Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Matt Bracken.

I am sure that I read a long post on this author on another blog. I think it might have been "Total Survivalist."

At the time I didn't pursue the issue because I had a lot of things I was juggling and it just faded from my mind.

Then recently, a post on an unrelated subject here brought it up again and there were a lot of people who really enjoyed his books.

So I bought the two above, on Kindle. Castigo Cay cost me about $6.00 and the Anthology was only about $3.00

I read the Anthology first, and I was impressed.  There are a few short stories, which were not bad, but the most significant of the contents were his thoughts on where we are now as a civilization, and where we are headed.  He was able to bring all the different components of life today into one integrated tapestry in a way I have never seen done before. It was impressive, and I found it to be highly motivating.

Then I read Castigo Cay.  The writing was very smooth and the technical construction was nearly perfect. The editing was excellent.  I will say this was one of the "darkest" novels I've ever read, to the extent that it made me feel uncomfortable. This story takes place not after a collapse, but during the course of it. It's a corrupt, dangerous society where the upper elements prey on the people at the bottom with impunity. Bracken has constructed a nightmarish scenario that does't take place in the distant future, but tomorrow.

I asked myself what I was reading it for?  I read for two reasons. One, to pass the time and entertain myself. The other is to learn , to pick up ideas that might make my situation here more tenable for myself and my family. To plug gaps and identify weaknesses.

I am not sure why I read  this book, but not for either of those reasons. Honestly, I'd don't know why I did.  I was glad when it was finished, because some of it was unnerving, fictional or not.

I know he has three other books out that everyone I've talked to recommends. I just have to decide if they are really for me.


  1. Here is a link for free kindle books.http://preputilityvehicle.blogspot.com/ Some times brackens books are available under post apoc futures.

    1. When I was digging up the illustrations for this post, I saw all these books were available for free for a week in September. If I decide to read anymore of his work, I'll take a look at that link Gary, and see if I can save a little money. I appreciate the tip.

  2. If you liked "Castigo Cay", you'll love his three "Enemies" books!

    Read them in order, yellow, red, and then blue, as they tell a complete story, covering a few years in time.

    I think they're his best works.

    1. Dr. Jim, I can't really say I did like Castigo Cay. I think the reason why, is that it was really a crime story, set in an environment that does interest me. I'm not sure whether the ugliness of the crime story didn't disenchant me with the whole book. Silly, I suppose, but I don't watch things like "Criminal Minds" or all the crime shows that flood the tv with "docu dramas" because I know it sucks out there and often don't want to be reminded of it.

      I think what I might do is read the first of the trilogy. I might like them better.

    2. My exact feelings, Harry.

      After reading the "Enemies" books, it was a let down.

      It's a decent read, just very unlike the first three he wrote.

    3. Dr. Jim, I'm going to give one of his other books a shot, mainly I think because I liked his "anthology" so much. If nothing else, I'll keep up with his blog. He's an intelligent man with a keen eye for reality as far as I can tell.

  3. I highly recommend reading Enemies Foreign & Domestic at the bare minimum. Some of the action is over the top, but the overall premise of the book is very believable.


    1. Eric, I'm thinking it over. I believe it's possible that his stand alone novel is a different tone than the trilogy. I'm pretty sure people wouldn't be very enthusiastic about his books if they were all like Castigo Cay.

  4. Glad you liked the Anthologies. I have to say this about the Enemies trilogy, I thought the first one was good. The other two not so much. I like it when an author can tie in the main characters all the way through a series of books. Sadly, this did not happen after the second book. I also thought the trilogy was too long, but overall not bad. I gave it a B-. --Troy

    1. Troy, I did like the political articles in his Anthology. The short stories weren't bad. I think Bracken is spot on with his views of where we are going and how we got there.

      It was the utter depravity of the villains in Castigo Cay that was too much for me. I know people like that are out there, but it was a disturbing book. I'm not in any way disparaging his work, I'm just saying it wasn't to my particular taste. The other three may be. I might buy the first book of the trilogy, on Kindle. If I don't like it, I won't have lost much, as they are only about six bucks as I recall.

  5. harry,
    haven't heard of the man and am interested in your review.

    we lived in miami area about 35 yrs ago when the riots and burning happened.
    knew a man who was in with the police. he said anything heard on the news was a sanitized tip of the iceberg.
    veteran policemen were nauseated by what they saw.
    you don't have to wit for a collapse.
    evil is alive and robust and very near, if we did but know it.
    the book you read was discomfitting but we need to be aware--evil seems so far from our experience, but we must be aware.
    thanks for the info on this author--want to try one of his books.
    will hold my nose as i read.
    if a book is too upsetting i just close it and don't finish it.

    that is why i read p. g. wodehouse and dave barry occasionally-- to clear the mind of worry and 'too much knowledge'.

    we know about sewers and use them every day but we don't want to wallow in actual sewerage.

    1. Deborah, overall if the book hadn't been a crime story I'd have enjoyed it a lot more. The main theme dealt with a particular perversion that I find horrifying, and the victims were young women my daughters age. I worry enough without reading about the kind of things that happen, written in minute detail.

      I'm not in any way denigrating the author. He wanted a particularly hideous set of villains to center his plot around, and he certainly came up with them.

      His description of the crumbling of society was well thought out and very well described as the background to the story.

      As I mentioned, I just don't watch crime shows, or those disgusting "docu dramas" some channels have on as their main fare. Survivalist books usually are about that, and not crime focused.

      I've read P.G. Wodehouse (Berty Wooster and friends) but don't know Barry.

  6. Hey Harry,


    I am glad you choose to read some of Bracken's books. In some respects 'Castigo Cay' reminds me of the movie 'Rover' because it is set in an ongoing collapse with people just trying to survive. In the movie 'Rover' I could not understand why he wanted his car back. I thought it was because of cash or gold in the trunk of the car. Instead it was as I perceived it, the main charactors "last link to a normal world" and at the end he was able to mourn for it. That's how I perceived the ending of the movie.

    I really liked 'Castigo Cay' becouse instead of focusing on the bad guys that started the mess of societal collapse, it deals with those that were just trying to survive from day to day. It was like I said a somewhat similar angle as 'The Rover"

    the darkest movie I ever saw about the collapse of any sort was the one where the father and son where trying to make it to the coast (I cant remember the name) that famous writer who wrote 'No Country for Old Men" wrote that book.
    Mass cannibalism pretty much hits rock bottom. Not sure if anyone could get any lower than that. "The Road" that's it. Just remembered the name.

    I think in most collapse situations normal people will spend their days bartering, gardening, hunting for non existent game. Maybe some home defense from looters and thieves.
    Now if it was full on nuke war, things would be different.

    Our main enemies would be infections, dental emergencies, the possibility of losing houses to back property taxes, almost non-existant government unless they want something and they send some bully LEO's to confiscate private property.
    Our women will also be be on the list too of things we will have to protect from everyone. Sounds medieval, but its still common practice in many parts of the world not to let women go without a (armed) male escourt from the family.

    We will enter a new dark age probably from the big picture it looks like.

    I know I have digressed but the report I saw in Vice News on youtube about Islamic expansion and how the Saudi's are guilty as hell when it comes to supporting terrorism and all the converts from all the europeon rat holes coming west to create hate and discontent leaves me thankful I never had any children left to deal with the chaos that is to come.

    Back to Matt Bracken.

    He wrote one of the best essays I ever read on the mass problem that European socialist have created by letting in Islamic barbarians into Europe to collapse the welfare system in Europe and destroy the any nationalist's left in the political class.
    What Chancellor Merkal (and her cronies) do not realize is that they have destroyed themselves (and the culture of Germany and Western Europe too)

    I wish I could live another thousand years so I could watch all this come to fruition in my lifetime and watch most of Europe being ran Sultans, Turks, Moors or whatever rulers exist to subjugate Europe as it was almost a thousand years ago.

    1. You're thinking of The Road, as you say. The book is not bad, and the movie was ok. That's a book that I learned some things from. The particular writing style is disjointed but holds your interest. Thought it was a good book.

      Cannibalism is usually (though not always) a facet of desperation. The predators in "Cay" were just perverts and evil, which in my book make them even more debased and inhuman than cannibals.

      Rover was a good story. Like you, I didn't figure out why the protagonist was so obsessed with the vehicle until the very last scene. He certainly was no extrovert so I figured he was looking for his friend the whole time.

      I can't predict what will happen when, but there are trends out there anyone can see. At 63 I don't know if I'll be around when it all goes, but historically when a society implodes it does it in a very short period of time once the process reaches critical mass. I think that point will be reached if we get Hillary Clinton following in on the heels of Fancy Boy Obama.