One Second After is an eye opening fiction novel about the after affects of an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) detonation above the United States. Set in a rural community in Black Mountain, North Carolina, the novel follows the community for the year after the EMP.
The author, William Forstchen, does a splendid job breaking the year into significant time periods: the hours following, then days, then weeks, then months. The time frames depict a series of what should be call “die offs”. These periods are the most enlightening, as they accurately illustrate the fragility of our society, and the systems we rely for everyday survival. We often take the simplest resources for granted, and are completely unprepared once they are gone.
Within the first week, we can expect those who require hospitalization or assisted living to perish. The hospitals will no longer have power for life saving machines, and medication will have run out (or have been looted). Furthermore, the hospital will likely lack the manpower necessary to maintain the patients.
A few weeks later rotting and contaminated food and water will begin to kill off the population with common third world illnesses, such as cholera, and salmonella. Sanitation will suffer further escalating the transmission of disease.
With a month, those individuals who rely on prescription drugs will have exhausted their supply. Cardiac patients and Type I diabetics will be amongst this group. The approximately 5% of the population who regularly take anti-psychotic medication, will be left to their own psychosis and wonder free amongst a lawless society.
The remaining time periods will see the rise of Darwinism. The strong will survive. Civil unrest will become the norm, as gangs form and compete for the remaining resources. The main characters are left to form their own militia to defend the community. This will become a fulltime job, as defense will occupy most of their time and resources. Food is unbelievably scarce, as parents starve so their children can eat. Family pets find a place on the dinner table. Protein deficiencies become common with overhunting.
In the end, the county see’s a “die off” of 90% percent at the years end. The east coast is hardest hit at 95%, whereas the food-centric central plains only see 50% losses.
This tragic story is telling, and shows our country’s Achilles Heal. Power. Take our electricity away and 10% of us will remain. Yet, this little town in North Carolina, through resilience , unity and self-reliance, manage to survive over 20% of their population.
By giving us this bleak snapshot of America post EMP attack, we can begin to prepare. This future is not a certainty if our society can change their perception of reliance and begin to take responsibility for their own longevity. Self-reliance traverses all disasters and attacks. In the end, the 10% did not survive on accident.
Matt, an Independent American