Lars Lindgren is all ready when the grid suddenly goes down in the US. Years before, he left civilization behind to become a wilderness man on 40 acres of undeveloped land along a small river someplace in Texas. Shortly after the SHTF, Eileen, stockbroker and small time gardener, shows up and stays. Pretty soon, a little self-reliant community springs up including Reggie, with his well-stocked arsenal of weapons, his wife Emily, along with Sam and his wife Sally who raise livestock and children. It’s becoming a veritable garden of Eden for these hardy folks who regularly pop over for a spot of tea. Dinner conversations include this year’s projected harvest and the feasibility of blowing up the Tucker family across the highway.
Now, you know I’m all about reading end-of-the-world survival scenarios (See Surviving A to Z). It really tickles my funny bone to compare some of those outrageous stories with our actual experience of 10-years off-grid living (See Dirty and Ragged). So, it will be no surprise to you that Into Autumn by Larry Landgraf gave me a few points to ponder.
The happy valley Lars and Eileen inhabit really is sort of a Prepper utopia. With the neighbor’s stockpile of weapons and the other neighbor’s animal husbandry setup, Lars doesn’t even have to give up his daily bacon once the world beyond ceases to function. While there was a good overview of the solar panel system and a fair description of the wood stove, there were some aspects that weren’t covered at all, such as waste disposal. Where did all the poop go? Septic tank? Piled in the bushes? Reused as humanure in the garden? (See Jawhole disaster)
How about birth control? Sam and Sally are still well within childbearing age. When Lars’ son and Reggie’s daughter get together, they immediately pop out a set of man-twins. So what stops these obviously fertile couples from breeding like rabbits? (See Waskely Wabbits) It’s not like there is any TV to watch to while away the evenings. Apparently, no one thought to bring along the portable DVD player that could have run off the solar panels. Ok, maybe this isn’t something the male author thought about. However, it is a valid issue. I know that since moving to an area where birth-control is difficult to obtain (as well as discouraged from the pulpit), I certainly have noticed the rampant crops of babies harvested from the cabbage patch every year. Why not in this happy valley? Then again, maybe it would be too hard to keep the toddlers out of the mine field.
There seemed to be an inordinate amount of attention given to listing the essential items that the inhabitants were always running low on. The list oft-repeated consisted of tea, coffee, salt, and sugar. Evidently, having these luxuries would keep the little group from becoming animalistic and perhaps converting to cannibals as so happens in the zombie apocalypse scenarios. I admit that salt is an essential element, but tea and coffee? If you want a little variety in your beverages, there are oodles of options out there in the wild or easily grown in your own garden. (See Matali Tea, Cilantro Tea, Feverfew Tea, Jamaica)
I believe Preppers and wanna-be Preppers would enjoy Into Autumn by Larry Landgraf because they could compare their state of preparedness with that of the characters in the book, much as I did. Those not so concerned about TEOTWAWKI won’t enjoy this book half as much.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the writing style. It seemed to be slow and ponderous for the most part. Although there were no grammar or spelling errors, the narration didn’t seem natural. Therefore, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.