Friday, September 20, 2013


It would be nice to write that I have accomplished something of significance in the last few days, but it wouldn't be true.   Other than working my way through the labyrinth of the state motor vehicle department to solve the "you can't have your cars in Ohio" issue,  I haven't done anything constructive.

For the most part, I have been sleeping and reading.  Mostly sleeping.  Why I have no idea, but one good thing about being retired is you can pretty much do what you want to do.  That includes sleeping all day.

I read  Lights Out  again.  Can't think how many times I've read it since it was released in book form back in 2010, but several times.

This book came out about the same time as the Deep Winter trilogy. The first book of  the Deep Winter series is so closely related to Lights Out that I have often wondered it the two authors were sharing ideas.  If  you liked Deep Winter, Shatter and Remnants you'll like Lights Out. Crawford started writing it as a serialized story, released in segments on the internet.  It got to be so popular that he was published and sales are still strong.

Lights Out  details the aftermath of an EMP event.  Crawford was not a professional writer, and if the book was edited the editor was not particularly good at his job.  Like a lot of survivalist fiction, you just have to be willing to put up with an unpolished final product in order to enjoy the book.  If basic grammatical errors drive you crazy, you'd be well advised to pass. However, in the survivalist genre, that would mean missing some of the very best books.

At the time this book started showing up on the net, a lot of basic tenets of the survivalist philosophy were being questioned, just as the same issues were being considered by the population at large.  Crawford tried to delve into these and to show a workable solution to what he considered to be inevitable societal changes, particularly in gender roles.  There were also tumultuous discussions going on about the place of government in an individual's life, what obligations people have to one another,  about the use of force in self defense,  and the nature of  the society that might replace the current system post collapse. There is a great deal of radical feminism in the book.  The writer tries to reconcile the views of extreme feminism with reality, and fails abysmally but you have to say at least he had the courage to tackle the subject.

As always when you are talking about survivalist authors, Crawford went to such pains to insulate himself from charges of sexism or racism that that there are inconsistencies and outright anomalous weaknesses in his plot.  His protagonists include heroic Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans while his villains are all brutish white motorcycle gangs or redneck thugs. You can hardly fault him for that.  It's a facet of American society now that people in positive role models as shown by the media are generally minorities, while those who are shown breaking into your house at night to steal your television are invariably white.  Statistics don't bear these portrayals out but political correctness makes it obligatory.  It's just something else you have to hold your nose and swallow if you want to learn from the book.

One thing you have to give the author,  he does know survivalism. If you read the book, it's loaded with useful information on how to do things, how to build things, how to solve problems.  Not just philosophical things but hard facts, such as how to put in a windmill to pump water.

The fact that I've read it  more than once is the best endorsement I can give it.  I'm sure it's still available free on line, but the book is not expensive.(I've since been told it's not available on line for free now)   I know a lot of people liked  One Second After.  So did I.  It's better written, smoother in delivery, and not as steeped in political correctness.  I'd say read both, rather than just discarding Lights Out because the literary style isn't as good as One Second After.


  1. Just yesterday I recommended Light's Out to a young man. I read it about once a year. If basic grammatical errors bother folks then they shouldn't visit my blog...its filled with 'em.

    1. One of the things a lot of people have mentioned to me about books I recommend is that while the book was good, it was very poorly edited. I know that is true, and I don't know why. You would think that if a company was going to publish something (unless it was self publishing where the writer paid for the books) the services of a good editor would be considered essential. Yet it's almost a prerequisite that survivalist books are filled with very basic grammatical errors. I treat it the same way I do inconsistencies in movies. If some guy comes prancing out with a weapon that wasn't yet invented in the time frame the movie takes place in, I just ignore it. I think it's called "the willing suspension of disbelief" or something of that nature. I get a lot out of these books and I just take the mechanical mistakes as part of the freight.

      I am constantly having to revise my posts because I make some kind of blunder, usually spelling, and then a day or two later I see it. My comments, which I can't revise once posted, often embarrass me because I write faster than I can really type and I make errors. I know I should preview my comments but I never do. I look at it more like talking than writing.

  2. The free edition was removed from the web a while back so I don't think it is available other than through Kindle these days or in book form.

    It is a pretty good story though but I read it sometime ago.

    1. I guess if I were selling books I'd not want free copies on the net. On the other hand, I'm vain enough that I'd care more about how many people read my book than how many shekels I got out of it. I'm out of step with the world in just about every respect, or so I am told, so this is not surprising.

      It's actually pretty old for the "new wave" of survivalist books. Self publishing on Amazon has put zillions of titles out there, most of which reek. But there are a few that aren't so bad.

  3. I liked 'One Second After' the first time I read it when it was called 'Lucifers Hammer'. The last half of the book is totally derivitive of 'Hammer'....small, isolated-but-organized community has to marshal troops to fight a pitched battle against an army of cannibal looters....yeah, I've heard that tune before.

    On a side note, I know you've posted about the mountains of food you store, and a it about the guns, but I'd be interested in a post about what kind of medical supplies you keep around and in what quantity.

    1. There are some similarities between Lucifers Hammer and One Second After. Particularly the one you pointed out. I thought they were both pretty good books though and since I have a lot of time on my hands it didn't really impact on me. In fact, I never thought of the fact that the basic theme was the same until you mentioned it. Now that I think of it, there is a lot of similarity.

      I'll work on a medical store locker post. It will have to be a scaled down, for general distribution one though because that's a topic that gets people all roiled up. I've just gone through that with the pet medicine posts and at the moment I'm not up for a lot of controversy.