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  #1  
Old 10-13-2010, 04:59 AM
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Default Without Warning by John Birmingham

is followed by "After America" in starting a series. Basically the books deal with what sort of chaos ensues if USA, big chunks of Canada and Mexico along with almost all of Cuba would just be rendered no entry zone as in everything that goes within the area dies.

The anomaly has not been explained so far, but that's beside the point IMO.

I'm somewhere in the middle of the first book and so far it has been very good. It has all the real world consequences I'm looking for if US of A suddenly ceases to exist. All the exultant Arab population to smugly smiling Europeans to those smart one's that realize that we indeed are co-dependent on each others on a level where someone's demise means demise for all. And things are about to become medieval!

The reason I started this topic is that there were couple of fellow forumites that expressed interest in the series. Of course it's a personal opinion but I have not been disappointed, but rather been electrified by it.

So it has my thumbs up
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by looqas View Post
I'm somewhere in the middle of the first book and so far it has been very good. It has all the real world consequences I'm looking for if US of A suddenly ceases to exist. ...
I'm currently almost precisely one quarter of the way through the book and I'm seriously considering abandoning it as unreadable.

I suspect I would not find it so unreadable if it were not set (partly) in places where I grew up and/or was stationed. In trying to show how interconnected the real world is, John Birmingham has crippled the "suspension of disbelief' necessary to enjoying science fiction or fantasy.

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The reason I started this topic is that there were couple of fellow forumites that expressed interest in the series. Of course it's a personal opinion but I have not been disappointed, but rather been electrified by it.
I on the other hand have been repeatedly jerked out of the story by some absurd implausibility.

For example, I can buy the national guard sending a helicopter for a city engineer in an emergency situation. I can't buy the necessity of transfering said engineer to a c-130 at some remote airfield when the helicopter and c-130 would be based on the same airfield. I also can't buy that c-130 landing at Sea-Tac's civilian, commercial airfield when McChord AB and Fort Lewis both have military runways suitable for C-130s less than an hour from Seattle.

In later, unrelated scene, a bad guy is disposed of by an M-16, with a single bullet that severs the bad guy's neck completely AND blows the body overboard.

Thus far I haven't read past the first 24 hours
of the disaster and am encountering actions by military forces that couldn't reasonably be managed in less than 48-72 hours even if the commanders responsible could evaluate a disaster on the scale of continental depoplulation that quickly.

Birmingham relies too heavily on stereotypes and caricatures for his storytelling and not enough on basic science and character building.

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So it has my thumbs up
I will have to give this a thumbs down As a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I'd have to rate this about a 4 out of 10.

There are just too many WTF moments where the author obviously has insufficient experience or understanding of the persons and places to avoid jerking the reader out of the story.

Perhaps in a different setting -- like a pure fantasy setting where a magic bubble that destroys every living thing it touches isn't grossly improbable -- the story would be readable, but as an alternate history, post apocalypse work it fails.
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Old 10-26-2010, 02:45 AM
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Finished the first book.

It was VERY interesting to read what Harold thought about it. It really seems that you were totally non-plussed by the details being effed up.

Once I got past the Wave is unexplainable hurdle and all the details and just concentrated on author's vision how the shit will hit the fan on the world scale it became quite enjoyable, so I encourage you Harold to just read further and finish it. Political stuff and the world events are more worth it than the personal stories, which to be honest were quite boring. But one thing I have to hand it to the author. He's not afraid to kill off the characters.

For me the book offers food for thought like what I would do and such. Or how the nations will act. The book is more like a study or theory how things would unfold if US and Canada was taken out of the picture at the eve of Gulf War than a masterpiece in alternate history.

Last edited by looqas; 10-26-2010 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:41 AM
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For me the book offers food for thought like what I would do and such. Or how the nations will act. The book is more like a study or theory how things would unfold if US and Canada was taken out of the picture at the eve of Gulf War than a masterpiece in alternate history.
If the author can't get the little things right, why should I expect any more plausibility in his political and social prognostications?

Perhaps it was his vision of the reaction in Seattle -- especially comparing it to "9/11 all over again." I happened to be in the Pacific Northwest and in Seattle itself a day later; the author might as well have been writing about Lunopolis on the Planet Toonia as about 'Seattle.'
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