Summer Reading List ['17]

Summertime means longer days and more unstructured leisure time to do what you will with. Since scientists love to remind us that children get dumber over the summer months because they spend all their time riding their bikes in the street and stealing from convenience stores, schools love to assign Summer Reading Lists.
Summer Reading lists are great but they tend to be geared at children and highly filtered by “The Man.” Also, they always leave out graphic novels…
With that in mind, I’m going to generate my own! I have read all these books so don’t kick me in the junk if you hate them; they’re on the list of books I plan to read or think someone should plan to read.

In Case of Survival Summer Reading List [2017]

Continue reading “Summer Reading List ['17]”

REVIEW: Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool by Hugh Howey is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people live in vast, underground silos.

In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo.
 Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies.
 To live, you must follow the rules. But some don’t. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism.
 Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside.
 Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.

Review copy provided by Random House through NetGalley
A note: This is actually the Wool omnibus, collecting  Novellas 1-5 of the series originally self-published by Howey. I’m new to the wonderful world of Wool, which is shocking considering my status as one of the main reviewers at In Case of Survival. However, it has a lot of what I like in a series – a female protagonist, a post-apocalyptic world, an assault against oppressive regimes. These things are my catnip. So, how does it pan out for me?
Continue reading “REVIEW: Wool by Hugh Howey”

Prepare you mind for the apocalypse.

We all know having the proper supplies, tools, and even clothes for the apocalypse is vital. We prepare our bodies with exercise and diet, but how do we prepare our mind? How do we ready ourselves for the predators who will use mental tricks and manipulation to assert their will?
I recently read an article about Pick up Artistry or PUA. It’s a school of thinking and series of behaviors designed to coach men that women aren’t interested in to manipulate, bully, and otherwise deceive their way into bed.
Delightful.
There’s a book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss, about understanding and employing this technique that has a nearly perfect score on amazon with about 720 reviews. Overwhelmingly, these Seven Hundred and Twenty people, likely a vast majority of men found topics like “Selecting a Target” and “Isolating the Target” to be valuable information.
Read the book, not to become this kind of person but to recognize them when they approach you, your friends, your daughter. Explain to your friends and relative what it looks like to be manipulated by a Pick up Artist. Every potential victim needs to not only be confident in their own mind and cues it’s providing but also aware of what might be churning in the mind of that seemingly vulnerable man who needs help on the other side of those buildings.

We all know having the proper supplies, tools, and even clothes for the apocalypse is vital. We prepare our bodies with exercise and diet, but how do we prepare our mind? How do we ready ourselves for the predators who will use mental tricks and manipulation to assert their will?

I recently read an article about Pick up Artistry or PUA. It’s a school of thinking and series of behaviors designed to coach men that women aren’t interested in to manipulate, bully, and otherwise deceive their way into bed.

Delightful.

There’s a book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss, about understanding and employing this technique that has a nearly perfect score on amazon with about 720 reviews. Overwhelmingly, these Seven Hundred and Twenty people, likely a vast majority of men  found topics like “Selecting a Target” and “Isolating the Target” to be valuable information.

Read the book, not to become this kind of person but to recognize them when they approach you, your friends, your daughter. Explain to your friends and relative what it looks like to be manipulated by a Pick up Artist. Every potential victim needs to not only be confident in their own mind and cues it’s providing but also aware of what might be churning in the mind of that seemingly vulnerable man who needs help on the other side of those buildings.

Because for all their placating and explanations of how harmless it is and how when a women “acts like she’s not interested she’s just playing games,” PUA is disturbingly similar to emotional abuse. That special kind of abuse that isolates the victim and makes them question their self worth so that the abuser can swoop in and be the hero in a situation that they caused.

There is nothing at all wrong with going out and trying to get laid. There is nothing at all wrong with using techniques to better “your game.”

The problem arises when the game is more important than the person being played. People who refuse to treat people like people are shitty people.

After spending three days immersed in a Mystery Method Corp (now Love Systems) seminar, Gene Weingarten expressed his uneasiness about “a step by step tutorial for men in how to pick up women, make them comfortable in your presence, and bed them, ideally within seven hours of your first meeting” and wondered aloud, “Is there something inherently wrong with the notion of seduction as a classroom-taught skill, complete with a long hierarchy of ‘lines’ that work, seemingly spontaneous topics of conversation that are anything but spontaneous, tricks for seeming ‘vulnerable’, and tips on how to behave so as to deliver subtle but effective nonverbal inducements to intimacy? [SOURCE]

It is vital that in all our preparations we recognize shitty people from the jump and never give them the upper hand. Recognize when people are playing at our emotions and trying to manipulate our minds by saying something so random and out of the blue that it confuses and thus disarms us[1. Yeah, that’s a technique.].

Read the books your predators are reading so you know if you’re being treated like prey.

A few other books to add to the Prepare Your Mind Reading List:

The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker
In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the man Oprah Winfrey calls the US’s leading expert on violent behaviour, shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger – before it’s too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, including: how to act when approached by a stranger; when you should fear someone close to you; what to do if you are being stalked; how to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls; the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person; and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, this is the definitive guide to help readers achieve for themselves what Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV and Machiavelli learnt the hard way. Law 1: Never outshine the master Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies Law 3: Conceal your intentions Law 4: Always say less than necessary. The text is bold and elegant, laid out in black and red throughout and replete with fables and unique word sculptures. The 48 laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs and failures of great figures from the past who have wielded – or been victimised by – power.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.You’ll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.

If you know of another books that should be added to the Prepare Your Mind Reading List, please let us know in the comments.

Author Feature: John Xero.

Long-time readers may remember John Xero from his brilliant short story Ragestorm Requiem. Well, those of you who liked it will be pleased to hear he has a book out. This is The New Plan is a collection of his short stories and flash fiction, and what’s even better, most of them are apocalyptic or dystopian in some way.
As for why I’m not reviewing this, John Xero is actually a personal, real-life friend of mine, so I don’t feel like I can. Still, taking that into account, I still think it’s a bloody good book. Just bear in mind I’ve known him for long enough that I pretty much have to say that. (No, seriously, it’s great.)
We asked him some personal questions, because we’re always secretly judging people by their answers.
 

 
 

1. Who are you, I mean, really?

Presumably this is where most people say, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” The truth is so numbingly boring you’d probably kill yourself just from hearing it…
And so I become this adventurer, I travel to worlds, chat with gods and spacemen, witness wars and births, dance with stars and mourn over broken cities. And do I send you back a ‘wish you were here’ postcard or a lame ‘I <3 the Multiverse’ t-shirt? No. I bring you back stories.
That doesn’t really answer the question, does it? 😉

 
2. What is it that you do?

When I’m not stumbling into timeslips, lunching with deities (minor and major), or practicing my interstellar cartography, you mean? 😉
Well, OK. I play games, I read comics, I sell books, I write. My day job is bookselling, I run the science fiction and graphic novels sections for a branch of Britain’s biggest bookselling chain. And I get up extra early every morning to write.
Writing is my great passion. I love stories and storytelling, and I just want to give back some of the excitement and thrills other writers have given me over the years.

 
3. When did you first realize you wanted to do that thing?

Ah, I kind of made this difficult to answer now, didn’t I? Let’s start with the bookselling…
I dropped out of university the first time round, struggled to find a job, and ended up in data entry. Yay. Then I applied for a job in this awesome little SF and cult shop called Kulture Shock, and I got it. Surrounded by the stuff I love, all day, and getting paid for it? Yes. OK. I can do that. And have, ever since.
I started writing in my late teens. Told myself it was worth pursuing if I could stick it out and write a book.
I wrote a book.
I daren’t look at it, I do have it somewhere, but I’m sure it’s awful. It started me on the path though. I fell in love with writing. I’m not in a rush to get anywhere, but I’m slowly getting somewhere, I think, and that’s fine.

 
4. Where are you from (and how do you feel about that place?)?

I don’t really know the answer to this. I’m mostly English with a dash of Scottish, but then English is a medley of so many things already. My dad built roads, so we moved around a fair bit. I guess you could say I grew up in East Anglia, I’ve settled in Norwich though, just about the most parochial city you’ll ever find, but it’s a beautiful place and I’m happy here.

 
5. Why would you make a good apocalypse party member?

Why do tribes need storytellers and shaman?
Do you want your party to be the one that descends into savagery or the one that sparks the rebirth of civilisation?
Need a modern set of moral and cautionary tales for living in a dark and dangerous new world, ones that maybe incorporate the ideas of a golden age and a bright future? Come to me.
So it probably helps that I’m a thinker and a problem solver. And I’m physically fit and capable, so I won’t slow folk down when there’s running to be done.
And basically, I’ve already walked the dusty grounds of a thousand apocalypses in my mind, you need my experience…
 
Blogs at xeroverse.com
Tweets at @xeroverse
Editor at 101Fiction.com

Apocalyptic Literature: What I want to see.

Because of ICoS I now read more apocalypse-related books than ever before. I buy them with my own money AND get them sent free for review, and then I tell you about them, whether they’re good or bad. Hell, some of the books I write are apocalypse-related. So, after more than a year of reading about the apocalypse, I have a list of things I want to see  more of in future apocalyptic literature.
Better Writing:
It’s not that the writing in these books is bad. It’s usually perfectly competent. But it could be more powerful, more evocative – just more – with harsher editing. If you’re writing apocalyptic literature (especially if you’re going the self-publishing route) I’d recommend two books which will help you get it as good as possible. The Elements of Style and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. You should pick up Chuck Wendig’s books as well, but they’re less about editing and more about kicking your arse to get writing your crap, already, so that one is up to you. But the other two? Please, just do it. I’ve read loads of books with really interesting stories let down by poor editing.
Better female characters:
Most of the apocalyptic literature I’ve read was by men. The problem was, a great many of their female characters were cliches – irritating, insulting cliches at that. Remember that women are human beings rather than a collection of stereotypes. I don’t mind if one woman in your story is useless, but I start getting suspicious if she’s the only character that is, and then I’m outright judging you if ALL your women are useless. When I say ‘Better’ I mean I believe in her as a human being. Having her display some personality traits other than ‘screaming chick who needs to be rescued’ would be great. I sincerely doubt that post-apocalypse we would have time or room for ‘traditional gender roles’ anyway. While we’re at it, can we stop writing it so that even the good guys are enacting forced breeding? It’s rape, it’s skeevy and the good guys shouldn’t be forcing HUMAN BEINGS into a position where they are being abused and brutalised.
Better characters IN GENERAL.
While I find believable, relatable female characters are few and far between in apocalyptic literature, I also find that in nearly every book I’ve read the same character archetypes pop up. The grizzled, damaged war veteran. The girl who’s only a bitch cause she was raped. The creeper who betrays the group. Look, character archetypes exist for a reason, but if I can predict what your characters will do within the first 10 pages, it’s BAD. Do something new with them, something unexpected. Make the war veteran a perky, cheerful man with no dark past. Make the creeper loyal and caring, just socially awkward. Make the woman a bitch because she’s figured out that being bitchy gets stuff done. Stop relying on old, well-worn paths. Make your own.
More imagination and ingenuity:
By which I mean – write something different! There are no new stories under the sun, but there is a trick to this – write it in such a way that seems new. Add something, take something away, I don’t care what it is, but just write something different. The books are starting to blend in together now, because they’re all so similar.  The main reason I’m getting bored of zombies is that not only are they everywhere, but they’re the same bloody thing in each book. CHANGE SOMETHING. Write as though you’re setting a new standard and starting a new trend. Please? For example, check this out:  Dinocalypse Now. It’s apocalyptic literature, but it avoids the tired old tropes and boring setting, and it looks loads more fun.
Actual Research:
How would the area you’re writing in respond to an apocalyptic event? Desert, jungle, overgrown woods? Research it. How many bullets can that gun fire without jamming? If it’s been uncared for for 18 months? Research it. What does a nuclear bomb do? RE-FUCKING-SEARCH IT. If you get it wrong, people who KNOW that you got it wrong will be pulled out of your story immediately. Sure, it’s fiction. But fiction needs to seem as if it’s real to the readers, and if you get it wrong… For my current novel (which is terrible and will never get published because MY GOD) I am researching radios. My girl is a ham radio enthusiast, so I need to know at least the basics of the different types, how they work, how you’d fix one. If you’re writing a novel – even one based in a world where everything has changed – and there’s a siege, you need to research seige warfare. RESEARCH.
Bottom line: This is writing. It’s not a thing you should do because you think it’s easy money or fame (it’s really not). It’s not something you can just churn out and have it be OK. It’s something you do because the love of it means it’s the only thing you CAN do. Which means you need to do the best you can, write the best, most amazing thing you’re capable of. Don’t be scared, or small, or dull with it. Get down right into the filthy guts of it all, and be incredible.
Please, I’m begging you.
What do our readers want to see from post apocalyptic literature in future? Talk about it in the comments.
If you have something tasty and apocalyptic that you’d like reviewed, we’re always happy to do it. If your book fits these guidelines, you’ll get a much more positive review than if it doesn’t. Just email anninyn at incaseofsurvival dot com and I’ll get back to you.

Review: War against the Walking Dead – By Sean T Page.

More than 63% of people now believe that there will be a global zombie apocalypse before 2050…
So, you’ve got your survival guide, you’ve lived through the first chaotic months of the crisis, what next?
Employing real science and pioneering field work, War against the Walking Dead provides a complete blueprint for taking back your country from the rotting clutches of the dead after a zombie apocalypse. 
* Arm yourself with the latest scientific insight from the world’s leading zombiologists including startling new analysis on why survivors must fight back within the first years of the crisis or risk being crushed by unstoppable ‘meta-hordes’ of the walking dead.
* A glimpse inside the mind of the zombie using a team of top psychics – what do the walking dead think about? What lessons can we learn to help us defeat this pervading menace?
* Detailed guidelines on how to galvanise a band of scared survivors into a fighting force capable of defeating the zombies and dealing with emerging groups such as end of the world cults, raiders and even cannibals!
* A strategic plan on how to deploy anti-zombie forces including training your new militia, creating fleets of foraging ships and a microlight air force.
* Features insights from real zombie fighting organisations across the world, from America to the Philippines, Australia to China – the experts offer advice in every aspect of fighting the walking dead.
Packed with crucial zombie war information and advice, from how to build a city of the living in a land of the dead to tactics on how to use a survivor army to liberate your country from the zombies – War against the Walking Dead may be humanity’s last chance.
Remember, dying is not an option !
There are a lot of zombie survival guides out there these days. It seems I can’t go into a bookshop without seeing one – so how is the zombie preparer supposed to make a choice? Apart from the classics, where are they to turn, and what makes one zombie manual better than another? What should make you buy War against The Walking Dead? [1. provided for free by Severed Press. The author also attempted blatant bribery and corruption by including some cool rubber bracelets in the package. For future reference, I’ll take cash.]
Well, this one is a bit special, for one main reason.
Instead of covering the immediate aftermath of a zombie assault, as so many guides do, it focusses on the destruction of the zombie plague and the rebuilding of society. With sections on how to organise a community, trap and kill large numbers of the living dead, and how best to rebuild communities after the end it concentrates on an area we at ICoS find sadly under-represented in the survivalist world. Most survival guides concentrate on immediate survival, which is all well and good, but what about long term? What about rebuilding?
This is where War Against the Walking Dead comes in. With in depth coverage of how best to survive zombie assaults both small and large, the pros and cons of various survival compounds, and how to build a fighting force out of scared, hungry refugees, it really is an excellent resource. If this decently-sized tome hasn’t been enough for you, it includes lists of other websites and books to help you with your rebuilding plans (though we’re not on it. I DEMAND AN EDITED REPRINT.). Definitely worth the purchase price, and unlike many books of a similar kind, it is attractive as well.
In terms of the writing, it is very readable and informative, and in places very funny. There are flaws, of course, but the day a book without flaws is written is that day the world of writing and publishing collapses in on itself. In places the sentences can run on, and the writing can be clumsy. There are minor errors in grammar which, while they don’t ruin the book, had the misfortune to include some of my pet hates (the use of commas where – : or ; would be more appropriate), but if you aren’t the sort of person who ignores their own grammatical errors to concentrate on a little known grammar guideline, you’ll probably ignore it just fine – and ultimately, the occasional clunkiness doesn’t detract from the book at all.
Of most interest to ICoS readers – even the non-zombie kind – will be the sections on rebuilding and battle techniques – these were based on real techniques through the ages, and could be useful in any apocalypse – so any serious post-apocalyptic survivalist could do with this on their shelves.
Overall, an excellent zombie survival guide. Minor flaws knock 1 star off.
Rating: 4/5
As well as buying his book, you can talk to Sean on his website, The Ministry of Zombies.

This week in the real world

First of all, sorry for being absent as of late. I just didn’t have anything to say and so I didn’t say anything.  But I have been busy. Not buying a house like Char or getting good grades like Ann. Mostly I’ve been playing video games and reading comic books and I got a new phone (almost immediately after, my work phone died).
While its always important to plan for the worst the current situation can’t. Come second. Sometimes that means making steak for dinner instead of hardtack. Or just going for a drive because its nice out. However you can keep in the back of your mind all the lessons you’re. Learning while doing these things.
What I’ve learned from the pre-apocalyptic world: Continue reading “This week in the real world”

Graphic Novel Review: DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS

Publisher’s blurb:
The Rossum Corporation’s Dollhouse technology has gone viral with a synchronized phone call that wiped the minds of everyone it reached, turning them into mindless killers. Those who avoided the call–including show favorites Echo, Alpha, Mag, Zone, and Griff–must try to survive in the sudden apocalypse and be wary of Rossum’s expansive technological reach.

In DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS (Dark Horse) [1. This book was provided for review by Dark Horse] we get a look at the worst case scenario for the imprint technology used in Dollhouse the TV show. Robo-calls are made to just about everyone in America and if the person at the other end answered the phone, they were hit with an imprint. The imprint erased their personality and replaced it with that of a blood-thirsty killing drone.
Imprinted people have no actual reasoning or logic, just standing orders they’re compelled to obey. If every last person is dead, they don’t just snap out of it because the job’s done. Nope. They can either go on to task number two, be erased, or be reprogrammed.
Is a person still a person if you remove them from their body? Similarly, is a body still a person without the individual person inside of it?
It has always been easy enough to decide that a zombie should be killed. A change takes place that removes them from the Human bucket. Not only do they die but they also look dead and act inhuman.
What if they only did one of those things? Would we be so quick to pull the trigger or swing the bat if Mrs. May still looked exactly the same except with a new rage behind her eyes?
Continue reading “Graphic Novel Review: DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS”

The pre-apocalypse apocalyptic library

So, I’m a geek. (This isn’t news.) But because I’m geeky and would be a professional student if I could get paid for it, it’s no surprise that I like to read up on things. Partly so I have more useless trivia to spout during really awkward dinners with my in-laws, but partly so I’m prepared for all sorts of random things.
Continue reading “The pre-apocalypse apocalyptic library”

The things I'll miss come the apocalypse.

So, some days I actually long for the apocalypse. You know, I stare at the world and think ‘please please please!’. In fact, just yesterday I told two Londoners that London was the reason I wanted an apocalypse- so it would be deserted and I could enjoy it properly. You know, without Londoners. Fortunately they’ve lived in Norfolk long enough that their immediate response wasn’t to glass me and take my wallet, so I was fine. Maybe a little verbally brutalised.
I’m getting off track.
The point is, that despite my almost certainly unhealthy longing for and obsession with the Big A, there are still some things I’ll miss.
Continue reading “The things I'll miss come the apocalypse.”