 PM »
I finished book two last night.

I liked this book more than book one. Of course, I must preface the evaluation with the realization that I am an action junky so book one was a little slow. I understand why book one had to be slow and still liked it. But, the collapse part of book two was far more entertaining.

I too, was bothered by Lisa's attitude that it was time to get the hell out. I really think that people would wake up faster than that. If my wife just killed three people protecting the neighborhood, I would know that it was time to go. That it took a crazy woman's attack on the children to convince Lisa was a stretch. But, OK...she finally was convinced.

I was expecting far more trouble heading to the cabin beyond $10 / gallon gas and a stalled car blocking the road. Pow and the Team had it too easy! ;-)


« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 05:47:51 AM by Heavy G »

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2012, 09:43:58 PM »
Unfortunately I know too many real life 'Lisa's'. I do think that a direct attack on her or her children, especially at her own home where she always felt safe regardless of what was going on 'out there' would do the trick for most of the 'Lisa's' I know.

Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2012, 12:07:15 AM »
I got home from work and found the books on my porch. I had also DL'd the kindle version of book 1 and finished it a few days ago, so I figured I would read a couple chapters of book 2, then get some stuff done around the house while my wife is out of town. Well, at about halfway through, I gave up on putting it down, and just finished it. This one felt pretty different to me. The first one seemed very analytical and, umm....biographical?  This one was much more like telling a story, and as was mentioned, it was a more fast-paced story. There is something still very organic about it though, and that is what made it so compelling. I honestly expected to hear sirens, and felt some real anxiety that there might be violence outside my door. It was an odd sensation. I hope it rings true with non-preppers/borderline preppers as well. Well done G. Can't wait for the next one!

Offline P_Coltrane

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2012, 05:15:16 AM »
I found it interesting that Lisa's ego and her need to be right were stronger than her desire for self preservation and protecting her family.

It was pretty good foreshadowing in the first book when Grant stated he had a gift for reading people and knowing how to get them to do what he needed.  With her personality, Grant had no choice but to leave her and the children behind.  She would have held a grudge and become more of a liability had he forced her to bug out.

Just as servicemen vow to protect against enemies foreign and domestic, Grant was protecting his family from both external and internal threats.

Anyway, being fiction, any or all of my opinions can be annihilated at the turn of the page . . .

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2012, 06:53:20 AM »

I finished book two last night.

I liked this book more than book one. Of course, I must preface the evaluation with the realization that I am an action junky so book one was a little slow. I understand why book one had to be slow and still liked it. But, the collapse part of book two was far more entertaining.


A good point, PrepperJim.  Yes, the action increases in each book.  A lot.  (You will enjoy looking back at Book One after you read Book Ten!)  I thought about releasing Book One and even Book Two in the middle of the series because I like to start things off with action.  But, the more I thought about it--and I did for about 2.5 years--the more I kept realizing that things that happen in Book One are necessary to explain what happens in successive books. 

This is especially true of Grant's personality; the things that shaped him are really important later on.  In fact, some of the things in Book Two and especially Book Three onward are almost unbelievable if you don't understand Grant's personality.  Conversely, by fully understanding Grant's personality the things in Book Three and onward make perfect sense.  The two best examples of this are Grant building up the community at Pierce Point and leading another group that you'll be reading about in a few books.  I truly think that the things that shaped Grant's personality (which are true; they shaped my personality) will make it not only possible but probable that he will successfully build up the community there and lead the other group.  You'll see what I'm talking about.

The necessity of understanding the characters' personality is also true of other characters; you need to know them before what they do later makes sense.  Take the Team, for example.  Knowing that they are "regular guys" who form up and humbly do their thing (and do it well, as we do in real life) makes it much more understandable that they will be the humble team you will see in Book Three and the following books.  The chapter about Mrs. Nguyen is a perfect example.  You need to know how these guys would treat Mrs. Nguyen to understand--and believe--how they will treat the people out at Pierce Point. 

Quote


I too, was bothered by Lisa's attitude that it was time to get the hell out. I really think that people would wake up faster than that. If my wife just killed three people protecting the neighborhood, I would know that it was time to go. That it took a crazy woman's attack on the children to convince Lisa was a stretch. But, OK...she finally was convinced.


I struggled with this.  Here is where I came down: the real Lisa would react as I depict her.  Now, that was true 2.5 years ago when I was forming the story in my mind.  My wife was terrible with normalcy bias back then.  I honestly think she would have reacted the way she does in the book--that's what makes the story believable because it was true at the time.  Now that she knows about the books and that I'm a prepper, she would react better than in the book.  In effect, writing a 3,200 page book series was my way of breaking her into the very "radical" idea (in her mind) that we need to prep and would need to bug out. 

Another reason why Lisa's normalcy bias is as strong as in the book is that lots of people will react exactly as she does.  I think most will.  I truly do.  Remember: you guys are preppers.  You are very active on a prepper forum; you are not exactly "average Americans."  When the collapse hits for real, you will be stunned at how some people react.  You will be saying, "Wow, that person was such a 'Lisa.'" 

Don't forget the effects of extreme stress.  Lisa is under tremendous pressure.  People react in amazingly different ways under stress. 

Yet another reason Lisa has such a strong case of normalacy bias is that it sets the stage for Book Three and beyond.  Her normalcy bias and others'--and how they approach the new reality of the collapse--is critical in future books.  You need to see it in Book One and Book Two before the future events make any sense.

As far as Nancy goes, I truly believe there are plenty of Nancys out there.  I work with them.  Seriously, you should meet the real Nancy.

In polite pre-collapse society, the Nancys of the world are smiling and even seemingly sweet people.  But they crave power and love to boss people around.  Currently, in pre-collapse society, they are bossing people around with interoffice memos.  When there are no more memos because no one is still going to their jobs, the Nancys will boss people around with the neighborhood meetings and... much more (as show in Book Three and beyond). 

Nancy being that mean was necessary, in my opinion, to wake people the hell up.  There are Nancys in your life and they seem nice now.  Watch out for the Nancys. 

I also think the Nancys, and the government supporting the Nancys, will finally take some action--for Lisa, it was hurting Cole--that finally get people with normalcy bias to snap out of it.  We preppers usually think the government will do something like fire on a crowd and that will wake people up.  I think the "wake-up" moment needs to be more personal for most people.  Seeing a crowd in another part of the country getting shot on TV won't be enough.  The sheeple need to see the government do something to them and their loved ones before they get it.

In a lot of ways, the Nancy-versus-Lisa fight is the clash of two worlds that we will see in the collapse.  Nancy is the world of power hungry people who are going wild because there is no one to stop them, which will definitely happen during the collapse.  Lisa is the world of normalcy bias, which will also definitely happen.  There is a clash--only one of the two versions of the world will survive and the other one will have to change.  Normalcy bias changed.   

Remember that Nancy is off her meds when she attacks Lisa.  Do not underestimate how people on mental meds will totally change when they're off their meds.  I wrote the Nancy chapter from her perspective so the impact of her being off her meds is underplayed because she would underplay it. 

Another reason Nancy is so awful in Book Two is that you are just getting the first few glimpses of her.  She has at least one chapter in every book, giving you a dispatch of what's going on from the perspective of a government-loving resident of Olympia.  What she's doing in Book Two is necessary for understanding her in--you guessed it--Book Three and beyond.  Wait until you see how Nancy is in Book Ten.  It's not exactly what you expect.  You'll look back at Book Two and say "Aha!" 

Quote

I was expecting far more trouble heading to the cabin beyond $10 / gallon gas and a stalled car blocking the road. Pow and the Team had it too easy! ;-)


The relatively smooth sailing on the way out to the cabin was a very conscious choice on my part.  In the partial collapse I foresee, there will be lots of expected gun fights that don't materialize.  In fact, in some upcoming books there are a couple of gun fights that don't happen and some unexpected ones that do.  That's how I see things going during the collapse: getting ready for things that don't happen and reacting to the unexpected. 

The $10 a gallon gas was deliberately anti-climatic to readers of pure prepper porn.  That price for gas isn't the end of the world (heck, we're almost halfway there now).  But that's the point: even when things seem to be totally collapsing in the eyes of preppers who understand what's happening, there are still lots of sheeple who just think it's a temporary blip.  Sure, gas is $10 a gallon right now, the sheeple will tell themselves, but the President will send out an executive order to get the price back down.  Dumb asses actually believe that.  So I think it's realistic that the spike in gas prices at the onset of the collapse will be staggered over time instead of the instant spike we preppers would expect.

Don't forget that gas station owners have normalcy too.  They won't be able to believe what's happening and will hesitate to charge $200 a gallon because they'll be worried that things will quickly return to normal and they will have alienated all their customers. 

The stalled car on the road is another example of a partial collapse and that 299 Days is not prepper porn with big gun fights at the drop of a hat.  I think stalled cars will be much, much more common than gun fights.  By a factor of 100 to 1. 

Also, and of vital importance, the stalled car shows you the personality of the Team: helping instead of killing.  This, like how they treat Mrs. Nguyen, show you how the Team will treat people at Pierce Point... and beyond.  In fact, the (real) Team and I have talked about how we handle situations like the stalled car.  The consensus was to help and not kill.  (But if we see one weapon even remotely pointed at us, the stalled car is swiss cheese a millisecond after Pow yells "Threat!")

You guys keep these observations and questions coming.  I love elaborating on things you guys notice.

Offline PrepperJim

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2012, 07:43:53 AM »


Another reason why Lisa's normalcy bias is as strong as in the book is that lots of people will react exactly as she does.  I think most will.  I truly do.  Remember: you guys are preppers.  You are very active on a prepper forum; you are not exactly "average Americans."  When the collapse hits for real, you will be stunned at how some people react.  You will be saying, "Wow, that person was such a 'Lisa.'" 

Don't forget the effects of extreme stress.  Lisa is under tremendous pressure.  People react in amazingly different ways under stress. 

Heavy G - You make excellent points here and in the parts that I cut out. Upon reflection, you are correct. I am totally underestimating the normalcy bias that is present in society. People fully expect things to take care of themselves and work themselves out. And, to be frank, I think I will have a much easier time convincing my wife to get the hell out than you will Lisa. Of course, we've both been "prepared" by Hurricane's Katrina, Rita and Ike for what can happen. But, I think that I will need to mentally prepare my wife to get the hell out Houston should a slow motion collapse happen. Not that we have anywhere to go other than to family 500+ miles away, but that is another problem....


Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2012, 09:29:33 AM »
Guys, I have a male "Nancy" in my office.  This guy is a petty tyrant who has the boss wrapped around his fingers.   He laughs and smiles constantly, but will plunge in a verbal dagger to the hilt.  He isn't exactly a hoplophobe like Nancy in the book (he hunts), but the prepper mindset is fairly foreign to him.

That guy is going to be trouble when TSHTF.  I have had a few run-ins with him, and the guy is dangerous.   If he only knew how many people in the office carry concealed...

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2012, 10:25:11 AM »

Heavy G - You make excellent points here and in the parts that I cut out. Upon reflection, you are correct.


It's not that I'm right.  The editors thought the same thing as you did, at first.  But they have the advantage of reading Book Three and beyond.  That answered many of their questions.

But if you only have Book One and Book Two, I can totally see why people would ask the same questions you did.

Offline Grannywhiskers

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2012, 10:45:46 AM »
Guys, lets cut Grant some slack.  When he left Lisa he knew the team was still in town!  He trusts his team (that was my thought at the time).  Also, what good would it have done his family if he had died? Lisa was not aware of the preps.  Manda was, but not Lisa.  Also, Grant had talked to Manda, trained Manda to help protect Lisa.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2012, 09:32:23 PM »

Guys, lets cut Grant some slack.  When he left Lisa he knew the team was still in town!  He trusts his team (that was my thought at the time).  Also, what good would it have done his family if he had died? Lisa was not aware of the preps.  Manda was, but not Lisa.  Also, Grant had talked to Manda, trained Manda to help protect Lisa.


Yep.  Grant had three choices: (1) stay in Olympia to be a good husband and probably get killed or go to jail, or (2) try to waive a gun in Lisa's face and force her to go to the cabin, or (3) just leave.  Number 3 makes the most sense, by far.

I'm serious when I say the theme songs help explain a chapter.  The theme song for the chapter where Grant leaves is "Note to Self: Don't Die" by Ryan Adams.  When he finally leaves, Grant is fed up with having to hid prepping from Lisa and he's not willing to die in Olympia just so she can feel like everything is OK.  The key line in the song is:

Note to self: don't change for anyone
Note to self: don't die
Note to self: don't change for anyone
Don't change, just lie

This means Grant isn't going to die for Lisa--at least not going to die just so Lisa can feel comfortable staying in Olympia.  Lisa's (temporary) sense of things being normal isn't worth dying. 

So Grant will not change the way he is just to die for no reason.  He will lie to her (by hiding his prepping) and do what he has to do.

Here is the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B69S_0g6NqY

Offline Dusti

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2012, 08:57:21 AM »
Just finished book two. Tried to spread it out, but had a very hard time putting it down. One of the things I loved about it was that I had to take notes while reading. I've been prepping for a while now, but there were some good ideas and points that I felt I needed to address in my own preps. Now I can't wait for the next books.
On a different note, I also connected with many of the issues with the state government. I too use to work for WA ST and way too familiar with the issues brought up. I still work very closely with the state and still see this. frustrating.
Way to go "Glen"! Looking forward to the next installment!

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2012, 09:44:41 AM »

there were some good ideas and points that I felt I needed to address in my own preps.


Awesome!  I was trying to convey some practical things without coming across like a prepping manual thinly disguised as a novel.  I think 299 Days is the other way around: a novel first and foremost, with some practical stuff in there too.

Quote

I too use to work for WA ST and way too familiar with the issues brought up. I still work very closely with the state and still see this. frustrating.


Dude, people outside Washington State--like those in the free parts of the country--are probably thinking, "There's no way Washington State is that left-wing and loopy."  You have validated that what I write about is frighteningly real.  You're not the first person who works in government on these issues and has validated it.   

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2012, 01:40:29 PM »
I really like the idea of $10, $200 gas or whatever it is going to be.  We live in a monetized world, and as long as money is accepted somewhere most things will have a value.  Even if no one takes currency, they will take something that they value.  Even in an economic collapse, economics doesnt stop, relative value just shifts tremendously and for many people it will shift tragically.

Great book, audio books my friend, audiobooks.

Offline Dadio

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Re: 299 Days: The Collapse (Book Two) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2012, 02:18:29 PM »
Hey, if you have a Nook or Kindle account, go in there are give the man some reviews!