There is fine line between fiction as entertainment and fiction as a learning experience. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you get both. In that respect, fictionalized tales of survival have proliferated over the years, and as long as you steer clear of the monster zombie titles, you can usually find something redeeming to add to your preparedness knowledge.
As a newbie prepper, one of the first books I read was One Second After. This book was an eye opener and served to confirm that the road to preparedness was the correct path to follow. Shortly after reading One Second After, I saw the movie version of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and I was hooked.
It is now many years later and after a steady diet of reading survival fiction and nothing else, I now read literary fiction and escapist thrillers. Still, about once a month I read something in the survival genre, and each time I do, I mentally check off lessons learned that help me become a more accomplished prepper.
Do you wonder about what can be learned from a made-up story? Let me share with you the lessons learned from R.P. Ruggiero’s Brushfire Plague. This book is still one of my favorites (and hint, hint, wink, wink) is currently only 99 cents for the Kindle version).
8 Lessons Learned from Brushfire Plague
1. Skills and stuff are equally important.
What do I mean by that? Simply that you can have a years’ worth of freeze dried food, six ways to purify water and a well-stocked first aid kit but if you don’t have the skills to defend yourself, the knowledge to find food in the wild, and the ability to tend to serious wounds, all of the “stuff” you own will be of little use to you.
2. Community organization with like minded people can and will save lives.
Unless you live in isolation, the bad guys are going to come around and it may be difficult if not impossible to defend yourself on your own. Not only is there strength in numbers, but members of an organized team will most certainly have a wider variety of skills at their disposal.
3. Mental discipline and a level head under pressure will prevail when tough decisions need to be made.
When roaming groups of people show up on your street, they may be tired, hungry and in need of shelter. What do you do? Who gets to stay? How do you decide? This is just one example of the tough decisions you may have to make in a collapse situation.
4. Do not underestimate the need to defend yourself in ways you can not fathom in advance.
Without being too much of a spoiler, Brushfire Plague presented methods of community defense I had not considered before. (Hint: using old vehicles to set up a physical blockade – now why didn’t I think of that?)
5. There will be casualties. Be prepared mentally and physically to deal with the seriously wounded and the deceased.
You may feel prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit, antibiotics and even a suture kit. But do you know how to use them? How do you determine dosages especially when the drugs on hand may be in short supply? Who gets them and who does not?
Equally important, if people die (and they likely will), what will you do with the the bodies? Bury them (hope you have a strong back and a good shovel)? Burn them? The ramifications may be horrific but if you are one of the survivors, will you have to have the mental capacity to deal with this.
6. Grieving is important as is the need to spend personal time alone to rest and recharge.
No one can do it all, 24 hours a day, for days on end. Take time to grieve your losses and also time to rest and recharge your mental and physical batteries.
7. Perceived “good guys” may be bad and perceived “bad guys” may actually be good.
No surprise here. Just be prepared to evaluate, interview and act based upon as much knowledge and gut instinct you can muster. Trust no one until that trust in earned.
8. Feelings and compassion count as does the love and support of friends and family.
This is an important theme both in the book and in my own life. Without these qualities, the will to go on may be compromised. Again, I do not want to spoil the book for you, but much as in Cormac McCormack’s “The Road”, the love between a father and his son is an important part of Brushfire Plague.
Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways
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Free Mother Earth News Summit – Coming Soon
Even though I am not a homesteader, I love everything about Mother Earth News. After going to one Mother Earth News Fair a few years back, I was hooked. Well guess what? Now we can all attend an online version of the fair by taking advantage of the 100% free, Mother Earth News Homesteading Summit that will be streamed starting Monday, October 31st and through Sunday, November 6th.
The host for this event will be Marjory Wildcraft and you know that everything she touches is gold! She is also an all around nice person and someone I have been working with for a number of years. I promise you, this summit will be worth your while.
Even though it does not start until later this month, you can pre-register now using this link. I also hope to get back to you with more detailed information as we get closer. In the meantime, please join me in supporting this event; it promises to be a good one!
The Final Word
In my opinion, survival fiction should not be so terrifying that you end up filled with fear and apprehension. Instead, you should first, enjoy the book, and second, come away with a sense of renewed motivation to continue to expand upon your survival skill set. The very best of the genre will present situations that are possible, if not probably, not so far “out there” in fantasy, that there is no useful takeaway.
That is my opinion, anyway.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight: Brushfire Plague: Retribution
Both the author, R.P. Ruggiero, and his publisher, Prepper Press, are long term friends of Backdoor Survival. I therefore am excited to spotlight the newly released third title in the Brushfire Plague series, Retribution. I just downloaded a copy to my Kindle on Thursday and can’t wait to start it.
If you are just getting started with this series, also check out:
Bargain Bin: Couple being a good neighbor with strong primary defenses and you have a winning combination. Here are some items to consider as you build up your fortress.
One Second After: For many, this novel was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared. It is a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war based upon an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) used as a weapon. It could happen. If you have not read this book, you really should. (Note that the paperback version is less in cost than the Kindle version. These days I am seeing that more and more.) There is also a sequel, One Year After, which is also a good read.
Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: This light is awesome. I use mine downstairs and when I get up in the middle of the night, it comes on automatically. It is quite unobtrusive and gives off a ton of light. I own two of these flood lights. Runs for a year on 3 D size batteries. About $17.
Sabre Family Home & Property Protection Pepper Spray: This small fire extinguisher-style pepper spray delivers a strong blast covering an entire doorway. Offering extremely practical protection, SABRE provides distance from your threat with its 30 foot range. I like that it includes a wall mount.
Midland 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios: These are the handheld radios that I own. There are lots of good uses for the these radios. Handy while hiking, traveling, or simply keeping in touch with your partner while out shopping. They have a decent range and are waterproof – qualities that I feel are important. Plus, in addition to using the included rechargeable batteries, they can use regular AAs. Just be aware that getting a 36 mile range out of any handheld FRS radio is a myth. 4 to 6 miles is more likely. I prefer the Midland brand but the Motorola FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios are also popular and more budget friendly.
Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: This is a great knife that is currently priced at about $8.00 with free shipping. Not only that, it is ranked as the #1 best seller at Amazon in both the camping and hunting knives categories. The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and and can recommend it. See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.
Nokero N233 Solar Light: I first heard about these solar lights from a reader a few years back. Now that I have tested them, I am impressed by the amount of light they give off as well their sturdy construction. I especially like how they hold a charge for 12 months, meaning your can store them fully charged and can count on them to work during an unexpected emergency.
Baofeng or Pofung UV-5R Ham Two Way Radio: The Pofung (aka Baofeng) UV-5R is a compact hand held transceiver providing 4 watts in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz It is a compact, economical HT that includes a special VHF receive band from 65 – 108 MHz which includes the regular FM broadcast band. Dual watch and dual reception is supported. About $26.
Need help with setup? Read How to Set-Up and Master Ham Radio Without Going Crazy.
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