The onslaught of apocalyptic stories has overloaded the science fiction bookshelves lately and any hopes of finding one with a fresh take on “what happens next” grows increasingly more difficult. Fans of the genre have been inundated with works in post economic fall, post viral epidemic, post zombie outbreak, post vampire incursion, post alien invasion and post nuclear war. Regardless of the cause of the fall, the core of these stories usually revolves around the survival of society, but the most compelling aspect should be the endurance of the human condition and the evolution of modern civilization in its darkest hour.
The essential survival tool in any situation is preparedness. As a practice that can help in virtually any situation, this component is the basis for the novel Going Home by A. American, the voice behind the website angryamerican.net (hence the author’s creative pen name).
Evolving from various work posted on the website, the story first appeared in digital and print form direct from the author, but later published by the Penguin Group imprint Plume. The popularity of the book influenced the continuation of the story in follow-up books titled Surviving Home, Escaping Home, and Forsaking Home. The latest addition to the series, Resurrecting Home was released by Plume in December 2014.
The hero of the story Morgan Carter lives in Lake County Florida. After making a service call in southern Georgia, he is just starting out on his long journey home when everything electrical suddenly shuts down because of an unknown electromagnetic pulse (EMP). In a society dependent on electricity and the technology it powers, the chaos and hardships of immediately being thrust into the dark ages becomes the downfall of most social interactions and the beginning of a bleak period in civilization.
All of the characters Morgan encounters are archetypical to a fault. The good people are extremely good and the bad people are inherently evil. At times, Morgan’s over confident ability to make such correct judgement of the strangers he meets tarnishes the believability of him as well as the other characters. Though confidence is a satisfying trait for a hero, displaying occasional faults or vulnerability will allow readers to better relate to the character and appear more feasible.
Going Home will not win too many literary awards, but it is an interesting story that will entertain many readers from various fields of interests. The book can easily be categorized in numerous genres and sub-genres including thriller, suspense, adventure, fiction, science fiction, dystopian, apocalyptic, and most appropriately survival. Many new authors attempt to target just one of these, but finding a book that can appeal to numerous audiences is refreshing.
If you’re concerned about getting lost in the techno jargon, a much needed thorough glossary is included in the back of the book for the layman. Readers will be able to find definitions and explanations for the terms CME, COM, EDC bag, EMP, ENO, Esbit stove, ESEE knives, fire steel, GP-L4 radio, Griliput, IWB, Leatherman Surge, Maxpedition Devildog, MRE, MOLLE Platypus water bladder, POS PSK, ranger beads, SOS survival kit, Springfield XD, SweetWater filter, Tek-Lok, trioxane tabs, trucker bombs, U-Dig-It, and even a woobie.
Going Home by A. American is an entertaining journey that leaves readers with a lot to think about. How will society cope with such plight? How would you cope? Should you trust anyone, and if so, who would you trust? In the end, after you’ve finish reading the story, you just might be compelled to keep the book nearby because in its purest form, it is also a blueprint on how to survive many everyday situations as well as those found in our worst nightmares.