Gordon is a family man and an ex-marine in an America that is becoming steadily more beleaguered by terrorism. Until the last blow – an EMP airburst shutting down virtually all electronics in the entire country. Already having learned harsh lessons about who deserves his protection, Gordon acts quickly to protect his family before the world falls apart
This book is a DNF.
I had high hopes for it – I love dystopian fiction, I do like me a good apocalypse and I’ve seen previous books and shows take on the idea of all electronics being knocked out and what that means for modern society and was interested to see what this book’s take on it would be.
They say curiosity kills the cat. Alas, it can also give a reviewer a headache, a nasty surprise and the decided urge to empty a brewery.
As with most DNFs, there are many reasons why I don’t like this book, but the first and main one is Gordon. The protagonist, may the road of his life be liberally scattered with legos for ever more.
Gordon is the ultimate Gary Stu. What he believes is true, no matter how dubious, what he does is wise, no matter how silly and his insight is always well received by right-thinking people, even if it’s foolish or even evil. When the power first goes out in San Diego, Gordon knows the whole US has been brought down. Why? Why, when even the military’s own expert says that the scale of the EMP vastly exceeds any models they have ever seen? There is no way he could possibly know that the EMP had not just hit the city – or even just the neighbourhood - and that help was arriving quickly; but no, Gordon KNOWS. And on the strength of that… he ACTS (including dropping $2k on emergency supplies). And everyone falls in with him, following his instructions and accepting his decisions (like having his whole family turning their garden into a lavatory) with only the most minimal of protests.
Not only does he ACT, but he’s already made plans for this kind of eventuality – like cashing in their pension and keeping the money in his attic. Without telling his wife. Classy guy – and when she finds out there is, again, minimal conflict. I have to say, I think most spouses would have invested in a divorce lawyer or some pruning shears, but she has only mild consternation about her husband screwing their whole future for a paranoid survivalist fantasy without telling her. When he decides to pull a gun on a guy asking for help, again, the people with him make a token protest then get in line.
Gordon is also an arsehole. This is probably apparent above – Gordon makes decisions and everyone else has to get in line (not that they’d ever REALLY disagree with Gary Stu). But Gordon has also decided (after some evil liberal machinations had him kicked out of the military for the piffling crime of shooting an unarmed Iraqi – oh, I mean “Haji” – more on that later) that he’s dedicating his life to looking after his family. His philosophy is basically “screw everyone else” regardless of need. This includes, in the few hours after the pulse, a man who needs to get his heavily bleeding pregnant wife to the hospital. When he asks Gordon’s friend with a working truck to help, Gordon pulls a gun. He needs that truck to haul groceries, damn it, we have no time for your dying wife and child! Yeah… classy guy