Thursday, February 19, 2009

SHTF: Patriots Suviving the coming collapse

Since most of us are into preparedeness and survival, with the exception of an odd "lost in the woods" news article or a major event like Hurricane Katrina, we are left to our imaginations as to what "post-SHTF America" would look like.

And we are not alone..

For centuries, story tellers have dreamed up imaginary stories of survival and preparedness which in turn, inspire another generation of authors and writers.

Homer's "Illiad" and "Odyssey" and H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds" are both great literary works, but also great early works of survivalism. The legend of Atlantis and numerous stories in the Bible are also great influencers on the modern preparedness movement.

Patriots originally started as a shareware version on the Internet back in the mid-nineties and went by several different names; Triple Out, the Gray Nineties and finally, Patriots.

The story is simple. Economic meltdown of the U.S. followed by years of chaos. One group's story in Northern Idaho and how they prepared and survived the tough times. Lots, and I mean lots of details on how do survivalist things.

Patriots is now available for purchase only in book form online.

First, Patriots is a standard for modern survival stories. Nearly every author (online) follows the Patriots model for survival fiction. That includes..

Tell the story from the protagonist point of view.

Give plenty (read pages and pages) of technical details on preparedness preparation including retreat construction, name brands of products used, occasional references to websites (which is funny in a SHTF, non-internet world), lots of firearms descriptions/capabilities and sprinkle in a cast of bad guys with names like Scrag, Killer, Lefty and so on.

Continually preach the mantra of preparedness, financial frugality, the problems of the federal government, unwavering support for the constitution and the inherent danger of fiat currency.

Also frequently point out to readers "Don't Get Its" - those people who failed to prepare for emergencies and also who lived beyond their means. Those poor souls are treated savagely at each turn.

All conversations between characters are lectures on the above topics with little discourse between the characters present except for "straight lines" to keep the speaker going, such as "Gee, Bob, I thought our currency was backed by the government" or "Isn't the government here to help us and not hurt us?".

The end result is as the author likes to state, "Patriots - survival fiction neatly dressed as fiction".

Neatly, as in the eye of the beholder.

I have read Patriots on more than one occasion. I have visited the author's website and read his non-fiction comments and writings. I have tried really hard to like this book. But Patriots just doesn't do it for me.

First, Patriots has a two dimensional story line.

For instance, who really thinks 12 friends, not matter how long they have known each other, would really still be speaking after two years locked up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere?

In the first week or so of the Crunch, why wasn't at least one member of the Group curious enough to drive over to Bovill or Moscow or any other nearby town to see if the troubles had reached them yet? From what we learned later in the book, most of the problems never made it to central Idaho.

Who really thinks a bunch of city dwelling drug addicts and convicts are going to wander five hours from a major city, miles from any major highway while searching for a farm or ranch with enough food and gasoline to make it worth their while?

And who really thinks that the UN, with European soldiers, are going to invade and conquer the United States including huge underpopulated sections which primarily consist of rugged mountains and forests? European countries are more interested in invading a disco or something similar.

When I reread Patriots, I searched high and low for some sort of conflict between the characters such as whether or not to help others, or friction between friends or famiy. It never happened.

Further, most of the characters had a family members elsewhere yet no one had any interest in looking for them or trying to make contact. However, when two friends were trapped a few hundred miles away, the Group wasted no time driving through hostile territory to save them.

It got old having to wade through pages of how a character hooked up a Acme Super Solar Charger to a post next to his barn. And the constant product plugs were tedious as well.

And my biggest gripe: Every person in the book was identified by the type of firearm they carried.

I get tired of the survival manual mindset. I want to read a story first and a "how to book" third or fourth. Patriots is quite simply, not a very good story.

Patriots would be a lot better if there were more of a story line. It starts out well, has great potential, then gets real boring real fast.

Hey, if you enjoy Patriots and don't mind some of the points made above, no problem. But if you are looking for a good story "FOC", check out Lights Out, Deep Winter or Shattered - all of which are available online.

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