Thursday, April 18, 2013

traveler


TRAVELER

“Traveler” by John S. Wilson.  This book is set in the same apocalypse as “Joshua”, but it is not a sequel.  And that is good, because as good as the first book was ( no, it wasn’t perfect.  Few are ) this one is far better.  If the author keeps it up at this pace one of his books will make it into the Top Twenty Survivalist Books Of All Time ( those books aren’t necessary writing talent so much as their grasp on the possibilities ).  I’ll confess that one of my secret non-sexual fantasies ( not that I have many of those ) has always been to read a post-apocalypse novel written from the point of view of the bad guys.  Not necessarily evil characters.  Those are too easy and I’m not that sick and twisted.  Anybody can do evil if they try hard enough ( or take enough crack cocaine ).  But characters that aren’t so White Hat, not so Black Or White And No Grey.  Because mostly those characterized as evil or immoral were just on the losing side and no different otherwise.  Look at one of the few Presidents that was actually pro-individualists ( besides Jackson ), Jefferson ( if you say Washington I will vomit blood on your lap.  That whore ordered The Whiskey Rebellion suppression ).  History brushes him as a slave owning darkie humper who illegally bought land from France.  All the anti-Constitutionalists from Lincoln to FDR ( I won’t get started on that prick- you’re welcome ) including Hamilton the original Bankers Whore, are all celebrated as True Blue Americans. 

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Did Genghis Khan go on a bloody rampage across all of Asia because he was evil, getting his jollies by beheading women and infants?  No.  The Mongols were forced out of their traditional grass range by repeated drought and Genghis was the one leader who was able to consolidate the once warring tribes into a unit capable of foreign conquest.  He wasn’t evil as much as capable.  We all consider him A Bad Guy, but he was no different than Alexander The Great ( well, he was Asian rather than Western, so of course we have a built in prejudice ).  I wanted to read a story that treated Genghis as if he were as noble as Alexander, set in a post apocalypse setting.  Exploring the character as just another Joe who simply happened to NOT be a bible thumping hypocrite but a guy that had to kick some ass and get some blood on his hands in order to ensure the survival of his tribe.  “Traveler” is not that story, but the reason I enjoyed it so much was that it tried and came pretty darn close to what I had envisioned.  Finally, I gleefully snorted as I turned the pages with growing excitement, a story told from the bad guys perspective.  The story did veer a bit at the end, almost as if the author had second thoughts and tried to splash a little evil on the character so we wouldn’t think too badly of our storyteller, but even then the ending gives you pause and you are left with the feeling that hey, this guy really wasn’t all that bad.  Perhaps just going a bit overboard.

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In one scene, the Potentially Evil Leader Dude was talking to our young hero ( who had joined the band of Merry Pranksters Armed With M4’S ) and he was half explaining and half justifying his robberies.  You see, Young Grasshopper, these people are dumber than dirt and lazy as they were four years ago prior to the collapse, sitting in their Lazy Boy and snarfing Cheese Doodles.  On the road, you are a target for Highwaymen such as himself.  Which is why the band stays off the road for travelling between crimes.  And let me tell you, the victims in this story are pretty humping stupid.  And believably stupid too.  Not just stupid to help the story along but stupid as in a mirror held up to our modern society.  I’m trying not to give away too much of the plot here, but towards the end we see one household radioing to another for help ( they actually used the phrase “Mayday, code Ultra Double Black” or some such nonsense.  You couldn’t just say, Under Attack?  ).  As if it were the most natural thing in the world, it is explained that help is thirty minutes away.  WHAT!?!?  What kind of defense plan is that?  Why not just walk out to your front yard every morning, drop your drawers, bend over and wait to get sodomized?  Everyone was living with extended family, but they couldn’t give up their own cherished homesteads, no matter how isolated.  They couldn’t form communities physically, only self-defense organizations. 

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The group of “bad guys” is pretty believable ( I won’t get into the inadvisability of scavenging for a living years into a collapse, nor the unbelievable amount of semi-auto ammunition that seemed to be floating around for everyone involved ) insofar as tactics.  One of the great parts of each subsequent attack were the ingenious ways defenses were thwarted.  You could actually learn a lot about your own by reading this book.  And it is a fun read.  Okay, too short.  Only about 60k words for a three and a half hour read ( if you’re also eating dinner at the time ).  But if you buy on Kindle, a very good bargain.  I highly recommend this book, and not only because I was sent a free review copy.  This is one of those stories that should stand on its own as being unique, apart from all the other clones out there.  As I said, a very nice improvement over the last book ( and, the last book was very good also ).  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. 

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8 comments:

  1. Also gotta agree with the desire to read bad-guy POV SHTF stuff. But the author will be castrated, demonized, and confined in Hell with all the authors of those Playboy Letters by the doomer population...

    An example: Collision Course by David Crawford
    Check out the reviews on Amazon. OMG!!!!

    I bought and read the book. I give the bad guy POV 4 stars but I may be biased since DJ/bad guy is a security guard and carries the evil black plastic ammo eating-soon to be a wiffle bat-club.

    How do you spell wiffle? wiffile, wifile, wtf? :)

    BTW, how's it feel Jim, knowing that there is a total of only 1 50lb bag of grain for sale in Elko?

    Gil

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    1. While CC might seem like a good try, bad guy POV, the character was painted as way too evil way too quick. In other words, kind of a cop out. In Traveler, the context was with more ambiguity. Much better done, trying to get into that character. Re:grain, I sure as hell hope they get weekly shipments rather than monthly to replentish. There is a Menonite farmer in Utah who sells $6 bags, but you haul. Might be a future project.

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  2. I wished I added this to my prior post...

    I grant that Collision Course isn't top level doomer porn (though it's worth a read) but you gotta read those 1 star Amazon reviews of the book. Just a short example (caps are reviewer's)

    I GAVE THIS BOOK ONE STAR CAUSE I HAD TO. I LOVED LIGHTS OUT IT IS IN MY TOP TEN SO WHEN I SAW CRAWFORD WROTE ANOTHER I DID NOT EVEN READ THE REVIEWS THIS BOOK WAS TRASH I WOULD NOT RECCOMEND IT TO ANYONE EVEN A DEGENERATE. I HAD HIGH HOPES AND HALF WAY IN I SHOULD HAVE DELETED IT. I WOULD HAVE RATHER BURNED $10 THEN READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    People want skittle shooting unicorns, even readers of Doomer porn.

    Though the reviewer might be a disillusioned former Bison Minion, from their english usage! :p

    Signed,
    Gil who proudly a BM; servile dependent, follower, underling; 2nd class.

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    1. Yes, how dare Collision Course point out that night vision googles could break! How shall we then Own The Night!!!!??? I thought it was "unicorns shooting glitter out their asses"? And a damn fine underling you be. Peace brother.

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  3. I , like you enjoyed both of them.
    Ya, the ammo just never seemed to run out. Course when you're stealing everyone elses hoard I suppose the stock gets replenished...
    Thought they were a bit hypocritically harsh with "James" there at the end, as in (there, but for circumstance go I eh ) Traveler probably describes the vast majority of people after the big one and what they will do to survive.
    I keep ragging on my tribe to read these type genre for the many examples of how post SHTF life may be. Gives good insight as to human nature.
    I too thought them short, leaving the stories left unfinished. Ah....sequels yet to come mayhaps

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    1. You have 100 rounds of ammo. Your attacker has 100. You both fire half at each other. He takes your half after you're dead. The ammo supply was just halved.

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  4. I liked David Crawford's "Collision Course" because the main characters were flawed. Though I think the kindle version is high priced.

    I would also highly recommend "A Distant Eden" by Tackett.

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. Collision Course was great-and a dis on yuppie survival gear. The book was published by a conventional press, so they don't want compition from Kindle. You can buy the paper version used, after shipping, cheaper than the K-book. But buy one.

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