November 05, 2020
X-Events: The Collapse of Everything, by John Casti; William Morrow–Harper Collins Publishers; 326 pages, hardbound; ISBN: 978-0-06-208828-4; nonfiction; $26.99.
Like many of you, right about now, I could write a book entitled, Grasshoppers I have Known, and sign it “the Ant!” Over the years I’ve tried to gently turn every jibe from my non-Prepper friends into a teachable moment. It seldom worked. When it did, I had an ally: John Casti, an American scientist and complexity theorist, with a PhD in Mathematics, author of X-Events: The Collapse of Everything. He saw this moment coming and many more.
Casti defines X-Events as outliers on the normal bell curve of probable happenings. They absolutely will occur, someday. Only the timing is in doubt. But when, not if, they take place, they’ll literally cause the EOTWAWKI. He has quantified the reason why we prep. We’re not nuts. We are wise.
The issue, as Casti sees it, lies in our increasing dependence on unsustainably complex systems to run our daily lives. How complex? It’s complex enough that a failure in one part of the system will cause a tsunami of cascading failures in all other parts. We’ve been witnessing these failures in real time. With no sure cure or vaccine, our health systems have been overwhelmed, exposing supply chain issues. Stay At Home orders meant to slow the spread have shut down our economy throwing millions out of work, putting millions of small businesses at risk, tanking The Market, and let’s not even think about the Federal Deficit.
So, if it’s too late to close the barn door on COVID-19, so to speak, why am I recommending this book? Because Global Pandemics are only one type of X-Event and we must remain vigilant. Casti’s book answers the question: how do we avert X-Events and moderate their impact when they occur. A chapter is devoted to each of the following: a long-term, widespread Internet failure; a breakdown of the global food-supply system; a continent-wide electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that destroys all electronics; the collapse of Globalization; the destruction of the Earth through the creation of exotic particles; destabilization of the nuclear landscape; drying up of world oil supplies; a global pandemic; failure of the electric grid and with it the clean water supply; intelligent robots overthrow humanity; global deflation and the collapse of world financial markets. Finally Casti outlines “signals that serve as ‘tip-offs’” that an X-Event is about to unfold.
Some of these may seem a bit far-fetched, but read the book and you’ll become a believer. Besides, as the Monty Python boys warned us in 1970, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” Speaking of Monty Python . . . “And now for something completely different!”
The Survivalist Series by Arthur T. Bradley; Ph.D.: Arthur T. Bradley, Ph.D. Publisher. 12 novels; paperback, e-book, and audio-book. 2013 through 2020. Fiction. Available through the usual retail sites and the author’s website.
So what can you do with all this time on your hands as you sit at home waiting for The Curve to flatten? Read the 12-novel Survivalist Series by Dr. Arthur T. Bradley! Dr. Bradley is well known in the Preparedness Community from his non-fiction books Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness, Preppers’s Instruction Manual, and EMP Attacks and Solar Storms. You may also recognize him from his YouTube videos, website (disasterpreparer.com), and his newsletter. In a world of well-meaning people sincerely giving prepping advice, Dr. Bradley’s is the voice I listen to. An Army Vet, he’s also a NASA engineer. Yep, he’s a rocket scientist! For me, bona fides just don’t get better than that! He is practical and pragmatic in his non-fiction and imaginative, witty, humorous, and informative in his fiction.
The Series spans roughly 2 years. It begins as Deputy U.S. Marshal Mason Raines prepares to leave the solitude of his isolated, country cabin to return to work as a firearms instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. He discovers that, in his absence, the US has fallen victim to a horrific Global Pandemic. With his Wilson Super Grade 1911 on his hip and his faithful companion Bowie “The Wolfhound” at his side, Mason endeavors to serve and protect in a world turned up-side down. Mason’s story is interwoven with the adventures of Tanner, Mason’s Buddhist martial artist father. Plus, there’s Samantha, the orphaned, wisecracking ‘tween he adopts along the way when he rescues her from bad guys trying to kidnap her to use her as leverage against her mother, the President of the United States. I just love Tanner and Sam!
There’s plenty of action, gunplay, knife-play, political intrigue, despotism, altruism, cannibalism, mutants, and love and betrayal. Plus, there’s Easter Eggs of prepper advice sprinkled generously throughout. There’re even a few illustrations in each volume! Bradley had way too much fun writing these books and you’ll have way too much fun reading them, promise!
This article originally appeared in the 2020 Be Ready! Pandemic Special Edition. You can purchase a copy by visiting https://www.osgnewsstand.com/product/be-ready-2020.