By wangling a few extra signed copies of Horseman of the Red Hand (book 2 of the Operation SERF series) from author Chris Sullins, I can offer a Fourth of July book deal: $14, including postage.
We face an extraordinary decade ahead. It is sobering to ponder the future of the nation and the planet on this Fourth of July, as I am persuaded by various physical and financial facts that the status quo of the nation (and of the global economy) is unsustainable and thus it will either melt into thin air, evolve into a sustainable system or collapse is a great heap.
Our individual and collective course of action or inaction in the next ten years will influence the outcome.
The challenges will be physical (Peak Oil, environmental degradation), financial (the collapse of the exponential-credit system) and political, as the Power Elites' desperately attempt to maintain their grip on the national income, wealth and power.
The Central State (what I call the Savior State because it gains compliance by "saving" everyone in one way or another) will face the impossible task of preserving a Status Quo that is utterly dependent on ever-more marginal returns on investment/ money-printing even as the national income and wealth plummet.
Rationing and other controls of physical necessities will become increasingly likely as maintaining social order in the face of shortages and rising costs in a declining credit-based economy take precedence over the usual politics of dividing up the tax revenue swag.
Though I hope it doesn't come to such a dire juncture, some observers discern the possibility that the United States might devolve into regional territories. Non-fiction accounts include Civil War II: The Coming Breakup Of America and The Nine Nations of North America.
Chris Sullins' novels Operation SERF explores one such scenario, from the point of view of those struggling to understand the situation through the fog of crisis and conflict.
The value of such fictional explorations is straightforward: if we don't move beyond collective denial and internecine battles between various entrenched fiefdoms, then we may lose a lot more than the "right" to cheap, unlimited energy and food.
Chris sets his story apart from the typical "survivalist" novel thusly:
I know the synopsis makes the series sound like kevlar-jockstrap survivalist military fiction, but it isn’t. It’s not about a single character who goes on a post-apocalyptic road trip and has few problems finding gasoline in abandoned vehicles or canned food in fully-stocked yet forgotten bunkers. The main character can’t swing a .50 cal sniper rifle to his shoulder and steady it faster than you can lift and point a TV remote either.
I wrote this series with the intent to make its fiction as realistic as possible. I did this by taking the perspective of a slow economic collapse during the early stage of a growing civil war. The time-line in the story is based on my careful study of world history ranging from the dissolution of the Roman Empire to the breakup of modern Yugoslavia. I based my character interactions on years of professional experience in the human service field.
Although I don’t give the reader any omnipotence or even much direct insight into the characters’ thoughts, the behavioral descriptions and conversations are enough that any sharp person could make a good assessment. The reader as observer does not need a Ph.D. in psychology; but just like in real life if you skim too much and skip a key piece of information given by a character in a single line, you will miss something important in the story.
The combat in the story whether on an individual or mass scale is based on my personal involvement with a military deployment to Iraq –which was during a time period that included frequent attacks on U.S. forces and intense internal strife between religious and ethnic factions. Although there are many people who write fiction which includes violence, their attempts often fail as unrealistic fantasies because they have little, if any, real life exposure to organized violence and its personal emotional aftermath.
I admit that I’m light in the series on the mundane day to day survival chores of the characters, but please bear in mind that I do have a thorough knowledge of complex systems ranging from human waste disposal to fuel and water rationing –because I actually lived the off-grid “lifestyle” while under fire for nearly a year. I’ll leave the stocking of canned food and shotguns to other authors of fictional bravado while I use my writing skills in an artistic manner to illustrate something about human nature at the individual and national levels.
Each signed copy of Chris Sullins' new Book 2 in the Operation SERF trilogy, Horsemen of the Red Hand comes with a free embroidered military-style patch that is based on the flag of a new group introduced in the story. More about the patch and a picture can be found on the Garden SERF blog.
For more about the series, please visit the Operation SERF Trilogy page.
Disclosure: I make nothing by selling Chris's book, and in fact get paid nothing for the time it takes to package and mail the book. This is my way of supporting new authors who are contributing to our understanding, and I hope to offer more books by oftwominds.com readers in the years ahead.
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