Friday, February 22, 2013

grid down sequal & bp musings


GRID DOWN SEQUEL & BP MUSINGS

Good ol’ Bruce Buckshot Hemming, honorary Loyal Minion First Class because he sent me not one but two free books, and Sara Freeman have authored the sequel to “Grid Down”, imaginatively titled “Grid Down vol. 2 part 1 ( perceptions of reality)”.  I must say, they actually did better the second time around.  Unlike a lot of self published sequels which pretty much suck ass and make you want to march down to the local chapter of the International Al Gore Party and start a petition to ban such books from killing trees needlessly ( one can kill the trees for books if those books call for a total mobilization of the citizenry to change over to certified green light bulbs and Prius cars ), this one didn’t leave you with a foul taste in your mouth caused by a complete and total waste of money.  Oh, I won’t deny that the paper version is overpriced for what you get.  But that is why we have something called the Kindle now ( or, for you tight asses, er, frugal folks, there is the software to turn your desktop into a Kindle reader ).  The Kindle price is just about right for a shortish four or five hour read.  This isn’t like the first book which was a friggin door stopper but a more reasonable length of a book at 250 pages.  I love long involved stories, never wanting the magic to end, and the first book was even a bit too long for me. 

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The decision this time was to present three books as the follow up rather than another huge one.  The down side of course is that you’ll get a set for $45 rather than one for half that price.  But again, that is print price.  Kindle is half that.  It most likely pays the authors a better percentage royalty even as it saves you half your money.  For fiction, Kindle is just fine ( I would never put my reference books in danger of electronic suicide- fire to papers seems to me a far more remote risk- but something tells me that apocalypse fiction will not be very popular after folks experience the real thing ).  Now, as I said, I got the book for free.  If I had to buy it I’d probably buy the paper version.  But that is just my quirk ( when I’m 90 surrounded by a library the size of my ego, I want all the apocalypse fiction ready to re-read, not withstanding that Amazon is long gone ).  I’d feel I spent too much, but to me that is just my “real version” tax.  Now, to the actual contents.  As with the first book, the plot is basic, the characters are a smidge cardboard cutout and the pacing doesn’t always work.  Which is okay.  The first book presented us with the wonderful world of trapping for survival.  The next book was chock full of prepping nuggets of wisdom.

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Look, the story is ho-hum.  Rainbow Warriors ( evil vegetarians, who you would have kind of thought had zero levels of strength to be vicious and nasty because of the lack of meat but evidently not [ of course, look at Hitler and his diet ], want to eliminate the unworthy Bambi killers ) try to attack our hero’s with a artillery piece ( cough, cough, isn’t that kind of like “The Postman”? ) which gives them military superiority and of course our hero’s, having big and bad mighty and righteous AR-15 killing machines, easily defeat them.  Okay, I’m being sarcastic.  The story isn’t so bad it ruins the book.  It is okay, adequate, good enough.  Just not great.  What got my engines revving and my nipples tingling where the unending stream of Great Ideas and “how could I forget about those” tidbits.  The first fifty or sixty pages were slow getting started but then the flow of information started and didn’t let up until the last pages.  That is why I’d recommend the book to you all.  It’s nothing you probably haven’t read before, but here it is packed in an easy to read entertainment package.  Kind of like a “two-fer”.  A light and easy novel and filled with really great reminders on prepping.  The authors made the reading more manageable, didn’t ruin the thing by being lazy and try to just coast on characters ( I won’t mention any titles, but why would I want to spend $12 on a book about a friggin post-apocalypse wedding? ) but rather did their research to make ours easier, and listened to their readers about the first books flaws ( there are no mention of web sites on trapping strewn throughout the text this time.  I never had a problem with it but evidently a lot of others did ).

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Okay, speaking of listening to your readers, off topic to my comments section.  I don’t just post your comments, I actually look forward to them, take them to heart and get bummed out if I don’t get enough.  What I have to work on is getting better responding to those comments.  I certainly don’t wish you to think you’ve wasted your time commenting.  I simply don’t ever seem to have any time for admin tasks of any kind, but I’ll work on managing my time better.  Just give me a bit of practice.  A reader did comment about covering black powder weapons better.  I’d love to write a book on it, covering both individual manufacture of the powder and attempting a quasi-industrial level of use for military superiority.  That is the only long term answer for the end of the Petroleum Age ( you simply won’t be able to duplicate today’s chemical manufacturing since the cheap petroleum feedstocks will be gone ).  My main problem is, I need to find several books which were written back in those days which cover the large scale manufacture of powder ( industrial scale forming of nitrates from the manure/urine ) for the book to have any depth ( I wouldn’t be adverse to including those complete texts either, at least in the electronic versions ).  I’ll look for my book which references THOSE books and do a bit more searching, plus list them here in case anyone wants to help in that hunt.  I think that would make a fine next book.  So, thanks for the minion not letting the subject go, so it stays fresh in my mind.

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15 comments:

  1. Lindsay books is shut down now, but http://nbbooks.com/ carries some of the old stuff. You would need the exact title to see if they have it since a search for black powder was not successful...

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    1. If the weather holds, I'll search in storage for the book and get the old timey titles. Now that I wrote it, the idea for the book looks better than ever ( things look great in my head, more fabulous in print ).

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  2. Some of the best literature I've read on manufacturing BP has had to do with the evolution of smokeless. The proportions for BP is a constant, where the main distinction has to do with milling of the charcoal and the grade of powder you pulverize it to. More milling equals more potency because of surface area. The finer grind allows more surface area for the sulfur and nitrate to adhere and bond with. Used to mix up the stuff in the parents basement up in Mtn. Home as a teen. Wonder I never blew the house up lol. Back then you could go down to the local drug store and buy the sulfur and nitrate right off the shelf. Not so much now...

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    1. Well, not that I'm admitting anything, but the goobment has declared us all terrorists now. Not sure if I could be trusted with any chemical. Oh the humanity! Ban The Bleach!

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    2. Lord Bison of the Great Basin;

      Again Hat's off to you, since when you shine, you shine like a diamond again. Remember when you published the improvised munitions handbook? This was the impetuous needed to research natural nitrate capture and thus in Northern Nevada, the mining industry is the great resource provider that can provide said nitrates in perpetuity. Since flying mammals are attracted to caves and all kids know that flying mammals are the best source of nitrates in the world, it would make prudent sense to make use of all the abandoned mines and caves in the area your resource base from which to refine the nitrates into a potent propellant. While your current self-styled frugal exile can be great during and after the event that will consume our civilization, it's bad for research. I looked up the program on the History Channel about the Army of Northern Virginia's attempt a guerrilla manufacture of industrial levels of black powder at a cave in what is now the U.S. State of West Virginia. The Virginians manufactured industrial levels of the propellant quite literally under the noses of the federal occupiers who encamped on the bluff above the cave, where there was thousands of years of high quality flying mammal guano lying around for the refinement into nitrates. Combine this resource with a auto salvage yard (aluminum for the primer caps, wheel weights for the projectiles) and a chicken farm (for the sulfurs), you have literally a semi-industrial base from which to manufacture an endless supply of all needed components for repeating black powder firearms which would be of a vast tactical advantage over any competition in the long term end of industrial energy consumption heavy civilization. In fact after the situation stabilized thus resource would become a basis for resumed regional trade and reconstitution efforts towards a situation far better than that suffered by the wretched denizens of Central Europe for a thousand years. I will admit that your comments on heavy support weapons (I presume siege engines and howitzers) put me on edge on a minute, then I realized that if the energy is available for high quality smelting and forging operations for the manufacturing of caste barrels, then knowing the stupidity of the masses, they'd rather use said energy to heat themselves and their meals instead of casting and forging howitzer barrels. Granted I'm speaking of the Great Basin and not of the Rockies where coal would be found in abundance which would provide the energy levels necessary to produce said support weapons. The Future Looks so Bright You'll have to Wear Shades. Keep keeping it real James!

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    3. Cases aren't a huge disadvantage- you can always go paper such as with Sharps. But the bottleneck is primer chemical. That is why I'm dubious about extending beyond flintlock. Knowing what the purified chemical needed is, is not the same as getting those raw incrediants out of nature. Yes, mercury SHOULD be abundent here ( volcanic region ), but finding and refining might not be doable.

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  3. Greetings LB. I was wondering about the internet fail in Elko. Did you panic? Did you think Obammy is going to declare martial law and ship you off to a Fema camp? LOL!

    Maybe you could write somethimg about how you would react if Obammy shut down the net and declared martial law? Just a thought.

    I'm impressed with Solsys blog. Interesting story. I'm hooked. He doesn't allow anomymous comments so I'll comment here.

    Good job Solsys. Keep it up!

    http://solsysbooks.blogspot.fr/

    bigunsfan

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    1. The outage was all northern Nevada. I didn't panic, since these podunk jagoffs regularly screw up the phone system. I might consider a martial law article. Hmmm.

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    2. I've been really shitty about stopping by, reading and going on without posting a comment - downright rude. My excuse - not much internet at home, so my surfing is before work and lunch period - so many places to go / research / etc.

      I don't know how bloggers do it. I'd run out of things to say in less than a month.

      Delete
  4. How about this for another article suggestion:
    Eventually the die off will end, either with the extinction of the human race or with a new stable order of the survivors, what can we do now to best position ourselves (if the collapse and die off is rapid enough- not the slow draining of the generational soviet one) or our progeny and descendants to not only live through the new enviroment in physical body but be able to retain as much intellectual and industrial capital as possible. For example both books and food are VERY cheap now relative to historic norms *where a nice book was a knights ransom*, and much thought and energy has gone into discovering scientific and even philosophical information that could prove useful, as well as more practical matters like how to produce and preserve large quantities of food with less than the historic norm of labour.
    Establishing some sort of monastaries or arks to preserve and distribute these knowledges and skills could give a large advantage to the post collapse dark ages, possibly even creating a second post-appocalypse renassance. (for example out understanding of information as something seperate and distinct from the creator or media container is a new concept of incredible usefullness, now and possibly post collapse).
    After-all how many times does the child have to burn themselves before they learn that fire is hot, and if the children who live through the collapse have the intellectual and physical tools to understand and survive it they may be able to use the tools of our era in a manner to ensure the long(er) term survival of our race. IF of course we find a way to give them access to those tools without forcing them to carry them as a _burden_ through the collapse.

    Just some thoughts.

    -Grey

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    1. Lucifer's Hammer had the character that buried all his "how to" books in the septic tank. 35 years later, I wonder how much more difficult it would be to pick which books to buy and store.

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  5. Forget the black powder,you'd be better off outlining the use of compound bows.
    Resorting to black powder will never happen in our lifetime and probably not in our childrens either.
    Modern 'black powder' rifles have 'evolved' to almost universally use sabots which contain modern bullets.
    The collapse isn't going to happen so fast that we'll have to resort to flintlocks overnight.
    Keep preaching stockpiling of ammo amd reloading components,much more sage advice.

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    1. Of course you have to use modern components as long as possible. BP is more for the multi-generational planning.

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  6. Hey Jim!

    FYI I'm selling off some extra ammo. I place the ad, I get 13+ replies in less then an hour.

    People need to stock up on food...Black Friday is nothing if food gets scarce.

    Come on April!!

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  7. Anon 1:47

    First of all, thank you very much ! I'm glad it's read at all...

    I don't know how to allow anonymous comments. I know James covered this a while ago, but I'm too lazy to search as Erich is designing a pontoon boat :-)

    (Never thought I'd use cube root calculations in my life again )

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