Many of you who know me personally, know I love apocalyptic entertainment and dystopian literature. I eat up novels such as “Hunger Games,” “the Giver,” and “Divergent.” I was moved to no end by Ray Bradbury’s classic “Fahrenheit 451.” I am perpetually glued to the idiot box when the “Walking Dead” is on, and I will watch reruns all day.
It’s not because I love zombies. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even give “Walking Dead” a chance at first, because zombies… meh.
But the show is not about the walking dead. It’s about those still living, and that fascinates me. The thought of an apocalyptic event doesn’t appeal to me, but society’s reaction to it does. What happens when government completely breaks down in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event? Be it zombies, earthquakes, floods, war or the complete disappearance of electric power (see: Revolution) – what happens when a complete breakdown of law and order occurs? How does government react? How do the people react to the actions of said government?
These are all questions I love to explore, both in literature and in other forms of entertainment.
I’m ashamed to say that I only recently picked up Matt Bracken’s “Foreign Enemies and Traitors” – the final installment of the “Enemies” trilogy. It’s been a while since Matt sent me my copy of “Domestic Enemies” to read while I was on deployment, and unfortunately, the reviews I had written for both “Enemies Foreign and Domestic,” the first novel in the trilogy and “Domestic Enemies,” perished when I deleted my old blog on the Blogger platform. I should have saved them. Both books were excellent.
But I think Matt outdid himself with this one. It’s not only gripping… you don’t just care about the characters and what happens to them… you don’t want to put the book down.
The story centers on two major events (and a whole lot of minor ones) that lead to the catastrophic breakdown of American society.
First – the economic breakdown resulting from destructive fiscal and redistributionist policies of the government (sound familiar?).
Second – natural disasters: earthquakes and floods.
I don’t want to give anything away, but the results of those events are predictable to any one of us with a shred of logic. They are the rational and expected progression of events, based on the attitudes we are currently seeing in our society.
What happens when you regulate and tax producers out of existence?
What happens when natural disasters cause desperate people to do desperate things?
What happens when local and state authorities are helpless, and can no longer protect and serve?
How far will people go to survive?
What happens to those who are accustomed to living in a cycle of dependence?
Matt answers all of these questions and more in grizzly, realistic detail. He pulls no punches, and he doesn’t sugar coat reality. This is what happens when society breaks down. This is what happens when tyrannical politicians gain control. This is what happens when we give up our rights willingly for a little handouts. This is what happens when we forget how to fend for ourselves and every survival instinct is bred out of us.
This one was really the best of the batch.
Well done, Matt. Well done.