SHTF Fiction review – “One Second After” by William Forstchen


“One Second After” is a novel by William Forstchen that tells the tale of a town in the carolinas that must deal with the effects of an EMP attack that destroys the entire electrical infrastructure of the United States. This book deals with some issues that are normally glossed over in survival fiction, such as disease, and what issues can arise when hygiene and medical services are suddenly returned to civil war era. Overall it was a decently entertaining read, if not a tad perfunctory in some aspects. The author’s focus on bureaucratic central planning at the town level over individual decision making didn’t suit my personal tastes, but it didn’t detract from the overall experience too much. I would have liked to see the world he created fleshed out a little more, because despite the normal length of this book, not all that much happens.  Worth reading if you are into survival and prepping, probably not as interesting if you are just looking for general fiction and aren’t into survival/prepping.

You can watch my video review here:

And you can check out “One Second After” on Amazon:

One second after

For more SHTF fiction see the recommended resources page.

Comment on this post for a chance to win the book featured in the video above. A winner will be chosen on 1/19/2015 so check back to see if you’ve won.

The Lord Humungus
The Lord Humungus rules the Wasteland

21 thoughts on “SHTF Fiction review – “One Second After” by William Forstchen

  1. Thank you for the book review. I have not yet read any fiction on preparing. Most of my time is spent on real-time preps. As an older, widow, I am finding spare time for fiction,not as available.

    1. I have the audiobook, and often re-listen to it, just for comfortable background noise. Since I am newly diabetic, this book was the first to really spur me to prep for my illness, Which I’ve done. Excellent resource for a newer prepper, who perhaps needs a little hand-holding/story-telling to break out of their normalcy bias.

  2. Forstchen was/is? a professor at a small college/university? in black mountain, north Carolina and he absolutely nailed the culture and geography of the area. I worked for eight summers just down I40 from where the book is centered, and you can tell he worked painstakingly to get every detail as correct as he possibly could. two thumbs up

  3. enjoyed the audio book version last year, it was detailed enough and had enough character development combined that it was enjoyable; I would say for both non-prepper and prepper alike. The normalcy bias some had was probably one of the more realistic expressions I’ve seen so far; the daughter’s diabetic condition and what ultimately would be the result was a sample of the bias. That it was limited in scope to just his small area of operations or sphere of influence was perfectly fine, but it would tend to drive the reader to want a second or followup novel (i.e. series) on other’s during the same event. Wonder if there would be a followup book?

    FYI, regarding the character’s town council role.. in most cases, the amateur prepper is going to have the mindset that he is the head honcho when shtf, and they would be poorly qualified and proabbly set straight in short order.

    I would say that it was easier to go through and at least as enjoyable as Rawles’ Patriots series. I have yet to go through the novel Lights Out feel free to review that one for us also. * smile * I was waiting for the audio book of that one.

    Another series you can consider is 299 days but it’s getting a mid-to-low score from me so far (5 books into the series).

  4. that is one nice present seeing how the 19th is my birthday. that also will make me your oldest prepper @ 62 oh my… bubbalove

  5. read it ages ago, did find the food rationing and use of pets as possable food resourses sad……taking an other look at our stores for the dogs

  6. I enjoyed One Second After. i agree that I too would have liked a little more world perspective. Even if only a couple chapters. I think you will enjoy lights out. 299 days would be another that i would suggest. it is, however, a 10 book series.

  7. Love your videos. I would like to read this book. It sounds like it could get people thinking about possible things that could happen.

  8. Thanks for the great review! Have been wanting to read this book for quite some time now. Always enjoy the content you put out! By the way, a book recommendation – The Pulse by Scott Williams. Definitely a great read about a grid down scenario.

    Take care!

  9. I’ve heard this is a pretty good read. I’ve read “Lights Out” and loved it. If you’re into zombie apocalypse stuff, I’m reading the “Apocalypse Z” Trilogy by Manel Louriero right now and it’s not pretty good if that’s up your alley. Gonna have to check out your other recommendations.

  10. Watched the video and found the book’s premise to be very interesting. I had always assumed any societal collapse scenario would leave us without power anyways, so I’m curious how much an impact an EMP even would result in.

    1. Well a societal collapse could leave you without power from the outlet, but an EMP might prevent any electrical devices from working at all, even if you have batteries, solar panels, generators, etc.

  11. I have been told that any electronics affected by an EMP generated by a nuclear blast would be incinerated in the explosion. So beyond solar flares, how likely is it that an EMP could be used by terrorists against a large portion of the country? Anybody know?

  12. EMP is less likely than an attack simply on the power grid. But solar EMP & Nukes are definite a remote possibility aka the Carrington event. Electronics can be protected BTW.

    Great blog!!

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