Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lights Out by David Crawford

  If I had to pick my top favorites among Survivalist Literature, (fiction)  this would be among the top three.

It's an older book.  Back before everybody self published, if a post apocalyptic book got on the market it went through an established publisher for the most part. Consequently, the story line had been vetted, it had been edited, and you got a good read.

Today lots of well intentioned people write post apocalyptic fiction novels, and you can buy them cheaply on line. Alas, a lot of what's out there is roughly high school level.  Creative Writing 101 gone berserk. Bad editing and typo's drive me crazy and you get a lot of those with self published work. So while I read a lot these on line only .99 works, I tend to stick to the best books and read them again. Usually the really good ones are available in print.

This particular book is very good.  I'd rate it right up there with the first two books of the "Deep Winter" series by  Thomas Sherry.

In 2013, Crawford was offered a deal by a major studio for the script.  He and the producer, Travis Fox, had the moral courage and strength of character to turn them down, for reasons delineated in this clip from a theater web page below.

If you have been involved in preparedness for any length of time, you will have heard of a book entitled “Lights Out” by David Crawford. If you haven’t perhaps you should check it out!
There has been some exciting news in the past few months: Lights Out is being made into a movie…Actually, a trilogy is planned! This project is exciting to us for a number of reasons. The producer of the film is NOT a Hollywood bigshot. His name is Travis Fox, and he’s a prepper.
Travis has already turned down full funding from a studio that wanted all the good guys to be “underpriviledged minorities” and the bad guys to be “racist whites,” and to add lots of explosions.

I don't think they ever got the project off the ground due to funding constraints.  Remnants took years to get finished, was never distributed by any major studio, and only received "main stream studio" backing when the studio got to make massive changes to the story and got rid of some of the very best scenes. I'm afraid that Lights Out ran afoul of the Hollywood clique as well.

Lights Out could have gone the way of Remnants.  That was a post apocalyptic movie, funded by small contributions from members of the survivalist and prepper communities.  It was excellent. You could watch the major scenes as they finished them on the movie's web page. Outstanding, and the script was written by real survivalists, not Hollywood Jades.  But they ran out of money, and had to take the Hollywood coin.  Immediately the whole plot was rewritten to be a Cheap  Jack political conspiracy pot boiler, and all the good scenes were cut. The finished product, which reeked, bore no resemblance to what it would have been had the original people managed to complete their project.

If the only way to get Lights Out on the screen was to let Hollywood take over, then they did the right thing by not doing so.


  1. I've read that book at least 3 times. Just yesterday, I was hunting for a good history book to read. I wanted a true story written by a real person about how they
    survived living in WWII. Couldn't find anything that looked good. Any recommendations? Also, recommendations along the line of Lights Out?JB

    1. Actually if you get PBS there's a Masterpiece Theater series going on right now called "Home Fires" about home front life in England during WW2. I thought it would be a "chick flick" so I didn't watch it at first, but after seeing one episode with my wife I set the satellite receiver to tape them. It's pretty good in terms of what people went through and how they coped.

      There's a show on Turner Classic Movies this week called "Three Came Home" about civilians captured by the Japanese at Singapore who spent the rest of the war in internment camps.

      I know there is a book written by an American woman who was married to a Japanese, and spent the war in Japan. It's about her life there. I just saw the 1950 era movie based on the book. Actually pretty good. Let me see if I can come up with the name.

      As to the books, The "Deep Winter" series is good. The first book is "Deep Winter", the second is "Shatter." The third book, "Remnants" was more political but I read it and enjoyed it. The first two were excellent.

      There are the Rawles books. They are all interrelated, tell the same story at the same time period, but about different families. Rawles is deeply religious, and all his characters are, and that put me off because it was taken to such extremes. I'm being facetious here, but his books are full of things like " John decided he needed to urinate. He called the group together and they all prayed. John felt that it was God's will that he should urinate by the big tree stump after their prayer session."

      I mean, I know there are people like that, and I'm not knocking them, but I just found it an irksome trait of his books. In another book, a character who is starving to death finds an abandoned cabin full of food. But he has to struggle with himself and consult the lord before he can decide if he can eat any of it, since it doesn't belong to him. Hell, he's a better man than I am, Gunga Dinh!

      Let me look over my book shelves. I know there are some good books I haven't mentioned but I'm running on low energy today. The rain on the roof and the fire in the fireplace are dulling my wits.

    2. Harry, I am religious and I will back everything you said about Rawls stuff. It's over the top and asinine. That being said, I've bought many of his books and even bought the new one this morning.

      As far as the rain and fireplace go, it's the season for hibernation. Enjoy it.

    3. Oh.... glad you got the F250 running at a minimal expense. I was out of pocket all last week and stayed off the Internet for almost the whole time.... and rather enjoyed it.

    4. Matt, I've got all his books and enjoyed them. They are great learning aids, too. It's just that one thing that grates on me some.

      The touble with being off the net too long is you lose track of people. I had that brief spell where I wasn't feeling too well and wasn't on line, and I've lost touch with a couple of people who have just disappeared. For instance, have you heard anything of Kymber?

    5. Haven't heard anything. I've got two emails going as far back as a month that she hasn't responded to.

      I know they've been busy with this, that, and the other but yes, I've begun wondering about her.

      I know going into the holidays that things can get sporadic as far as blogging go. Places to go and things to do, and then there are those where the holidays can be a buzz kill.

      I hope she shows up soon. She's a rare bird and fun to keep up with.

    6. I'm going to email her direct. I hope nothing bad has happened up there. When Sol went off the air I didn't think much of it, just assumed she was busy remodeling her home. Then I found out later she had a terrible wreck and got hurt.

    7. Matt, Kymber and J are fine. They are just really busy right now. Heard back from them today.

    8. Very good then. Maybe she will bless us with her presence soon.....


    9. I think she kind of needs a rest. They have had a lot of company and such.

  2. My wife read Light's Out for us at story time last year. We both really enjoyed it.

    Glad to hear your got your Ford back on the road.


    1. Hey, Moe. It's always good to hear from you.

      It would be a great read for a couple at the end of the day. Unlike so much literature today, it's suitable for a fellows wife or girlfriend.

      Yeah, I'm really grateful to all the folks who helped me on that. I'm totally at sea with all those wires under the dash board, and I was afraid I'd really do some harm trying to fix it. But the advice I got enabled me to get it running. Saved me a ton of money, and I didn't want a new switch, I wanted to by pass the idiot switch so I would not have trouble with it anymore. The only way to do that was to do it myself.

  3. Hey Harry,


    The last really good book I read was the sequel to 'One Second After', One Year After.
    That one I can recommend.

    As per the self published stuff. Some of it is rather amatuerish' but I focus on the story line. Is it intriguing, interesting. I can overlook typho's and grammatical errors if the story has me hooked.
    I find works by Steven King and other famous writers have problems breaking rules in the English language all the time so I guess the rules are fluid like the language and ever changing.

    One the Rawles books, his first was the best, I think it was written mostly by his first wife (the one that passed away) I thought about doing some writing myself. I see all the difficulties that entry level writers go through and I admire anyone who actually produces a manuscript and gets it published (or even self published) because they actually did it (it may suck) but Hemingway started somewhere and I bet Hemingway very, very early was producing garbage.

    Changing gears here a second going from intellectual to somewhat bizarre.

    I read on Drudgereport that Leonardo Decrapio (or whatever his name is) gets raped by a bear in his latest movie? No I am not making this up. It was so shocking that test audience members got up and walked out of the movie during the rape scene.
    I was looking forward to that movie. I guess I wont see it now.

    First (I don't mean to sound weird) but are they any recorded stories of bears raping humans. Second, what would the writers and director and producers find entertaining in showing something like bear raping a man, is that some kind of revenge for Global Warming?
    Third, If that movie is released as it was test shown, I will not see it in a year or so when it comes out online to rent. No one will want to see the movie either because subject matter like that is disgusting and most normal people will also find it revolting.
    Now I have to digress a bit and find some humor in this. I bet Insane Clown Posse would make a song on this one, or at least mention it in a song:)
    The jokes about Leonardo Decrapio getting raped by a bear will go on for quiet sometime.
    This country is going down the damn toilet 'Harry.

    1. I enjoyed writing magazine articles for Jim Benson back when he had his webzine, after American Survival Guide was destroyed by the people who inherited the magazine when the old goat died. It didn't pay a lot but he was a hell of a good guy to write for. Always treated you decently, not like he was some godlike figure and you were a serf. I have never tried writing a book, doubt I would be any good at it because I am damned if I would throw in the politically correct stuff you have to stick in there to get published.

      I don't know anything about the bear thing. That's , as you say, bizarre. Tiberius Caesar is said to have enjoyed perverse stuff like that so maybe Hollywood is making this to titillate Barack Caesar. Doesn't sound like something I would be much interested in either.

      Where do you come up with this stuff, CC? I mean, damn! :-0

    2. bears do not commit rapery.
      however, they do commit savagery followed closely by eatery.

    3. The things I learn on the internet! ;-)

  4. I have not read this one. I bet the library has it though.

    1. If you are doing inter-library loans on some of these books you are probably on the Department of Justice (sic) list right now as a dangerous right wing activist. If they come kick down your door I'm going to feel responsible! :-(

      It's a good book. There's some of the obligatory pandering to political correctness that getting published demands, but it's so obviously in there to satisfy the publisher and for no other reason that it doesn't hurt the story.

  5. Lights Out...one of my favorites given that it takes place just a few hours from here. Ever read Grid Down Reality Bites? by Hemming?

    1. Never read it but I'm writing the title and author down on my pad so I can look for it. I'm always looking for a good read.

    2. harry, can't find your email.
      go to

      found it at bison prepper in the comments.

      what do you think of it?

    3. CC and one other person sent me this link as well. I had never heard of this blogger. He tends to take a long time to say what he wants to say, but I can't disagree with his thoughts on this particular issue.

    4. Matt Bracken is the guy who wrote that entry. His 3-book "Enemies Foreign And Domestic" series is about the best I've ever read, especially the first one. I've read the series about 4 times now, and it still gets me so mad I could chew nails. But I can see elements of the book actually happening. Politicians will do almost anything to keep that power.
      Who knows, if any of us had a taste of that kind of power, we might well be just as addicted. Hard to resist, which is why all of human history revolves around the quest for power...

    5. I think Ryan had a big post on those books over on his blog. I mean to order the first one and see how it goes.

  6. The Hemming books... I wonder if they're the ones I'm thinking of that take place in Tennessee I think. Or maybe Kentucky *.
    The series I'm thinking about is a story of a National Guard Armory that decamps to a national forest and sets up a sort of anchor for local civilization to hold on to.
    If the govt. would follow this model, I think things would work out just fine after TSHTF. But, we all know they'll do like all gov'ts do and try to boss everyone around, so...
    Of course, if you have a few million in the bank, you can always do what the people in all of Jerry D Young's stories do. I'm poking a bit of fun, but I do like his stories.

    * To the other 48, there's no difference between Tennessee and Kentucky. They're both full of guys with beards and overalls who can pick which eye of the squirrel they're going to hit from a football field away. While half drunk.
    Of course, the citizens of those 2 fine states are sayin' "Now hold on just a damn minute with them insults... We don't never get just HALF drunk..".

    1. I haven't read any of those, but it sounds like I should.

      Tennessee has a reputation for hard scrabble and hill billies. Kentucky, you think of long haired, beautiful women and fine horses. Both good states! ;-)

  7. I remember reading 'Lights Out' many years ago, the setting was central Texas which is very near my location. A good read !

    There was a book you mentioned months ago, (female author) about living in the north woods after some type of volcanic eruption (Wyoming Caldera maybe ?) I bought it but for the life of me can not recall the author's name nor the book title - I think there were three.

    It was a good read - wish I could remember it.

    1. That was "The Journal" series by Deborah Moore. I think a fourth book is out now but I haven't read it yet.

  8. Another series of books I have enjoyed is "Going Home" by A. American. It is set
    in Florida. Just reading those books helped me add to my prepping supplies. I actually bought a set of 6 Sawyer Mini's and gave one to my Son when he was here for Thanksgiving, with the instructions to always leave it in his rig. He is known to go far up into the mountains anywhere in the Pacific NW, climb to the top, just to take a photo of a railroad line, bridge, crossing, old logging operation that used to use rail, etc. I pointed out to him that it's not safe to just drink the water straight out the the creeks he crosses. I just find these types of books to be eye opening and helpful to get my mind wrapped around the idea of total disaster.

    1. I have those books. They are pretty well written. I won them in one of those deals where a blogger has a give away and you register for it. I think it's the only thing I ever won in my life.

      You do learn a lot by reading good post apocalyptic fiction. There are always new ideas out there, regardless of how long you've been at it.

      Even re-reading the best books is useful to me. I frequently find something on a third or fourth read that I didn't pick up previously.

      Your son sounds like a good guy. I'd like to do that, but I think those years are behind me now.