Most long-time preppers have at least one “pet theory” as to a major coming disaster. For some, it may be economic collapse, Others worry about the New Madrid fault giving way. I have two that concern me. The first is the Yellowstone caldera and the second, EMP, is the focus of this new novel.
I’m a big fan of Scott’s non-fiction books and was excited to hear he was trying his hand at the fiction side of things. The Pulse did not disappoint.
The story centers on a very small cast of characters. Casey is a student at Tulane University and her father, Artie, is a doctor who has taken some time off to help his brother Larry deliver a sailboat. A solar flare sweeps across the sky one night, disabling all electronics.
In New Orleans, the students and faculty at Tulane wake to a new world, one where alarm clocks don’t function and communication is word of mouth. Out at sea, only Larry’s extensive sailing experience prevents the brothers from being lost.
As Casey and her friends begin to realize the extent of the situation, they decide to head for one friend’s family cabin, about 90 miles away. Grant, whose family owns the cabin, is fairly knowledgeable about wilderness survival, having spent time in the field studying jungle tribes. They head out on bicycles, trying to avoid the chaos that is rising up around them.
Artie and Larry deliver the sailboat to port and meet up with Larry’s crew mate Scully. Knowing the importance of getting to Casey quickly so as to rescue her from what they fear is the worst, they put the final touches on Larry’s handmade catamaran and set sail for Louisiana, thousands of miles away.
As the various characters make their way through this new world, we readers are shown scenes of devastation, riots, and various degrees of violence. It is quite clear that the EMP from the solar flare has not only knocked out the electrical grid, but taken with it all law and order.
It is very obvious the author possesses extensive knowledge about sailing and we are treated to very intricate, detailed descriptions of the sailing vessels used in the book. While this level of detail can be daunting to a non-sailor such as myself, I did find it interesting.
The characterizations and dialogue are spot on. This is particularly true with the character Scully. He is a “Rastaman” and speaks with a distinct accent. Many lesser writers would have stumbled with this and either dealt with it clumsily or just overlooked the accent altogether. However, here the author truly shows his skill and it is very easy to “hear” Scully when he speaks.
I did feel the story ended in sort of a rush. It isn’t a glaring error by any means though. Perhaps at least part of my feeling this way stems from wanting to hear much more about Casey, Artie, Larry, Grant, and Scully, and how they go forward into this changed environment.
This is not a survival manual hidden inside a novel. It is an entertaining novel that contain many little tidbits about survival techniques. In other words, it is a story first and foremost. The survival information is just bonus material.
The Pulse is very well written and well worth the time. You can find it here on Amazon, as well as in various other bookstores.