Author Topic: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]  (Read 25358 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Apologies for forgetting the book's title.  Hopefully the thread title has been updated.

In any case, this is the thread for questions, comments and speculation about book 5 of the series.

*smurfhunter: I put the title of the book into the thread title.  Thanks for doing this.  - "Glen," who has magical moderator powers to edit titles of threads.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2013, 05:38:28 AM by Heavy G »

Offline aguyinky

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 hey i don't post much but i got the 1st 4 for Christmas and ran thru em by middle of February. i am really looking forward to book 5. great job Mr. Tate ;)

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2013, 05:41:51 AM »
You guys are gonna love Book Five.  I had an epiphany during the editing process and we put it into the published version.

Also, the original version of Book Five was pretty short and we wanted to give people more for their money.  So we moved quite a few chapters from the old Book Six into Book Five and adjusted the time line accordingly (which is why it took longer to publish Book Five).

I won't spoil what the epiphany was.  You'll have to try to find it.  I might describe the epiphany on my next interview with Jack, which is in early April.

Thanks for reading the series.  I seriously appreciate each person who takes their valuable time to spend reading my deepest thoughts.

"Glen"

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2013, 06:48:53 AM »
Book Five is out in paperback, Kindle, and Nook: http://299days.com/book-five-released/

Offline cheryl1

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 11:50:20 AM »
Again, my only complaint is that it's too short. I want good books to go on forever:)

Offline Mark54

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2013, 02:09:46 PM »
Finished Book 5:  Like the new direction of the storyline... Like others I concur that this book (as well as the entire Series) is simply too short.  While it's a very nice read, I don't consider the series a great value. If one was tight on money, there are several other series I'd recommend over this one based on the value issue.  (Going Home comes to mind - longer books with better prices).

Technically I had the same problem I have with so many "prepper fiction" books - the copy editing sucks.  Many misspellings, and editing failures.  (I used to be an editor of a magazine.) 

The one that really caught me in this book was a mistake that totally changes the point of the quoted sentence from the Declaration of Independence.  When grant remembers the DOI, he remembers "Lives, fortunes, and scared honor."  The word is sacred, not scared.  A simple mistake yes, but goes to the heart of why such self-published works need finishing. 

With all the interest in the 299 days series, I'd imagine it would pretty easy to find a dozen people here willing to sign an NDA and trade their copy editing for an advanced peek at what's coming up.  (I know I would.)  The net effect should be a much more professional product.

My 2 cents.

Mark

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 02:16:21 PM »
I finished the other day.

The writing and story both continue to improve.  I paid closer attention to the hypothetical aspects of the collapse.  Specifically which government or business services remain in place.  Some of those, like reduced law enforcement make sense.  Some of the black market bartering I had to accept on faith.

That brings up a small complaint I have.  We hear from the author "this shit is real", but clearly the sequence of events are not (yet?) real.  There's a vast difference between a character being real, and a future event being promised.  The books are somewhat instructional with regards to prepping and managing social situations.  In the first couple books I made paper notes of preps to buy, and how to implement certain steps.  Then I caught myself doing the same in books 4 and 5, but had to stop and remember it's basically sci-fi at this point.  The case of yellow spray paint ultimately didn't remain my shopping cart  :(

I am curious to see how SF Ted and the new group will develop in the story.  I've read competing theories on how such a resistence movement (starting with Snelling and crew) might play out.

Did you refer to other work in this genre for the special forces story line?

Here are some rather dark "patriot" books I've read in the past couple years that feature some form asymmetrical guerilla war between patriots and loyalists:

http://www.amazon.com/Unintended-Consequences-John-Ross/dp/1888118059/

http://www.amazon.com/Enemies-Foreign-Domestic-Matthew-Bracken/dp/0972831010/

http://www.amazon.com/The-Gods-of-Color-ebook/dp/B004H4XC32/

I think Bracken's analysis of the military chain of command during a collapse is very detailed.  There are clearly loyalist "yes men" commanders, more agnostic ones and full on rebels.   What I learned was, there's a big difference between an oath keeper refusing an unconsitutional order compared to a general telling the sec-def to pound sand while nukes are aimed at DC.

Offline bigjim71

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 02:50:52 PM »
I have been waiting for this since christmas time .... just went and bought it as soon as I saw your thread but If there is a spoiler .... I aint reading it... lol

Offline MTUCache

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2013, 03:38:15 PM »
About 2/3 of the way through Book 5 at this point.

Story-line wise? I don't have any real feedback to this point. I haven't read the part where SF Ted comes in, but it doesn't really feel like we've moved the narrative anywhere in this book. The raid/trial were necessary to show the rest of the community getting over their normalcy bias, but the rest of it is just political gamesmanship by the narrator... frankly, not enough action to fill the book.


I'll echo the other opinion and just say that this was too short to be a good value. I appreciate the fact that it had to be split up into many different volumes in order to get published in the timeframe you and your publisher wanted, but at the rate we're going this is going to end up what would be a 2 or 3 novel series that's going to cost $100+ to read. I'm willing to do that, if for no other reason than to support the author and the message, but I wouldn't expect to be buying over many converts with this if they're seeing that kind of price tag. Anyone who doesn't immediately identify with Grant in the first two books is going to find something else to do with their money.

Heavy G, I'm loving the series, and I'm excited for it to continue... don't take any of these criticisms too heavily. Writing a story this size is an effort that I can't even imagine, and even if a bunch of spelling errors and minor errors ended up in the published version, it's still something to be very proud of. Who knows... if we can get this thing into the hands of enough people that some bigger publisher wants to buy out the rights to it, you may end up with a chance to get all sorts of editors and "consultants" to help you out with it for round 2. Maybe even some illustrators.  ;D

Hell, the way this story could inspire spin-offs within the same time-line, I may have to write some fan-fic about what's going on in other parts of the country.  :P

Offline Ken325

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2013, 12:11:30 AM »
I really liked the book and I like the new direction.  I also wish it was longer or less expensive but you have me hooked and I can't wait for the next one.  The SF story line is very interesting.

One thing that I sort of worry about is Amazon selling my name as someone who bought this book.  I think that if the federal government starts to throw out the Constitution and do some of the things that were done in the book then it would be time for a revolution.  The problem is I don't want to be on someones list.  These books really made me think about things like who I am Facebook friends with.  A lot of interesting ideas in the books. 

Offline Mark54

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2013, 05:55:17 AM »
...One thing that I sort of worry about is Amazon selling my name as someone who bought this book... The problem is I don't want to be on someones list.

Well, at least you know you have a flag available, as Heavy-G will "disappear" before anyone comes for you.  ;)


Offline bob3

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 11:10:39 AM »
The thread title includes Spoiler Alert and I'll echo that here -- since this post is intended for people who've read it, I'm going to give something away.  Nothing huge, but definitely spoilery.

I had a hard time with Grant's conversion to (spoiler, told you) agreeing to kill Snellen.  He got control over his emotions enough to just barely restrain himself with the pedophile.  Logically, Snellen could be a larger threat, but his social development was still centered on individual rights.  When SF Ted pressed, Grant seemed to cave too quickly.  "Oh, there's a WAR?  Then okay."  Also, the way written, it seemed a large part of this decision was based on his belief that the Team would lose respect for him if he didn't agree to go kill the guy.  This small plot point my play out differently and make my criticism moot, but it seemed like a large out of character moment.  I understand the utility of using this quick conversion to illustrate the final abandonment of Grant's own normalcy bias, the ultimate "we ain't in Kansas anymore" moment, but I wasn't sold.

I enjoy this, though I echo the sentiment of those doing the dollars-per-word count and realizing it's a lot of money.  But I'm still buying.  Some if it is obviously an outlet for someone who's done a lot of thinking about this scenario, and is glad to have an outlet to express that thought, even at the expense of the narrative.  Frankly, I'm fine with that, too, because if I want very well-crafted story I'll go get a Jack Reacher novel; I value this for it's predictive value, and a "future history" needs some exposition. 

My biggest problem?  I read cool "fiction" like this to escape and enjoy.  As Cyprus steals accounts, the second amendment gets attacked, and other real life events echo the series, its escape value is getting smaller!!

Thanks, Heavy G.

Offline MTUCache

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2013, 11:23:52 AM »
When SF Ted pressed, Grant seemed to cave too quickly.  "Oh, there's a WAR?  Then okay."  Also, the way written, it seemed a large part of this decision was based on his belief that the Team would lose respect for him if he didn't agree to go kill the guy.  This small plot point my play out differently and make my criticism moot, but it seemed like a large out of character moment.
Agree, it did seem like he rolled over pretty quickly... but as Heavy G has said many times, Grant isn't perfect. He's not a hero all the time, and he's going to make plenty of big and little mistakes along the way.

Frankly, this book was the second time in the series when I really felt like I might dislike Grant if I knew him in real life (the first being when he left his family in... Book 2?...) . Most of the time you're getting into the story by putting yourself in his shoes, but as hard as these decisions are that he's making... I just couldn't do the same thing he's done.

I don't know how the rest of you felt about the courtroom drama and the legal proceedings, but I honestly think I would have been closer to Snelling's side than Grant's. I'm okay with the raid, that had to be done, and once they found out what had been going on it was obvious that they had to do something. But I can't get my head into a spot where I would be okay with executing somebody.... I don't know if it would have been as effective, but I think I would have pushed hard to have these criminals driven to the nearest Loyalist town and dropped off with whatever authorities are there, or taken out into the woods dozens of miles from anywhere (or off on an island in the Sound) and dropped off with nothing so nature could take care of it. Maybe that makes me a softy, but I don't think I could get my head there.

Likewise, at the end, when he agreed to ditch his family again. Maybe I don't have what it takes to be a true "patriot" in that sense of the word, but I wouldn't be willing to leave my family after I had done as much work as he has to ensure their safety. I get that he's not 100% secure where he's at, and there is lots of work left to be done... but at my center I'm ten times more interested in enjoying the rest of my life with my family than in the political and military goals that he's now signed up for. I know somebody has to do that job... and there might have been a time when I was ready to get in that line. But not now... I've got people who's lives are depending on me. People who are more important than me. I don't get to pick and choose what I sacrifice my life for now, no matter how noble that other cause may be.

Offline Serenity Gulch

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2013, 01:56:52 PM »
IMO this book was nothing but fluff and filler. When longer and better-written ebooks (such as Going Home or Wool) can be found on Amazon for under $4 it doesn't make any sense to continue paying twice that much for this series. At this point I really don't care what happens next.

I share the complaints listed above so I won't repeat them here, but one that hasn't been mentioned yet is the 'outside voice'. I just sigh and roll my eyes every time it pops up. Are we to believe that Grant is some sort of modern-day Moses getting ready to lead his people out of the collapse? As preppers we have a hard enough time convincing people we're not crazy, and now in this prepper series the main character is hearing voices. Not the sort of thing I would pass along to my non-prepping family members to get them to change their minds.

Offline bigjim71

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 08:12:59 PM »
So far realy digging the book.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2013, 11:07:27 AM »
I'm hopeful that Grant's moral compromises will eventually have consequences, otherwise the narrative will lose some authenticity.

He wasn't beholden to SF Ted.  Even if his best friend or brother came by and said "you're with us or against us", that might be B.S.  A man can have his own integrity and need not cave to peer pressure.   Perhaps the character development will follow King David:  starts out as a chosen hero of the people, gets complacent, commits horrible selfish sins, then ultimately reprents.

Maybe there's some slick Machiavelian way to "use" Snelling?

Regarding the "outside voice", my guess if that HG is trying to present the Holy Spirit (as most Christians understand it) to a secular audience.  I won't digress into spirituality much, except to say different individuals have different ways of relating to a higher power.  Many pray and "hear" answers in various ways.  If the story explicitly had Grant bowing his head and praying to Jesus, I personally know some folks who would use that to dismiss the story and possibly stop reading at that point.

Offline Hypax

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2013, 10:36:12 AM »
I enjoy the story line so far over all.
I do agree with the price / size issue raised above. 9 bucks for the nook version was way to much. While I will await the next book, I will also be looking to reviews as to length.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2013, 04:33:24 PM »
Regarding the "outside voice", my guess if that HG is trying to present the Holy Spirit (as most Christians understand it) to a secular audience.  I won't digress into spirituality much, except to say different individuals have different ways of relating to a higher power.  Many pray and "hear" answers in various ways.  If the story explicitly had Grant bowing his head and praying to Jesus, I personally know some folks who would use that to dismiss the story and possibly stop reading at that point.
Or Grant's just a nutter   :P

Its no worse than most prepper fiction and I know G through the forum and interviews so I am more than happy to spend the money on the product.  From Grant starting to prep to shortly after May Day the story was really interesting and a good intro to prepping for those who are not into prepping yet.  My mother really enjoyed it.  After that point it is no worse than other prepper fiction and better than many.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2013, 05:30:28 PM »
I'm hopeful that Grant's moral compromises will eventually have consequences, otherwise the narrative will lose some authenticity.

I think there was a hint of that covered in chapter one of book one.

Offline 4bull

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2013, 09:58:05 PM »
Book 5 came in the mail on Friday just as my wife finished book 4 .
So I haven't seen it yet . Im not to happy about this .
She did say she didn't like the first couple of chapters ?
I cant wait to find out .. She is only a third of the way through it.

Offline Mexican_Hippie

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Re: 299 Days: The Visitors (Book Five) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2013, 09:14:05 AM »
Read the day I got it on the Kindle.

Edit quality isn't as good as it could be (e.g. mis-spellings), but it didn't detract from the story for me.  Cheaper than a movie and a better experience.  Can't wait for book six.

From a story line perspective I gotta agree with MTUCache.  Leaving his family behind in book 2 just left me wondering about his character.  No way, no how, would a man leave behind his children in a dangerous situation to fend for themselves.  The wife is an adult and can make those decisions for herself