Books – 1632 & Island In The Sea Of Time

Reminder: Uber-cool Hardigg cases for sale!
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I have a weak spot for survival fiction. Two of my absolute favorites in this genre are “Lucifer’s Hammer” and, of course, “Alas, Babylon”. Both books came out many years ago so it’s not often I find something that I wind up dog-earring as much as those two. (My copy of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ springs to mind but I suppose that is technically not a book about survival.)

One book, or series of books, that I find myself reading over and over again is “Island in the Sea of Time” – the first book (although it can stand alone quite well) in Stirling’s trilogy.

SM Stirling, in case you havent read his stuff, comes across as someone who must have been kind of a geek in high school and played a lot of D&D and watched a lot of science fiction. His books invariably construct some sort of circumstance where modern technology is limited or nullified and SCA-style geeks wind up being the new badasses.

Having said that, he does do a good job of creating engaging characters and telling a story well, although in Tom Clancy fashion he can wind up getting too caught up in describing technology or methods.

The premise for Island In The Sea Of Time is simple: the modern Island of Nantucket suddenly vanishes and re-appears several thousand years earlier…people, infrastructure, buildings, and all. The mechanism of this is left unexplained and the story then proceeds to how this society of people can continue to survive without the resources it is used to having. Throw in a few opportunists who want to use the opportunity to set themselves up as king of the savages, a few cultural stereotypes, and a large amount of re-invention of pre-industrial technology, and its a pretty compelling read.

If youre notion of the apocalypse includes a general global catastrophe where all you have is what can make or had socked away in your basement, you’ll probably appreciate this book. Once the .223 is gone, the gasoline used up, the batteries dead, and the radios silent, it’s all a matter of what can you make and how do you learn ow to make it.

What I like about it is the notion of intelligence, creativity, and adaptation being the fuel that keeps the fire of ‘civilization’ going. The characters have to adapt to their limited supplies of modern goods disappearing, learn to work their way up to black powder and steam technology, and make the most of the dwindling modern technology that theyll never be able to replace (computers, for example). Its an excellent book and if you have some time to kill I recommend it.

A similar, although not nearly as well written, story is 1632 by Eric Flint. Essentially the same premise with a different locale and era. A modern (or as modern as it gets, I suppose) West Virginia coal mining town is dropped into feudal Europe.

1632 In the year 1632 in northern Germany a reasonable person might conclude that things couldn’t get much worse. There was no food. Disease was rampant. For over a decade religious war had ravaged the land and the people. Catholic and Protestant armies marched and countermarched across the northern plains, laying waste the cities and slaughtering everywhere. In many rural areas population plummeted toward zero. Only the aristocrats remained relatively unscathed; for the peasants, death was a mercy.

2000 Things are going OK in Grantville, West Virginia. The mines are working, the buck are plentiful (it’s deer season) and everybody attending the wedding of Mike Stearn’s sister (including the entire membership of the local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America, which Mike leads) is having a good time.

THEN, EVERYTHING CHANGED….

When the dust settles, Mike leads a small group of armed miners to find out what’s going on. Out past the edge of town Grantville’s asphalt road is cut, as with a sword. On the other side, a scene out of Hell; a man nailed to a farmhouse door, his wife and daughter Iying screaming in muck at the center of a ring of attentive men in steel vests. Faced with this, Mike and his friends don’t have to ask who to shoot.

At that moment Freedom and Justice, American style, are introduced to the middle of The Thirty Years War.

More heavily focused on 17th century European politics and intrigues, its still an entertaining, although not very compelling, read. On the bright side, however, it is free.

Both of these really belong to the genre of ‘alternative history’, but I think they dovetail nicely into the category of survival fiction….much the way some zombie stuff is technically the ‘horror’ genre but also fits.

Of the two stories, I recommend Stirling’s if you don’t mind dropping a few bucks for a book. I find it a good enough read that I often just pick it up. open it to a random page, and start reading. The two books after it, by the way, are also very good and if you enjoy te first one I don’t think you’ll be at all disappointed with the ones that follow.

Disposable handguns

Hardigg cases still available. Get ‘em while the gettin’s good.

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cg4f726909cce33Or, I suppose, disposable plastic handguns.

I give crap to the people (mostly the ‘Matt Foley’-style survivalists [those are the ones whose survival plans including living in a vaaaaaaan down by the riverrrrrrr!] and ‘survival-on-a-budget’ types) who espouse the notion that you can prepare for the impending doom and gloom for just pennies if you buy a Mosin-Nagant and a garbage can full of wheat. Technically, you can survive with even less than that and many folks in the Third World do. I, however, have no need to prove something by seeing who can survive the apocalypse with the least amount of gear…no trophies will be awarded, no songs written, no parades given, no extra bonus points for making it through Armageddon with only a Swiss Army Knife and a slingshot.

However, I do believe there is a role for ‘disposable’ firearms. These are guns that, while you could call them ‘guns of last resort’, meet a very simple criteria: they function well-enough for you to feel comfortable with them and you do not care if you lose them.

Under what circumstances are such things desirable? Well, I can think of a couple real-world examples off the top of my head:

1) You live in a free state and are travelling to an oppressed state. You want to have a pistol along for protection but you dont want to take your $1400 Wilson Combat special. If something happens and it gets confiscated, or you have to ditch it before approacing some Constitutionally-vague ‘safety’ checkpoint, you don’t want to be out tat much money. At the same time you don’t want to trust your life to a Lorcin, HiPoint or similar product.

2) You want to keep a gun in the truck ‘just in case’. But you know that any gun you kep in the truck is going to get bounced around, dinged, dented, catch a little rust, and possibly get stolen at a WalMart parking lot somewhere. As a result, you don’t want to keep your M1A in the back behind the seat, but you don’t want to wind up with some crappy cheap-o .22 rifle back there either.

3) You have a barn/basement/outbuilding where you spend a lot of time on your property. You want to leave a firearm there for those times you hear the doorbell/gate alarm/intrusion system and don’t have a firearm on your person. You want a gun that you can just leave on a shelf by the door and let it sit there, for months at a time perhaps, and not feel like youre tying up a lot of money.

You get the idea, I’m sure. For handguns I’ve found a couple that are normally pretty inexpensive and more trustworthy than the usual suspects. First is the S&W Sigma series. Smith’s attempt to ape the Glock sucked so hard that Glock sued them and forced some design changes. Smith eventually relegated the Sigma series to the ‘bargain’ line and it was pretty much forgotten about when the M&P series of autos redeemed Smiths previously crappy history of autoloaders. The guns were never expensive to begin with and you can often find them for well below $300 (usually very below). There were some reports of extractor issues but these are guns that youre probably never going to fire more than a couple hundred rounds through. They are the ballistic equivalent of fire extinguishers – they sit there unused, and hopefully remain unused, until one day when they are needed quite badly for one occasion,

The other handgun is any of the Ruger P-series. The handgun equivalent of the AK-47, the Ruger P-series have a reputation for blockiness, bulk, questionable ergonomics, unbelievable durability, and brute ruggedness. Pretty much your typical Ruger. (And, come to think of it, your typical HK) Like S&W, Ruger dropped this line when they came out with a flashier, more refined autoloader. The P-series 9mm were designed to compete for the military contract back in the 80′s and when that failed it was largely ignored by the police community. However, the guns developed a reputation for being virtually indestructible and a bargain. Many rental shooting ranges will tell me that the Rugers were the guns that required the least repair or attention. They can be found online at various auction sites for between $200-250 if you’re patient and shop carefully.

Of the two, I prefer the Ruger for its known reputation of hardiness.

Neither gun is my first choice for pretty much anything, but there are plenty of circumstances where I don’t want to risk losing or tying up one of my Glocks. Of course, there’s also the side benefit of having a stash of got-into-them-cheaply handguns to have around for the next gun-buying frenzy that comes down the pike. Last one we had you could pretty much sell anything with a trigger, next one will certainly be no different.

As an aside, I usually prefer 9mm for these sorts of tings due to the ubiquity of the caliber, but, honestly, for the right price I will take any reasonable-quality handgun. It is rather difficult to have too many handguns…they’re small, store well, and always hold their value.

The Preparedness Mad-Lib

Reminder: Hardigg cases for sale

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It occurs to me that if you don’t know what to do next in terms of updating your level of preparedness, or if you are unsure of how to prioritize something, the solution is to get your heart racing, pretend that your particular anticipated disaster has occurred, and then finish this sentence “Holy crap, I wish I had gotten around to ______________”

“….getting more batteries.”

“…installing emergency lighting.”

“…showing my spouse how the radios operate.”

“…burning down that tweaker house down the block.”

You get the idea. And, no, I’m not trying to turn this into a game where everyone posts their answer in the comments. My point is, if your particular brand of apocalypse happened today, what is the one thing you haven’t done yet that you’d wish to hell you had already taken care of. Got it? Then perhaps you should maybe go do it.

Hardigg sale and info

These are the dimensions and other info on the Hardigg cases that are available.

A few things to make clear, just so we are all on the same page:

  • The cases are used.This is why they are aren’t $300-$600 each.

  • They will have scuffs and scratches.

  • Cases have no foam in them.
  • They may have paint/marker/labels/markings adorning them. These markings and labels may be removed..or maybe not.

  • All hardware is in working condition although there may be spots of corrosion or rust, but not enough to affect anything negatively.

  • These cases are not cracked, do not have holes, are not missing gaskets or parts.
  • Payment will be through PayPal. This is really the easiest and most pain-free way for me to do this. If you have problems with PayPal, I sympathize but any other method is just too much headache for me.
  • Shipping will almost certainly be through USPS. Cases will be sent ‘naked’ with a label and postage slapped on them. 

These first two cases are leftovers from this post. I still have these available.

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“Small Grey” AL1814-1504 – Left case, $120 including shipping to lower 48
“Large Grey” AL2318-1705- Right case, $200 including shipping to lower 48

 

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“Nested Grey Pair” – $300 for both cases, including shipping to lower 48

These next  cases are the ones in the photo posted earlier.

AL 1616-1005

“Green Cube” – AL 1616-1005
Exterior (L x W x D) – 18.75″ x 18.88″ x 16.69″
Interior (L x W x D) – 15.75″ x 15.88″ x 14.99″
Lid Depth – 5.12″ Bottom Depth – 9.87″ Total Depth – 14.99″
Price: $120, price includes shipping to lower 48

AL1616-0505

“Green Small Flat” – AL 1616-0505
Exterior (L x W x D) – 18.75″ x 18.88″ x 12.19″
Interior (L x W x D) – 15.75″ x 15.88″ x 10.54″
Lid Depth – 5.12″ Bottom Depth – 5.42″ Total Depth – 10.54″
Price: $110, price includes shipping to lower 48

AL2221-0605

“Green Large Flat” – AL 2221-0605
Exterior (L x W x D) – 25.5″ x 24.06 x 13.13″
Interior (L x W x D) – 22.5″ x 21.06″ x 11.5″
Lid Depth – 5″ Bottom Depth – 6.5″ Total Depth – 11.5″
Price: $135, price includes shipping to lower 48

AL2318-1205

“Green Large” – AL 2318-1205
Exterior (L x W x D) – 25.5″ x 24.06 x 13.13″
Interior (L x W x D) – 22.5″ x 21.06″ x 11.5″
Lid Depth – 5″ Bottom Depth – 6.5″ Total Depth – 11.5″
Price: $185, price includes shipping to lower 48

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Nested Green Pair – Green Small Flat inside a Green Large Flat
$225 for the pair, including shipping to lower 48

How to get ‘em? Email me (zero@commanderzero.com) and say “Hey Commander! I want (quantity) of the (Large Grey, Small Grey, Nested Grey, Green Cube, Green Small Flat, Green Large Flat, Large Green). Here’s the address I want them shipped to:

Name You’re Using
Address suitable for postal delivery
Town, State, ZIP code

I’ll email you back an invoice that you can pay through PayPal with a credit/debit card or your PayPal balance. I’ll print up a mailing label, slap it on the side of your case, and have a very confused mail carrier deliver it to your address. No muss, no fuss.

I’ll flog this sale for the next few weeks, then whatever is left goes into deep storage.

PopSci – Computer Models Show What Exactly Would Happen To Earth After A Nuclear War

You’ve seen what a nuclear winter looks like, as imagined by filmmakers and novelists. Now you can take a look at what scientists have to say. In a new study, a team of four U.S. atmospheric and environmental scientists modeled what would happen after a “limited, regional nuclear war.” To inexpert ears, the consequences sound pretty subtle—two or three degrees of global cooling, a nine percent reduction in yearly rainfall. Still, such changes could be enough to trigger crop failures and famines. After all, these would be cooler temperatures than the Earth has seen in 1,000 years.

Let’s take a detailed look at some of these super-fun conclusions, shall we?

The linked study is a bit dry, but doesn’t seem to cover the issue of residual radiation from fallout. However, it is interesting to note that the ‘nuclear winter’ scenario appears to be pretty unlikely…the images of glaciers covering the planet and year-round snowfall just doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

This is an interesting article, not really because of the results but because it’s a fairly mainstream publication goring one of the sacred oxes – that there is no such thing as a ‘winnable’ nuclear war and that mankind is doomed to extinction if we start cracking open atoms.

Nuclear war, obviously, is survivable. What is interesting is that from a climate perspective it appears one generation is all it takes to bring things close to where they were before the keys were turned.

Article – Los Angeles awaits earthquake that could be the ‘Big One’

Hmmm.

Los Angeles awaits earthquake that could be the ‘Big One’

A flurry of lesser earthquakes in recent months has refocused attention on whether America’s second city can withstand a major hit.

 

California in danger from a massive quake? Whoda thunk it, right? (As an aside, I’ll go see this movie because a) I love disaster movies and b) Kylie Minogue is the tastiest thing out of Australia since..uhm…well, really Australia is not noted for anything tasty since their most noted contribution to world cuisine is Vegemite and Koala bears who, I am told, taste a lot like cough drops.) Montana has had, within recent time, one big earthquake of note. It killed a couple people when it dropped a mountain on campers and created a new lake. Once in a rare while we’ll get itty bitty 2-2.5 quakes that can barely be felt but they are pretty rare. I’ve felt only two in the last twenty years. In short, earthquakes aren’t a big worry here. (Yes, we’re all gonna be wiped out by the Yellowstone Supervolcano, yes, I’m aware of it.) But, living in California, I don’t see how anyone could not try to be prepared.

It’s mildly disturbing to say, but I’m actually kind of curious to see how such a large earthquake would affect things in the Nanny State. Will all those years and years of endless zoning regulation, special emergency budgets, and public awareness spots make a difference? Or will it be an epic fail with post-quake buck-passing and finger pointing? And, really, if youre that worried about California sliding into the ocean, why not just take the best course of action and simply move outta California? ‘Doomsday Preppers’ had an episode about a guy who was really worked up about preparing against a tsunami…lotsa expense and effort. And I’m thinking “Uhm, why not just move 100 miles inland and eliminate the threat altogether?” Occams Razor.

Saiga news – Im right again

Recall this post.

Someone in comments felt that I was being alarmist that our benevolent .gov would conspire to remove our access to Saiga-12 shotguns. And yet….

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/07/18/russian-guns-can-still-legally-imported/

(Yes, it says Saiga rifles but you can be pretty confident that includes their auto shotgun)

So, while I was wrong (or premature, anyway) about the actual mechanism of the import ban I was not incorrect about the result.

However, I have no doubt that the folks who make these banned guns will be changing the name on the doors of the factory fairly soon and applying for their import certificates.

In the meantime, if you loves yourself some Russian ammo you might wanna stock up on that,too…..just in case.