Saturday, November 07, 2009

When Things Fall Apart

Two new books authored within the circle of oftwominds.com address the coming unraveling: one speculative fiction, the other an analysis of devolution and prosperity.

Let's start When Things Fall Apart by referencing the source:
(tip o' the tam to Nina)

THE SECOND COMING
by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Though the poem was penned in 1919, doesn't it speak presciently to our era, too? The falconer circling ever farther away from the voice of its master could be interpreted as a spiritual metaphor for a culture lost in self-absorption, self-medication, greed and resentful entitlement, or politically as a metaphor for a populace slipping away from the voices of the Founding Fathers' principles.

In a nation increasingly diverging into hackneyed, hardened ideological camps, clearly the center (common ground, common sense) is not holding.

Author Chris Sullins' book, Operation SERF, a strategic action thriller serialized here earlier this year, imagines a future U.S.A. which has split into warring factions, and a blood-dimmed tide is loosed.

buy the book on amazon.com
Here is Chris's summary of the scenario/plot:

Operation SERF is a Strategic Action Thriller set in the Unites States of America in the year 2023. After many years of economic depression, a terrorist act fractures the country. The stage is set for another Civil War as three factions battle for control of the pieces. The story takes place in many areas across the country, but centers on one extended family caught between the struggles of the rival factions. The reader will glimpse into the minds of both the leaders of the factions as well as the common person and travel along with them. "Operation SERF" is Part 1 of a forthcoming 3 part series.

You can read the first sample chapters on the Operation SERF home page.

A few readers objected to the violence depicted in the book, and I sympathize with the general view that we as a culture are drenched in endless depictions of violence as "the answer" to whatever problem is at hand.

Yet the terrible reality is civil wars are often horrifically violent events, and we should understand that is one outcome of many should things truly fall apart.

I think Operation SERF is unique in a number of ways, all of which stem from Chris's deep knowledge of history, his unconventional skepticism of the status quo understanding of our situation and his experience in the U.S. Army on the ground in Iraq.

While on one level the book is entertaining, on another level it is a serious exploration of human nature, patterns of history and the political culture of our nation.

Chris has a deft descriptive touch, and the book reads like a multi-threaded mystery. If you start Chapter 1, I think you'll be hooked.


My own book Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation, explains why devolution of the status quo is predictable and irreversible, and how we can create a new prosperity for ourselves and the nation.

While I am enthusiastic about the ideas presented in the book, I'll let others supply a bit of praise (ahem):

"I've been a big fan of Charles Hugh Smith's insights since the day I first stumbled across his Of Two Minds blog. InSurvival+, he sets out a thoughtful and provocative vision of our future that should not be missed." Michael J. Panzner, author of When Giants Fall and Financial Armageddon

"Charles Hugh Smith is the savviest blogger in the USA these strange days. Nobody puts out a consistently wiser, truer, better-written message, day after day, than CHS. His views on surviving the hardships we face in economy and society are of the highest value and could not be more timely or astute." James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and World Made by Hand

"Charles Smith provides a balanced, thoughtful, and prescient view regarding the dilemmas facing our fragile economy. From the collapse in the housing market to the growing power of the banking sector, our economic landscape is changing. Mr. Smith’s credibility comes from years of work and unlike other prognosticators, he has been right. His illuminating arguments and insights provide readers a glimpse into the challenging world we will now enter." Dr. Housing Bubble

"Your book is truly a revolutionary act." Kenneth Robertson

OK, now that we got that over with--let's talk money. The exchange value of theSurvival+ book ($19.95) is approximately one meal for a family at a fast-food restaurant or two tickets to a first-run movie. The price of the ebook (downloadable) versions is $11.95 or about one standard cheese takeout pizza.

The exchange value of the Operation SERF book ($13.99) is equivalent to a single pizza with one topping, or a sandwich and drink at a downtown restaurant. The Kindle version ($7.99) is equivalent to two coffee drinks at Starbucks or a single matinee ticket to a movie.

Oddly enough, people seem to have no problem spending $10 or $20 on coffee or a fast-food meal or a 90-minute movie, but a $20 book is "too expensive." Say what? Is something that might change your understanding of our society and economy "too expensive" at a mere $20?

You don't need to wonder if the books are any good or if they're your cup of tea: you can read huge swaths of them for free right now on the Operation SERF home pageand the Survival+ home page. It doesn't get any easier than this.

Chris has a family to support; he's not rich. I am self-employed; neither of us are "fortunate son" trust-funders. We get a few bucks from the sale of each book. If you buy the books, you can pass them on to other readers when you're done with them. Heck, read them carefully (don't bend the spine) and you can wrap them up and give them as a gift come Christmas.

My buddy G.F.B. reckons my book will be perfect for swatting cockroaches in his kitchen. Talk about multi-purpose! What are you waiting for?

Permanent link: When Things Fall Apart

Get Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation on amazon.com or in ebook and Kindle formats. A 20% discount is available from the publisher.

Expanded free eBook now available (85,300 words, 136 pages):
in HTML: Survival+ in PDF: Survival+

iPod and iPhone owners: Read Survival+ on your iPod or iPhone by downloading the Kindle app and then buying the book from the Kindle store. Here's how.

Of Two Minds is now available via Kindle: Of Two Minds blog-Kindle

Thank you, Cheryl A. ($40), for your extremely generous donation to this site, and most especially for your pitch for donations, which continues to work its magic. I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

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