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  • Ron Foster Book Review – “The Great Unraveling”

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    Ron Foster is a prolific writer, authoring more than 23 books including his highly acclaimed “Preppers Road March” and “A Preppers Perspective” series. He has a background in the Army and the Air Force, and holds several degrees in emergency management. Foster has been hailed as “One of the most prepared men in America” and is considered of the top writers in the newly emerging genre of Prepper fiction. His self-published books are available on Amazon.com in multiple formats. With this in mind, I had high hopes when I downloaded the first installment of his standalone short novellas in the series, “The Great Unraveling: A Preppers Perspective” onto my Kindle. At the very affordable price of ninety-nine cents, I sat down, ready to immerse myself in his depictions of a grid-down America.

     

    What I found however, was a horrifically edited, stream-of-consciousness word salad so rife in bizarre spelling and grammatical errors that it would make his grade school English teacher hang herself in shame if she ever got a hold of the book. His stilted attempts at dialogue merely serve to confuse the reader as they weave in and between the main characters’ rambling thought processes. Mr. Foster is apparently aware of his lack of rudimentary English skills as he admits on his bio on smashwords.com : “Despite my accomplishments, I dont [sic] edit well and dislike the grammar nazis lol that try to change my southern style of writing books, but evidently I can write academically [sic] when needed.”

     

    Mr. Foster, please do not try to excuse your lack of writing ability on your “southern style of writing books”. Some of our country’s greatest authors have been southerners, such as Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, Truman Capote, and John Grisham. Their works have inspired movies, won Pulitzers, earned the Nobel prize for literature, and have become some of the best and most widely loved literary classics in the world. Your uneducated screed cannot even attempt to compare to the very shadow of a Faulkner or a Grisham.

     

    Endeavoring to move past the atrocious spelling and grammar, I tried to delve into the heart of what the author was trying to communicate in the story. After all, Mr. Foster’s background in emergency management surely will lend itself to some vital pieces of information which perhaps he is trying to convey hidden within the framework of the story. Once again, my hopes were horribly dashed as I read to my dismay and disgust one factual error after another. For instance, at the beginning of the story when the main character Dennis is leaving the airport after all the power goes out and he hails a cab and later a shuttle, he is unsure whether the power out due to an nuclear HEMP or a coronal mass ejection. At this point in the story, it appears that the author is also unsure, due to the fact that the effects of the blast (which are later revealed to be a nuclear HEMP) are limited to the power grid, and the shuttle driver’s two-way radios, but not the dashboard radios or the vehicles themselves, even hinting at one point that somehow the planes in the air were unaffected:

     

    He had explained to Bert that distance from a nuke EMP depended a lot on how your cars [sic] engine and computer system was [sic] affected, but a localized EMP even like what happened to Quebec from a solar storm could also be the reason their vehicle was still moving and planes still flying. If a solar storm had just overloaded some big transformers then you would only have localized damage that could be fixed. Now that Dennis know the cause of the disaster he could do a little planning.

     

    The problem is that Dennis did NOT know the cause of the disaster because he later reveals it was a nuclear EMP attack on numerous major nations around the world. In this case, commercial airlines would certainly be affected as they entirely rely on modern computerized electronics to operate and navigate. There are conflicting official opinions on the effect an HEMP would have on cars, as one study conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory concluded that many cars would be unaffected or experience minor electrical disturbances by an HEMP blast, depending on their proximity to the origin of the pulse, but another study presented to Congress in 2008 (CRS Report to Congress: High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HPM) Devices: Threat Assessments) states:

     

    Both HEMP and HPM can permanently immobilize vehicles with modern electronic ignition and control systems. However, older electrical components, such as vacuum tubes and induction coils for spark ignition, are generally built more massively, and are more tolerant of EMP. As modern electronics shrink in size, circuitry is becoming increasingly tiny and more vulnerable to electromagnetic interference. Therefore, countries with infrastructure that relies on older technology may be less vulnerable to the disabling effects of HEMP or HPM than countries that rely on a higher level of technology.

     

    Regardless of which one is more accurate, both studies agree that it would affect some vehicles and thus it would cause severe problems in transportation, including massive traffic jams and horrific accidents on all major highways. However, Dennis has few issues in this regard, and throughout the story drives along his merry way with very little inconvenience (aside from one instance of cars playing a “game of dodge-each-other.” – I’m unfamiliar with that game. I assume it is played by cars…dodging each other?).

     

    Aside from Mr. Foster’s lack of research and narrative discontinuity, the story also shows his complete ignorance in geopolitics and even basic geography. He attempts to propose a WW3 scenario where the US, China, Russia, France, The UK, Japan and Israel are all attacked by a bizarre coalition of North Korea and Egypt (“as well as Al-Qaeda having something to do with it”) and possibly Iran (if all his ham-fisted speculations earlier in the story are to be believed).

     

    Where do I even begin to poke at this massive pile of crap? First, China and North Korea are allies. China is North Korea’s economic savior, keeping the tiny country, which is economically isolated from the rest of the world (due to US led embargos), alive by supplying food and consumer product shipments, tourism, and technology. China has acted as North Korea’s only ally in disputes with the US and South Korea as well, going so far as to send in their naval fleets to the Korean coastline in support when US/Korean sabre rattling gets heated. Russia too has economic ties vital to North Korea. There is no scenario conceivable that the North Korean government would slaughter their golden goose.

     

    Despite their shared hostility to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Iran and Al-Qaeda are on opposite sides of the ideological fence. Their Sunni / Shia divide expresses itself in their very real opposition to each other in their respective allies in the Syrian conflict – Shiite – dominated Iran are strategic allies of the Syrian government, which while the Syrian branch of the ruling Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party is a secular political party, many of the Syrian members are Alawite Muslims, who along with the Shias, have been traditionally persecuted by the Sunni sect, of which Al-Qaeda is aligned. The Muslim Brotherhood, which was in power in Egypt at the time the book was written, is Sunni, and aligned with Al-Qaeda. Of course, the complexities of these differences apparently mean nothing to Mr. Foster, who apparently subscribes to the Bush doctrine of the “Axis of Evil” which is completely divorced from reality.

    The final nail in Foster’s proverbial coffin, of course, is Foster’s equating Iran with Syria:

     

    Israel has already told Iran if the [sic] used any of those missiles they said they have loaded with biological can chemical warfare agents that they could expect probably to get nuked in return. The bible says something about the total destruction of Syria in one day so that may well come to pass [emphasis added].

     

    Iran was called Persia in ancient times, later becoming known as Iran around the 3rd century CE. It has never been known as Syria. That’s a different country altogether.

     

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    Why does any of this matter? Why should it matter if Ron Foster’s book reads at the same level as a 4th grader’s report on what he did last summer? It matters because the prepping community gets a bad enough rap as it is. Between the outright ridicule leveled at preppers by the producers and audiences of NatGeo’s outrageously biased “Doomsday Preppers” and the spray-tanned idiots on “Doomsday Castle”, to the fear-mongering of the media when it was discovered that the Sandy Hook killer’s mother is a prepper, the last thing the prepping community needs is an ignorant, illiterate-sounding writer to represent prepper fiction. For all of our sakes, please Mr. Foster, hire an editor and take some creative writing classes at your local adult learning center. Please.

     

     

    51CRixMc03L Ron Foster Book Review   The Great Unraveling
    $6.59 USD
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     AUTHOR’S NOTE:

     

    After this article was posted and shared on Twitter, I got a response from Ron Foster:

     

    320 normal Ron Foster Book Review   The Great UnravelingRon Foster ‏@SolarPrepper                                                                           6h

             @BlueCollarPrepp Its to bad you cant understand the effect of a
    nuke hundreds of miles away but try to act like some expert and
    crictize

     

    My response:

     

    e18d469bcac0bf23896bf10ded55a05d normal Ron Foster Book Review   The Great UnravelingBlueCollar Prepper ‏@BlueCollarPrepp                                                   6h

    @SolarPrepper I’m not an expert. But I do edit my typos. Hence my
    “crictize”-ment.

     

    320 normal Ron Foster Book Review   The Great UnravelingRon Foster ‏@SolarPrepper                                                                            5h

    @BlueCollarPrepp lot of energy for a 99 cent book

     

     

    e18d469bcac0bf23896bf10ded55a05d normal Ron Foster Book Review   The Great UnravelingBlueCollar Prepper ‏@BlueCollarPrepp                                                    5h

    @SolarPrepper and if you spent even a fraction of that
    energy, you could make your work worth the 99 cents.

     

    e18d469bcac0bf23896bf10ded55a05d normal Ron Foster Book Review   The Great UnravelingBlueCollar Prepper ‏@BlueCollarPrepp                                                    5h

    @SolarPrepper The prep. community needs intelligent,
    coherent spokespeople and writers. We need to convey our
    message clearly and with care.

     

    e18d469bcac0bf23896bf10ded55a05d normal Ron Foster Book Review   The Great UnravelingBlueCollar Prepper ‏@BlueCollarPrepp                                                    5h

    @SolarPrepper If you wish, you may email me a written
    response to the review, and I’ll post it word-for-word on the
    website.

     

    I have not heard back from Mr. Foster, and he has blocked my Twitter account since the last message. However, the offer still stands. We need to hold our work to a higher standard if we expect the rest of the world to take us seriously, because our message, whether it is couched in fiction or written as fact, is deadly serious and deserves to be told clearly.

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