Written in a “Good Old Boy” style, the novel, ‘One Second After’ might not be everyone’s **Cup Of Tea** – but taken in stride, this novel was quite bold and had my brain churning about “what if” scenarios. ‘One Second After’ scared me, grossed me out and had me crying like a baby at some points. That, is- what I consider a good novel. I listened to the audio book, so the editing style and sentence structure that is a big complaint about this book was not evident, so I recommend going that route. Not to mention, the narrator’s voice lends to that “Good Old Boy” style which makes things even more poignant. If you are a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, along with survival stories, this my friends, might be the book for you.


‘One Second After’ covers the occurrence of an EMP strike over the continental Unites States and the after-math of the US being suddenly plunged into technology circa the 19th century. The way our country has progressed technology is a demon in disguise according to ‘One Second After’ because of our reliance on it. Certain groups rave about our reliance on fossil fuels and other vices, but you don’t hear about our other 21st century vices. How hardly anyone knows how to hunt for their food, or start a fire when the matches run out, grow crops…

One small town is faced with having to relearn a century of lost survival techniques as people starve to death as the canned goods run out and meat spoils as refrigerators no long work. It is a very in-depth look at society and just what would happen if technology failed us. The most horrendous part of the entire novel was the in-depth look at what people would live and who would die, the diseases that are easily managed with today’s technology but will kill off a good bit of the population if the country breaks down. The insulin that needs refrigeration, the pace-makers, the ultrasounds, the MRIs— the list goes on. Doctors would be in the dark, literally and slowly the problems that were minor, the gallbladders, appendixes, the clots…would all become killers and that is just one part of a broad picture.

Forstchen had a mission when writing this novel, it wasn’t a piece to entertain and become the next “Great American Novel”, ‘One Second After’ was written to spread awareness of a very real threat, the EMP, Electro Magnetic Pulse, which there have been reports of countries like China investigating what it would do to the United States.  A nuclear strike that strikes the ground would wipe out the area hit, killing a lot of people, yes, but it would be limited in it’s destruction and wouldn’t destroy the U.S. government. A nuclear bomb detonated a few miles above the united states is said to give off an EMP blast and having a much greater strike area. A few strategically detonated nuclear bombs would put the entire country in the dark and could possible destroy the U.S. Forstchen hints that after one year of being “in the dark” the survival rate would be about 15% of the beginning population, lower in highly populated area, higher in rural areas.

This being said, I wouldn’t look to this book for characters you are going to fall in love with or a mysterious plot that keeps you on your towns. This is a recitation of events, much like older apocalypse books, in fact it was said to be based on the style of ‘Alas, Babylon‘, which I see because the main characters are very similar. I did actually enjoy the Colonel, but he could be a bit prickly, yet with my military family/background I felt right at home with him. He reminded me a lot of some of my uncles. He was a bit chauvinistic but things like that I take with a grain of salt. Then also, he tended to be very right-minded and goes into some diatribes of political thoughts. Again something with my background didn’t find offensive, in fact I might have agreed with some of them, but for someone with different view points you might not like where this leads. But, even if you don’t agree with the characters political leanings it doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate this book for what it is.


Recommended for fans of apocalypse novels, especially ones written in earlier decades.  Adult novel with a good bit of violence and intense subjects.

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‘One Second After’ by William R. Forstchen  in audio book was purchased from audible.com.