Cheeseburger Gothic

Small Pepsi challenge.

Posted April 1, 2009 by John Birmingham
Just wrote a great scene with Miguel in a Post Wave ghost town. Gave me goose bumps it did, guvnor.

Anyway, if interested y'all can help out with the next little bit and hone your own writing chops in the process.

There's been some previous speculation about the origin and purpose of the wave (beyond its obvious narrative purpose). What I'd like anyone who's interested to do next is to speculate again, except do it in character.

Pick a character, a new one, describe them in a few sentences and then gimme their explanation of the Wave. Keep it very short.

A couple of the best ones will go into the finished copy.

And congrats to Big Bad Al for his good news.

158 Responses to ‘Small Pepsi challenge.’

NBlob would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2009
& signed early copy & bragging rights over General H ?

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G has opinions thus...

Posted April 1, 2009
Are you ever going to pay for all the free copy people post on here. Aren't you a little worried about being sued for essentially plagiarizing others works or do people here just write novels for you while you cash in.

No really because I was wondering if I bought a book you wrote and found a passage in it that corresponded to something I wrote here or on the instrument, I could sue your arse off and your publisher. Because I'm thinking, under the numerouse names I post under on here and the blunty ( some of it brilliant others drunken crap like this )If I'd find some blatant fraud, I'd get a kick out of wiping that smug look of your face by dragging your arse through court.

I say this as a friend of mine once had a song he penned ripped off him by a plastic Gold Coast D grade wanna be once , Sued WON and ruined some almost famous starlets moment.

So I'm thinking If anyone out there has read a passage or two from a JB novel thats very familiar... well you work it out.

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Abe would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2009
But G, did your friend post his song on the Gold Coast D Grade wannabe's website?

I'm guessing not.

And was the Gold Coast D Grade wannabe married to a lawyer?

I'm still guessing no.

Anyone who posts here knows the score.

Now I'm intrigued as to who you are when you're not being a pissed idiot.

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Guy Roberts swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 1, 2009
Here is my effort:

Alexander Francis, 45 years old, Second Secretary of the British Embassy in Washington. Escaped the Wave by having the luck to be at the British Consulate in Seattle for a trade meeting. As the senior surviving British diplomat, he has been appointed as the acting British Ambassador to the United States. He is traditional public school but fairly open-minded with a wry sense of humour.

Francis put down the telephone and turned back to the computer screen in front of him. The resumption of communications with the outside world (via a somewhat precarious satellite uplink via Vancouver) was welcome, of course, but it was causing him as many problems as it solved.

He gulped down the strong tea from the third large mug of the day so far and tried to find the notes he had scribbled to himself the previous day about the estimated numbers of British citizens in the Seattle area.

As the senior surviving British diplomat he had taken charge at the small Consulate even before he had heard from London. He and the small staff had done their best to record the names and contact details of all UK citizens as soon as the scale of the disaster had become clear. Worried relatives in Britain would be desperate for news of their loved ones.

He had been grateful for the work as it distracted him from contemplating the full ghastly scale of what had happened. 400 million dead was the figure most people were quoting. Several hundred thousand of them British. He thanked the God he was not entirely sure existed that his wife and children had flown back to their home in Sussex two weeks earlier so that their sons could go back to school for the new term.

The report he was writing was at the order of the Prime Minister. In person, not through a functionary. As soon as he managed to get the first call though to the Foreign Office in Whitehall he found himself being transferred not to the Permanent Secretary in charge of the Department as he had expected, but to a conference call at No.10 Downing Street where the COBRA emergency committee was in session under the Prime Minister’s chairmanship.

Despite everything, he was amused at the memory of the disjointed conversation that followed. The assembled politicians and senior military officers had assumed that he would be able to tell them exactly what had happened. He had done his best to describe the situation but it quickly became clear that London knew rather more than he did. Still, he felt that he had performed well in front of this unexpected audience and this view was evidently shared by the Prime Minister who informed him that under the circumstances he was to regard himself as the acting Ambassador. Of course that would only become official once there was an American government to whom he could present his credentials.

He hurried to complete the report of the current situation in the Seattle area so that he could rush off to his scheduled meeting with the American officials at City Hall who, like him, were coping as best they could.

Having outlined the latest situation on the ground inside Seattle, Francis now attempted to summarise the latest information about the Wave. Actually “information” was not really the word to use. Most of what he had collected ranged from utterly uninformed speculation through to what looked like the plot of a particularly far-fetched science fiction movie, of the kind he watched in secret. His wife referred to his collection of Doctor Who and Babylon 5 DVDs as the “hidden porn stash”.

He read through what he had written and realised that much of it sounded like technobabble from old Star Trek episodes. “Energy field” was not a term that usually found its way into Foreign Office reports.

Unfortunately most of what was known about the Wave was negative. It was not composed of any kind of energy known to science apparently. It was not susceptible to analysis (or at least attempts to investigate close up had had terminal effects on several researchers) and it was not behaving in accordance with any laws of physics that were understood by the available science specialists.

Of one thing virtually everyone seemed certain. Someone had done this deliberately. It was not a natural phenomenon. This was a weapon of some kind. But if that was the case, where had it come from and who had used it?

The two most popular answers to that question were that it was an act of an angry God (whether of the Christian or Muslim variety) or that Earth was under attack from outer space. Hundreds of religious crazies were on the streets at any one time urging the traumatised population of Seattle to repent and one Canadian that Francis had met at City Hall who was heading back to Vancouver had stroked his beard and muttered that it was all the fault of the “Alien Space Bats”. That was one phrase that would most certainly not be appearing in his report.

Francis decided to put off sending the report until he get back from his meeting. Perhaps he could gather up some quotes from the Americans - then he would at least be able to claim that he was merely reporting current thinking in what passed for the American government, rather than proposing such theories himself.

As he left the consulate building he looked around at the lines of bewildered British tourists and businesspeople queuing up and the larger numbers of Americans, equally bewildered in most cases with many showing the despair of those who have lost close family and friends.

“400 million people” he muttered to himself “and not one of us knows who did it and why”. He blinked as the rain started to fall and hurried into the waiting car. Yes, the more he thought about it he reckoned that the hairy Canadian had got it right. It probably was the Alien Space Bats that had murdered America.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted April 1, 2009
Well, G, the line about the best efforts going into the finished copy precludes being sued since anything offered here is done so with a view to inclusion.

But since you've raised it, lets throw your point out to general discussion.

Would anyone else here prefer that I retreated to the mansion, gave the Bunnies their firing instructions, and, like most authors, had absolutely minimal contact with my readership?

Would you prefer that the books never contained any easter eggs, or in-jokes, or fan sourced shouts outs? For that matter, I could just ditch the idea of having any on-going contact at all.

Cos that'd free up a lot of writing time for me, you know, not having to tend the Burger. I did that once back at jspace. Shut the blog down for a few months to finish Designated Targets, I think. It really helped. I got a lot more done. This little exercise above, for instance. I could write the eight or nine lines of copy I'll eventually use in, lets see, about four minutes. But this thread, if it plays out like most of the others, will consume a couple of hours of my time over the next few days.

Hardly seems worth it really.

And as busy as it is around here, the Burgers themselves are a miniscule percentage of my overall readership. My favourite percentage to be sure, by a long fucking shot. But still micro fractional in terms of units moved. Most people just don't blog.

So maybe G has a point. Maybe it's all a bit risky and pointless and contra-indicated, to use an old Gareth Evans mash up.

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted April 1, 2009
Whoa Guy, that's quite an effort right off the bat, son.

In case anyone is wondering, Guy is not 'G'.

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Abe would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2009
I think he had a point with "drunken crap".

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted April 1, 2009
Sorry G but it's time to remove your quite obvious pain, nothing personal just biz. You'll just feel some warmth and sudden pressure to the back of your head, and then the pain will be gone.....

BTW be grateful it's me and not Havock, he'd make you suffer.

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Abe is gonna tell you...

Posted April 1, 2009
Agent Frellman had just finished his weekly meeting with Raoul Castro. Secondment to the DGI in Havana was agreeing with Frellman, as it was helping him hone his sausage-making skills in his spare time. When he wasn't chasing down Cayman Island money launderers and rogue credit derivative traders, of course.

"Yessir", he thought, as he hopped into a taxi to go to Chorizo School Number 5 in Luyano, "This is one sweeet posting."

As the taxi rounded onto La Pesquera by the harbour, Frellman looked over his right shoulder and caught a glimpse of the wall of light approaching the coast from the North.

"Man, I've gotta stop smoking those Montecristos Raoul gives me. Either the Yanks have just started World War Three, or Pan Galactic Space Lizard Blarkon has coughed up a furball from hell and it's coming this way."

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Chaz asserts...

Posted April 1, 2009
Okay...

Andreas van den Berg. Security Contractor

Brents Bar, Freetown, Sierra Leone

The night was warm and humid for a change and the four boys from Cape Town were sitting at a bottle littered with bottles (some empty and some not), cigarette butts and a few packets of ones still to be smoked. They were doing what they did best solving the worlds problems whilst ignoring their own.

“You see man, it’s like my old man used to say it’s God punishing us” Jonas was on his second bottle of local vodka and so had passed through the drunk barrier, his blond hair still at regulation stubble length even 8 years after leaving the army.

“Jonas you’re full of shit. How does God taking out the Americans punish us?” Marco the effete art student from Constancia, who would now happily kill a man for 500 dollars, spoke round his third cigar of the night. “No it was the Russians, some sort of space weapon from the cold war, Saddam paid for them to do it. Eh Willi?”

“Who gives a toss about what happened to those verdammed uitlanders? I just want to get my hands on some loot as soon as the Colonel says the salvage missions a go” Wilhelm was a true Dutch farm boy, although his father had a vineyard and had Willi educated at Witts, there are some things that are not easily bred out

Marco just grinned around the cigar “Don’t give me any of that Vaali shite bro, this is serious stuff. Andreas what do you think?

“Either someone screwed up, or there’s something out there waiting for another shot, if it’s the latter I hope it has a long recharge time otherwise our next jaunt may be very short” replied Andreas, the soldier-philosopher with a masters in political science and five years in the Parabets. His arm pointing at the night sky just visible through the patio doors “Anyhow meenherrs, briefing is at 08:00 so time for one last drink”

He waved at Brent the Canadian who ran the bar for another round, after they arrived each man took his glass and raised it.

“No more hero’s?” said Andreas

‘No more hero’s!” the four boys from Cape Town shouted together before knocking back the alcohol..

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted April 1, 2009
Hmmm, not that Birmingham cannot look after himself G..Man, and I sure as fuck do not speak for anybody else. But please show me where you can get readily available access to good authors, PUBLISHED ONES, that are not complete fucktards, arrogant arseholes, or NOT PUBLISHED,or morally bankrupt or just DEAD SET CUNTS. ( Thats not a word I utilise lightly).

But my good man, it seems to fit with your little burst, I for one would not piss on you if you were alight, perhaps removing your limbs would be good, I cannot do the brain, alas , you seem somewhat bereft of grey matter, you lack it in sufficient quantities to stop dragging your knuckles along the earth surface, Do not fret though, your skin should remain intact, so long as that trail of slime you are emitting continues to contaminate the fuck out of our AO and lubricate your grubby mitts ....Fucking knuckle head.

Unusually legible for someone who is Allegedly pissed.

Personally JB, I'm fine with it, HELL! if I wasn't ,I would have said so. I guess thats the GIVEN here.

We need grid co ordinates!, this one needs BRIGADE LEVEL

NBOB: You could almost MAKE THE LIST with that comment...BASTARD...

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drej mumbles...

Posted April 1, 2009
Thommo and Derek, college freshmen fortunate enough to be vacationing in Alaska when the wave hit.

Thommo, brought up with stories of his grandfathers POW experiences in Japan, brings his own ingrained prejudices to bear when discussing the origins of the wave over a beer and a cone.

"I'm telling you man, its gotta be! Who else'd have not just the means, but the Motive ! ".

Derek looked askance at his mate. Thommo was pretty wasted for sure, but he had to admit, his eyes burned with a fiery conviction, a bloodshot display that outshone even his usual dope-addled demeanour.

"But mate, the japs are our allies now! Not to mention their whole economy is based on us, their biggest customers! Playstations dude! Big motherfuckin plasmas and dvds! Whose gonna take those off their hands in numbers even remotely approaching the needs of the mighty US of A ? "

"Nah, man. It was them. I'm telling you, they don't think like us, and they sure-as-hell never forgave us for winning the war. This is payback time, man. This is payback."

"Riight" Derek aquiesced. "Here man, take another toke".

Short enough?

Huzzah for Big Bad Al !!

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drej asserts...

Posted April 1, 2009
Oh, and G? I worked it out.

You're a fuckwit.

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Oldsinger is gonna tell you...

Posted April 1, 2009
JB- good for you to embrace G's passion instead of fighting it. Your willingness to interact with your fans is what I find best about you. I think your invitation for contributions is worth the risk and frankly, I doubt there is much legal merit to G's argument. I have a secret desire to write, but have no where near the skill and ability that you and your Burgers demonstrate here every day. Instead, I send my occasional meager contribution and hope for some hint of attention from you or other Burgers. When I get a response, my day is made. I also enjoy reading everyone's contributions, Guy for example, and I admire your efforts to do what very few people can well...write.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
One should look at the opportunity (and it is an opportunity, never mistake that) as an apprenticeship.

I've been working for Birmo for a few years now. Bits and pieces of my writing have made their way into the books. If Birmo hadn't mentioned it, no one would ever really know (guess perhaps but I'd never have said). But since it is out there and common knowledge, here are my thoughts on this opportunity.

It is a great way to grow as a writer. Yes, Birmo will use the material. But one thing that you will see happen is that the material will be modified to one extent or another. Another thing you will see is how your component meshes into Birmo's. This is something akin to the old apprenticeship-master relationship you would see in the art world. It is also a common practice at Baen's Books, so it has a modern day component.

My experience as Birmo's research assistant and sometimes brief co-writer is that I get to see how a novel is put together from the ground up. I get to see the changes and lastly, I get to polish my own skills. A great deal of what I have learned in my apprenticeship has appeared in my two published stories to date.

So I'd advise against getting a lawyer. I'd also advise against killing the golden goose. Birmo is correct that most writers avoid this level of interaction with their readership for fear of lawsuits and other aggravations. Even the extroverted writers tend to have a policy of, "No, I don't want to read your attempts at writing. No, I do not want you mucking around with my manuscripts. No, I don't want your opinion until the project is finished."

Birmo's the exception and I, for one, appreciate it.

He's also a good man and a friend. I owe him a lot precisely because of opportunities like this one.

The Science Fiction Community has plenty of assholes in it. Do not turn Birmo into another one.

Respects,

S. F. Murphy

Author of The Limb Knitter and Tearing Down Tuesday

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Trinity64 reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
Here is a new one for you John.

I would have a almost cult-type preacher who lives in Whidbey Island( a real town in Washington)who is always warning his flock about the end of days and God's wrath, etc.

The Wave would solidify him as some type of prophet and people would seek and highly pay for his "wisdom".

His name would be "Brother Adam", a man about 45 years old who did go to Seminary but became very disillutioned with the way religion was going(i.e. Mega Churches)and became a bit nutty and started his descent into the apocolyptic preaching.

Or it was a military project gone bad!

Either way!

Hope this is OK.

As always go in love&peace,

Trinity

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Mark R. Whittington mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
Ok, here goes:

Craig Cram was one of the millions of Americans who had suddenly found themselves exiled when the wave wiped out much of North America. Unlike most of his countrymen, he had initially welcomed the event. Cram had been in London to help organize protests of the impending invasion of Iraq for his organization, People for Peace. America had been the cause of much suffering in the world and its removal would be all for the better as far as Cram was concerned. Mind, he did feel a twinge of regret for the hundreds of millions, some of them family and friends, who had been obliterated. But they had allowed the fascist/corporate government of the United States to wage wars and oppressed people. Perhaps it was some kind of judgment, Cram (who was an atheist) thought.

The initial elation turned first to anger and then despair. The British government, which has always been a stooge of the Americans, had started to crack down, expelling people of Arab descent, squashing dissent. Cram was pretty sure that he was being watched and that the flat he was staying in was bugged.

What decided it for him was the nuclear annihilation of the Middle East by Israel. Then it became all clear for him. He posed his new theory to one of his comrades at dinner, which was a lean affair due to rationing measures.

“It was something Bill Gates did,” he said solemnly.

“What? How do you figure?”

“How is it that of all of the United States, Seattle was the one place that survived. The wave was obviously a plot by the military industrial complex to wipe the slate clean, as it were.”

“Oh come on. Bill Gates can’t even get Windows to run right. Destroy the US?”

“It all makes sense. Most of the US military is overseas. It’ll give them an excuse to seize control and make a real fascist state without even the pretense of democracy. They’ve gotten rid of all of their opposition anyway.” Cram wagged his finger to emphasize his point. “I’ll bet you that Bush and Cheney are in some ‘undisclosed location’ and will reveal themselves any day now.”

“But the wave is still going on. Nobody can go back.”

“I’ll be you that it’ll vanish like magic after a while, maybe a year. The neocons are in on it. They’ve already gotten their stooges in Israel to kill the Arabs. They’ll take the oil and establish an American Empire.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“Britain’s becoming too hot for us. I need to get to Seattle. It’s still a pretty progressive town and I can get in touch with some comrades there. Then we start the resistance.”

This, Cram’s friend silently concluded, was likely for the best. As long as it put Cram on the other side of the world and away from him. The event that destroyed America seemed to have robbed his friend of whatever vestige of sanity he once had. That kind of man was dangerous to have around. And the progressive community in Britain was having enough problems with such a man around.

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Robert swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Visiting Cheeseburger Gothic, I often wonder the same as G, and in this modern world his or her point is utterly valid, even if stated Blunty, er, I mean, bluntly. Once a lawyer sticks his or her nose into the process of writing, then you'll spend huge amounts of time and lucre fighting off the beast AND you may be forced to curtail future efforts. The risks are ALL yours and your publishers, John, and the rewards go to the lawyers.

Personally, I can do without the Burger references in your books. I find them jarring and disruptive. Take, for instance, the passage in WW where you describe the T-shirt. Yeah, I read enough Burger to know the reference, and I still felt it detracted from the tale. Clever and self-referential? Certainly. An asset to your story? Not at all.

My 2 cents.

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
What does Birmo's other half do again?

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Madoc would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
John,

Destiny. That's what it was; destiny. That's the only thing it could be so, for Alex Cartwright, destiny is what it was. Alex had heard a lot of other explanations and none of them fit. Fit for him at least. Alex knew it was destiny - his destiny, in particular - as "The Wave" had made the future so much clearer for him.

Yes, the millions of people suddenly being snuffed out by the "Effect" and the millions more in the chaos that followed were all regrettable things. But Alex viewed it all as being but part of that destiny. With all those people gone, Alex knew he now had a great opportunity before him. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. Alex knew that the "Wave" / "Effect" / "Energy Field" couldn't last forever and thus would end some day. And when that day came, Alex would be able to fulfill his destiny.

The US was an empty place now. But it was only empty of people and that left all the accumulated wealth there for the taking. No, not for the plundering or seizing. Such a view of the situation was for the small minded and the suckers and Alex was neither of those. Instead, Alex was looking at the suddenly depopulated America as being his opportunity to set himself up with enormous wealth - and do so all legally. That was his destiny.

When the Effect came to an end, Alex was going to head back into the US and begin laying claim to it. Not all of it, but enough of it and enough of the richest and best parts that his life would become that of a powerful and rich man. Alex knew this. He already knew the ins and outs of property forfeiture laws and knew the steps he needed to take to properly lay claim to the "abandoned lands" which now encompassed the entirety of the US and Canada.

With all those millions of fools, suckers, idiots and small minded folk gone - the folk who'd previously gotten in his way throughout his life - Alex would finally have his way clear to achieving that destiny. He knew he deserved great things and if it took the deaths of millions - hundreds of millions in this case - then Alex was fine with that. He wasn't responsible for their deaths so he had no blood on his hands and thus there was no reason for him not to find profit from the situation.

So, while all those small minded fools around him there in Dorado were wailing over all the family members they'd lost in New York and LA, Alex was sitting back in his Puerto Rican resort hotel room and planning for his future. Another effect of the "Event" was the certain elimination of any remaining legal interest in Alex Cartwright. Or more accurately, any remaining legal interest in Jacque Keats, or Karl Cox, or Craig Carter, or any of the other aliases he'd used in his previous attempts at fulfilling his destiny. With such an event as had befallen the rest of the nation and the world, Alex didn't even mind that the mark for his lasting bit of grifting had chickened out. The guy was down in Puerto Rico to conclude the land swap / unregistered bonds deal that he and "Jacque Keats" had been setting up for several weeks. A minor scam, but it was one which had brought Alex out to the seaside resort town just a day before everyone else in the US got moved out of his way. With his mark for the grift drunk in a stupor over his lost wife and family, Alex quickly changed hotels and contented himself with new making new plans for even grander operations.

It was hard for him not to feel elated at the prospects. Yes, it was destiny. His destiny. No other explanation could be possible. Alex knew in his bones that the future was going to be his and it was a bright and rich future. He knew it.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
When Stavros was in Seattle, he stopped for lunch at Roxy’s Diner on 36th Street. As he sat down, he couldn’t help but notice a group of big men in dirty dark blue overalls eating at a table near the back of the diner. The men talked and laughed a little too loud, and every once in a while they would glance over at Stavros.

After Stavros gave his order to the waitress, the biggest of the bunch of guys called the waitress over to their table, pointed at Stavros and said something. The waitress looked over, smiled and nodded. As the waitress walked away, the man got up and walked over to where Stavros was sitting.

“What’s you’re name, soldier boy?” the man asked.

“Stavros.”

“I’m Joe. Me and the boys are grateful for all our men and women in uniform are doing for our country, so lunch is on us – courtesy of the Wave.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it.”

Stavros’ lunch arrived – a Rueben sandwich and sweet potato fries, and it was perfect. Before he left, Stavros walked over to the table of his benefactors.

“Thanks for springing for lunch, but what did you mean?”

“About what?” Joe asked.

“About lunch being courtesy of the Wave?”

Everyone at the table looked at each other and laughed. “The Wave has been very good to me and is proof that God loves me,” Joe said.

“Not just you, asshole,” one of the men said. “God loves janitors.”

“That’s right,” Joe continued. “Since the beginning, God has kept janitors employed. From the Flood to the Black Plague, from the mess on the floor of the Roman Coliseum to the ruins of the Library at Alexandria, Gods always made sure we had something to do. And now the Wave – creating the biggest mess in the history of the world. And who is getting rich because of it? Janitors like me and these guys. We all run salvage companies now, and business is good. It is an endless feast.”

“So you are saying that God did all of this, killed all of those people, burnt all those buildings, to give janitors work?”

“Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I hope you enjoyed your lunch.”

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Moko puts forth...

Posted April 2, 2009
I think it would take a decent lawyer to win a case like the one G's proposing.

Everyone's offering a story KNOWING the potential is there for it to be used. Basically, in my mind, you're agreeing for it to be used just sticking it up here. Anyway, what's stopping the Boss from mixing it up so there's nothing more than a sentence in common.

Know SHUSH, gotta back to my Encyclopaedia of AoT.

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
This is an April Fools thing - right?

J.

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Moko reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
IT's the 2nd here Jane. That makes you the fool, doesn't it?.

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Matthew K asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Yeah but it was posted on April the 1st, so it is a fools errand isn't it JB?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Moko - Let me settle this silly argument: John's terms and conditions are clear; anyone posting prose here automatically grants him a license to use it;

G - Consequently, there is absolutely no risk of a lawsuit stemming from such a use.

If you, on the other hand, reprint any of it without both JB's authorization and the poster's authorization, liability would arguably attach.

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WalkingShaw asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
G = Tool. No, sorry tool's are useful. G = broken tool. Completely f**ing useless. F**k off and go somewhere else, you broken tool. I am sorry JB, my prose is not what it used to be - you will have to do with all the other burgers' contributions. Or maybe G can contribute the reasons for the wave's appearance?

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
I blame the waves appearance on Indian curry. Around that time there was an EXPLOSION - 'cuse the pun - in curry houses around central america. Mix the Great Curry Powder Plantation Fire of the century with curry house dysentary, curry reflux, and curry farts and that one particular still afternoon with ZERO (natural) wind and you had the recipe for the disaster that unfolded.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
Yet India was spared?

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
I reckon it was a Rogue Pokemon that caused the wave.. Now gotta do a storey, I'm Off

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Brian asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
G. Meh. This is the internet. Every thing is public content. Thing is - if you don't think of it first and get it down, someone else will.

I don't like your thinking. It restricts freedom of speech and indirectly promotes stuff like DRM. Its Coypright Lawyers thinking. And on the Internet - that's a dirty term.

Personally - I like what Birmo does. A few authors do it for a while and then retreat when the crap meter reads tilt.

I like to think he gets a few laughs out of this blog - even a few bits of inspiration. Lord knows some of us do. This is a good thing. If'n he sprinkles a few burgerisms in his novels - well his priviledge and a generous compliment to the readership.

Get some common sense.

Havock : It was a Pacman, dude.

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shifty-mcgee ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
good to see that idiots are alive and well on the internet. I'm pretty sure that "A couple of the best ones will go into the finished copy." makes it very clear what's going to happen.

As those stupid bumper stickers say: Love it or leave.

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Orin mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
G's general point isn't entirely invalid. I spent most of '92 to 2000 riding herd on the Terry Pratchett USENET groups where Pratchett went from the sort of interaction we get on this blog to a lot more of a guarded approach. As Paul may agree, it isn't whether the cases have merit - but having to deal with bullshit legal cases on a regular basis is going to sap the enthusiasm of even the most fan friendly author. This sort of thing increases as the popularity of the author grows. Not a problem when it was "Who is Terry Pratchett" back when he started on USENET but a bigger problem later on when more people knew what the Discworld was. Unfortunately, as Birmo's readership accelerates, the chances of the 'burger remaining the great place it is diminish (just because the great tide of the unwashed will crash across it like a horde of zombies).

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Leo euler has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
I hope this sounds good to you.

Randy Green: software engineer for Microsoft. Mid-thirties.

Joe: Homeless schizophrenic. Mid-fifties. Hangs around Microsoft campus a lot.

Randy Green was getting off work at his job at Microsoft. It was a great job, all things considered: after everything went crazy, the world's biggest software company was still mostly intact, with no American competetion. The world still bought its software, and it had found a new niche as a government contractor. It was a hot ticket.

As usual, he walked back to his car along the northeast side of campus. It was getting dark, but he could see Joe now. Joe was a homeless derelict from who-knows-where that somehow managed to avoid Microsoft security. The guy was clearly schizophrenic, but Randy enjoyed having someone to talk to as he went back to his car. Lately he had begun feeling bad for the guy; before the Wave, he had been indifferent to the homeless, but the Wave, to its infinitesimally small credit, had given him a desire to help people. Today, Randy had brought Joe a nice chicken sandwich he had purchased at lunch.

"Hey Randy," Joe called out.

"Joe, hello," Randy answered. "How's it going today?"

"Not bad. I had enough time to finish all my projects today." Randy wasn't sure if he was joking, if he really had had something to do, or if he was just out of it, as usual.

"What sorts of projects?"

"I was writing a letter to the President, but I couldn't find a typewriter. I don't think anyone has a typewriter. I looked everywhere."

"Why did you want to write a letter to the President?"

"I wanted to tell him I know how the Wave happened. I need to tell him so he'll get on the TV and tell everyone it's ok. I know how it happened."

"How did you find that out?" Randy asked, playing along for the hell of it.

"They told me," Joe answered. "That first day, I looked at it, and they told me."

He hears voices all the time, Randy thought. "Are you sure it wasn't just all in your head?" he offered.

"I told you I heard them! So many voices. They told me they were sorry. The impact wasn't supposed to happen that way."

"Impact?" Randy began to get more interested.

"Like uh, a pumpkin floating through space. It got squashed when it hit us. It was traveling to another dimension, from another dimension."

"You mean the Wave? What happened to the pumpkin seeds, then?" Randy asked, joking.

Joe looked through him a moment and answered cryptically, "They're children, Randy. We're all children."

Randy was chilled. What could any of this mean? After a moment, though, he shook it off and was filled with compassion for the poor man. Not because of his madness, but because of everyone. Everyone needed to stick together these days, in the face of the far greater madness of the Wave. Aliens, time travelers, some obscene fluke in the universe--how could one person cope?

"Here's a sandwich for you, Joe. I'll see you tomorrow, ok?" Randy said, handing Joe the sandwich and patting him on the shoulder.

"Thanks..." he mumbled, "Say, is this dolphin-free?"

"It's chicken, Joe." Randy started to walk away. He could hear Joe mumbling to himself again, something about chicken farms on the beach. Something that made a lot more sense than the Wave, he admitted.

-Samuel C.

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
Terry Pratchett... Is that the guy that did Santa Claus as a pig, a friend of Death?

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
Orin - G's concern is common among people who know just enough to be frightened, but not enough to realize that what they are afraid of is insubstantial. You're right: anyone can sue over anything. But the risk of anyone being sued because of what is said (or done) here is so low it is hardly worth the calories it would take to think about it. The reason is quite elegant: there is more risk to the plaintiff in such cases than there is to an innocent defendant. Just about every jurisdiction I am aware of awards attorney's fees and costs to a prevailing defendant - and that means that there are defense attorneys like me who are happy to defend against such lawsuits at no expense to their clients because it is the plaintiff who will ultimately pay my fees and all costs associated with the defense.

So far John has demonstrated that he is uncommonly savvy about such risks (believe me, I've been watching). The way he crafted the invitation to submit ideas effectively removed virtually any liability risk.

I agree that, in time, the more charming aspects of this place will very likely be disrupted by morons, and things will become less relaxed and informal - but not because of liability threats.

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Sweet Jane Says mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
Yeah, that's the person. There's something I read about him that was horrible, but I can't remember. I told myself to boycott him. It must have been sexist, racist, or criminal. Geez... Now, I'll have to google.

J.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
If it gets that bad, then I would simply have a set up like JS had, INVITED FRIENDS ONLY, you know JB would love playing GOD.

I AM, and it ROCKS!

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Orin asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
I'd be interested to hear what you heard SJS. He actually won an award from a British women's literary council for one book early on for Equal Rites (which was a satirical take on Fantasy's whole "Girls are Witches, Boys are Wizards" theme). To say that he's been scathing in his books about attitudes to racism, nationalism, stupidity and capitalism is rather understating the point.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
Havock - that way lies insularity and we wouldn't have the rather unique people turn up who do - just people who already knew people.

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
J.: "There’s something I read about him that was horrible, but I can’t remember. I told myself to boycott him."

The only horrible thing about Pratchett is that he's fading from Alzheimer's, boycotting him for that is cruel.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
ORIN, yeah I know, i did think about that, but came up with no solution other than the ability to make a computer explode at the other end, when you push a certain button.

It might one day get to a point, were JB has no choice, I just hope for all's sake, its a fucking long way off.

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Brian asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Orin - you did UseNet? Now that's a tough gig.

Still - I take all your points.

Interesting to nut out why this particular 'wave of the unwashed' hasn't happened - yet. I have a hunch Birmo has a Master plan somewhere . . . and Havock. And a pet troll.

Speculations?

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
Julie turned and asked, “pass us another tray of seedlings, Granny”

Granny May paused and stood up after her pick bit into the bitumen, leaving it stuck there in mute testimony to the force which drove it into the hard carpark ground. She walked over to the back of the flatbed and hefted a tray of green shoots. After depositing it at Julie’s side she returned to the pick and readied to resume her work.

“Thanks. Now that Davin found that garden place over in Whitshire, we have enough potting mix and irrigation pipe to replant the whole carpark.

“Which one’s Davin?” Granny asked as her arms swung the iron deep and levelled back, another chuck of concrete flew up.

“The teenager with the shaved head, thinks the wave was God’s wrath”

“Idiot!”

“Why what do you think cause ‘the wave’

Without any hesitation the weathered old woman stated in a blunt, no nonsense tone she reserved usually for those she thought slow, ill informed, lazy or wrong. A significant section of the population in her world “The Patriarchy”

“What, How, the men disappeared as well”

“Didn’t say they didn’t cock it up”

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Lobes asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Does anyone have a link to the map at the front of the book?

My mum has my copy :-(

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Leo euler swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
"Does anyone have a link to the map at the front of the book?

My mum has my copy :-("

I ought to scan it tomorrow and put it on my website. I can give a link then.

-Samuel C.

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
Cheers Samuel. It would be a great help with the backstory

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AusGaz ducks in to say...

Posted April 2, 2009
Off Topic.

Please check out the following site.

http://www.invadenewzealand.com/

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Sweet Jane Says asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Oh, geez... It was the guy that did "300." Yeah, Terry Pratchett is having difficulties with Alzheimer's, and working for charities and awareness of the disease. Yep, I hate it when I forget who I'm boycotting.

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
Jane, I'm sick and tired of you constantly forgetting who you are boycotting, Henceforth, I will no longer comment on your comments.

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Tarl mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
Brian: "Interesting to nut out why this particular ‘wave of the unwashed’ hasn’t happened - yet"

It hasn't? I count two in this thread alone. Fortunately, they're being laughed at or ignored, but they are doing what they can to screw things up.

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Paul, want to have a little side bet on that? :)

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MickH swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Okay, my effort. This rough now...

Gary Kovak lifted the whisky glass unsteadily off the bar, spilling a little of the goldern fluid and earning a silent frown from the bartender. For three days now since the Event he had been trying to lose himself in a drunk, but it wasn’t working. His emotions swirled around constantly in a chaotic maelstrom, remorse, fear, and guilt the worse. He told himself again that it wasn’t his fault, couldn’t possibly be, but secretly he knew better.

When he saw the images of the wave in the London Pub he was in, networking with the conference crowd after hours, he felt his world drop away. It was his wave.

As a DARPA scientist, he had been working on a particle wave shield, just like they had in Star trek, they had recently made a huge breakthrough in energy transference and had actually managed to create a small shield, under strict test conditions, of about a metre in diameter, but the power consumption had been enormous.

This was his wave, it was identical, but how could that be? He had only been away from the project for a week and there had been no inkling of a full test firing. Even that egotistical bastard Franklin wouldn’t be able to pull something like this off. There had been talk of connecting it up to the experimental fusion reactor but that was so unstable it was unthinkable. But someone had done something and something had gone terribly terribly wrong.

He shook his head again for the hundredth time, wishing for denial, for forgiveness, for something. He knew if he had been there he would have been able to control the more impulsive of his brilliant but unstable band.

Should he come forward with his knowledge that was the question but he knew he was no hero, no they would make him a scapegoat, better wait it out and see what happens.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
Paul. Like my efforts at abstaining from cheap alcahol, crap leafy pot & violent lesbian dwarf pornography, my best efforts to ignore the Troll are at times fruitless.

Sometimes I give in to my baser tastes & wallow in my crapulance.

There's nothing more pitiable than a man who can't controll his apetites for things he knows are bad for him.

I accept I have a problem and I am taking steps to, you know, um, st stt, cut back.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
oh and for a laugh in the next half hour or so (Now 15:10 Qld Time) click the link.

Mr. Bedak I advise you dont - sadness / envy may result.

http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR083.loop.shtml#skip

How does Dog know I'm on a day off?

*Curses omniscience*

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted April 2, 2009
Toni laid the king down on the board.

“Good game” said Jessamy.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have agreed to play. Chess these days. I find the metaphor disturbs my equilibrium” Toni leaned back in the café’s metal chair looking our over the manicured lawn around the fountain.

Jessamy following his gaze thought its pleasantly free of students. Jessamy being one of those lecturers who harboured the opinion that University would run so much better if they didn’t include students, other than those who post-graduates he had working their collective low paid brains off cranking out papers for him of course.

“Metaphor”?

Toni continued to stare, not seeming to notice the question. “It’s a quieter campus since the wave. Not just less people, but everyone seems constrained, smaller. Wondering if its over or is there another shoe to drop”. His gaze wandered over the rest of the café, the grounds, everywhere but over the table in front of him.

“Everyone’s had a shock, everyone lost someone they knew. Its no wonder society is still trying to deal with it, an explanation for why it happened would help”. Jessemy began setting the board up.

His eyes didn’t move, seeing some landscape beyond the campus around him. His voice dropped and in a conspiratorial hush Toni murmured “No it wouldn’t!” after a long pause and the realisation that he wasn’t going to let off that easily he continued

“It all to do with the observer paradox?”

“You mean that damned cat of Schrödinger's ?”

“Yes alive, dead or some other indeterminate state, randomly poisoned or not depending on the tick of a radioactive nucleus and all in flux until observed. The universe can get away with a lot of fudging to make things work, as long as nothing is watching too closely. Unfortunately along comes sentience. A cyanobacteria couldn’t care less about any cat alive, dead or glowing blue but put a thinking mind into the mix that can see and interact and quantum weirdness starts to peek through. You think those stories of H.P.Lovecraft you read are horrifying because of the unseen, unknowable forces in the outer dark? They are nothing to known inexplicable madness of the fundamental nature of reality. I think the wave was the universes response to being watched. The first response.”

Toni’s eyes flickered over the world before him, but I do not think I saw the same world as he did.

“We’ve stared to long into the abyss”.

With that he turned his head back, looked down at the newly set up pieces and slowly and deliberately pushed them away.

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BrianC mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
Copyright Notice: The following materiel is presented FREELY to JOHN BIRMINGHAM for use such as he shall determine. No authorial copyright is implied or reserved. JOHN BIRMINGHAM may at any time use, reproduce or change such content as appears in this post. No remuneration is sought at this time, and no right to remuneration later is reserved. All content regarding “Without Warning” remains the intellectual property of JOHN BIRMINGHAM, and is reproduced here in according to his wishes.

Character Profile

NAME: Damien Shaw

AGE: 48

COLOUR: White

LOCATION: Heading to Wichita Falls Oklahoma

ETHNICITY: Australian / American

MARRIAGE STATUS: Widowed

EDUCATIONAL HISTORY: PHD, Particle Physics (exotic particle manipulation). PHD, Astronomy (High Energy Distant Objects). Masters, Philosophy (Social Group Analysis, Trends and Control)

HOBBIES: Tennis, Motorcycle Riding, Camping, Woodwork, Hunting

CRIMINAL HISTORY: None Appreciable

POLLITCAL AFFILIATION: (pre-wave) Democrat centrist. (post-wave) Centre Right “New America Party”

FAMILY HISTORY: Damien’s parents met when his father was vacationing in Melbourne. Damien’s mother worked in a small pub in Melbourne city just off Lygone St. His mother Sarah, and his father Thomas perused a relationship and soon married, first in Australia, then in America. Thomas was a Mechanical Engineer for Boeing Aeronautics. He instilled into Damien a deep love of both the Outdoors and the world of physics. Damien’s parents shared a loving and long relationship and were still together at the date of the wave first appearance.

At the time of the Wave Damien had been married for 5 years and was experiencing some marriage troubles. At 48 Damien was nearing the end of his research career and the knowledge that this was coming affected his relationship with his wife. She had encouraged Damien to take and offer to teach at the Australian National University, who had offered him a professorship based on his paper on “Complex Quantum Particle Relationships and their effect on Quantum Entanglement Theory” Damien had reluctantly agreed to fly to Canberra Australia to meet with the physics chair at the university. He left the day before the wave.

End pt 1

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BrianC asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Start PT 2

Copyright Notice: The following materiel is presented FREELY to JOHN BIRMINGHAM for use such as he shall determine. No authorial copyright is implied or reserved. JOHN BIRMINGHAM may at any time use, reproduce or change such content as appears in this post. No remuneration is sought at this time, and no right to remuneration later is reserved. All content regarding “Without Warning” remains the intellectual property of JOHN BIRMINGHAM, and is reproduced here in according to his wishes.

XX Wichita Falls XX

Damien slowed as he approached a wreck, he didn’t stop he never did anymore not unless he needed fuel. This one would have been a doozy he thought, good lawyers work. Head on collision across what looks like 4 lanes of traffic, none dead. At least, not from the Accident. He zipped past it at over 70 miles per hour, refusing to look in the car, not wanting to see the gelatinous remains of the occupants that not even the crows would feed on. When he first seen it he’d been terrified and awed at the being that could this to a whole continent, then he’d been angry at the loss of lie, then finally just sad.

He knew without a doubt, with the fiery passion of faithfully certainly, that a “they” was indeed responsible for this, and he also knew where “they” where. During the event he put his services at the disposal of the physics faculty at the ANU, the Universities staff had access to some of the largest supercomputing facilities in the world, Being so close to the Australian government at a time of massive international crisis and having his credentials, had given him access to technology and satellites that he was pretty sure the Aussies shouldn’t be able to access. The coverage had been effectively total. The information gathered had been essentially zero, apart from a slight distortion in the visible light spectrum the barrier hadn’t even been there as far any test he could dream of determined, he’d seen the photos from New York he new his family was gone, all that kept him together was now was trying to find out why.

That was when he saw it. No-One else had even when he drew their attention to it. A slight fluctuation in the visible light spectrum directly and proportionately above a small town in Oklahoma call Wichita Falls. A town like so many others in the middle America, unremarkable even now, especially now. Except for one thing, while the rest of America and even the world prepared itself to deal with terrible winter that the ecological disaster that was the wave left in its wake. Wichita Falls was getting warmer. Only by a couple of points of a degree, but that warmth was spreading.

That was how Damien knew, that what ever had done this had gone to ground in Wichita Falls, gone underground, probably deep underground, after finishing its meal, after devouring nearly half a billion people, this alien menace had retreated.

Damien had contact all the authorities that where left, the laughable “American” government in Seattle didn’t know what to do with his information; the Australian government was buys dealing with adventurous neighbours, and an overflow of American refuges. All the other world powers had turned inward, or were simply ignoring anything to do with America, the wave or anything else. Taking this time to deal with old debts and insults left to fester.

Damien had traded everything he owned to a ragtag bunch of British and American expats who seemed to have gotten their hands on a luxury yacht, and organised to be dropped off in the gulf of mexico with little more than a 6ft tin boat and a beat up old motorcycle.

That had been weeks ago, and he hadn’t stoped more than a night rest since. Stoping only at old convenience stores, to grab whatever canned food looked safe, grabbing what fuel he could where he could moved onwards to Wichita Falls.

End All

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BrianC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
So there is my attempt and answer to G's Question

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lostatlunch puts forth...

Posted April 2, 2009
Stephen Francis Murphy ran past the bodies of the Cheeseburger irregulars, spun around and yelled "Rhino, Havoc To Me!", mustering the last of fanbase. The heavy fire drummed into the concrete wall as Lonesome Jones' troops moved forward and troops poured heavy fire into the walls of the bunker at the rear of decadent Birmingham Estate. The Bunnies were wiring plastic to their shapely bodies, but it would be a futile gesture, they would be gunned down before they made the forward line of the advancing marines. But it would be a sacrifice that they must make out of loyalty to their master.

Julia Duffy screamed for the blood of the renowned author, "after all he has put me through, I want his ass front & centre.." And the general consensus of the troops, was a heavy sanction that would take a period of weeks or months would be an excellent start.

Kohlhammer looked around at the heavy damage taken by the city of Brisbane by his advancing troops, and the loss of life when the wave had settled over Northern America, Einstein was a genius, but had underestimated the effect of transferring the troops forward to 2009, just to get their hands on the imfamous John Birmingham, who had thrust his task force back to 1941, was it worth it to extract a brutal and bloody revenge on one man… Oh yes, this would be sweet.

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lostatlunch would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
If JB needds my twaddle to make a buck, he is very dire trouble indeed &he can have conents of my change jas ... there is about $6 there.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Actually, Jane's been fine. Unless you're Mr Pratchett.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
Hughsey may not be.

I just heard on the news 390mm in the last 6 hours.

Well over a foot of rain.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
BrianC - The Man said "keep it short." I kept mine short. Now I feel like a fool.

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BrianC swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
Mine was short.... in two parts. Each one Short.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
Yeah, and my penis is enormous.

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Abe reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
LMFAO

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Brian mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
. . . and in two parts?

(chortle)

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lostatlunch has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
Bravo... really... Bravo..

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2, 2009
"So Barnesm what do you think caused The Wave"?

Barnesm paused in his checking through his bug out bag. "....Zombies dude! It's gotta be zombies."

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Barnes wins.

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Lobes mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
As long as we're veering off course I thought this was pretty good:

http://www.amazon.com/Pride-Prejudice-Zombies-Classic-Ultraviolent/dp/1594743347

In a move which makes the very worst of fusion cuisine look tame, an American publisher has decided to combine the latest publishing craze – zombies – with one of the most enduring books ever written.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies "features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action". In an "insanely funny … comedy of manners", Elizabeth "wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead", while dealing with the distractions of "the haughty and arrogant" Mr Darcy.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted April 2, 2009
All is right with the world. God is in his heaven.

Yep . . . concur. Can I stop thinking about this contest now?

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Bangar mumbles...

Posted April 2, 2009
"But dude, zombies would leave the brains behind! That's what they crave Braaiins! They wouldn't do that ... unless they're brain dead zombies in control of a top secret military facility that they can't run because they're brain dead. Think about it ... it makes perfect sense."

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sparty asserts...

Posted April 2, 2009
Nods, shout outs, in jokes - Have clearly been there from the beginning (didn't Ensigns Clancy and Reilly die horrible deaths below deck in the first Axis of Time, and in some small way actually help sell the suspension of disbelief required (energy wave? time warp?) - otherwise you get the more pompous of the technothriller spectrum.

I Bet Setephen King or J K Rowling fans would pay good money to have questions answered or have the author in question actually READ their fan fiction....So I think we are fortunate...

Having said that if Birmo produces a mega selling cult book about the idiosyncratic, politically contradictory, zombie loving nerds who frequent a blog called the "mini sandwich" I think we can queue up and sue the f**k o*t of him;-)

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savo reckons...

Posted April 2, 2009
The lights flickers as the big generator cut in, it’s low rumble vibrating the air throughout the compound.

Michael signalled the bar-keep, a burly Welsh woman named Joan, and had some brown alcoholic liquid splashed into the bottom of his glass and that of his drinking companion, Patrick.

"Hoo lang has it bin Paddy?” Mick wondered aloud.

"How long has what been Mick?” replied his well and truly cooked butty.

"Since they squeezed the leprechaun."

"What leprechaun?" asked Paddy look at Mick through his one focusing eye.

"You know,” he nodded to his surrounds. A poorly lit shipping container-cum Rosie-O’Grady’s franchised traditional Irish Pub, plonked down in the middle of New York’s financial district . “The leprechaun that did all this.”

..?” mouth Pat.

"You know it was a leprechaun" sneered Mick

"No I don’t" Mick did his best to sound a prtest.

"Sure you do, what else could do this."

"Mick you’re pissed" Said Paddy as if it was a law.

“No I’m not,” he shook his head emphatically, “… yes I am, but listen to me. There we all were, sure. The whole world of us. We were grieving with the Americans about the twin towers an all the rest. But we were all so scared shiteless of what that fookin nutter Sadam wus goin to do when they attacked. There we were scared, and so we wished, we wished hard that it would all just go away and you know what?" asked Mick

"No, what?" Replied Paddy

"Poof!”

"Poof?”

"Poof. We wished, some dozy prick was squeezing a we fella's arm and we wished. Then come that big red rainbow in the sky and 'poof' they’re gone. And this is what we got, the end of the rainbow" he exclaimed holding out his arms. "And paddy me old son what is it that’s at the end of the rainbow?"

"The pot of gold." Grinned Paddy.

"Aye, but lets just hope Kippers Angry Bastards don’t spring us before we’ve cleaned it out.”

Both men grinned as Joan refilled their glasses with cheap grain alcohol. The low crump shook the few bottle of genuine whiskey on the top shelf as blasting started again on wreckage of the Federal Reserve in beautiful deadtown New York.

Mick 35 year old Belfast labourer, recently from London

Patrick 39 Ulster boy claims no attachment to the Provos

Joan 44 MI6 field operative 20 years service sent to NY, NY to observe “The Caper”

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sparty mutters...

Posted April 2, 2009
Lieutenant Colonel Nabrakov of the FSB was a worried man.

Finally they had some boots on the ground. The "What happened" was becoming clearer, the "Why" - not so much, as his corporally challanged opposite numbers would say. He remebered the early gloating quickly followed by the sudden realisation that the many crimes that the United States had commited before the judging eyes of God or Alien Space Bats were ones shared by the Rodina.

He knew he was underpressure for answers now the Wave had lifted. Had ANYTHING survived at Area 51? - he would know soon, in the mean time he would have to make do with another fruitless interrogation session at the facility in Tungusta.....

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted April 2, 2009
Adrian. Ex public school, slacker, early thirties.

Been globetrotting, hanging out and having a good time since the 1990s. In this time he has picked up a lot of practical skills as well as having improved his proficiency with firearms. A bit dodgy but with a strong moral compass, doesn’t touch hard drugs but does he or his mates let inconvenient drug laws get in the way of making a buck by smuggling hashish. We find him and his dope smuggling friends at home in Spain.

As the shadows lengthened and the foothills of the sierra shone purple in the gloaming the four of them were sitting out the back of Karsten’s house on an assortment of plastic garden furniture arranged on the pati. Having lit the smoky anti mossie candle Adrian sat back gingerly on a wobbly plastic chair and used the clipper lighter to lever the top off the long frosty green bottle of Czech pilsner with a pop and put his boots up on a wooden cable spool that served as table. Karsten reached over, plucked the lighter from his hand with a dusty, calloused paw and used it to spark up his joint.

“So Adrian” he asked, “What does this professor on television say?”

“Well I didn’t see all of it, but I’d just changed over to Newsnight on the BBC – I’ve got satellite you know? Anyhow, he said it was America’s being a high tech country and it’s being so big that attracted the attention of… whatever it was. It could also have been all the US TV being broadcast around the world and into outer space.”

“No, Saddam it was.” Said Heike from her perch on Karsten’s lap, lifting the joint from his fingers and raising it to her lips.

“As if!” Snorted Adrian, “All he has is load of old Soviet V2 copies and maybe some crude nukes, that’s Second World War technology. What killed the US is War of the Worlds technology, far beyond anything on Earth!”

Antonio pushed the peak of his baseball cap up with the mouth of his bottle and leant forward to rest his fists on his brown, grubby knees a spliff in one and his beer in the other, “Maybe it was god eh? Many people are thinking this now.” He said looking into Adrian’s eyes.

Adrian eyed him back with a sidelong look as he took a swig. “Come on Tonio! You know better than that, that’s just their religious upbringing talking. They’ve been indoctrinated at an early age and they’re looking for an answer they can understand.”

“Or maybe it was, like the insurance companies say, an act of god”, continued Antonio unabashed, “just coincidence and America is unlucky.”

“No man, too much of a coincidence that the worlds most powerful nation should be hit by this, this… effect at this time. And look, it only killed the dominant life forms – people, America was targeted, precisely, like a sniper does. It’s external intervention by someone, but the thing is, my point is, we can only guess who that someone is and what their motivations are, we’ll never know. Likely they’re too alien for us to ever understand or empathise with their motivations anyway.”

“And also they are maybe too clever for us to know this, hmm?” said Karsten.

“For sure” nodded Adrian, “I mean how much do wild animals understand when we cull them”.

Heike shivered and clutched her bare brown arms, “Is this war of the worlds like Hitler’s blitzkrieg? Do you think they invade us now?”

“No. If they were going to they would have done it by now, when the wave was up.”

“So? Why then?” demanded Heike, “All those people, not all the ‘Amis’ were fascists, there were many cool people too. Now all are dead! Good and bad the same, and we wait here for, for what?” She sank back into Karsten’s arms, their chair creaked and there was silence apart from the shrill racket of a “grillo” making it’s sizzling drone in the bushes.

“Maybe… it was even a sort of coincidence” ventured Adrian hesitantly, the others turned to look at him, white eyes in tanned faces amidst the gathering gloom, “I mean maybe it was like, sort of an alien cruise missile, left over from some long ago war and it stumbled on Earth and… did what it was programmed to do. In every war there are stray rounds and maybe this was one.” A faint warm breeze stirred the hairs on his arm as the navy blue sky turned to black as the cicadas cheeped like mobile ringtones.

“Ach man! This is fantasy, this is Star Trek, oder wass?” spluttered Karsten, “There was no missile seen.”

“It wouldn’t be literally a missile, it’d be something much more advanced. Think about it; only humans killed, one shot but no follow up - it’s a theory that fits the facts. I mean, yeah it’s like science fiction but we’re living in a sci-fi world all of a sudden.” Seeing the others were silent, Adrian pressed his advantage.

“Look, it was nobodies fault, if America was hit by the equivalent of a stray missile from someone else’s fight. But in reality? I don’t believe there’s anyone going to turn up to blame or to fight, not god nor whoever fired that shot – they’re probably a very long way away and a very long time dead.

But we’re talking about what has happened, past tense. We should be concentrating on what’s going to happen next – America is safe to enter - we should go west.”

“What is?” “Que? Go where?” Interjected Karsten and Antonio at the same time.

“I think, we should get out of doing hash runs, get our funds together and go into the American salvage business – we’ve got some expertise. Karsten, you served an engineering apprenticeship and both you and Tonio did your military service and we can all of us drive anything and keep it running and we’re none of us scared of roughing it. There’s a whole continent to be had! More salvage than the surviving Yanks and the US Army can handle, so long as we remember it’s still their country don’t pick any fights with them I reckon they’d let us be, and we’ve picked enough fights with uniforms in our time.”

Heike leant forward and carefully stubbed the fag end of her joint out into the ashtray, “All these people and even their children are dead and you think we should go and rob their graves Adrian?”

“Yes, all those people are dead and gone, it’s awful but it’s not our fault. Life must go on, it has to. They need new pioneers over there and we can make our fortunes, if we work hard and move fast we could be millionaires! It’s still the land of opportunity.”

They talked and planned into the night under the cold, indifferent light of the stars above

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2, 2009
Oops, much longer than I meant that to be, intended to shorten it. Forgive the poor punctuation and spelling.

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Leo euler is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
Here is the link to the map from the book:

http://mypage.iu.edu/~samdchap/images/Without%20Warning%20Map%20Large.jpg

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Trinity64 ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
Ok,I have the perfect idea of how the wave started:

Two geeky scientist one male the other female were haveing sex in the lab and the hit sme buttons on a panel which started a chain reaction and viola"the Wave".

See, brillant.

Oh, and if you are wondering,the lady did get her "O"!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
Look, I've written an entire WW inspired novella set in an alternate universe that is exactly like this one except that the big toe did not evolve. It turns out human history would be quite different if everyone only had eight toes.

My point is that I could post entire chapters here from my novella, but I don't, and why? Because the Man said "keep it short" and, as an attorney, I am all about rules.

I am also all about short attention spans. I don't read the long ones, so BrianC and Matt, I have no idea what your entries are about. And that's why Barnes wins - his was shortest. Zombies, dude. I am utterly satisfied with that explanation.

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El Coqui ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
The Heaviest Duty

By Jose J. Clavell

Aboard an E4B Airborne Command Post

Over the Pacific Ocean

Twenty Minutes Post Wave

Lieutenant General Jessica Stone, USAF turned off with trembling hands the monitor that had showed views of the empty command center deep under Colorado Mountains. The site for the Air Force Planetary Defense Command had been built at the same time that the better known NORAD command post. However, it was constructed using techniques that even the most casual observer would have identified of at least centuries ahead of anyone else, making it almost invulnerable to any known or foresaw terrestrial designed nuclear weapons.

For all the protection that it had offered its occupants when the Ramellian beam hit, it might as well being built of canvas cloth.

Of course, the cold blooded bastards had only gotten one shot in their quest to destroy the allied Andermani base on Dreamland before the moon based batteries have blown them away to kingdom come. However and sadly, the generated field in an instant had wiped out all higher intelligent life in large portions of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico and Cuba. Worse, it seems strangely persistent, a fact that was discovered after one of the orbital fighters attempted a high speed, high altitude flyby.

With all or most of her family gone, Stone felt devastated. Her youngest daughter Jossie assigned to the Moon outpost and her son Gabriel on the way to the Mars with the Military Expedition were certainly doomed to a slow death. Doomed, because all the support facilities located in Colorado and the Nevada desert that provided their logistical lifelines now stood empty, bereft of any living personnel and due to the force field out of bounds to anyone else.

Stone opened her desk drawer and looked down at the issue sidearm on her survival vest and felt tempted to use it. But quickly put the thought aside and close it, because the planet still needed to be defended until the Coalition rallied and replied to the attack. The irony was that perhaps for the final time, the United States had saved the world and the ungrateful masses were likely to celebrate its demise. Only her devotion to duty and her oaths prevented her from telling everyone to go to hell and left her grieve on peace.

But, like the Japanese saying goes ‘Duty was heavy as a mountain’ and with a deep sigh, activated the intercom.

“Captain Stevens, let’s check the status of our forces, please.”

Perhaps, later when her duty was finally discharged, she will allow herself to join her loved ones.

***30***

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Leo euler ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
I posted a link to the WW map about an hour ago, but it looks like the link was taken down...was that a glitch, or did I break copyright? (I apologize if it was the latter)

-Samuel C.

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Leo euler puts forth...

Posted April 3, 2009
My map link post just showed up when I posted my last message...weird...ok never mind.

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
Yes sorry Paul. Like I said, I intended to shorten it.

I posted by mistake basically.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
Okay. We've all done that - like the time I babbled on and on about one of my old girlfriends. I posted that utterly by mistake - and at great personal cost.

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Matthew K would have you know...

Posted April 3, 2009
Ouch, sounds like you got a right grilling.

I was just trying my little idea on for size and I reflexively hit the Add your Comment button. I really don't know why I did that, it was like my hand had a mind of it's own.

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Robert has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
Hey, Brian C--Nice copyright notice, although it does not address the source of the material.

Is that 100% original work? Or is it based on something you read? Maybe you saw it on TV? Maybe you lifted it from someone else's fanfic. You are asking Birmo to take it on face value that you didn't crib it.

That said, Birmo's been around the track enough to know the ropes for dealing with the public.

For the sake of discussion, and in the interest of exploring the business of professional writing, this has been an interesting topic.

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BrianC has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
@Paul for Fucks sake give it a rest. "Short" is relative term. For me my post was short.

I and the others here are just trying to flex our writting chops and be part of a universe that we like. Its not about _you_ its about Birmo's world and our vision of what happened. Its a bit of fun. I know my writting sucks, i dont expect to get in the book, but then again i dont expect to get shit from random guy on the internet either.

Please dont reply to this here. If you want a barny go to my blog and have at me there

@Robert. I thought that the line about Without Warning was refrence to Orgin, meh its been years since i did my copyright information course, and even then it was mainly in refrence to Electronic media. Still probably explains why i had to take that test 3 times.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted April 3, 2009
I was kidding. Really. I'm told the term for it is "taking the piss" although I cringe at the visual images that phrase engenders. Just to make sure to avoid further unfortunate misunderstandings, please be assured that, despite my claims above, I did not really write a novella inspired by WW where the human race evolved with only eight toes.

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Abe is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
Hehehe still LMAO....

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lostatlunch swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 3, 2009
G has fuckoffskied & not fought back.. Unusual for most trolls. Even I offer a return salvo under a tactical retreat

I wonder if he did not like the warm hugs he received.

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WalkingShaw would have you know...

Posted April 3, 2009
Darkman - G was a useless tool - now just weak as piss! Stupid nuff nuff - will return under another guise no doubt.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
G : Drive by poster. Meh. Just another door to door salesman. A minion of Zed. Or was he SJS? Hmm . . .

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Abe asserts...

Posted April 3, 2009
I could've sworn he had an Aussie accent, though.

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WalkingShaw puts forth...

Posted April 3, 2009
For someone who was "drunk", G sure posted his spray early in the night - couldn't possibly be an Aussie - we are made of much firmer stuff than that!

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
Abe : He mentioned the Gold Coast. Could have been an out of work toolie I suppose. Then . . .highest concentration of Kiwis outside of Auckland I understand - the Gold Coast.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted April 3, 2009
I know I'm outside the rules Boss, but bear with me.

-----------------------------------------------------

204f braked against the gravity of a large yellow star. If a simple robot could, it would have been bored spit-less, but as this was its purpose in existing it just did its job with a minimum of fuss.

As per routine it had been scanning all of the candidates as it streaked in from the Oort cloud. Gravitometers had picked out the third & fourth as potential candidates. It was the third that held the appeal. It actually looked like it fitted all parameters. It was emitting RF signals in a coherent form. That indicated at least semi intelligent life, but that could and in the past had been easily rectified.

As 204f had 400+ times already, it squirted a message to its Masters and laid a course to intercept. As it approached it identified 3 major areas of RF emission traffic it flipped a metaphorical coin and headed for one at random. As it punched through the atmosphere it sipped and tasted – Oxygen was .3 of 1 percent higher than optimum and Argon was 2% low but again it was acceptable – 204f’s masters could augment supply if required.

Massing less than a kilogram and travelling at less than a kilometre per second it effected an acceptable landing only a few meters north of its aim point.

204f then deployed its defensive shield at a specific frequency that would render anything with higher order intelligence to the equivalent of hog fat and set to its work. It sampled the substrate and atmosphere at ground level and monitored radiation levels for a full circuit around the star watching for any surprising variance.

After the full circuit 204f deactivated its defensive shield and launched itself back into space. As it cleared the fifth satellite it messaged its conclusions to its Masters; the third satellite entirely appropriate for colonisation.

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WalkingShaw asserts...

Posted April 3, 2009
Brian - you are onto something! Explains why he was drunk so early!

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El Coqui is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
Guys:

Any comments in our stories?

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
Ben : Probably explains the scarcity of sheep in the area.

NWB : Nice one. I'm envious of how you guys can punch these out. I'm still thinking about the Vatican.

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WalkingShaw ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
Oops... Sorry El Coqui.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted April 3, 2009
I'm drzzling Sweetened condensed milk all over my Mr Singh story at the miniburger - see if that gets it some "action."

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 3, 2009
Jose : Once again a bang-up job. Not a bad idea actually - for all intents and purposes the Wave remains a mystery. And your story allows a later spinoff into hard Sci-Fi (or Scy-Fy as some twerps are doing) series.

NWB : Same deal with your robotic probe.

Hmm . . .up to Birmo.

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JP would have you know...

Posted April 3, 2009
Does this go for me too?

Unfortunately WW is still on my reading pile (deliberately, while I've got my own teenage post-apoc thing with out with pubs), but I'd be interested to see a press conference with unknown soccer mom Sarah Palin explaining how it was God's work for purging what was clearly a nation headed in the wrong direction or some such.

Or, love to see a guy going through the landscape, a man with no name figure, a passage reminiscent of McCarthy's Judge Holden who in the epilogue of BLOOD MERIDIAN is wandering the landscape striking fire into (or out of) the ground.

The epilogue is only half a page long. It begins, “In the dawn there is a man

progressing over the plain by means of holes which he is making in the ground. He

uses an implement with two handles and he chucks it into the hole and he enkindles

the stone in the hole with his steel hole by hole striking the fire out of the rock

which God has put there” (337). Harold Bloom reads the fire in this mysterious

Epilogue as Promethean. Prompted by Peter Josyph to consider this action as “a

process of digging holes, of setting dynamite to build a fence: the closing in of the

West,” Bloom responds:

"No, no, no, that’s a very bad interpretation. That two-handed implement is, as I

say, doing one thing and one thing only: it is striking fire which has been put into

the rock, clearly a Promethean motif, and he is clearly contrasted with creatures

who are either goulish human beings, if they are human beings, or already

are, in fact, shades, looking for bones for whatever nourishment that might bring

about…. I cannot see that as any kind of allegory of anything that has happened

to the American West."

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Matthew K puts forth...

Posted April 3, 2009
Whatever the final explanation for the wave is it will lead to "hard Sci-Fi", JB has designed that in from the start.

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Lobes mutters...

Posted April 3, 2009
Thanks for that map Leo Euler. I wanted to write something set in NW Oregon. Am I right in thinking it may just be outside the wave? Looks like it could be

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
MattK : 'Head-desk.'

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sibeen would have you know...

Posted April 3, 2009
The hub-bub outside the conference room went up a notch and as Major Gen Gillespie raised his head Howard strode into the room. He was surrounded by his latest fancy, a phalanx of ex secret service personnel all with the obligitory dark suits and dark sunglasses. He’d picked them up scattered around the globe and offered them work in his special protection detail. Gilespie had heard mutterings that the Australian Federal Police weren’t over the moon with the stuation, but Howard had becomea law unto himself in the last few months.

The scurrying of the uniformed technicians and junior officers ceased as the PM strode towards the table.

“General, I want to know what the hell is going on and when I’m going to get some answers about what has caused the situation”

Gillespie stood and saluted. “err, sorry prime Minister, but we weren’t due to start for another few hours”, he waved his arms to indicate the mess of communication equipment and cables that were strewn around the area.

“Something else has come up, General and I need some information immediately. Have you any bloody theories on what has caused this thing”

“Fucking rodent” thought Gillespie, he knew this wasn’t to start till later. “I’m sorry Mr Prime Minister, but as you can see none of the science staff are here yet” he said indicating the room.

“And what would they be telling me if they were in the room, General?” was the reply, his eyes glowering under prominent eyebrows.

“I’m not sure that they’d really give you an answer, Sir” Gillespie shrugged, “I really don’t think anyone has much of a clue”

Out of the corner of his eye the PM noticed one of the communication techs glance up and then look away quickly. He turned a glare on him and demanded, “well, do you have any idea?”

The Corporal glanced at Gillepsie who nodded his assent. The tech stood to attention and faced Howard.

“Err, Corporal Danson, Sir. I think that it was an experiment that went wrong, basically it was self inflicted by the US. If you look at the extent of the wave you can see that it is centered somewhere in northwestern Texas.”

“Jesus, you’re not one of those Roswell, Area 51 nutters are you” the PM spat.

“No… no, Sir. Roswell is in New Mexico. The yanks started building a ssuperconducting super collider a few years ago and then the project was abandoned. I think some black type operations then used the tunnels for other reasons. It all adds up. I just think it was one big cluster fuck, if you’ll pardon my french, Sir”

The PM looked across at Gillespie who just opened his hands palm up. “It’s as good as I’ve heard and better than most” he replied, “at least there is no little green men involved.”

The PM turned on his heel and followed by his security detachment and sundry hangers on, stomped from the room.

Gillespie turned and looked at Danson, “god save me from signal fucking Corporals” he muttered.

“Hey, General, you were an ex-digger, I knew you’d understand” Danson cheekily replied.

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Matthew K reckons...

Posted April 3, 2009
Why do you say that Brian?

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Brian puts forth...

Posted April 3, 2009
Matt : That was me - head hitting desk. Short hand - 'head-desk'. I missed the bleeding obvious again. Happens when I'm thinking about stories.

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
One must make mention of Sir Pratchett or zombies to receive a positive response.

J.

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
That would be Sir Terry - I'm a fan, (Small Gods is my favourite). Zombies - not so much.

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Leo euler has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2009
"Thanks for that map Leo Euler. I wanted to write something set in NW Oregon. Am I right in thinking it may just be outside the wave? Looks like it could be"

Yes, the northern border of Oregon is that river.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted April 3, 2009
It seemed that half the nutbags and fruitbars who had survived the Wave considered First Lady Barb Kipper a back channel to the President. As a result her secret service security detail had to wade through more bizarre mail directed her way than to anyone else in the reformed executive. She wondered if Eleanor Roosevelt or the other Barbara – wife of George Bush had been a target for this kind of crap.

“Just one of the joys” muttered Smithers her Personal Assistant. “You’ll probably want to reply to this one,” he continued “It’s from one of your old neighbors.”

“Christ, not Mrs Heinemann again” prayed Barb as she gingerly took the letter from Smithers. The spiky script in ballpoint was not encouraging.

29 Deerford Drive

Seattle

Washington.

Dear Barb,

Just brief notes to say thank you for your kindness.

I understand that you interceded on my behalf to get my medication fast tracked and in turn got me out of that awful cell. Your kindness despite the unfortunate incident with the President is testimony to the goodness in your heart.

My doctor says that so long as I continue taking my meds and attending therapy sessions, the voices shouldn’t bother me and I wont pose a risk to others or myself again.

However I feel I need to tell you, so you can tell the President, how it is I may have came to open the hellmouth. You see I alone have special powers to communicate with the ancient ones – modern religions have referred to them as God and the Devil, but I know them as the ancients. They are being of pure energy who exist between physical planes. I am blessed with the capacity to speak with them and unfortunately on 14th March I believe offended them. They have limited access to our temporal realm through portals where lay lines converge. On the 14th I was cursing them and the way they complicate my life when two of the most powerful ancients emerged and caused the horrible deaths behind the wave. I generated a force field to contain them then hid from them for a year as they raged behind the Wave I created. Eventually I accepted my responsibility and banished them back to their plane of existence. Thus I was able to relax the Wave and here we are.

I hope Suzie is well and hope you’ll visit soon.

Peace

Jane.

Barb let the letter slip from her hands as a cold shiver ran up her spine.

“There but for the grace of god” she thought.

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BrianC puts forth...

Posted April 3, 2009
Bob

I like it.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted April 3, 2009
I liked it because it was short.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
Just kidding. I liked it because it rocked. And because it was short.

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Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 3, 2009
The Lord giveth...

The massive pan-dimensional being slowly drifted through this new solar system, absorbing the radiation being put out by the yellow star through pores on its membranous skin. As it approached the star the accumulation of radiation started to set in motion a number of internal processes.

After millions of years floating between star systems at an incredibly slow rate, the being luxuriated in the feast that it was enjoying. However the effect of the massive meal of radiation that it was absorbing acted as an enormous laxative on it.

The being was effectively invisible to all of the instruments pointed its way from the 3rd planet in this system, so its inhabitants didn't see the massive sphincter in its rear open and it ejected a whirling cloud of fecal matter in another universe. Caught in the gravity well of the planet the invisible mass headed downwards towards the blinking lights of the continents below.

Time had no meaning or relevance to the being as it enjoyed the sensation of expelling its fecal matter into the void and it started to repeat the process. .

The being's pleasure increased as it ejected another pan-dimensional shit from itself, and squirted the swirling mass into the vacuum on its way into the gravity well of the planet below.

This one would take another twelve months before it reached its destination...

In the meantime the being continued on its way, gorging itself on the radiation it needed to survive another millenium in the cold vacuum between the stars. Oblivious to the effect that its passing was about to have upon anotther species and its world.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
GB : I got to say it. It looks like the real shit to me.

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savo ducks in to say...

Posted April 3, 2009
Enough with the excuses JP write something (even an AoT one would be neat) Hell, even SJS wrote one for this Pepsi Challenge!

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DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2009
[It’s late and it’s long - as World of Bollocks regulars would recognise brevity ain’t my strong suit - and it reeks of Strayanisms - and too many hyphens - but here goes. Hopefully the characters will explainify themselves as we go.]

David Lawrence had lost a few things in the two years since the Great Stellar Shitfight. Four kilos. A bunch of friends. His sense of humour. His job. Stood to reason - come crisis time, governments spend pragmatically on stuff that protects their interests, i.e. explodey goodness, bread and circuses, rather than the discretionary items, the fluffy stuff that gives warm fuzzies to swinging voters. Like spending money on basic research. Research into advanced weapons tech, alternative energy, GM crops or any other applied, targeted, outcome-based, synergy-leveraging, low-hanging-fruit-picking, buzzword-soaked technowank which might dig the big wide flat brown land out of the overpopulated refugee-camp mentality it’d become mired in? Thumbs up. Blue skies curiosity-driven stuff? GTFO. As Lawrence had been forced to do, once the ARC had been wound up as a luxury the nation couldn’t afford and the funds originally contracted to, f’rinstance, research into evolutionary biology rediverted to explodey goodness, bread and circuses.

Lawrence had, however, gained in other areas. Primarily in the area of a horrendous slice off the tee which no matter of stance adjustment, amateur swing-doctoring or inventive swearing was going to fix. He nudged another fifty-cent Kmart ball away from the pile and addressed it distrustfully. Loose. Swing through it. Let the club do the work. The club was a whizz-bang Titleist competition driver with more shiny movable parts than a Hollywood starlet’s face. Of course, now that much of the nation’s golf courses had been repossessed for growing food to feed the unwashed masses, it was worth about as much as the load of balls at Lawrence’s feet. And a load of balls was all that the techo whizzbangery from the Titleist R&D labs (presumably now a pile of rubble somewhere in the US Midwest) was worth, seeing as though no matter of tinkering, fiddling and general arsing about with the movable weightings and reclinable toggleblurters made the fucker go in anything resembling a straight line. Not that it mattered much out here. It wasn’t exactly the 18th at Huntingdale, Lawrence reminded himself, the low rock-strewn hummock rising slightly over the remainder of the roughly-rehabilitated ground that had, a generation ago, been Blackwater Mining’s first productive coal seam. Two hundred yards away, a mangled Give Way sign, salvaged from a losing argument with a Caterpillar B797 on one of the service roads - B797s won most arguments they entered into - had been javelined into the churned earth as a makeshift pin. Even opening his stance up like that still-astonishing footage of Shiv Chanderpaul facing Warnie front-on a couple of years back (international test cricket having gone the way of basic science research in terms of non-essential distractions) he still couldn’t get within cooee of the bastard.

Why the chordates? Why only the chordates? How the fuck does that work?

He hated when he started thinking like this. He hated being reminded that he was wrong. That there wasn’t always solid, logical, experimentally-derived, peer-reviewed explanations for everything. There used to be. He could defend the scientific nature of the universe to anyone. He used to shake his head in mild derision of the creationists, fundies, whackjobs and nutbars who needed deities, fairies, superstitions or Great Spaghetti Monsters to explain the world around them. Lawrence’s universe was explainable by observable, testable phenomena. That was what made him good at what he did. Not stellar, not Nobel-winning job-for-life rock-star status - not like Alex, who’d been marked for greatness since day one, when they’d first met as proto-PhD-peons at USyd - but pretty bloody decent nonetheless.

Not just vertebrates, but everything with a spinal cord. What’s doing there? What’s the mechanism, for Christ’s sake?

Waste of time, he reminded himself. Plenty of minds sharper than his had chewed the problem to a pulpy husk, to less than bugger-all resolution. Which, as things always goes, only gave the spotlight to the fundies, whackjobs and nutbars who pedalled a range of supernatural bollocks to a credulous public, anything from God’s visitation for legalising gay marriage to the antimatter-fuelled outer space bodily eructations of ginormous outer space aliens from outer space. There had to be a proper explanation. There was a proper explanation. But Dave Lawrence didn’t have it. What he had was half a bottle of paint-stripper Mudgee mud - even crap wine was over the odds on price these days, but red kept better than beer on field trips - a bucket of balls, an oversized driver and a headache.

Bizarre bloody way to pick off an entire phylogenetic lineage. The only lineage that could have formed intelligent life, in point of fact. Almost like...

Shank. He’d tensed up as he’d hit through the ball, grimacing against the obvious conclusion. No. Bollocks to that. Not the ‘intelligent life deleting other potential intelligent life prior to invasion’ argument. There were enough muppets pedalling that shite already. Straight from the realms of bad sci-fi - any moment now the ghost of L.Ron Hubbard was likely to rock up with an army of Thetans riding shottie - and besides, if you’re trying to wipe out all forms of intelligent life with the potential to self-aggregate into higher social structures, why start with the Red States?

It’s the arthropods, the insects and shite. They’ve never forgiven us for out-evolving them, the bastards. It’s probably those big fuck-off bug monsters from Starship Troopers. Where the fuck’s Doogie Howser when he’s needed?

He hadn’t quite lost his sense of humour. Which was an achievement, considering what else he’d lost. Alex had taken up a senior postdoc position in Nobel laureate Marlon Weissner’s developmental biology lab at UC Berkeley in January of ’03. He’d booked flights to go over and see her - technically it was to go to a conference and talk to a bunch of lab heads in the Bay Area about job prospects, but he knew what the dull, monotonous ache in his chest meant. Either coronary heart disease, or he missed her a hell of a lot more than would have been suggested by the last-summer-holiday origins of her pre-departure fling with him - an inevitable pressure release that apparently Stevie Wonder could have seen, according to that standby of gossip rags, Friends Close To The Couple. The ensuing two years without her, much of which had been dominated by the same dull ache in his chest, had pretty much backed up his original hunch. ‘Tis better to have what now? No it isn’t. You can fuck right off.

Stay loose, swing through, let go.

Let go. If only he fucking could. And knowing his luck, letting go would just mean losing his grip and hurling Munter’s driver halfway to the flag. At that moment the sky was ripped apart by a quartet of F/A-18s heading south-west - presumably home to Williamtown - but these days Lawrence barely noticed the flyovers. You’re living in a massive refugee camp, you learn to ignore the military toolage. Or the military tools. In fact, that’d been one of the main reasons he’d taken up his old mate Munter’s offer of employment at Blackwater - other than the minor need to eat and pay his bar tab - to get the hell away from the seething masses of stinking humanity on the eastern seaboard. Central-western NSW didn’t attract a lot of visitors, even now that there was a lot more visitors to go around. Digging stuff out the ground was more important than ever to the National Interest - presumably why Blackwater and a bunch of other private resource-based interests had been forcibly nationalised under some very dodgy legislation passed under urgency by Reichfuhrer Howard’s kitchen cabinet - which meant Munter, or Senior Research Geologist Mark Munton to his boss, was a busy Munter. And needed more field assistants. The pay was two fifths of fuck all, but Munter did offer Lawrence his own ute, sat phone, a flat in town and all the coal he could eat.

Four years of undergrad. Five years of a three year PhD. Two overseas postdocs. Fifteen first-author papers. All to end up holding a fucking theodolite for a bloke voted Drunkest Man in the Universe at our Year 12 formal after-party. Who to this day drops his strides when the pub jukebox plays Eagle Rock.

Nup, there’s that fucking slice again. Regular as a prune-eater’s morning movements.

The tappetty rattle of a diesel ute woke him from his self-immersion.

“Ay,” said Munter, hairy arm out the window of the company Hilux. “What’s doing?”

“Thinkin’.” Despite spending most of the last dozen years living in trendy inner-city locales across the globe, Lawrence was still a bush kid at heart, and subconsciously found himself mirroring Munter’s almost comically rural drawl - itself becoming ever-more rural the longer Munter had lived out west.

“Drinkin’?”

“Possibly,” Lawrence shrugged, sheepishly conceding the half-emptied bottle of shiraz near his feet. It wasn’t like Munter to get all moral recidivist when it came to alcohol intake.

“I meant,” Munter clarified with a grin, “would you be interested in doing any, you cunt.”

He thumbed over his shoulder where an Esky was perched in the tray. It was probably piss-foul XXXX and it was probably warm, but Lawrence wasn’t feeling too picky.

“Yeah, you could twist me arm,” he grinned, noting the dusty old half-bag of clubs in the boot. The same ones they’d used as kids back up home to belt golf balls off the top of the quarry into the river below. There was the small hazard of needing to carry a row of riverside houses and a national highway, but that was just motivation to get under the thing properly and give it some stick. There was still an hour or two of light left in the day, and a spectacular sunset was in the offing. As it usually was out here, given the massive amounts of light-scattering ash and dust still orbiting the stratosphere after the Great Stellar Shitfight.

Uncle Teds. On ice. Shit, someone got paid this week. The lads cracked an Extra Dry each, flicking the lids into the tray, and contemplated the landscape around them. Ignoring the low hum of the Blackwater Number Three pit a few kays to the west, they could have been on the moon. Lawrence wondered if this was what it looked like beyond the Wave. Then thought of Alex again, before deciding not to. There hadn’t been anyone since. He wasn’t sure there was going to be.

“Shit happens for a reason,” declared Munter, out of nowhere. He wasn’t nearly drunk enough to be philosophical.

Lawrence couldn’t really let that slide.

“Any idea what the fuckin’ reason might be then, O Wise One?”

Munter nodded laconically. “The Big Fullah upstairs had money on your Rabbitohs winning the Premiership. Not a fuck were they getting it done after losing the first four of the season, were they now.”

“And so... he nukes the Septics??

“He moves in mysterious ways,” Munter observed, “or so I’ve heard. A bit too fucken mysterious for my liking, but you get that on the big jobs.”

Despite his black mental state, Lawrence allowed himself a grin.

“As good an explanation as any I've heard today,” he concurred.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted April 3, 2009
Doc Yob : Now that is looong.

Jeez had to break out the dictionary for this one.

Pardon . . . .got to go look at some stars.

An astronomers geek fest on the net. Dark matter, black holes and cool shit.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted April 4, 2009
Yes, it was long. But it was packed with goodness (although I prefer the concept that God favors janitors of all ethnicities and places of national origin as opposed to simply hating Seppos).

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girlclumsy asserts...

Posted April 4, 2009
Shaun drew on the joint, breathing the rough smoke deep into his lungs. He crossed his eyes, trying to blur out the frustrated form of Jamie, striding about on the faded brown shagpile in front of him.

"It's aliens, man. Fucking aliens."

"Dude. I don't fucking care. Turn the TV back on."

Shaun barely flinched as the remote hurtled into his gut.

"Fucking... be that way!"

Shaun hit the standby button as Tom stormed off into the kitchen.

"...scientific tests have reportedly come back inconclusive. UN experts based in Europe admit the Wave is like nothing the planet has ever seen before."

Tom shoved his head round the door. "Fucking TOLD you it was aliens!"

Shaun sighed, and took another deep breath in.

"All right man, you're right. Fucking aliens, ok?"

He exhaled. "It's going to be a long fucking week."

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girlclumsy has opinions thus...

Posted April 4, 2009
'Scuse me, Tom/Jamie - supposed to be same person. Names confused. 1:30am. Should be sleeping. Thanks for encouraging us to write. ;)

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted April 4, 2009
Maybe "G" is Greg from North Maclean.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted April 4, 2009
Girl Clumsy - too much of the green, and it is easy to get names confused. When I was younger, and much more foolish, I went for two whole months recognizing people but not knowing their names. To compensate, I said "dude!" and pointed at them. Luckily it was Los Angeles in the 1980's, and that worked out just fine.

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Oldsinger puts forth...

Posted April 4, 2009
Mrs. Zazbog skittered down the hallway of her plasma yurt. She skidded to a stop in front of her son's room using her dominant stilt to balance her torso globe. She peered inside with her ocular stalks and her globe glowed with frustration at what she saw.

"Tralfaz, how many times I have I told you not to play with your interdimensional energy bubbles inside our yurt!"

Her son, on his little tripod stilts, quickly spun his torso globe and his ocular stalks shook in surprise as the first thought wave from his mother hit his sensor antenna.

"Sorry, mom. I didn't mean to make a mess."

Mrs. Zazbog shook her her dominant stilt at her son as she telewaved at him, "well, clean up those bubbles and take the generator outside."

"Ok, mom."

Mrs. Zazbog hopped and skipped back down the hall. Tralfaz turned his torso globe back toward his cubby and pointed his dominant stilt at the largest bubble in the middle of the floor.

"Oh, well. It was a good bubble too."

The sharp pointed end of Tralfaz's stilt jabbed at the bubble and it vanished with a faint blue light that flared and vanished.

Tralfaz grabbed his bubble generator with his tentacle, held it close to his torso bubble, and bounced out of the cubby.

------------------------------------------

On Earth:

"...it's the Wave, sir," cried Ronnie. "It's gone!"

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JP would have you know...

Posted April 4, 2009
Okay, this is for Savo then I have to do 'real' work.

JP writing as Alan Moore:

---

(Hawaii. Crowded. FLASH. Darkness. Space? Oh god...)

"Laurie? What's... oh sorry, sometimes these things slip my mind. Forgive me."

"You stupid son of a... hhuc... hhuch... you know I always throw up when you take me anywhere! Jon, Adrian did it again."

"No. This was completely different this time. An energy wave, tachyons. How's Daniel?"

"How's - Jon, Adrian has just... you know. You know and you did nothing. You stayed here in this... where are we?"

"60,000 light years from Earth. I call it The Burger. I've created a new -"

"Jon, he's killed almost every American on the... and you knew! You knew and you did nothing, again!"

"I wouldn't say that Laurie. I've been very busy."

"Jon, why did you just bring me here?"

"This is where we talk. In fifteen seconds, you tell me I'm crazy. In two minutes, you're having a smoke with your mother."

"Jon, my mother is gone. They call it The Wave. Everyone's..."

"Tomorrow you tell me you left Daniel. Our link resumes, we start a new earth, and then you tell me you love me."

"Jon you're... who are those people down there?"

"Everyone."

"Oh my god... what have you done?"

"This is a new start Laurie. Turns out God is an American after all."

"You're crazy!"

"Drink?"

"Jon, you... I think I need to lie down."

"I know. Say hi to you mum for me. I have work to do. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Jon no -"

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted April 4, 2009
Oldsinger. Plasma yurts. (Chuckle)

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DrYobbo reckons...

Posted April 4, 2009
Yeah, Brian, I know. Spewed forth as stream of consciousness, and my conscious doesn't get to the point particularly quickly. Apols for the big words but I was trying to put the dude Lawrence into a space where he'd come up with a biological explanation for what seems to be a particle physics problem (but being not clever enough to come up with one myself I had to leave that hanging.)

Paul - I dare say the much-maligned Seppos will save the day somehow, otherwise noone in the Largest Target Market will buy the book. And let's face it, Munter and Lawrence's country has been overrun with refugee Americans by this stage in proceedings, I suspect there'd be a lot more anti-American attitudes permeating your average Strayan mindset, much along the lines of Stumpy from the Instrument, or perhaps more aptly, Brisbane under General Macarthur in WW2.

God is a Rabbitohs fan, though. Fact. He did send tribulations to try us of course. No premierships since 1971, Manly and Easts raiding our player stocks, and Russell Crowe.

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Oldsinger mumbles...

Posted April 4, 2009
JB

I popped my writing cherry there.

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted April 4, 2009
This was a quickie as I came to the party late ... so excuse any typos and such.

Cry Havock

By The Rhino

The observation room was separated from the thickly padded room by two inches of sound-proofed and mirrored glass. The patient’s horrified shrieks, while muffled, were spine chillingly distinct.

“NO! NO KITTY CATS! Don’t pet them, no no no no don’t pet THEM! FERALS, I tell YA, seppo ferals, ferals, KITTY cats DON’T PET THEM … please, please please … why couldn’t it be ME, WHY WHY WHY, No more kitty CATS!.”

The litany faded away to sobs as the patient slumped in the corner, exhausted from this latest outburst. Dr. Ross watched with clinical detachment as the technicians fussed over their roomful of equipment; video feeds across all spectrums, biometric sensor readings, psi energy output. “Hell, Dr. Ross thought, I think there might even be a Geiger counter in there.”

No one knew the Patient’s name; he had been brought in several months prior apparently suffering some form of psychotic break. He was found wandering around Brisbane, accosting people, alternating between screaming and clarity, demanding that they direct him to the ‘gold plated hovercraft’ because he was in ‘the circle of trust’ and that the ‘feral was finally gonna’ get what he deserved’. Tests of the patient’s blood identified a whole host of psychotropics along with an experimental psi-booster classified TOP SECRET ULTRA. When the lab results tripped national security snoop programs Ross’ group swept in and removed the patient to a more secure setting. Now, almost one year later, as the demented rants had become more frequent and violent, the technicians, and even some of the other doctors, began to refer to him as Patient Havock.

Later, in a very secure video conference room, Dr. Ross faced several of the most powerful men in the world. Their grim visages peered from the flat screen monitors as he prepared to deliver his presentation.

“I’m sorry gentlemen, but I must report that our findings are conclusive, Patient Havock is, indeed, the cause of the phenomenon identified colloquially as ‘The Wave’.”

Questions burst from all of the monitors and Dr. Ross waited until they stilled before he continued, “Apparently, and we still don’t know how security was breached, Patient Havock was able to obtain and ingest a large quantity of the experimental psi-booster code named RHINO. The drug has rewritten his genetic code and boosted his psionic talents to almost god like levels. Unfortunately, a byproduct of that transformation is that he is certifiably insane. We have kept him sedated and there have been no further, ummm, manifestations of the wave phenomenon since the initial ‘attack’.”

A grizzled General interrupted, “But that why the hell would he wipe out most of North America?”

“Interrogation during his more lucid periods has indicated that he harbors an intense level of envy for someone living in the United States, specifically, Atlanta, Georgia. The rest of CONUS was collateral damage. All of those hundreds of millions lost because of one man’s envy.”

The General asked the next obvious question, “Well, if you have him sedated, how come the Wave is still standing?”

Ross replied, “Quite simply General, we surmise that it stands because Patient Havock and the Wave are connected at a fundamental atomic level and it will continue exist as long as Havock is alive.”

With that pronouncement Dr. Ross left the conference room as the discussion to follow was way beyond his pay grade. The decision was not long in coming, the directive was couched in innocuous bureaucratese, but the end game was the same – Patient Havock was to be euthanized as soon as possible.

Dr. Ross watched as the killing drugs were introduced into Havock’s IV. He listened as the interval between the beeps of Havock’s heart monitor and respirator grew longer and longer. On a monitor on the wall a video feed from a ship stationed off the west coast of the U.S. showed that the Wave had begun to oscillate more rapidly as Havock’s life ebbed.

At the moment the solid tone of death echoed in the operating room the wave simply disappeared as if it never existed.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted April 4, 2009
I wish it weren't true, but the typos ruined it for me.

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DrYobbo asserts...

Posted April 4, 2009
Burger poll - should Rhino and Hav just shag and get it over with?

Just sayin' is all.

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted April 4, 2009
"should Rhino and Hav just shag and get it over with?"

Man, I thought they had!

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Brian mumbles...

Posted April 4, 2009
Savo : On board the ship? That was just scuttle-butt.

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savo would have you know...

Posted April 5, 2009
groan

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted April 5, 2009
That's what The Rhino said.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted April 5, 2009
But he was topsy-turvy at that moment.

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andyf swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 5, 2009
the prof gesticulated at the video of the Wave.- 'its something to do with perception' he waved his tweed sleeve wildy in the direction of his unwilling audience.' We can see the wave, we can see video of the wave, but computers can't.its doing something to the nerve cells in the eye,if you were actually Inside the field... all the energy would be dumped into your brain, maybe the neurons would act as an aerial- FOOM' the old man sketched a mushroom cloud in the air.

the dog tipped its head to the side and whined.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted April 5, 2009
" I am WATCHING"

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted April 5, 2009
Manny and Larry were sitting in a bar in Reykjavík.

“You know what it was,” said Manny

“Huh?” Larry was a bit pissed.

“You know what caused the Wave,” persisted Manny

“What are you talking about?” groaned Larry

“The Wave, that thing that made America go away.” Manny was being a bit too cheery for the topic.

“Yeah?” Larry was now just feigning any interest.

“I’ve seen the satellite pictures, I know the physics.”

“So?”

“My heart will go on.” Manny took a deep swig of his beer.

“I love you too.” Larry opened the Racing Guide in the local paper and turned away a bit.

“Nuh,” said Manny, pulling at Larry’s shoulder “It all started with that expose that Clive Cussler wrote about a load of Americium smuggled onboard the Titanic.”

Larry looked up from the Racing Guide, “I don’t read books”

“When the safe had corroded enough to release the Americium, the radiation hit that big ruby that Kate Winslet threw overboard, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and whoosh!”

“Whoosh?” repeated a sceptical Larry.

"Whoosh, the radiation hit the ruby and just like in a laser, the photons have become coherent but resonating at 1.73gigahertz, the ultimate brown note and since it was refracting underwater, the radiation cone took on a tear drop shape and there you have it.” Manny was looking very pleased with himself.

“Bullshit.”

“Maybe,” Manning Pope, a newly minted physicist shrugged and went back to reading his journal.

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drej reckons...

Posted April 5, 2009
Nice Savo.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted April 6, 2009
I totally dig the crossover reference.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 6, 2009
Havock : ” I am WATCHING”

One of Peter Sellers lines 'I like to watch' ?

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted April 6, 2009
The surfer sat astride his board, legs dangling in the cool pacific water. He had plenty of time to contemplate the situation in between sets. Off in the horizon he saw the blue Wave shimmering above Oregons coast. Like a giant jellyfish it had swallowed the entire continent which now lay silent.

A small pang of remorse tugged at the insides of the surfer but his cold eyes wore the blank expression of a professional. He had found this place and as directed he had removed all capacity it had to defend itself. The dish was prepared and soon it would be time to feast. Galactus was hungry.

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tygertim reckons...

Posted April 7, 2009
Jane was stepping down the stairs wearing only her "Madame Butterfly" robe, her heaving boosum bouncing with each step. It was time to come hither her beau out of that damn dank basement and back to reality....

Sid was working very hard in his basement. The basement was crowded with wires, mismatched surplus Laboratory Capacitors from Bell Labs (good thing Murph worked security there, it certainly helped with the "midnight requisitions"), a jumble of Magnatrons, Tesla single node vacuum tubes using bremsstrahlung effect waves focused through Geissler tubes to create a a vertical ionized channel that would open up a dimensional gateway to another possible alternate universe. Dispite being a "C" student, Sid beleived that he had made the necessary break through while studying Nicola Tesla's wireless power transmission. Sid knew he was right.

The last connection in place, Sid adjusted his glasses and threw the switch and a little golden brown bubble began to fade in as the current was fed into the system, augmented by the Tesla capacitors and contained by the magnetron s. Across town the McKinney power station's power use displays lit up, and the bubble in Sid's basement flared fiercely and Sid was reduced to a gelatinous puddle amidst his smoking clothes on the floor. The entire output of the Midwestern power grid was sucked into Sid's basement, and McKinney along with a sizable chunk of the North American Continental area was empty of human life.

P.S. Paul was that Short enough?

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tygertim asserts...

Posted April 7, 2009
And yes. That WAS OUR Sweet, Sweet, Jane....

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted April 7, 2009
It was very good, Tyger, but you almost lost me with the heaving boosie.

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El Coqui is gonna tell you...

Posted April 7, 2009
The Heaviest or Hardest Duty, Part Dos by Jose J. Clavell

CINCPAC Office

US Pacific Command

A week after the Ramellian Raid (AKA The Wave)

Stone looked out of the office suite large windows, as Admiral James Ritchie read slowly the technical reports that she had brought him. Outside was a typical Hawaiian sunny day but if the reports from the moon bases and the orbital platforms were to be believed that was quickly bound to change. For a moment, she remembered happier times with Brian, her late husband and the boys, an island vacation that had led to the birth of her daughter Josie and a career into Planetary Defense. Accepting her new posting at the time, had seemed like a perfect fix for a career minded officer with three small kids and a fighter pilot husband, who TDY’s frequently around the world. She never expected that choosing the ‘mommy’ career track would have ended up saving her life.

She had not even supposed to have been in the “Watcher” airborne command post at all due to both her position and seniority. However when General Kennedy, the duty flag officer, had to bow out almost at the last moment to hurry to his dying wife’s bedside, her battle with breast cancer having taken a turn for the worse. It had been a simple decision to take his place instead of tasking someone else. Anyway, since her own husband passing and with her children posted off planet, Stone had buried herself into her job as PDC deputy commander. Her kindness with Kennedy filled her with survivor guilt and damned her with grief, now somewhat assuaged by the relatively good news coming from the Moon and the Mars expedition.

Her attention went back to the Navy man sitting behind the large desk across from her. Stone first impressions of Ritchie were highly favorable. It took a remarkable individual in her opinion, already deep in a world changing crisis to keep its composure when told that everything that he thought he knew was wrong. In his shoes, she probably will have run into the hills. Of course, at first he had not wanted to believe her. Probably, because since her assignment to the blackest program that the United States ever had, she had fallen into a black hole and pulled the hole closed behind her-career wise. Her postings, promotions and even her name like everyone else assigned to PDC were classified to the highest level and not available to the regular military chain of command.

However, she had come prepared to make her case even if her arrival in a not-supposed-to-exist Air Force E4C had not been enough of a credential. The holographic 3D projection device that now sat on his desk had showed Ritchie the attack from the Moon and the orbital fighters’ viewpoint had done much to assuage his initial incredulity. So she continued to watch him quietly until he finished reading and leaned his chair back, his eyes close. Stone could almost swear that under his breath he was muttering a silent prayer and could not blame him for that as she had been doing the same at odd intervals since the attack. He leaned forward again and to her surprise activated the device with enough skill to zero in the particular part of the presentation that he wanted to watch again. The high definition images depicted gun camera footage showing the destruction of the Ramellian fighter escorts. She had not told him that some of the scenes had been recorded by her soon to be son-in-law. As they watched, one of the phones in his desk rang.

“Excuse me, General,” he told her, politely. Stone nodded and continued to watch the end of the presentation.

It had been a damn shame that no Ramellians have survived the attack, she thought. It would have been nice to know which commercial faction condoned it, in case that an opportunity for payback ever presented itself. But Stone could not blame the pilots as she would have not granted quarter either under the circumstances, even if the cold blooded bastards have wanted to surrender in the first place. Ritchie cleared his throat getting her attention back as he hanged the phone.

“I just spoke with my deputy commander for air operations, General Thomas Black. He served with your husband Brian and remembers you but was under the impression that you have left the service after your daughter was born.”

Stone gave him a sad smile. “It made for a convenient cover, Admiral. No one expects that a stay at home mom with three kids to be involved in deep black ops. The kids gave me a great excuse to explain why we decided to reside permanently in Colorado and not longer follow Brian on his assignment around the planet.”

“Around the planet, General? That’s a funny way to put it and suggests to me that there was more to do than that.”

“Well, yes, I rated WSO in orbital defense fighters and have commanded our main Moon base.” Stone did not add that she had also served as commander with the orbital fighter wing. Old habits of doling out information in carefully measured scoops were hard to break.

“Then the Space Program and Apollo?”

“It was another convenient cover for the construction of our Moon bases. I hope that you still remember how abruptly Apollo was cancelled and how the Space Shuttle and the the International Space Station tied us up to only “orbital operations.”

“Remember…? That was one of my biggest disappointments growing up. I had dreamed of walking in the moon one day.” Stone truly smiled for the first time, recognizing a fellow space buff. She had enjoyed walking in the Moon surface during her posting there. The last time was a family outing of sorts with all her children, their wives and Josie’s fiancée, Jimmie, before Gabriel departure to Mars. Rank has its privileges even in PDC

“Same here, I confess to had been trilled when I found out the truth about our space program.” She finally replied.

“And Aliens, I guess that Roswell was true after all,” Ritchie interjected.

“Nope, sorry, Admiral, the story is mostly disinformation. The United States contact with first the Andermani and later the other species of the coalition started on the late 1800s. Roswell was really a midair collision between two of their fighters helping us repel an Orwegian Pirate raid. Suffice to say no all the bodies recovered were aliens but our cover story gloss over that. Because of that incident, President Truman agreed to join the Coalition and allow a joint Andermani-Coalition base in Nevada.

“I presume that we are talking Area 51, General?” She nodded.

“Yes, sir,” Stone remembered her first time there and her surprise at being greeted by her first EBE, a Reticulan, looking exactly just like the greys of legend, folklore and popular media.

Suddenly Ritchie grew serious. “Ok, I believe you, General. Now can you explain to me the context of what just happened?” Stone straightened in her chair and swallowed hard before starting.

“Admiral, in very simple terms, we were collateral damage, the target was Area 51.” The silence that followed hung heavy between them. Stone watched Ritchie’s face as it first turned a sickly green followed by an angry red and braced herself for the explosion. However, he surprised her by standing and then walking stiffly towards the windows facing out into the harbor. The Admiral stood there looking out seemingly for a long time before asking without turning around.

“Why?” Stone also stood up and joined him at the window and looked at the view outside. Pearl Harbor seemed busy and she momentarily wondered if that was part of the normal scene or an increase in activity levels fueled by the wave.

“Frankly, Admiral, we don’t know. In the surface, the attack doesn’t make any sense. Given the size of the coalition and all its members, the base in dreamland was their equivalent of a small local Coast Guard station. Earth, regardless of what we like to think about it ourselves is a very minor coalition member living out in the boondocks of the galaxy.”

She momentarily paused, and although Ritchie continued to look out of the window, Stone felt that she had his undivided attention. “When I started my in processing into PDC twenty five years ago, one of my instructors warned me about trying to attribute to aliens, human motivations. He said that although at times we have shared common goals and objectives, their thinking to get there was…well…alien and that trying to do otherwise was akin to trying to teach a pig to sing. It is going to be a waste of your time and is going to annoy the pig. Believe me, sir. You don’t want to annoy the alien equivalents to pigs.

Richie looked at her, sharply. “Good God, Stone, I don’t think that you are trying to be funny.”

“No, I’m not, sir. Too much is at stake,” she replied quietly looking straight into his eyes.

“But the bastards killed close to 400 millions or so of our countrymen, not counting millions of Canadians, Cuban and Mexicans. Now, you are trying to tell me that we were innocent bystanders in the cosmic equivalent to a drive-by shooting? Preposterous,” he finished with an angry scowl.

“Yes sir, some on my staff have speculated that the Ramellians were testing a new weapon and given what we know of Coalition shielding technology and what it would take to defected it, it could explain the intensity, large footprint and persistence. The coalition is investigating but it probably would take months and most likely years before we obtain an answer. On the meanwhile, we have a world to keep alive and you just read what my analysts are predicting, Admiral.”

“Not that different from what my own people are saying, General. So returning to your Ramellians, do we have to prepare for a repeat visit?” He asked, frowning with worry.

“That’s one of the few pieces of good news that I got for you, sir. Because our response was so overwhelmingly effective, there was no one left to convey to their superior how effective their weapon truly was. The Ramellians are divided into numerous commercial concerns, think the old East India Company as an example. Whoever sponsored the attack took a heavy hit in financial and resources losses for nothing to demonstrate in return. That will put them out of the game for a while. On the meanwhile, the Confederation heavy cruiser Unity responded to our call for assistance and is now maintaining a defensive picket in-system to prevent such eventuality although everyone feels that is akin to closing the barn door after the horses left. They have also assisted our people in the Moon and Mars to start making preparations to live off the land, so to speak as we are not in any position to provide them any support for the foreseeable future.”

“Are they planning to provide any direct assistance to us, too, General?”

“I’m afraid not, Admiral, although they did offer. However on my judgment, the danger to our civilization caused by the revelation of their existence would be a lot greater than any relief help that we could get out of them. So as acting commander, I declined their offers.”

“You did what?” Ritchie demanded angrily.

“Sir, allowed me to explain,” Stone asked calmly, despite his outburst.

“We have been gaming for over a hundred years, countless scenarios where we make known to the general population the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Those and the live tests conducted in 1939 by Olson Welles at the behest of the US government had showed conclusively that such revelation will lead inevitably to mass panic and deaths. No primitive civilization in our recorded history had ever survived contact with an advanced one without adequate psychological and cultural preparation and that’s still an iffy proposition. Our main organization for that effort, Majestic, had been attempting to do so by manipulation of the mass media and culture since the 50’s. However, we can safely assume that after the wave, everything is back to square one. So in our opinion, letting the world know that E.T. really exist and looks at humans like we look at ants, much less that were directly responsible for the wave is not going to help us at all.” As she talked, Ritchie returned to his desk

“Ants? I think that I like those damned Ramellians of yours, less and less by the minute, Stone.”

“Sadly, sir, their attitude is not uncommon within the elder races. On their eyes a very junior species like ours that had not developed independent star travel yet is beneath their notice. The more enlightened to include our closest allies, think of us the same way that we do with the Headhunters of Borneo.”

“Nice place that you go out there, Stone.”

“Is a rough universe, Admiral. I thank God every day for sticking us in the boonies.”

“So where we go from here? My resources are stretched thin, so if you were expecting any assistance from us, you are likely to go empty handed, General.”

“Actually sir, we had been sort of prepared for a worse eventuality, so we do have the redundant facilities, stores and supplies that with our newly reduced numbers would be more than adequate to see us through for the foreseeable future. Our main problem is how we are going to reach orbit and we have our best people working in the problem.”

“So what we can do for you then, General?”

“Frankly, sir, not much. However our chapter calls for always having someone inside the government with knowledge of the threat out there. The wave not only decapitated our government and destroyed almost half of my organization but also leave us out in the dark. As the most senior member of the military not actively engaged in combat operations, I choose you as our inside man.”

“Are you sure that you want to trust me with all this, Stone?”

“Sir, I don’t have any other recourse available, no until someone do something and reestablish the civilian government. I can only trust that you recognize the gravity of the consequences that will befall humanity if our secret gets out.” Ritchie did not answer immediately and stared at the reports on his desk. The time stretched between them seemingly forever.

Suddenly, coming to a decision, he stood up and started to gather all the reports spread on his desk before politely passing then back to her. Stone, without a word, put them back into her briefcase as Ritchie packed the holographic projector. He did so with obvious reluctance and she did not have to read his mind to know that he would have loved to keep it. On that not too different from her late husband and her boys, all gadget freaks. The thought almost brought a thin smile to her face.

Reluctantly, he passed the device over and then offered his hand. “You have my word for whatever is worth.” Stone nodded and accepted the handshake.

Coming around his desk, he walked her to the door. “I just got one request, General.” She stopped and waited for him to continue.

“Get the bastards.” Placing her briefcase and projection device in the floor, Stone straightened and gave him a salute that would have made her instructors at the Air Force Academy proud.

“You got my word, sir.”

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tygertim ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2009
Thanks, John. I totally wanted SJS to be the potential savior of the world, but fail in a big way... Plus, Sid and his ilk need the world to know that they're not totally sexless... the irony of SJS's seconds late intervention into the situation was a nice twist, I thought.

So I should just stop guilding the lily and scrap the opening?

ThX

Tyger

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tygertim swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 8, 2009
Thanks, John. I totally wanted SJS to be the potential savior of the world, but fail in a big way... Plus, Sid and his ilk need the world to know that they're not totally sexless... the irony of SJS's seconds late intervention into the situation was a nice twist, I thought.

So I should just stop gilding the lily and scrap the opening?

ThX

Tyger

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Ian has opinions thus...

Posted April 14, 2009
G'Day JB.

I love to write. So when I saw your inviation to write I couldn't resist at all. Oh, and the stuff pre wave really happened. I was there for it! Some of the people are real, but 'Rowdy' is not. Oh, and the US bases I mentioned in Washington State are real.

Hope you guys enjoy it. (Sorry it might be bigger than you wanted, but hey I enjoyed writing it.)

Ian J.

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72)

300 Miles of Norfolk VA.

0710 hours

(Two days after the Wave's disappearence)

On this morning Lieutenant John ‘Rowdy’ Gibbson looked outside his cockpit as he and his RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) Lieutenant Commander Paul ‘Chef’ Graham cruised at twenty five thousand feet in their F-14D Tomcat. He hated the view. On a normal March day off Virginia it could be cloudy, storms, even the occasional end of season hurricane.

This was not a normal day, and these were not normal times. And the pollution clouds that filled the horizon proved that.

The fact that the day up to this point seemed normal disturbed Rowdy. In his mind, nothing had been normal since their aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln had left San Diego. They sailed for the Gulf on 20 July 2002, did their time, then began the trip home, stopping in Australia at Fremantle on 22 December 2002 for some well deserved R&R. But after departing Fremantle, the world began to fall apart. When the situation in Iraq heated up, Washington ordered the Lincoln to return to Fremantle on 6 January 2003, where over the next fourteen days both ship and aircraft underwent heavy maintenance, including ripping up and laying down a new anti-skid flight deck coating. Then on 20 January the Lincoln got underway again, back to the Gulf. It was during flight operations on the 15 March that they heard what happened to their homeland.

But there was no time to grieve. Shortly after Rowdy, and so many other Naval Aviators were in combat against both Iraq and Iran. On his first combat hop post wave, Rowdy’s flight engaged a flight of Iranian Phantoms and Tomcats. He shot down two IRIAF Phantoms. Then he flew missions against Iran’s air defences, destroying a missile site outside Bandar Abbas. By the time the Israelis nuked the Arab world, Rowdy had shot down another Phantom, a MIG-21, and a Iranian Tomcat. He was an ace, but in the post wave world he knew it did not matter much.

It had taken another four months before Lincoln and her escorts would leave the Persian Gulf and headed back to Fremantle on a cruise that, in Rowdy’s mind, might never end. For ten days the battle group resupplied, repaired, and rested before heading for Hawaii. When they pulled into Pearl Harbour it was a year to the day since the Lincoln had sailed to war.

When the Abraham Lincoln arrived at Naval Station Everett nine days later, it seemed most of what remained of America’s population was lining the shores to greet it. The families and loved ones of the ship’s company and Electronic Warfare Squadron 131 ‘Lancers’, based at Whidbey Island just up the coast, made up the huge crowd waiting for the ship. They were ecstatic that their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters were home alive. While these scenes were played out more than two thousand people onboard the Lincoln watched the home coming with emotions ranging from deep depression, sadness to pure rage. The other eight aircraft squadrons that made up Carrier Air Wing Fourteen had their home bases and their families inside the wave. For them, there was nothing left but each other.

A week later the Abraham Lincoln moved to the Puget Sound shipyards for an overdue overhaul. For three months the ship’s crew worked on the ship, while Carrier Air Wing Fourteen conducted air exclusion patrols near the wave.

In December the crew of Lincoln was told they would be heading for Puerto Rico, now the new home of the US Atlantic Fleet, or what was left of it. Many of the ship’s company had heard the rumour in September and started to think about not returning to sea, worried about their families. What could have been an ugly event never happened as the carrier USS Constellation was decommissioned in October at Bremerton. Constellation’s crew were from San Diego and were offered transfers to Lincoln. In the end as the Abraham Lincoln sailed for Puerto Rico in January 2004, the crew now made up mostly of former Constellation crew who had no reason to stay behind in Washington State. Like the members of Carrier Air Wing Fourteen that sailed with them, there was nothing there worth staying for.

Now the USS Abraham Lincoln, along with over fifty American warships now called Puerto Rico home. Based at the port of San Juan the Lincoln had been there for a month getting settled and changing over with the USS Nimitz, which was finally heading to the only US shipyard left that could drydock her, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard near Seattle.

Lincoln was one of three carrier battle groups operating out of San Juan. The other two were centred around the aircraft carriers USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the USS Harry S. Truman, which patrolled both the Caribbean and the Atlantic, and ensured the security of the Panama canal, the supply ships that were now Puerto Rico’s lifeline, Cuba, and the exclusion zone that the United States enforced off the US Atlantic coastline where the wave was.

It had been five days since the Lincoln had sailed from Puerto Rico on a standard patrol of the wave exclusion zone in the North Atlantic.

Now the wave was gone. Where the battle group was headed, no ship had been in a year.

Rowdy looked across to see another Tomcat forward of his port wing. The red tails of the Tomcat were adorned with the mighty ‘Felix the Bombcat’ logo and the letters ‘NK’. It was the Squadron Commander’s aircraft Fighter Squadron Thirty One ‘Tomcatters’ which belonged to Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (NK), embarked on Lincoln.

Just an hour earlier at the pre-mission briefing in the ‘Tomcatters’s’ ready room, it was standing room only. Even the ‘Tomcatters’ Skipper, Commander Paul ‘Butkus’ Hass, was standing in the corner as Rear Admiral Jamie Kelly then took the podium. Kelly had only taken command of the battle group two weeks ago after a stint in Japan. After a few brief comments Kelly laid out the plan of the day.

That mission plan was simple. Every American aircraft within range and capable of reconnaissance duty was now racing towards the now waveless continental United States to ascertain the full extent of the disaster. Some aircraft were tasked with flying over military bases to see if they could be operational quickly. Others were tasked with flying over cities, power plants, industrial sites, and the like to see the damage. After these missions brought back their data, it was hoped to launch manned missions in country to begin securing the country, from getting the power back on, to securing those places that had nuclear weapons stored there.

And because they were already there Lincoln and Carrier Air Wing Fourteen got the job on the eastern seaboard. Four of the Tomcats under Butkus’s command were fitted to carry the Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System, otherwise known as TARPS. The TARPS capable Tomcats were the only US reconnaissance assets in the region. Rowdy was tapped to fly one of the TARPS aircraft.

The mission drawn by Rowdy, Chef, and so many others was dangerous enough that they were flying wearing MOPS (Mission Oriented Protective Suits). Normally this would have resulted in a first class bitching secession. The Suits were hot, hard to breath in, and made flying difficult because of the sweat generated. As one of Rowdy’s former crewmates said ‘It's like a drysuit with a heater.’

The destruction that occurred inside the Wave enclosed continental United States was horrific. Now the pollution plume caused by countless disasters dominated the eastern seaboard from New York to North Carolina, making satellite coverage useless. Limited predator drone missions flown in the area showed a hell on earth, with fires raging and vast areas in ruin.

And Rowdy was flying straight into it. With the heavy pollution alone the MOPS suits were necessary. Rowdy was glad he had one on.

He look in the rear view mirror. Chef was using a pen to type, the gloves of the MOPS suit were too big for the buttons. Inside the other Tomcat Butkus and his RIO were keeping pace.

The radio came to life. ‘Tomcat One, this is Top Hat Control. Feet Dry five minutes.’

Butkus acknowledged the call as Rowdy began to descend, avoiding a cloud bank. Everybody that was flying had been told to avoid clouds, as there was still a big chance of acid rain. Chef then activated the TARPS pod.

‘You still there Rowdy?’ Butkus called over the radio.

‘Yeah, still here.’

‘We just crossed into US territory. You ready?’

Rowdy looked at his cockpit panel and saw that TARPS was operational. ‘Yes Sir. TARPS is on line, ready for the first target.’

Both Tomcats had breached the twelve mile limit and could now clearly see land as they descended to five thousand feet. Landfall was over the Cap May Lighthouse. Over the radio they heard Butkus report on what he was seeing as they crossed Delaware Bay.

The first target of interest was now rapidly approaching. Dover Air Force Base was massive, and a former transportation hub for the United States Air Force.

‘Cameras rolling’ Chef called out.

‘Confirmed. I’m gonna do a pass over each runway, then the base proper.’ Rowdy then repeated his intentions to Butkus.

‘Rodger Rowdy. I’ll get out of the way.’ With that Butkus began to climb, leaving Rowdy to begin the mission proper.

As Rowdy and Chef flew over the runways they saw little damage to most of the runways except for where a C-141 Starlifter had ploughed into the western runway. There were many transport aircraft parked in front of the hangers. C-5 Galaxys, C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemasters and several Starlifters parked and from what Rowdy could see, ready to fly. Parts of the base were burnt to the ground.

They then headed west. At first there was much that looked undamaged from the air. As they crossed from Delaware into Maryland the scene changed, whole areas were flattened. The LPG plant at Wagner’s point no longer existed, and neither did the City and surrounds of Baltimore.

The Radiation detectors began to click. Just a couple of rads at first. As they headed for the Capital the click started to occur at a regular pace. Chef informed them that they were still safe.

The trail of devastation lessened as they reached the outskirts of Washington. The capital of the United States had been burned by both fire and acid rain. The White House was a burnt out shell, as was the Capitol building. The grassed areas of The Mall and near the Washington Monument were burnt, but at least the Monument still stood tall, and looked undamaged.

But the airports around Washington told a horror story. In suburban areas that had flight paths overhead there were commercial aircraft crashed everywhere, the burnt areas were grotesque, with part of a wing still visible, or the fuselage, or in one case, a British Airways tail near the Ronald Reagan Airport. The airport itself had at least three planes crashed on the runways.

It was the same for Andrews Air Force Base, with several aircraft destroyed on its runways. The Pentagon was wrecked, the roof had collapsed, fire had destroyed what was there.

Butkus and Rowdy then flew northwest into Virginia and saw the CIA centre at Langley. It looked untouched, but the forest around it had burned. They then conducted a flyby of the FBI headquarters and US Marine base at Quantico, before heading south

The radiation detector was still clicking as they headed south. The Lincoln informed them that they believed that the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland may have had a breach.

Rowdy was furious. The plan was to fly down the Potomac River then followed the Chesapeake Bay south till they reached Langley Air Force Base and Newport News.

Both He and Butkus were just passing the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant when the message came in about the breach. Butkus let fly over the radio back to the ship about placing them in harms way when it could have been avoided.

After the flyover of a devastated Langley Air Force Base, Rowdy was focused on the next target. It was, until the wave, the birthplace of the super carriers of the USN. The massive Newport News Shipbuilders came into sight. At the northern end of the shipyard was the massive dock where Lincoln and the other Nimitz class carriers were built. The skeletal remains of an unfinished carrier sat in the drydock, which had water inside. What was to be the George H.W. Bush would never be complete now. To add to everything else, most of the shipyard’s building were now burnt out shells.

Rowdy could see a carrier docked at the fitting out wharf. As they got closer Rowdy could see the number on the flight deck. 76.

76 was the Ronald Reagan. The Reagan looked in good shape. She had been scheduled to commission into the fleet mid 2003 when the wave appeared. If she was ready, it could be replacing Constellation.

Just ahead another carrier could be seen. This carrier was loose and had collided with the shipyard’s wharfs further down. It still had construction equipment onboard. Moments later Butkus identified her as the Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Eisenhower was leaning fifteen degrees to port. The briefing stated that the Eisenhower was their for a full overhaul and nuclear refuelling. The question was how far along that refit she was and if she could be operational.

Several other ships were beached around Newport News, and as Chef reported back to Lincoln Rowdy turned the Tomcat south east for a quick flight to Norfolk Naval Base.

Norfolk was the largest naval base in the world in 2003. Now it looked like a child’s swimming pool, with all the toys scattered everywhere.

Two massive shapes came into view. The carriers Enterprise and George Washington were still tied alongside the carrier wharf. Other ships were not so lucky, with at least one large hulled ship capsized in the bay.

After three passes over the base Rowdy headed east while Butkus headed south east. The second last target of this mission was the Little Creek Amphibious Base, which he conducted his flyover then headed south.

In the distance he could see Butkus’s Tomcat in a low orbit near the last target.

That target was their home base of Naval Air Station Oceana. And no one from the ‘Tomcatters’ had seen home since they flew out on 18 July 2002 to meet the Lincoln off San Diego.

Rowdy flew over familiar places. Dix Creek, Old house Cove, Great Neck, the London Bridge shopping centre. There were impact craters where aircraft, both civilian and military had crash.

And then there was the base. Like Dover, there were many aircraft parked in front of the hangers, which seemed to be in one piece. Chef had the TARPS pod working overtime as he conducted the flyover of the base. After four passes over the base Rowdy turned the Tomcat and headed for Butkus.

‘You Ok Skipper?’ Rowdy called over the radio as he formed up on Butkus’s wing. He saw Butkus shake his head. Rowdy then realised where they were.

Above Butkus’s house.

Rowdy and Chef looked down. All that was left was row after row of burnt out houses. For Rowdy and Chef, they knew the house well, had been to cookouts there…and met Butkus’s wife and kids there. Now for Butkus there was not even the house to come back to.

‘Skipper?’ Rowdy again called out. ‘Hey Butkus, answer me will yah!’

‘What?’ Came the painful reply.

‘Its done. I’ve got good shots of the base. But maybe I should take some shots of the suburbs?’

Butkus nodded. ‘Do it. Two orbits of the base. One at two miles, the last at five miles around the base, then a quick run over Kempville Heights before we head out over Virginia Beach.

Eight minutes later it was done. By now Butkus was orbiting just north of Mears Corner, where his RIO lived. Rowdy rendezvoused with them and they started the flight back to Lincoln, flying over Virginia Beach.

For Rowdy, his home was in the Officers Quarters on base. He had seen it during the flypast. It looked fine, as did the long term parking area. Rowdy’s folks lived in Colorado near Peterson Air Force Base, so he knew that there would be a mission to check the base out. He knew that they were dead.

For Chef, this was the moment. His Home, his family, lived in Cavalier Park, just north of Virginia Beach. Chef had planned this flight path. Rowdy knew what was about to happen next.

As they crossed over the north side of the base at two thousand feet Rowdy could see the area in front of him.

In the back seat Chef was using the inbuilt TV camera mounted on the Tomcat to get a better view. A moment later he saw his house on the screen. It looked untouched from this angle. He could see the backyard. Then the picture tilted as Rowdy began to orbit Chef’s house at 500 feet.

After the first orbit Chef knew all he ever wanted to know. The front of the house had a car embedded in the lounge room, but there was no fire. The street where he lived had cars crashed against houses, power poles, each other.

Chef leaned back in his seat. He’d seen enough. All that was his life was gone. He was crushed. In a voice full of pain he told Rowdy. ‘I’m done. Lets get the hell out of here!’

‘Ok.’ Rowdy then pointed his Tomcat northwards towards North Virginia Beach near Fort Story. He brought the Tomcat to 500 knots and began to climb. On the beachside there were beached ships, even a submarine, scattered up and down the coast. He checked the rear view mirror. Chef held his head in his hands. Rowdy felt his friend’s pain. Chef’s wife Paula, the three girls. The hours he had spent in that house just having a great time…

Butkus’s voice interrupted him. ‘Tophat, this is Tomcat One. Mission complete. Heading back now.’

‘Roger Tomcat One.’

It was a quiet flight back. Both Rowdy and Butkus caught three wires as they landed onboard Lincoln. The mission had lasted just over two hours. Then the decontamination of both aircraft and people began.

But to Rowdy and Chef and the other pilots that flew over their homeland it had finally sunk in. The America they knew was gone.

Rowdy only had one question, but it was one being asked by every American.

What happens now?

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El Coqui would have you know...

Posted April 17, 2009
Love the story. However, Roosevelt Roads would have better facilities for the fleet in PR.

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Ian has opinions thus...

Posted April 19, 2009
G'day All

Thanks El Coqui

I though so at first for Roosevelt Roads, but I thought about this, in my mind I was thinking a bit further ahead of what I was writing. In such a situation, Roosevelt Roads would become a Attack Submarine/ Ballistic Missile Submarine base, due to the already availible Navy security.

Plus with San Juan (in my mind) becoming the centre of US operations in the Atlantic, I thought that the berths formerly occupied by cruise ship were more suitable for carrier resupply.

I have other thoughts about all this...

Can't wait for the second book JB!

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Respond to 'Small Pepsi challenge.'

So, three books or twenty?

Posted March 6, 2009 by John Birmingham
The economies thread below veered off on an interesting tangent when McKinney of Texas raised the idea of something approaching a decology set in the Post Wave World. Specifically he was interested in what would happen in the Middle East, and saw the potential, quite reasonably for a whole series of conflicts playing themselves out there.

Murph, while agreeing with many of his points, raised the issue of writer fatigue. It is a real issue. But then of Final Impact I was tired of that world and ready to leave. (I'm now ready to go back, after a break.)

For myself, I'd fear getting stale inside one world, even though with a whole world to build and explore that shouldn't be a issue. Perhaps Steve Stirling performed the trick best with his ISOT/DTF series, which effectively creates three narative realms out of one event. The Nantucket world, the post Change world, and the far post change world, all with their own character sets and story arcs.

I'm not sitting here planning my next five years. I have too much copy to get thru and quite a few of those years are allocated anyway. But I would be interested to see this topic discussed.

74 Responses to ‘So, three books or twenty?’

Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6, 2009
Dont go overboard with the series. Being concise can be nice. You want to be able to have a reference point in the beginning and if theres 5+ books you'd struggle to relate events to the beginning. And if you're not careful it will turn into another Amtrak Wars.

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lostatlunch mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
The idea has legs until the author or the readership gets bored.

If it starts to go all Dune~ish... I am outta there.

If it came down to returning to AOT or going into a new idea, I would take the new idea.

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girlclumsy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 6, 2009
Hey! You could be like that Robert Jordan guy!

(I think that's the right dude. The one who's death was greeted with cheers by fantasy lovers everywhere. That's the one, isn't it?)

Is it something you could do intermittently? As in, every couple of years, add to the series? Or does the tyranny of distance come into play then?

Thinking about my own reading habits, the only extended series' I've really hung out for was Harry Potter and Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels. Yup, sad as I'm sure, but hey at least it wasn't Twilight.

I think I agree with Lobes. Tell the stories that initially popped into your head in the first place. The rest is for the fan fic, isn't it? ;)

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Brian puts forth...

Posted March 6, 2009
Ii seems to be a common phenomena with writers. If you're not careful you end up doing spending all your time in one world. That's fine - if its a lucrative one. I'm thinking of Jordan and Piers Anthony here. But at some stage the thing just seems to run on sheer inertia.

Ringo suffers the same problem. Everyone wants him to write more 'Prince Roger' or Aldenata books. Instead, he partners while doing other work. Some of the partnership work is with other writers ie Kratman etc JR seems to write the story arc and works in an overseer role. Tom Kratman admits he doesn't play well with others. So personal quirks aren't an issue.

Webber does the same thing. Senior writer does the arc.

Fan-fic works. Helps to gauge the interest. Also it identifies possible partners. But . . .someone else does the scut work of looking it over. Eric Flint - 1632 model.

On the whole? Look to setting up an ad-hoc WoW site. Allow fan-fic. Let the fans cherry pick stuff based on no. of comments and who's commenting. Let the 'inner circle' do the vetting(I'M LOOKING AT YOU LOT IN THE STATES) Some may stimulate your thinking. Cherry pick (like you're not!) ideas from the threads.

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Leo euler ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
There are certainly enough interesting stories to be told in WW for dozens of books, so I don't think having enough material is an issue. I don't think people would necessarily get tired of more than three. You just have to make sure that the writing is fun and interesting.

I like the idea of a cooldown between writing the stories. Try out three books, see how people react, and then work from there to see if people might want more. I definitely think a lot of people assume that you will return to AoT with a Cold War trilogy.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 6, 2009
Coolddown - good term. But not too cool. That's why you have fan-fic. Allows things to bubble along quietly.

Dozens of Rhino stories for a start,

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
To be fair, not that I would have mentioned it if Birmo had not already, I sensed a fair amount of fatigue by Final Impact when I was brought on board to do the military research. I didn't think he was there by that book, but I could sense it coming, feel it around the edges. I think that is part in parcel for the acceleration from 1942 to 1944 and the war's end.

There is also a very real danger in that world and in the Without Warning universe of giving in to the need/desire/demand to fill the narrative full of battles. That is what the readers want, right?

Well, actually, the battles won't work effectively if time is not spent on supporting story lines and character development. The battles are interesting partly because you actually give a shit whether or not a given character dies or not.

And you can see this demand manifesting itself in every thread. They all veer toward matters military and I'm certainly guilty of feeding it to some degree (I'm the, uh, military advisor, so it is kinda my bag).

Here are some non-military questions to ask then.

1. What will the Federal Government look like in three years? Who will be represented in it?

2. What new states and territories will be online? McKinney raised this point previously.

3. In a world moving backward in many ways, will there be a demand for horses? If so, can the US export their horses for a profit? Same per mules.

4. What would a home built on a homesteading plot look like? After three years of exposure, many homes are not going to be in the best shape. The better move may be to salvage them for parts and build a new home. What would that home look like?

Things to ponder.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted March 6, 2009
I cannot stress more my adamant belief that you and Murph should co-author the fourth AoT novel - a prequel. As far as I can tell, WW is selling very well. Convergence could come out relatively fast and ride that wave.

Look, if all the guys at Baen can team up to pump out pulp, surely you two can finish the incredibly good start that is Convergence and persuade your publisher to put it out.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted March 6, 2009
It is - like- a no-brainer, dudes. Seriously.

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Orin would have you know...

Posted March 6, 2009
As much as I bang on constantly about Ian McDonalds "River of Gods" on my own blog - he provides a fairly good model with the followup to River of Gods, "Cyberabad Days". The sequel involved seven short stories (one of which got a Hugo) set in the same world. You got to see answers to some "so what would have happened with X Y years later" questions without those answers having to be shoehorned into an overarching narrative. Reynolds did a bit of the same where he fleshed out the Revelation Space universe with "Galactic North" and "Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days". Hamilton did it for the Confederation universe with "Second Chance at Eden".

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Orin swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 6, 2009
You could tell a lot of short stories on "what happened next" with an AoT or a post After America collection (or even go back and pick up threads that you might have dropped for other reasons where you had a cool idea but didn't think that it was worth adding another character arc for)

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Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
Girl Clumsy I am impressed - I ran out iof steam with Stephanie Plum after about number Seven - I couldn't recall which ones I had or hadn't read any more and they all dissolved into a morass...

Short stories coudl be a nice way to keep the pot simmering - but I do agree with Murph's point that these threads always tend to return to 'military nerdism' - I think one of the most interesting WW fanfic stories was the one about guns in NZ.

Murph - after looking at houses for the past few weeks - not many modern houses would be inhabitable after 2-3 years of exposure to the elements without ongoing maintenance. Late 20th century building standards are almost uniformly crap.

Once a window is broken or roof leaks, it just becomes a matter of time before a house in the suburbs is just full of trash. Have you ever been through a town after a flood? Treasured possesions and supposedly high quality consumer stuff becomes rusty, stinky rubbish faster than you would imagine.

There may be a property rush for older more robust houses though.

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6, 2009
No more than three books, however I still like the idea of you organising a couple of fanfic collections (one for AOT and another for the WW series) for all those frustrated writers out there.

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Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
GB, oh yes always room for prime redevelopment properties!!!

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George03 ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
I do like the cool-down idea.

JB might be busy with the "After America" novel but some time in the future I would like to see a continuation from "Final Impact".

I was really getting into the way that 1940's attitudes were crashing, head-on, with the one's from the 2020's.

I could see many stoylines coming from the way the book ended.....

Will the sunset clause get extended?

Will the Special Zone attitudes take in the rest of the country?

How will the USA deal with the oil producing states?

Would there be a real war with the Soviets?

There are hundreds of questions that could be answered but to do it all in a consecutive 4-5 book series is risking reader burnout.

You could do a "Lord of the Rings" style series with the main story in one hit (Done) and later come back and fill in the blanks.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
Thanks for the compliment, Paul. :)

Flood of 1993, National Guard duty. Yep, been there, done that, GB. But some things are going to remain salvageable.

Wiring, pipes, brick, certain types of wood if it hasn't rotted badly, some appliances, cooking utensils and such. But I do agree, GB, that most houses will have gone to crap.

We've got a failed housing development in the area with two good sized homes. They have been boarded up but you can already see gaps, pulled away boards, and I'm certain there is water damage. Once you've got water damage and vermin running around in the house, you've got what GB says, which is crap.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted March 6, 2009
I like new ideas, rather than one idea beaten to death.

As for author fatigue.

Read James Herbet's 'Fluke' then '48.'

The dude is so obviously just cranking them out so he gets a new hover I mean masarati it's embarrasing.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6, 2009
It's not a compliment alone: it is advice from a very wise old man whom you and John should listen to. And if it is a compliment, it is somewhat back handed; you know how much I enjoyed what I saw, but you also know I feel it needs moderate revision. One of John's strengths is his skill depicting women and romantic events between men and women. You and he together could get Convergence polished to a high gloss. I already know it will be a good read.

So Professor, listen to the other Professor and get it done. No excuses. Just do it. At least have something finished that can be shown when the time is right - presuming it isn't right right now (which I don't accept: the time could never be better).

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lostatlunch is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6, 2009
crap can be repaired... starting from nothing is always hard.. I will be looking to find a place to repair, than demolish and repair.

I am taking 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as my residence, sure it will be a fixer-upper and unwelcome visitors will drop by, but it is well armed, fully prepped bunkers & nice free fire zone, with a bowling alley and a movie theatre. renovators dreem... but I would change the paint scheme.

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Brian asserts...

Posted March 6, 2009
Got to be careful with the story telling.

Build the worls first.

Example :

The food/ agriculture thread can be a real bear if you don't watch out.

Things as simple as bread and milk have to be figured in advance. Example : You have a town. Who bakes the bread. Where does the flour come from? Who is milling the flour? Few small flour mills exist. And making flour involves testing cereals and blending flour types. True! Down here in Oz - drought has effected the quality of the wheat, less gluten. Old flour stocks loose their gluten - aging as far as I can gather. Who has the know how to re start aflour mill? Not the Army. And . . .it is a mill IOW a factory. You need a trained workforce.

Milk : You need cows. You need tankers you need bottling plants.

And finally a distribution system.

In some cases the only bottling plant or flour mill in the state has burnt down.

If you're figuring on living on canned and packeged goods for the interim. Fine. What are the health consequences? Where do the vitamins come from? Whats the shelf life?

How soon to getting fresh greens etc growing and moving.

What to do with Vegetarians? (I have my opinion, and I'm not sharing it)

First we have to build the world.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
"What to do with Vegetarians?"

Same as all other herbovores.

BBQ

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Naut asserts...

Posted March 6, 2009
I love the short story idea. Limitless scope for stories and a chance to flesh out some of the back stories you have written but us punters never get to see.

It is also a great opportunity to get guest authors to fund your next hovercraft.

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RobW swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 6, 2009
I'm sorry I missed your signing in San Francisco....but I was tied up on business in Oklahoma and Texas. Then, when you made it to Houston, Tx I was in San Francisco. Oh, well.

In any case, before you start planning on competing with L. Ron Hubbard on the longest science fiction series in history, note the demise of yet another bookstore, this an old, respected, and to-be-missed one in San Francisco. The obituary is here:

Reading marks final chapter at Stacey's books in San Francisco:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/05/BATK169I3F.DTL

I've seen so many good bookstores bite the dust; it is really, really sad. Don't know whether you made it to Stacy's for a signing when you were in the City (I understand from your entries you made it past the Mission district). In any case, the demise of another book store deserves a moment of silence....

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Moko would have you know...

Posted March 6, 2009
I'd hate to see it go regurge. Someone like Clancy refreshes the same dude over and over. IT's a good thing. Anyone sick of Bond yet?.

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Brian mutters...

Posted March 6, 2009
Back stories people. Back stories.

What happens to an Aluminium smelter when you turn off the juice? All the molten metal freezes and you need to jackhammer the pots out. Ditto - any smelting process that was going on when the Wave hit.

Where are all records for utilities, sewers kept? Handbooks on how to switch things back on? If electronic - they're gone. If paper - where?

The problem with 'Made in America' - is that all the American makers are dead. Factoid : Iraq invasion : Rebuilding program : Electricity Generators : European Made. Contracts given to American companies to replace the gear. Simpler than working with gear they didn't have the handbooks for or the contractors to rebuild. Apart from which - French made. I wouldn't be counting on getting too much infrastructure up and running just yet.

ANything that required chilling or freezing is now defrosted and ruined. That also means - blood banks. Seed stores. That has to be cleaned out - deconned, and put back into commission. Fancy transplants are now history for a bit. Hmm . . .pharmaceuticals need temperature control as well. As well as chicken eggs for vaccine. production.

See where I'm going?

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6, 2009
I'd say Dr. No & Blowfeldt are sick of Bond.

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Orin mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
Anyone sick of Bond yet?

Yeah but we got Rhino - and the endless torment that putting Rhino in print brings Havock is its own reward to the author.

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6, 2009
Thanks for that Murph

.1. What will the Federal Government look like in three years? Who will be represented in it?

Smaller more streamline more able to come to terms and deal with internal problems BUT as the Americanism goes, speak softly and carry and big stick, I see them pulling no punches on the international scene and more than willing and able to flash into ash any nation/state that threatens the lives of the very few survivors.

.2. What new states and territories will be online? McKinney raised this point previously.

The North American Federation will be the three Canadian Territories will be the norther Territoris, Maritime and Canadian Lost. Each will have a congressman and 2 Senators, the recently freed Canadian Lost wil have their reperesentatives appointed by the elected reps. The US portion of the Federation will be Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Displaced, Federal Defence Forces and Lost States, each with a congressman and 2 senators similarly the Lost States will be appointed by the elected members.

.3. In a world moving backward in many ways, will there be a demand for horses? If so, can the US export their horses for a profit? Same per mules.

Yes absolutely, but don't export horses only export mules therefore the market never runs out as mules are, er mules and can't breed. What does the US want to import? people. Perhaps not the most elegant way of doing this but mules for humans sounds better than oil for food.

.4. What would a home built on a homesteading plot look like? After three years of exposure, many homes are not going to be in the best shape. The better move may be to salvage them for parts and build a new home. What would that home look like?

Homesteads will all be different. Don't expect too many log cabins. The Wave survivors have seen the world. they will be a ware of many differt ways to build subsistance accomodation comfortably. They may know that adobe blocks are quick and easy to make and can even be earthquaked proofed, Solar panels and wind can power a whole home communications can be jerry rigged, fuels can be grown as crops etc etc. Nothing will be what it is now.

And AoT needs another book AND Cheeseburger needs its Fan Fic section up and running, AND after AoT, franchise the Universe, what would a collection of short stories set in AoT by Drake, Stirling, Burch or Phelan read like? or for that matter Hawkes Lohburger Flintheart or Barnes?

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Moko mutters...

Posted March 6, 2009
Phelan's got some good shit going.

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Therbs asserts...

Posted March 6, 2009
Being a reader who can get sucked into a neverending series I'd say finish this as a trilogy and then chill it for a while. I'm looking forward to what happens over the next two books but will be interested in seeing what you decide to play with next time.

Mr Boylan's suggestion is a grand idea. "The Caliph Knitter"?

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Abe mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
Actually, Paul is quite right. Murph and Birmo's prequel to the AoT would be brilliant.

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sparty reckons...

Posted March 7, 2009
becareful of being too far from the origin event (loved dies the fire , but got bored once the central conceit had moved on). AOT rpequel though that would be cool And genuine alt history.

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7, 2009
Birmingham, there comes a time when a writer should only listen to their own eternal voice.

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted March 7, 2009
Although I am all in favor of an AoT prequel that showed the events that created the technology and mindset of the expeditionary force that was cast back in time, I am suggesting something within the existing AoT story.

What I loved about AoT was the feeling that I had a ring side seat on events that would become legend. When I suggested a "prequel" I was talking about filling in the gaps within AoT - for example, the American invasion of Hawaii to expel the Japanese, and the events that elevated Jones and his men from damned good Marines to a legendary and feared phalanx of archangels.

John, Murph, make it so.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted March 7, 2009
A writer's "eternal" voice?

Again, you crack me up, dear. I mean it sincerely and appreciatively.

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Abe asserts...

Posted March 7, 2009
Paul and Jane are SOOOO getting it on.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted March 7, 2009
So?

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Tarl has opinions thus...

Posted March 7, 2009
Eeew. Isn't that, like, bestiality or something?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted March 7, 2009
Again, so?

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tygertim mutters...

Posted March 7, 2009
Paul, Jane can be interesting, no doubt about it... but the lady has a TEMPER, and she ain't afraid to use it... I've had... Thoughts... about Sweet, Sweet, Jane. I find her disturbingly attractive at times... but that TEMPER... Oh my! (See Jane. See Jane's Boots. Good Jane, Good.)

Just a Californiacation heads up from one Cali boy to another.

as for you, Jane. HI! :P

Improbe amor quid no mortalia pectora cogis

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tygertim ducks in to say...

Posted March 7, 2009
Hey! Murph! as per

4. What would a home built on a homesteading plot look like? After three years of exposure, many homes are not going to be in the best shape. The better move may be to salvage them for parts and build a new home. What would that home look like?

Straw. Good building material. Good insulation value. Cheap. Lots and lots of straw about!... Coat with adobe. Paint. Lasts a Hunndert years... Lots of Straw houses in Missouri dating back to the Missouri settlement still in use.

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tygertim mumbles...

Posted March 7, 2009
Three guesses as to what I've been drinking?

:D

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sibeen would have you know...

Posted March 7, 2009
.3. In a world moving backward in many ways, will there be a demand for horses? If so, can the US export their horses for a profit? Same per mules.

Perhaps not. Maybe JB should be more careful with his canon, or maybe his editors and pre-readers (yes, I'm looking sternly at you, Mr Murphy) should take a little more care with the sacred words.

I had a problem with an earlier thread where JB finally stumped up and stated that "the primates were gone". This set up a few alarm bells in the nerdy, engineering type brain that I have; and I decided to do some fact checking.

On the top of page 207, Australian edition, of WW; we can wasily find:

Where there should have been cattle or horses, there were charred spots and grassfires, especially in west Texas.

So it appears that there is no horses for export, nor cattle to eat. Woe is me, is the canon to be as fucked up and as contradictory as the bible?

:)

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted March 7, 2009
Well, the Bible is fairly hilarious - especially Genesis.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted March 7, 2009
sibeen, ever heard of "retcon?"

And yes, I know what the Australian version of the novel says per West Texas.

Moreover, umm, so what? Yes, I'm saying this as consultant and military editor. I'm also a writer (a very small one) and I have some inkling of an understanding as to the challenges faced in this project.

If we go with "The Wave killed everything" then we create a massive problem which was discussed during the earlier thread, one of essentially terraforming North America. We can't even begin to speculate on what that ecosystem would look like. Folks with far more understanding of that sort of thing than myself have said as much.

On the one hand, it'd make for a brilliant speculative exercise. You'd probably also need a PhD in Biology to write a book on the issue that was:

A. Believable

B. Understandable to the lay person

C. Entertaining

It is an awfully tall mountain to climb. Given deadlines and the demand of the audience base, you can either ignore the ecology problem altogether (not advisable as ecology will shape the post Wave civilization) or you can retcon the novel.

More to the point, as I recall from the earlier thread, some animals were indeed vaporized or did die but the effect was not universal.

In any case, if Birmo asked for my advice on the matter (we have talked about it before) my advice would be to stick with the recent statement that the Wave vaporized mainly primates. Regardless of what any version of the book may say on the matter I'd advise that.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a couple of chapters of the sequel to look at. Which are pretty good I might add and I'm way overdue for putting my time in on them.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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sibeen mumbles...

Posted March 7, 2009
or you can retcon the novel.

All sounds a bit protestant to me.

:)

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted March 7, 2009
Charred spots and grass fires are hardly Murph's turf. And that particular section is just poor writing rather than inconsistency. the previous sentence, describing footage from a UAV read: 'Ditches and craters of burning ruin in the fields where aircraft had gone down over what many called “Flyover Country” in the Midwest. Where there should be cattle or horses, there were charred spots and grassfires, especially in West Texas'.

The burned bits refer to wild fires started by air crashes etc. I got the image from recalling aerial shots of post bushfire landscapes in Oz which are always full of crispy critters.. But unfortunately the 'stream of images' effect I was going for in that par is misleading. I should have stuck to full sentences.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted March 7, 2009
I, for one, am relieved that the powers that be have decided not to wipe out everything with an advanced nervous system. As Murph points out, it would be impossible to believably describe the affects because no one knows what would happen. All anyone knows is that it would be a disaster of biblical proportions.

The major problem restricting the affect to primates is explaining why. Why hit humans and gorillas and pass up the majestic moose?

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Murphy reckons...

Posted March 7, 2009
Paul, there is the potential for an outstanding novel in that concept. Thing is, it'd probably take a dedicated scientist to write it.

Speaking of things which are my turf, I found a pretty neat YouTube video put out by US Army Pacific. In three minutes it pretty much describes what US Army Pacific is, does, has, and the like. If one were to retroactively change the digital camo to the older BDUs (I seriously doubt the Army will go through the uniform transition after the Wave) then you'd have a pretty good feel for the Army in that universe.

The size of the force is about right as well.

or if the embed doesn't work, try this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tB9DvoJMSA

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted March 7, 2009
sibeen, I was actually thinking Church of England, or Catholic Light if you like.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian reckons...

Posted March 7, 2009
Murph. Catholic Light - High Church of course. Nice phrase.

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mckinneytexas is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7, 2009
Coming in late again--both the Aot and the WW series have the potential for stand-alone story arcs along the S. Stirling model. Not necessarily the same characters doing more of the same--that doesn't appeal--but rather, a series, or a single novel, resolving the ME situation, for example. Perhaps another novel or two 10 and 20 years after the end of the initial WW set. there are a lot of possibilities for great work on a landscape with the back story already written and with a built-in market. I think fleshing these out is a good move, entertainment and cash flow-wise.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7, 2009
The why of the Wave is already settled Paul.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 7, 2009
Please, oh please, don't let it be the Wizard of Oz explanation. I hate when that happens.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted March 7, 2009
Going back to the AoT - tactically sound in terms of picking up follow on readership from WoW.

I guess you're already planning a third something or other

as a breather.

I think a title is appropriate for your research and reading team. Looks to be about four?

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 7, 2009
A lot of little men push each other behind the curtain.

J.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7, 2009
And what's your role again, sweetie?

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted March 7, 2009
I push buttons.

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted March 7, 2009
Hey, wait a minute! I thought I was the one who pushed the buttons. Jane, we had an agreement. Now I feel betrayed.

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 7, 2009
How did he conjure a word before monitoring the nocturnal literary emissions of the provincials?

J.

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Chaz would have you know...

Posted March 7, 2009
Paul, and why's that? Janes just using her womans perogative to screw with your mental wellbeing!

Murph ahhh you mean the HIGH Church not that roman rubbish!!

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted March 7, 2009
Jane the benefit of having been orn in the mother country..

Oh and having lived in the Royal Borough, you're all provincials except...Moi! But it hasn't stopped me playing nice.

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mckinneytexas swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 7, 2009
J is on a roll.

Damn.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted March 8, 2009
You say "on a roll" I say acreting odd, leading to stronger & considerably larger sphere of effect.

Dog help us when she reaches a critical density of wierdness.

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tygertim puts forth...

Posted March 8, 2009
How did he conjure a word before monitoring the nocturnal literary emissions of the provincials?

J.

See! That's why I find Jane disturbingly attractive.... in a spiked leather bustier (something like http://www.fashionising.com/diary/s--Rihana-at-American-Music-Awards-1874-1.html) kind of way.

Yeah. I'm evil.....

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted March 8, 2009
My 2 cents ...

I'd like to see something written in the AoTverse as a prequel of sorts ... could see this farmed out to an apprentice or two (looking at Murph and Mick) working from JB's outlines with an 80/20 division of work. Give an up and comer a leg up. This approach gives the fans what they want - more product, keeps things fresh and eases risk of author fatigue with respect to a series.

As for the WW series - Where would it go after the initial arc? In WW we have the explosion - the Wave's impact on the world. Looks like the next one is focused on the implosion - the rushing back in to fill the vacuum that is now the US. Not going to speculate on #3 ... so, until we have some idea as to what is going to drive the tension beyond the second - I'm not so sure that it would make sense to keep going.

Now, to jump to the other side - the story is HUGE and if the fans are rabid enough it could spur demand for spin-off tales ala Flint's Ring of Fire series. Brian said it first regarding fanfic, etc. Get the juggernaut moving with a dedicated WW fan site. I would love to see this - hell, I'd run it.

From a business perspective - I say that if sales warrant it, and Birmo is ready to cash in, now is the time to take things to the next level and let the market sort it out. Just checked Amazon and see that WW is ranked 814 overall, 15 in SF and 50 in Thrillers. So, the thing has got some legs. Has there been any impact/uptick on AoT sales?

Besides, I think the world is more than ready for The Rhino action hero series - I'm thinking something along the lines of William Johnstone's "Ashes" series.

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Brian mutters...

Posted March 8, 2009
Ashes - now there was a goodie. If formulaic towards the end.

I don't have a problem with a dedicated site. It provides an different venue than what we get up to around here. It needs to be seeded properly. How much of the AoT fan fic was recovered from the JSpace crash? That'd be part of it.

I can think of other things - but that depends on the group.

One instance is the Middle East. Another could be Asia. There are going to be stories about Embassy's being stormed, Japan's response, what's actually happening in England etc

Jeez . . .it could get worse than 1632 if'n you're not careful.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 8, 2009
If "I think the world is more than ready for The Rhino action hero series "

Then the world is also ready for the Rhino Action figure.

Sorry Big Fella, but there is already a Havock Action figure - I have photographic proof!

If requested I'll stick it up over @ Desthpicable.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted March 8, 2009
I WANT!, I want the action pre AOT, the ME, Indonesia and the battles they fought, our intrepid reporters previous life and DAN BLACK, its gotta be choch full of kill'em all.....PLEASE!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted March 8, 2009
First of all, let's be very clear about action figures. The Rhino figure is surely a given. But the first one out has to be the Stavros action figure - with Hellenic Grip.

But we digress (which, of course, is always delightful - until Jane goes too far). All the talk about spin offs and sequels is fine, but the pragmatic reality is that unless Birmo is the headliner, it simply won't be published. Until liquid cash returns to the world economy and credit/lending loosens up, publishers are going to play it safe with existing authors and will be resistant to giving a chance to new faces and voices.

Which means the only way for we who read to get more to read is for Birmo to do it - which, like it or not, bottlenecks the process - or for him to co author with someone else. That is still a lot of work - and when all is said and done, it is work load and burn out that is being considered in this thread - but it would be a bit less, fostering the publication of more stuff I like to read. Ultimately, this is why I found y'all in the first place. I want the AoT universe to expand and the story to proceed.

So, in this economic climate, the only hope for that happening is for Birmo to team up with someone and hope that enough cash is being generated by WW with a hopeful resulting bump in AoT sales to convince Birmo's publisher to take a chance on a co-authored work within the AoT series.

I am postulating one exists that is either complete or near completion that, once polished will make for a really, really good read.

And even if the economic climate is not ripe for such a collaboration, do the work anyway. Get it ready for the time when opportunity intersects with preparation.

God, I feel like Cato the Elder constantly repeating my single message.

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Brian asserts...

Posted March 8, 2009
Paul - I agree with you. Its trying to work out the right model isn't it?

The best model is one book per year. (Unless you're John Ringo with an a/c bunker and an abbreviated family life)

It works for Feist, Pratchet and Goodkind. One book per year. Feist has had co-authors. Then we have Clive Cussler - whose later books are spun off. I'm thinking of "Tales from The Numa Files' here.

Eric Flint seeds his ROF volumes with a single short story of his - even a novella. And then populates the rest with stuff that falls within canon.A few other well knowns. And then a few 'introducing' slots. It also allows the lead author, a rest break of sorts.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted March 8, 2009
Flint's model isn't working. The Dreeson Incident was so bad I've decided not to continue following the series - and I am probably not alone.

The right model is necessarily work and time intensive for those involved. And that means the right model is personality driven. Not everyone can or even wants to collaborate with anyone. It might not be something John wants to do, and if so, it isn't likely to happen.

Nevertheless, I think the material and talent are extant and I am hoping the time is right to try it. From where I sit (quite comfortably and well-fed at the moment) the only thing lacking is the will to do it.

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Brian asserts...

Posted March 8, 2009
Paul : re : Flints model. Its worked quite well for a while.

Flint co-authored with Webber and Dennis (Galileo Affair) - so don't discount the model completely.

What we're talking about are options. Option choice depends on the authors involved. And the publisher. Jim Baen was rather keen on the co-authoring model. But that's nuts and bolts stuff best left to authors and publishers.

Its like the other experiment of allowing free downloads of book titles. As a reader, I'm for it. Hmm . . .Mathew Reilly (Oz author), was doing it out of his site (radio interview) - seemed to work for him. Seemed to get an extra publishing run out of one his titles. For him - it was a commercial success. That's a different debate.

I understand publishing is in a bad way at the moment . . or at least getting that way. That probably means that different things are going to have to be tried.

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Guy has opinions thus...

Posted March 12, 2009
Personally I think it would be best to keep it tight. One or two good books is worth any number of poor ones. In many ways my interst is in the way that the loss of the US affects the rest of the world, rather than the surviving Americans. What about the smouldering remains of the Middle East? Will Israel be seen as the new Third Reich? How is Europe panning out? It looks like the UK is the only state to stay even vaguely stable - at the price of becoming somethign close to a police state. Of course that is preferable to the anarchy engulfing France...

Even more I would like to see another sequel (or even another trilogy) in the Weapons of Choice universe. What happens after the Soviets invade half of Western Europe? How will the USA of the 1940s develop in the long-term with the heavy influence of the 2020s? We need to be told!

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Respond to 'So, three books or twenty?'

Post Wave economies.

Posted March 2, 2009 by John Birmingham
Somebody, possibly a visitor from Baen's asked me in the thread below what has happened to global economy by the time of After America.

Long story short, it's gone. At least the global economy as we know it is gone. The beating heart of it was ripped out in the first few chapters of WW.

The interesting question is what remians and/or what replaces it. Just as Jules recognised very quickly that trade would revert to first principle, food, weapons and precious metals and stones, you've got to imagine that something similar would manifest itself at the macro level of international trade flows, and to a greater or lesser degree at national levels, depending on the resilience of the subject economy.

Japan is probably doomed. Who's gonna buy all their shit now?

India won't be catching up any time soon (especially with some it's larger cities reduced to radioactive glass).

China has imploded and fractured along historical fault lines.

Just look at the current global meltdown, a thin and pale thing compared to the chaos of WW, and raise to the power of – what? - five or six. Ten? More?

Internally, the US is interesting, because unlike the rest of the world there is the complicating factor of salvage. Even with lots of cities having burned, there is still a vast amount of wealth stored in the material and plant of America.

How would that affect reconstruction efforts? Would you put your hand up to work for five years as an indentured peasant to the government, just to get a piece of paper entitling you to the post Wave equivalent of 40 acres and a mule. Or would you load up the biggest motorhome you could find and go looting on an epic scale?

What would America produce? Who would buy it? And how would they pay?

98 Responses to ‘Post Wave economies.’

Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 2, 2009
I just ask myself. What would the Road Warrior do?

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Trowzers asserts...

Posted March 2, 2009
I'd be pondering if there would still be enough of the 'net up to google me some lists of the local jewellery stores, and pop into town with my crowbar before anyone else thought of it. After all - gold is awfully heavy. And diamonds are forever! And despite everything, I'm sure there are enough rich bastards left in the world to buy some shinies. Then I can wait for the dust to settle in the US, and come in and buy my 40 acres from whoever is selling. I'm sure someone will be :)

As for what would America do? (apart from being really pissed off at me, that is)... Well, they've got an awful lot of equipment and no-one to run it. Maybe they could do a rental deal? Sign some temporary leases with companies in other contries for the use of this factory or that mine?? Or invite them in and take a percentage of products and profits? Just an idea.

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yankeedog puts forth...

Posted March 2, 2009
We could still produce a pile of food here-perhaps not the massive yields of hybrid crops (at least for a while) with highly mechanized agriculture, but enough to make the farming industry a paying proposition. And it'll get bought by the other nations of the world-even the depleted Post-Wave population needs to eat. I'll have to think more about this over the day.

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Leo euler reckons...

Posted March 2, 2009
Once the farms are working again, I think the country could produce a lot of food for export. But I don't know enough about the industrial production of food to speculate on whether it would be worth it to try kickstarting this industry. I do know that the country has a lot of good soil in it.

I think that one of America's big exports, as now, would be intellectual property. Once people started salvaging stuff in universities, drug companies, research labs, etc., there would probably be a lot of scientific information useful to the highest bidder. Incidentally, someone ought to go to a drug company warehouse and sell off the stuff that's in there.

I think some people would consider selling military hardware and information. There would probably be a conflict between those who want to sell things like Abrams tanks for hard cash and those who are worried about giving those up, even if the country can't find much of a use for them.

Actually, there was a hint in WW that the military might become some sort of mercenary force, wasn't there? In that case, America might export peacekeeping or military duties to those who want to pay for the highest-quality military services. Hypothesis: some people (Americans!) operating outside of the government will take military hardware and use it for unscrupulous gain.

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Redneck Ninja reckons...

Posted March 2, 2009
Doesn't America store most of the world's gold bullion, anyway? I'm sure that would come in handy...

It would become the world's biggest ever treasure hunt - hard to manage, hard to control...the situation in some cities would get out of hand extremely quickly. Imagine; a fully-equipped home with TV's, computers, clothes, everything. For free. The temptation would be too much for anybody, even the armed forces. Without a sober, strict and orderly resettlement program the situation would rapidly deteriorate. And I seriously doubt any government would be capable of being able to combat this problem, while trying to scare away opportunistic vultures AND rebuild the country.

But the economy - it would be a massive challenge to get it kick-started again. There would be no banks, no capital, no consumers. I reckon the only way to make America sustainable would be to sell off huge chunks of land to other nations in order to build up reserves. Lots of countries who purchased American debt before the Wave would also be keen to see some of their investments returned. Selling off the family heirlooms might be the only option, and I wouldn't think the IMF would be in a position to offer any loans to the US (given the World Bank was based in Washington at the time of the Wave.)

I also imagine that the world wouldn't really be needing to buy American cars or reality TV franchises, given the unstable political climate - they would be after military hardware and oil, possibly food if the US can make enough of it.

Three years after the Wave ends, you would expect to see some level of stockbroking beginning to be re-established - the world's too big to see the stock market collapse forever. I don't know if the Euro would still be around, many of its member nations may have pulled out of the EU altogether.

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John F. Opie asserts...

Posted March 3, 2009
Hi -

Oddly enough, in real life I am an economist, and spend most of my time forecasting.

This is written with the caveat that I haven't read the book (yet): haven't had the time, what with the idiots in congress ruining what is left of a fairly intact economy.

If you write off the US, you immediately and directly remove around 20% of world GDP; indirectly, it's more like 50%, since so much of the world runs off stuff from the US that is not easily reproducible. While pretty much everyone thinks that the US doesn't actually make things anymore, this is most emphatically not the case and quite a large number of specialty equipment would cease to be repairable and maintainable, especially aircraft engines and the like.

I won't get into services, because these can be replaced world-wide. Just won't be a lot of movies as well crafted as the Hollywood fare until others catch up.

Hence a massive shock to the world economy that would see a decline in world GDP by around 50% within a three-year time period. Long-term growth would pick up rather quickly and robustly, but losing the top 20% of consumers world-wide would be severely disruptive. From what I gather of the story, I'd go along with some of the premises - break-up of China, for one - but will have to reserve further opinion until I've actually had time to read the book.

Return to pre-Wave levels would probably take 200 years. The reason for this delay is finding 300 mn high-level consumers to fill this role: if you take a close look at China, you see population there start to decline by 2050 due to the 1-child pogram (and that word is not misspelled); India has the people, but their culture works against the establishment of such a large group of consumers; if you were to import 100 mn people into the territory of the US, which would make it one of the greatest migrations of all time, it would take 200 years to get the population back up to old levels, but you'd still be at income levels relatively low.

Five years after the Wave, the lack of innovation would start to really take a toll: this is one area where the US excels and pretty much everyone else isn't very good at.

And Japan would do quite well, actually: they make a lot of stuff people really, really want regardless of their skin color or religion, such as advanced machine tools and the like.

Like I said, I gotta read the book before commenting further.

But also recognize this: world trade is nothing new. Globalization bugs you? Listen to the British wool merchants arguing that the British Navy needs to sail to India to put the Indians in their place for making all this excellent cotton cloth at prices that the British can't meet. Trade, even large-scale trade, is visible back to the time of the Pueblo Indians in the US, the Incas and the other American societies before Columbus, let alone the Silk Trade routes and the China Trade. Britain fought a war with China to manage the British balance-of-trade problems due to tea and silk (they instigated the opium trade with China in order to pay off their foreign debts), and history is full of trade-driven problems. Just gotta go look for it.

Hence trade, while taking a huge hit due to the lack of US citizens consuming all that stuff, should rebound fairly quickly once currency problems are worked out. That would take some time, but it won't stop trade: it just makes it harder and less profitable.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted March 3, 2009
Why is everyone so obsessed with maintaining the idea of a global economy? It is GONE ... everything has reverted back to 18th/19th century from an economic perspective i.e., people will consume/use items that are created locally and there will be limited access to foreign commodities. Of course, that will be somewhat softened due to modern transportation.

The stock market would reconstitute but it too would revert to an earlier form as well. More of a local clearinghouse for commodities as opposed to IPOs for tech companies.

The markets have changed as well ... how many died in China? And I'm not talking about the peasants in the fields - I doubt their life changed much at all ... I'm talking about the burgeoning middle class and rich oligarchs in the cities. How well did Europe do righting itself? Fortress Great Britain?

Markets will reform because there are market makers that survived - they just may not look anything like they do "today".

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Mark R. Whittington has opinions thus...

Posted March 3, 2009
If the world is still in chaos post wave, one would suspect that there would be a wave of immigrants headed to North America with whatever portable wealth they can carry to make a fresh started. If what is left of the American military can control this influx, building uo a new country, albeit with a different etnic mix, would be a matter of a few decades.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted March 3, 2009
Salvage value of the US infrastructure would, of course, be huge. An entire civilization (albeit something somewhat more primitive) could be built with that salvage, just as big portions of modern Cairo were built with limestone stripped off of the Great Pyramid.

No matter how bad things are around the world, steel will still be steel, and there will be a market for it. The wreckage from the World Trade Center had significant salvage value.

As for the effort being split between looting and non looting, all disasters bring out looters. You can't stop them. And I imagine that organized crime will still exist in the post Wave world. Any organized salvage effort will automatically increase the cost and price of legitimate salvage, creating the conditions for a vibrant black market in just about everything - even if the world is reduced to a barter system, which will happen many places (it is happening now in the US, even though faced with less of an economic disaster), but won't totally displace an economic system based on some sort of currency.

Finally, I am still concerned about the affects of acid/toxic rain on the short and long term ability of US agriculture to make a comeback. It isn't going to be fast or easy.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 3, 2009
Rhino points to the ugly head of Mercantilism I do believe. While some nations might be able to get by on an enclosed economic system, I don't think the US will be able to do so. I think some trade with our allies is going to be vital.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Oldsinger has opinions thus...

Posted March 3, 2009
The one nagging thought in my head is why anyone would feel comfortable going back into North America once the Wave vanishes. Wouldn't the fear of the Wave reappearing damper any enthusiasm to enter the "dead zone"? I imagine there will be there those daring entrepenuers (read "greedy") who will take the risk, but I believe that initially the first visitors will be few. And, of those few, many might take short quick trips to optimize their recoveries of salvage and then dart out.

As for Japan, while it's industrial power might diminish, it's ability to survive won't. Without 300m + people to drain the ecosystem, you would see a very rapid recovery in fisheries, especially in the Atlantic which would benefit Asian and other surviving continents. The available food supplies for Japan would increase as they rely mainly on the ocean for their protein.

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lostatlunch reckons...

Posted March 3, 2009
in a 19th century economy, what other nations are available to trade? the demand for steel is much smaller, it is a massive national resource until it rusts.. What do people NEED... Security.. food... shelter.. shelter is pretty easy to salvage.. food is harder and security is the question.. what are the salvagers, freeloaders & opportunists up to?

Steel is a bit iffy as a major resource, but no-one is building skyscrapers cars etc... and the US is chock full 'o' steel. The best resource the US has is the residual hardware cars trucks tanks.. maybe the higher tech planes and choppers if infrastructure can be harnessed and people with the skills to maintain them are found just sitting around they can be used to create real produce ... Transport, health and communication created the 20th century (and I will love Murph's professional opinion on that).. they have to be harnessed to rebuild.

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simon bedak reckons...

Posted March 3, 2009
Gents, devoting one's existence to farm just 40ac on your own, even under normal conditions would not be worth it.

If someone however thought it might be, and they had a bit of cunning and farm-skill, presuming everything's worth having's been looted-and-thieved first and some of it's fallen into yout favour, well, intensive portioning of individual's 40ac alloments into a properly managed seasonal scheme might be the go.

I think early on, people'll want fresh meat so I'd portion as much as I could cage to an intensive rabbit operation.

Presuming a better than 14" rainfall, a deal could be made with landholders to run their farm areas for a basic return of sound foodstuffs. They would continue to hold the title over their land and if they want any more food, or items beyond their lot, they could come and ask me for a job on another part of the overall farm scheme which might be more in keeping with their talents and we would come to some arrangement regarding payment in kind.

That said, the basic premise of serving a government for 5 years Foreign Legion style, presumably means there is a security enough in place to guarantee the acquisition and defence of grazing and cropping lands, as well as the the necessary back-up and power to command the granting of that land freely to others. If that was the case, then the 5 years service as a carrot would be using labour resources as holders of guns rather than ploughs and hoes.

Personally, why give up that edge?

Human nature can be a fickle thing. I suspect after five years of watching say convicts and slaves work the land, I wouldn't be tempted to give up my gun too quickly to go and join them. I'd sit around with my weapons on the verandah and bitch about the heat and wait for my rabbit-pie to arrive. I'd also work out a scheme with someone at the nearest port to get a cut of the levies and a pick of the items being imported. And being a full-time farmer in real-life, this already sounds more tempting than dealing with hand feeding a thousand hungry cattle in a drought which never seems to end.

Where do I sign up?

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mckinneytexas mutters...

Posted March 3, 2009
Opie's points about the economy ring true with one significant dissent: the widespread industrial/societal devolution inherent in the tsunami-sized disaster moots all of the old post-WWII economic premises. There isn't a demand for anything but food, order and protection in most parts of the world. No production, no markets, no cash, no nothing. Famine will be widespread throughout the world and going to bed hungry will not be unknown in the US. Most of what we take for granted as lifestyle essentials: running water, food cut, wrapped and available after a short run in the car, air conditioning, electricity, medicine, etc. will be gone or about gone within a year--and that is in the US. ANZUS has the best shot at remaining stable and growing, UK not so much being a net food importer and there being fuck all in the way of new food to import. The wave happened in mid-March which is early planting season in most of the northern hemisphere. No crops for a year outside of what can be grown in Argentina and Australia and then how do you move and distribute it rationally? And keep the equipment going for a full year with no spare parts to speak of?

The 'economy', for at least the first 5-10 years will focus on self-preservation with most Americans and recent immigrants having to look to themselves for much of their food, shelter and basics. Maybe, after a decade or so, enough of the essential industrial capacity will have come on line to let the country start reaching out. Because Canada has been effectively depopulated, the UK has too many people and the ANZUS will help out because that is their nature, I look for a lot of UK folks coming to repopulate the US and a lot of industrial, technical and pharmacological assistance from ANZUS. Japan, the Pacific Rim, etc. will devolve significantly and what emerges will be a long term threat to ANZUS and stability generally. Maybe another series for Birmo.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted March 3, 2009
I agree with Rhino - world wide trade is gone.

Currently 10 percent of the worlds population use 90 percent of the resources. Take out that 10 percent and you knock out world trade.

America post-Wave is akin to Europe after the Black Plague. The remnant population is asset rich, gold rich and land rich. What they are manpower poor - just like post BD Europe. Manpower was a chronic problem then and a effort went into keeping the serfs on the land. ANother outcome was an overall increase in average wages and a strong economic pull towards the cities.

The history of economics points to things like Bullion crises. Usually - too many people not enough gold or too much gold not enough people. A currency crash is a given. A return to a gold based economy is probable. Places like India and the Mid-East still rely on gold heavily (cough)

The States is now a post industrial society. It could go on for quite a bit just on salvage alone. In this sense - they are asset rich. They still have a manpower problem though. They have to boot strap back into being a producing economy.

Agriculture? Plenty of competent farm managers working for Euro firms in Africa - these guys would love a shot at being owners. A distinct possibility that they'd bring a big cadre of workers with them. Strong loyalties among those groups.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 3, 2009
Good point here so far. I particularly like McKinney's about food and order being the most precious goods in a post wave world. The empty continent provides shelter in all of those abandoned homes. There's probably a mansion for every surviving American, but of course they are spread out, some are in 'contested' zones, and the furhter you get from organized society, the more you have to rely on your own resources for security and food. Most of the survivors, being middle class urbanites, simply couldn't do that. Large numbers of ex-military personnel probably could.

So, control of food, it's production and distribution, is all important.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted March 3, 2009
One of the reasons I wanted river mouths and seaports secured. Imports are going to be important. Its also a way of controlling trade. Ditto Panama and the Great Lakes.

You may not have much of a shot controlling who gets into the country but you can certainly control what leaves and who gets fed. If communities become self sufficient and don't want to play nicely? There's a model for that. See Utah and the Mormons. Hmm . . .think about a vastly improved mandated Corps of Engineers - just like the TVA model. Its one way of keeping people in the army while being quasi civilian. The military rebuilds stuff - hands it back to the state - which could sell or franchise the operation to companies.

Hmm . . . .Golden Arches model of industrial rebuilding. How would that work? Some appeal in the title.

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WalkingShaw mumbles...

Posted March 3, 2009
Land - sell land in small parcels. Auction it off - beach front property, whatever - the US government already knows the value of what land to keep plus they own it - I seem to remember a thread on the old blog that states if land taxes aren't paid then the government has legal right to private property. Investors from around the world would sell their left arm for chunks of America. Plus Gold - it would under pin anything that the American's want to do - look at the gold price now...

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Madoc mumbles...

Posted March 3, 2009
Folks,

Salvage? Hmm....

You know, upon the Wave's end there's gonna be an awful lot of things just laying around - begging - to be salvaged. For instance - cars and trucks. Cars and trucks by the millions! Sure, you might have to clean out the passenger compartment and perhaps strip it down to the bare metal just to get the smell out. That much zapped organic mass would tend to stink after a year's exposure to sunlight and such. But even so, there'd be many millions more cars and trucks (and motorcycles) that'd be in damn fine condition for resale.

I'd expect the world market to be flooded with dirt cheap US autos for quite a while after that. Hell, just harvesting the things for their spare parts, their batteries, and their tires would be a profitable venture.

And think of what such salvage efforts would do to the value of new computer sales. Why buy new from Japan or elsewhere when a "slightly used" computer from the US is available for pennies on the dollar?

Hmm...

Madoc

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Ace ducks in to say...

Posted March 3, 2009
What I would do personally:

Get together a group of like-minded people and get as far into the area affected by the Zone as possible so as to get as far away from the established civilized areas as I could, I would assume there would be less looters/government salvage crews out there. I would find a regional distribution center for a major loss leader like Wal-Mart (it should provide food, equipment such as firearms and tools, as well as blankets/clothes/and other ameneties) and set up shop there. Start up our own little town with the warehouse to supply us in the short term with food while we try to get some semblance of agriculture going (if it was possible). Hopefully by the time anyone got to us we would be well off enough as far as supplies and defense goes to be left alone or have people wanting to stay to help out in exchange for a secure place to live.

A lot of people would be inclined to try to find a military base to loot, but think about it, if that's your first inclination, how many other people had the same idea? And you also have to assume that the US Military will be trying to get at least skeleton crews out to any major military instilation to prevent very dangerous weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

~Ace~

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Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted March 3, 2009
Massive 'short term' ecological damage plus war and a severe degrading of 'developing' markets. Would put paid to any intercontinental trade punto.

We're not looking at going back to the 18th century we're actually talking about the 16th and 17th. Off shore trade will be limited, the only exception will be South America. This is the chance for Mercosur to fully develop.

I've been giving this some thought and I'd say Hugo would also try and help his mates in FARC esp if he's willing to invade Gitmo.. This could lead to a minor regional war but one that Hugo's army couldn't win. On the whole though South America could easily survive and move forward. This would mean that 5 years down the track Mercosur could in a better state economically than Europe (with the possible exception of the UK). This is interesting as usually corruption is usually the big break on these countries ability to flourish. But basic survival might tip the balance for one.

One thing. Nestor Kirtchner might be tempted to reclaim las Malvinas.

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Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted March 3, 2009
Sorry was a bit oT there. The US would be really an internal market for the reasons i've point out before. Exporting good is not really going to be high on their agenda..except maybe weapons tech to the UK and us.

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George03 has opinions thus...

Posted March 3, 2009
Ok, so now we have had a few questions answered.

I see the state of the world when the Wave goes away as.......

Asia is either glowing in the dark or torn by civil war,

Africa is doing it's usual thing of tearing itself apart,

Europe is quiety reverting to some sort of fuedal system, after getting rid of all the unwanted races,

South America, overall, is having Coup d'etats on a weekly basis

which leaves us with South-east Asia which is slowly starving itself to death,but as much of it never got far beyond subsistance level, they are not too bad.

Australia/ NZ are going OK, albeit with severe rationing ( ramping up food production for an extra 2-5 million US refugees is not easy!)

The world economy is now based on Gold, precious metals and stones with food being the big ticket item.

The US military has been hiring itself out to try and pay for it's citizens support but Pres. Kipper has been writing IOUs like there is no tomorrow.

The Wave goes away....

First opportunity to pay off some debts is to send in the military to collect all the easily available valuables. If some-one, living, has a verifiable claim to it then they get it, but all else goes to the government. There is precedent for this, during at least one of the Australian gold rushes when all gold found had to be sold to the state. ( even if you only got paid 70% of face value, you didn't work real hard to get it anyway!!)

Once some debts have been paid, it's time to resettle. Many of the people taking shelter in Aus/ NZ would want to go back "home" and again, verifiable claims to ownership would be honoured but a land grant system would be in place. The people better suited to the job would get the biggest grants with salvaged machinery being hired at a peppercorn rate from the government. Transport links would work along the same lines.

It all smaks of some sort of socialism but ownership is granted upon 5 years of successfull operation of the grants.

The need for more manpower is helped by the importation of labour from South-East Asia (especially the Phillipines, where many already speak English)with access to the grant system available after 5 years....... which would help to ease the food shortages there.

Politically...... Canada and the US for have formed an alliance but no formal agreements signed. The same sort of thing would be involved for the relationship between Aus/ NZ and the US.

As an aside...... things like spare parts stocks for planes and heavy machinery would be considered strategic supplies and only tradable with goverment approval. ( I can see a big money earner being the manufacture and supply of ammunition for the venerable AK 47 to all those warring factions around the world!!)

I will probalbly post more as I think of it!

My 2 cents worth!

George

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lostatlunch asserts...

Posted March 3, 2009
trade is a furphy...everyone else is stuffed, not just the USA.

Salvage is for domestic usage only, because the rest of the world is going banana's..

who has money to begin with and cash is going to be pretty pointless.. if I have stuff you need, pay me in something I can use food, clothing & a fine woman.. or a servant, cash is going to be fairly unreliable.. a case of baked beans is going to be a universal currency.

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JdR mutters...

Posted March 3, 2009
Just a few odds and ends thoughts here:

- The bottom drops out of the world new car market, but the post-Wave US goverment becomes a massive exporter of used cars. Of all the things that can be salvaged and made useful by the, the availability of millions of slightly used vehicles become available, and because they "transport themselves", they are relatively easily exported.

With the loss of US demand, the price of oil drops massively. OPEC might be able to cut production and keep the price from going down to zero, but will need to be very skillful. But chaos in OPEC nations due to the almost complete loss of income. The price of oil is now mostly relating to the actual cost of production and (more importantly) transporting it in bulk. Still, the drop in price helps rest of the world's economies keep going - transport becomes cheap and most of the world's merchant fleet is still operable (not many American's are directly involved), fostering trade. Many nations operate their own (nationalise?) bulk tanker fleet to ensure supplies.

- In some ways, the US becomes a net exporter of food for a while, due to the quantities in storage at the time of the Wave - anything that's still good after 3 years may also be relatively easily salvaged and sold.

- Without travelling Americans and in the general chaos, world tourism and (despite cheap fuel) the aviation industry collapses. Governments step in to take over airlines for essential services etc.

- The value of precious stones actually drops, without the US market proping up demand for them and people having other priorities. A nice tangent in the book could be some scavenger looting dozens of jewelry stores, then getting to Europe to find that nobody is interested in buying or willing to offer any sort of price.

Gold however retains value because of the value governments give it.

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Madoc swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 3, 2009
JdR,

Dude, you _so_ have to read the book!

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kittenheel reckons...

Posted March 3, 2009
I'm like the wife on 'My Name is Earl.' I'm holding out for 60 acres and a jet ski.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted March 3, 2009
We're still no closer to figuring out the economy are we?

This scenario reminds me a little of H Beam Pipers 'Junkyard Planet'. Where the inhabitants make a living by picking over the bones of a worldwide military base.

A key is getting some sort of trade going. Moving gold is all very fine - but spare some thought for moving around one of the densest materials on the planet.

First CONUS has to be cleaned up. A lot of wreckage is going to be shoved to one side. A fair bit is going to be surplus to requirements. Too good to be trashed. Why not trade it? Ships leaving with crap. Returning with settlers. Ships just can't come back and park indefinitely. They have to circulate.

There's going to be a demand for parts for commercial jets, not to mention military jets.

There's a niche market for a bit.

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Chaz reckons...

Posted March 3, 2009
George, I have to disagree with you regarding the coups in S America.

Most of the nations are pretty much established democracies. you would see states of emergancies invoked but the troops would not be taking over the presidential palaces.

You'd see colombia make a concerted push against FARC now all the human rights advocates had been silenced, and the possibility of a conflict with Hugo. Besides that it'll pretty much be business as usual.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 3, 2009
Hmm . . .South America will be a good market for spare ordnance. Beef from Argentina (they'll need to find other markets). Vaquero's while you're at it.

Market for Bolivian copper may crash. Too much refined copper in CONUS for a start. Chile will probably stop using its fish for cattle feed - and back to feeding people.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted March 3, 2009
Why do I see a new, slightly more modern version of the wild west looming large here JB. Forts, but NOT in the normal sense, Mil guys and gear, choppering off to issues, which will undoubtly arise with far flung ranchers and grasiers and the likes.

CASH, well I guess societies, thats those external of the US, will have come to some form of arrangement, lest the whole world descend into anarchy before the KILLER CURTAIN ( tm ) lifts.

SO, apart from as has been mentioned about distribution centers, which will spring up on the coast line and migrate down the easiest paths, which BTW may well be on the rail grid, yeah transport will work, but for pure BULK capacity, you will not beat the rail. Also, you need truck drivers galore, and only a few drivers per train.

People will just migrate as they see fit, some organized, some not, some via gummit scheduled methods.

But trade, trade whilst the KILLER CURTAIN is in place. OK, so Gold and resources , food production and the likes become KING. Also space to do this as well.

Now, your last JB

What would America produce? Who would buy it? And how would they pay?

The issue I have with payment is that I suspect the US cash reserves ( GOLD), would have been seriously eroded, by that I mean, traded away on the basis of when the WAVE lifts you can have X. Additionally, Mil equipment perhaps as well, but not on a massive scale. IT really depends on WHERE the US sets up its Temp camp and Who they form alliances with in the period up to the KILLER CURTAIN ( TM Havock) lifting.

Maybe a LEND lease type arrangement for Ports, Land and Mines, perhaps toss in Certain Industries on a lease arrangement as well. By that I mean those which would contribute significantly to the new economy and generate income. Thats basis might be a percentage of PROFIT going back to the US gov. Now I guess I should say which ones, well to be Honest, on this I have no real Idea at the moment.

Just a thought, if the world Fin market basically Tanked as a result, certain countries have space and so forth, would they form a loose federation of states. Lets face it, OZ will not exactly be ruling the planet, the US mil is still powerful, all sorts of other issues and threats would emerge.

In the short term, we could process a lot of goods that US infrastructure would be unable to, we purchase from them, that generates their cash, we process and sell off, which generates cash for US.

But I see the common coffer for both, plus Canada, maybe Mexico as well as being a very tight knit group who interests are best served by being a collective. Strength in numbers, whether it be Military, production or whatever else, really does apply here. A base of operation, largely untouched from which to jump start the re building process is a MAJOR requirement I think.

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted March 3, 2009
As we already know, PIRATES are an issue, so sending an un-escorted TANKER full of oil or whatever off, without an escort is simply asking for it to be hijacked. Global reach and action by countries will have dropped off. I can imagine Asian countries heading down the state sanctioned steal the tankers path when cash strapped or no commodities to sell.

Now, if I was an Asian country, perhaps controlling strategic water ways, would I impose tariffs for perhaps the Malacca straights transit?, what issues would flow, would ships divert.

What about Suez and Panama canals?

Japan. Cannot feed itself, cannot export to its largest market, would they seek to transfer some citizens?, at a price, what price if so?

Shit. I get more questions than answers here.

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Brian asserts...

Posted March 3, 2009
Japan - worlds second largest economy. At present is firing most of its guest workers. A fair proportion being - Brazilian Japanese.

Indonesia bothers me. Piracy mostly.

Australia will become a big market for American ex-military equipment. In exchange for basing of a few squadrons of this and that. Mostly safe haven for US ex-pat business interests. Hmm . . .Brisbane would seem to be a prime spot.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted March 3, 2009
Water, Water is a BIG ONE. We can survive on minimal food, but clean drinking water is a MUST.

Add space.

Homes are easily constructable

Open land, for farming, be it irrigation or grazing.

Head North, I see Kununurra in WA being a great spot for expansion. Ample water ( lake Argyle), already has significant agri in place, short road access to Whyndham and JB Gulf ( thats Joseph Bonaparte ) for see distribution. Rail infrastructure could be better.

Perth also. Then , well

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NBlob reckons...

Posted March 3, 2009
Did no one else read Mr. Bedak's comment?

Or did no one else thing the S word was significant?

"slaves"

Not your transported Africans, more your indentured labourers...

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savo asserts...

Posted March 3, 2009
Geez Birmo I think President Kipper has found his reconstitution economic advisor (if the bugger will buy the book)

Me, I'd get into growing mules and bovines and selling them hitched up to those smaller covered wagons - prairie schooners - a bit of the reverse Oregon Trail. I've found lists of goods typically taken but can't find what they grew at the other end nor how they were sustained until it grew. The prairie schooners couldn't carry anywhere near as much as the Conestoga wagons. Ans stay out of The Wave's hunting grounds.

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted March 3, 2009
Could be that people go overland ala covered wagon and meet up with stores carry river barges to buy goods for the season without anything grown.

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savo puts forth...

Posted March 3, 2009
Could be that people go overland ala covered wagon and meet up with stores carrying river barges sent around the long way, and buy/trade/barter goods from them to tide them over the the season they won't have grown anything.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 3, 2009
I must say some things are still missing JB and they are BIG ONES. The reconstitution of Continental United States of America is missing a rather large opportunity, nut just in terms of Revenue, but in lending ecological regeneration to the planet as well.

How, you lot ask. Well I shall now explain.

ALL, mammals are gone, OK. Then the plan should be as follows.

1 Release from world wide zoos all captive primates into the US, but whilst we are at it, Lions, Tigers, elephants, Gazelles, Zebras, Kangaroos, emus, Snow leopards and all the big cats. OH nearly forgot, those little critters on the discovery channel that live in groups..thats it. Meerkats as well. The list goes on and on.

Then keep all the other bloody people out and simply charge money for Safari expeditions, you know..BIG GAME HUNTING. OMFG HELL YES. Then, as a trip end, seeing as we also need to keep certain populations in Control we can head north to Canada or whats left and chase POLAR BEARS and when the ammo runs out, well…grab a CLUB or two for some ICECAPADES..fun.

I reckon It will raise HEAPS

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John F. Opie is gonna tell you...

Posted March 3, 2009
Hi -

They call economics the dismal profession because we end up telling people their ideas are wrong and their dreams won't come true.

The world has become vastly different from the world of the 1970s, where most commentators appear to be visualizing. South Korea is an industrialized country nowadays that has an infrastructure to die for (broadband is considered a commodity there); there are substantial middle-classed and even upper-middle classed in all countries outside of Africa (and pockets even in that troubled continent); trade is cheap with Panamax ships that move literally tens of thousands of containers quickly and efficiently; knowledge doesn't get lost, once attained.

It seems that most here imagine a world collapsing into the 8th or 9th century, not the 18th or 19th; sorry, but even as an American ex-pat I must say that while the US is important, it's not *that* important. The US represents 20% of world GDP, but even if the effects of the disappearance of the US were to be expanded, with follow-on effects, to 50% of world GDP, we're still at levels of GDP that vastly outweigh total world GDP of the 19th century.

Sure, you'd have people driving Indonesian cars, but do you really think that the idea of cars are going to go away? They're simply too damned useful. The same is true for huge amounts of data and information, as well as engineering documentation.

And to reiterate: trade does NOT go away! If anything, the international trade infrastructure is still in place (especially the ships, literally thousands of them) and while there will be changes - duh - trade continues. If anything, it increases as countries scramble to take US market shares...

Sorry to be so dismal, but people in the 18th/19th century traded a huge amount. The idea that people in the past only consumed local goods is historically wildly inaccurate: the Spaniards, for instance, exported 1 mn liters of wine a year from New Mexico in the 17th century, since the growing season there was outstanding for the heavy, sweet red wines popular back then. During the gold rush days in California, it was even commercially profitable to send laundry to China to be washed and pressed, since the local infrastructure was overwhelmed; trade has been happening since folks got organized down on the banks of the Euphrates. If you want self-sufficiency, go to North Korea and see how well that has worked: trade is one of the fundamental facts of how the world works.

And if the 10% who buy the 90% of the resources - which is inaccurate, but let's not get into that - are gone, that doesn't mean the resources are gone: it just means that the next 10% get to move up.

Speculation on what happens - I haven't read the book! - I could say this: the Chinese will put several divisions on container ships and be in Hawaii in 5 days and the US mainland in 7 days, and you'll have peasants willing to walk there if need be across the world. Europeans would argue about what is going on while the French move into New England. It'll be chaos, to put it mildly.

But the chaos will be there, not in the countries around the periphery.

Guess I gotta go get the book now...

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Murphy asserts...

Posted March 4, 2009
I can guarantee that those divisions would most certainly be sunk upon detection. One Los Angeles class should be able to do the job and the Chinese Navy does not have the force projection assets to protect such a formation.

We've had this argument before, I might add. No American political leader is going to tolerate something like that, regardless of our size.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Thomas Potter has opinions thus...

Posted March 4, 2009
Opie, I like the analysis but since you haven't read the book, let me just say that China cannot send a division anywhere right now. I agree that trade won't completely dry up and most knowledge won't be lost, but there are problems with keeping sattelites going after no guidance and course corrections and tech is breaking down. It WILL recover, I firmly believe but it will dip down for awhile. Commodities are all screwed up and Japan cannot feed itself. Really, neither can Korea. In the short term they are in trouble and if you cannot eat all the broadband in the world won't help. And as I showed on another thread, a MAJOR proportion of US military force projection survived outside the Wave due to the impending hostilities in Iraq as well as basing of US forces. Better than half the Navy is in the Pacific even in peacetime, but with Iraq brewing up the deployment of LANTFLT units to the Med and Indian Ocean were up as well.

The whole world is at each other or their own throats due to tensions attributable to the Wave. Someone mentioned the Suez canal, well it is likely silted up after 3 years and the destruction of Egypt. Who's going to maintain it since everything is gone to heck?

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mckinneytexas is gonna tell you...

Posted March 4, 2009
Prior to the wave, who were the net food exporters and importers? And this with a relatively stable, hi-tech, integrated world trade net. Before people can go to work in a factory, they have to eat. The industrial revolution came about when there was excess labor to feed into cities (a surplus of labor, actually, producing cheap labor followed by labor unrest). That was a 19th century phenomena, less than 200 years ago. It took 6000 years to get to that point. Even up to WWII, the majority of the industrialized world population was employed in rurally in agriculture and in support services for same. The post-wave implosion eliminates the (a)agricultural base and (b) the means of getting food in raw or processed form from here to there. S.Korea and Japan have great industrialized bases, but no real food production. Moreover, there isn't a place either country can send its fleets to pick up enough basic food stuffs to feed their populace. Mass famine equals an ungovernable populace.

Further to this, trade assumes a marketable product and the means to pay for it. What is the post-wave exchange rate and what is it tied to? And who has the product and who has the means to pay for it?

On another subject, I would take little comfort in the salvage concept. Take car parts, for example, which are ware-housed in most major urban areas. Those warehouses take deliveries daily, their inventories are tracked by computer and the warehouses themselves are enormous and enormously complicated. The people who know where everything is kept and how it is kept are gone. We are talking about what? Bringing in a former grocery bagger from Seattle and putting him/her in Kansas City with a road map and a set of instructions and hoping he can find the right part to ship to where? And how is he going to ship it? And which crackerjack farmer is going to get the well pumping again, find the right seed, get the ground turned, get all the implements up and running, find a combine (harvester), get it running, get the crop in, and then how in the hell are you going to get the crop from point A to point B?

The basics are and always have been food then shelter then clothing. These are daily requirements and, until fairly recently in human history, most people spent their entire day--everyday--focused solely on these exigencies. There are no days off unless and until there is a surplus in the basics.

Farming equipment and automobiles as the end product of an enormously complex production and marketing enterprise. Ditto firearms and ammunition. Tractors, implements, wheeled-transportation and the means of self-defense are the basic tools of a functioning agrarian society that has the potential to produce a surplus. Each of these tools is fungible and has a finite useful life, even with readily available spare parts. Once the parts are gone, the system devolves. The first and largest weak link is refined petrochemical products, whether gas, oil, or the lubricants every single piece of modern farming equipment requires to function usefully. Take away the lubricants and useful life is cut to a fraction. Likewise, modern gunpowder, primers, bullets and casings all require an extended infrastructure that itself rests on other, more diffuse infrastructures.

You don't just send a crew of willing smart people into town with a three months supply of munchies and 'get things up and running.' Things don't stay 'up and running' today without 18 wheelers, FedEx and UPS trucks making deliveries all day long and well into the night.

But, the punchline is that without a consistent and reliable food surplus, you aren't getting anything out of the cities. The lead time on a reliable surplus is 3 years minimum and probably 5 years. In that time period, nature and inherent corrosion issues will substantially reduce the value of huge and essential numbers and classes of spare parts.

Final note--even if your salvage operations were optimal and food grew, harvested and delivered itself, you are still talking about cannibalizing off of a dead civilization, not building a new one.

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Thomas Potter asserts...

Posted March 4, 2009
Got to remember, however, a lot of farming goes on in the Canadian parts that survived and I bet quite a few would trade always brutally cold Canadian winters for occasionally brutally cold Kansas winters.

And their are warehouses with many of the same systems and goods there as well. It's a major seaport up there from Seattle to Vancouver, BC. Not Long Beach but...

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Robert mumbles...

Posted March 4, 2009
Why are you asking us, Birmo? YOU broke it, YOU fix it!

And I shall very much like to see what you come up with. I hope it doesn't devolve into the USA selling a bunch of self-referential, insider-joke blog T-shirts.

Although it very well could...

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Robert asserts...

Posted March 4, 2009
Oh, here's my 2-cents, because of your take on the negative nature of people in WW:

Those US citizens that remain are a mostly lazy, wholly unmotivated lot--including the military types you hold so dear. The US tries to reconstitute itself into the vast empty areas, discovers things are spread too thin, the military forces populations to concentrate in specific areas to achieve a critical mass, and the whole thing gets taken over easily by an invasion force of 5 third-world countries (take your pick).

You may now send me $5 for the ideas, or a self-referential, inside-joke blog T-shirt.

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lostatlunch ducks in to say...

Posted March 4, 2009
There is no world economy... half the nations have been thrown into turmoil... large trading partner has disapeared... China has probably had a coup within 3 years given the PLA are no longer rolling in gold from exporting goods to the US..

Economies collapsing are often a good time for the miliatry to step and show them how to run country and supress some decent..

the elephant in the room, how is the US military being kept in check there is generally contemptus of civilian leadership (in fiction), they are looking at massive cutbacks and looting by civilians of military hardware. maybe a we need a rogue major... and there is no Chuck Norris to save to bring him to heal

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted March 4, 2009
I can't stop fantasizing about me and a bunch of my hunter/fishermen mates somehow surviving the Wave in Alaska, and afterwards driving a convoy of trucks and mobile homes back into the States for a "salvage" tour of the great ghost cities. Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis. I would gleefully enter empty homes and take stuff, but I couldn't bring myself to loot the great museums. I imagine there would be enough surviving Americans to set up volunteer militias to protect them until some sort of civil authority was strong enough to preserve them and their contents. The French emptied the Louvre and hid their art treasures from the Nazis. As a former Chicagoan, I can tell you for a fact that we love our Art Institute as much as the Parisians love their Louvre. We would fight and risk out lives to protect it.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted March 4, 2009
We've got Monet's Water Lily at the Nelson Atkins here in Kansas City. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 4, 2009
International trade : AIG has ceased to exist. Something about underpinning the world financial markets. A lot of goods were on ships within the Wave - now not paid for. Lloyds can't cover the loss of hulls and c argo's. Most of the stock market has dissappeared. The US dollar no longer underpins currency rates. Oil prices are all over the place - reduced demand, reduced capacity. Gold prices soar - which they always seem to do in crisis.

Europe is in turmoil. Most of the affluent West is bunkering down. Only things that are moving are strategic supplies. Japan has begun tapping all those tanker ships she has. She's looking to secure her oil and food lanes. Japan resumes on restricted whaling. Ditto all the rest of the regional players. Malaysia. Singapore. Indonesia.

Reduced trade - except in consumables. All building booms are now bust. Vastly reduced consumer demand.

While its true that new players will ultimately step in to replace the States. Its only 3 years.

No its not the 6th century. Its not the 19th century either. Vastly different demographics, economics and populations.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 4, 2009
Robert: 'Why are you asking us, Birmo? YOU broke it, YOU fix it!'

I cherry pick the most interesting ideas Robert, although they tend to confirm what I was already thinking anyway. But why ask?

Because it's fun to watch where everyone goes.

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Havock asserts...

Posted March 4, 2009
Murph, China invading the Hawaiian islands ..LOL. YEAH RIGHT, lots of smouldering hulks, assuming a Nuke is not used on the fleet in open water.

I do hope somebody is going to get all the reservoirs back on line for this re population, which raises a question. The US would suffer bursts to water infrastructure like all other places. Does the reservoirs operating systems have a fail safe arrangement where computers would shut down distribution. Or do they simply keep discharging, let alone contamination issues. Everybody seems to be focused on FOOD. Its not worth jack shite without a stable water supply, you will die faster, spread disease quicker as well.

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mckinneytexas would have you know...

Posted March 4, 2009
Havock--most of our reservoirs are behind large dams that, as far as I know, could present real problems with flooding if people are not around to operate them. I don't know what the flooding situation was in 2003-04 after the Wave, but it is a very knowable fact. More to the point, reservoirs are more of an issue for urban populations than rural. Rural water needs tend to be met from irrigation from rivers and well water. I believe I've mentioned a time or two that Step One in getting food production back on line is securing a reliable source of water. But, your main point is correct: no water, no food, no nothing.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted March 4, 2009
'But why ask?

Because it’s fun to watch where everyone goes.'

yep, no one here but us lab rats, squeak! squeak!

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Brian puts forth...

Posted March 4, 2009
Yeah - but rats have this one virtue. They find the weak spots. They also find the 'hot spots', the cheese - the bits that are interesting to play with.

Economics. Truism. Small very valuable cargoes. Gold. Uranium. Or large low per unit value- but overall valuable cargos - oil, food. That's as true now as it was the 17thC it was in the 6th Century.

Currency of Exchange? Dollar is gone. The Euro is shaky. The Yen - maybe. Or . . .the one thing every one wants. Gold.

Next thing everyone wants is to be secure. Regimes want to be secure. Ergo : flourishing trade in arms. So they have local security, then to be able to secure their own borders. Secure the bread bowls. Regimes will seize assets as a blackmail operation in return for what they want. Food and oil shipments are logical targets.

Birmo let us look at a very interesting pie chart as to who had food surpluses and who didn't. The haves were the West. The have nots - were just about every one else. Given how the Wave screwed up ag production just about every where - there's not a lot of surpluses kicking around. A lot of bio fuel plantations have probably defaulted back to food. I'm looking at Brazil and Argentina. But they're Atlantic coastline places. A lot of their product is going to go to the Pacific Rim. The US gets to play 'gun for hire'. As well as Toll Booth operator and trade guarantor. Ergo : Panama Canal. Convoying will return. Hawaii will become a major hub.

Shipping can't be one way. They need return cargoes. More importantly they can't port in places where they won't get supply and replenishement.

No matter which way you cut it. Food is the lynch pin. Whowevers got the food, the means of protecting it and the means of getting it from a to b are players. Regional alliances - Pacific Rim. Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand - the US RUmp states, Chinese Warlords. Indian Ocean - Australia, Southern Africa and perhaps India.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted March 4, 2009
Nobody anywhere is fully self sufficient. In Papua New Guinea we still have a population that is largely rural and self-sufficient. Over 80% of the country grows their own food the same way they have for thousands of years.

Yet trade is still a crucial lifeline. The people who live in the highlands need salt which, despite their rich food gardens, is lacking in their diet. As a result there formed extensive foot based trade networks that managed to transport bags of salt from the coast through inhospitable jungles up to alpine communities some over 3000m.

I guess my point is that I kind of agree with Opies comment that trade networks (global and domestic) will be revitalised rather than collapsing.

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted March 4, 2009
Birmingham, you underestimate the best of human nature. Compassion and cooperation are often demonstrated by the nations of the world when any country is laid low by circumstances.

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted March 4, 2009
Oh, God, Jane, it's been a really difficult, stressful day. I needed a good laugh. Bless you, dear, and your brilliant - if not fully appreciated - sense of humor.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted March 4, 2009
So what are the benevolent, compassionate and co-operative nations of the world going to be putting into the trade pipeline?

I see that wheat was a very popular import into Iraq under Saddam.

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Trowzers mutters...

Posted March 4, 2009
The communities in the floods up north are getting a little taste of how isolated people might be when resettling US - they have all the modern equipment they need, but their fishing industry is being crippled for lack of parts to fix nets and maintain boats (what did one say - we've been out for weeks because we don't have an O ring?)

Imagine the same thing will be happening all over - that fancy machine/coffee maker/car you have might suddenly be useless, because the part to fix it came from the US, or somewhere that was nuked, or in civil turmoil. Sometimes its the little things that count.

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George03 puts forth...

Posted March 4, 2009
Unless I am mistaken, the original question was what would be happening in the US 2 years after the Wave came down.

Personally, if I was Jules and had kept my hands on Aussie Rules ( and JB hadn't killed me off yet!!), I would strip out most of the luxuries in that big sucker and strap on some real heat. Something like a Bofus gun and a couple of Chain guns etc. then start transporting near essentials like COFFEE from South America to the US. I would set Miguel and his family up somewhere down there, as my reps as they are proven bargain hunters and make a fortune as coffee would be worth it's weight in gold, if you could get past the pirates! I was considering Rubber and sugar as well but that would be too bulky and heavy for the likes of Jules and Co.

These sort of niche markets would be what would kickstart the world trade as the big boys would not let the small fry get away with it for long!!

My 2 cents worth!

George

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Sweet Jane Says asserts...

Posted March 4, 2009
Don't stifle my creativity!

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted March 4, 2009
Heaven forbid.

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Havock mutters...

Posted March 4, 2009
and when it all goes to SHIT jane, survival of the Biggest, strongest, smartest and who has the Biggest god dam gun!

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lostatlunch would have you know...

Posted March 4, 2009
JB, can we make some special requests...

Collapse the Hoover dam, I just watched an engineering doco on it, if that sucker popped.. it would rock.. and I am sure you could use an entire dictionary of adjectives as it rocked down the Colorado river. it then impacts electricity and agriculture production. I am pretty sure there are some interesting military bases nearby... for looting purposes. Maybe there is some discussion of large areas of Washington and NY torched by planes trains and Automobiles.

Actually the train network could still be highly salvageable.. the dead man switches would have activated when the puddles of gloop formed and the engines would have run until they ran out of fuel.. that is a tremendous resource and a good way to move around.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted March 4, 2009
Just had a decko at some research about food in Asia. Its based on 2008 data and shows that Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka are buggered in terms of supplying enough food. Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia and Thailand are best placed. This comes from economic eggheads who want to make a buck out of it.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted March 4, 2009
Speaking of salvage and places to put stuff, someone might want to make sure Lake City Ammunition Plant is secured. This facility produces all of the small arms munitions for the US Armed Forces.

And it happens to be in the KC Metro Area not far from Blue Springs, Missouri.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Madoc ducks in to say...

Posted March 4, 2009
Murph & all,

During the year that the Wave was waving I'd expect there'd have been many, many _waves_ of planning efforts for what to do once the wave stopped waving. I'd bet that the initial passes of those plans called for so many things to be secured that it'd take more troops than the US had in uniform - even had the military been WWII size!

From the top though, I'd see the priorities being:

Nuclear arsenal

Nuclear arsenal manufacturing facilities

Strategic military facilities

Strategic government facilities

Strategic infrastructure facilities

Major ports - particularly those at the mouths of major rivers

Major food storage facilities

Everything else...

One vital effort would be to survey what, exactly, was out there. That survey could take years to conduct. There are a great many things which could be surveyed from the air via all that recon ability we have. Some stuff though, would require physical hands on to account for.

Part and parcel with this would be "stabilization efforts." That is, making quick assessments, as the surveys take place, of anything which needs dire fixing just to preserve it. Say, for example, a survey team sent out to check on the machinery needed to manufacture vital nuclear submarine components finds that there's a roof leak at the factory and the leak is draining onto some super-specialized piece of industrial equipment. A piece of equipment to big to move. So, the team would have to have the ability to quickly patch the roof of the facility. No, not a permanent fix but enough to preserve the goods beneath and inside. That sorta thing.

I'd also imagine that during that first year, the government would conduct a very thorough "skills assessment" survey of _all_ the American refugees. And you damn betcha they'd be put to work. Oh, nothing forced, just given a choice - get to work or remain within the refugee camp. Doing nothing. With only refugee food to eat. Even the hard case lagabouts would cave after a while of utter boredom.

Madoc

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Leo euler ducks in to say...

Posted March 4, 2009
Has anyone worked out any specific population numbers, say, in 2006?

Off the top of my head...

(in millions)

6300

-400 (Wave disappearanc)

-250 (Middle East War)

-400 (China. Who knows)

-400 (India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Who knows)

-200 (Everywhere else)

4650 million people. Roughly the population in 1983--about 20 years before WW starts.

Of course these numbers are all speculative, except for the Wave numbers, which a person could figure out with pretty good precision. I think it's about 400 million.

Do you think fertility rates would decline, or would the world be back to 2003 levels by around 2025? Sure, the economy sucks, so raising kids might not always be a good idea, but lots of poor countries have high fertility rates...and countries that lose people tend to have baby booms, don't they?

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted March 4, 2009
what’s also NOT been mentioned, is that upon the wave receding, the US would be Ultra keen to keep it as quiet as possible. For the planets general population, well, I figure three month window, depending of course just how effective world comm.’s still are, but none the less, this will afford some time for the Gummit, to get in first. What’s also an issue is contamination. Lots of areas you would simply NOT want to venture into for all sorts of reasons.

As well, lets not forget our dependence on anti bacterial items and antibiotics, op or drastically reduce production an distribution of these an you will gt a further increase in mortality rates as well, let along from hunger, war and general disease.

Will the US government have an AGE restriction on who can return, after all it will b a tough haul, and elderly do not tend to produce work rates similar to the younger peoples hen it comes to manual work.

As for baby booms, well, when you have FA else to do, what do most couples do...YEHAAAAA. Ho will the medical stems cope with a baby explosion, on top of population explosions due to displaced persons.

TRADE: I see it as being those that are largely intact, with a resource or tradable gods / intellect / workforce forming trading blocks. this will also be based on WHAT I NEED and WHAT you can sell me, an vice versa.

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savo asserts...

Posted March 4, 2009
Is SJS blogging as Robert now?

Darkman: He's already downed the Aswan, the Hoover would be repetative.

JB: Is the wave going to end up as some function of Pope's teleporter?

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 4, 2009
Fertility rates are going to depend on food and how it is grown. If we revert backwards then farming families will revert to a larger family under the notion that more hands on the property equal greater productivity (also to replace anyone who dies off for whatever reason). My Dad comes from such a family so we aren't that far removed.

Madoc's points are valid. Preserve vital capacity as best as possible. I'd go so far as to booby trap some capacity that was dangerous enough yet low priority enough that I didn't have the human resources to put on it.

On one of those World Without Us type programs, I am fairly certain that many argued that the Hoover Dam would probably outlast most of our creations. Short of foul play, I thinkt he dam will still be there.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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mckinneytexas is gonna tell you...

Posted March 5, 2009
Optimists! Presume marginal competence and short term thinking by almost all concerned. Maybe, just maybe, the UK, France and Eastern Europe can get their heads out of their asses and collaborate with what remains of the US and repopulate, turning their residual industrial capacity back to 1960 levels and using that as a base. Three to five years minimum to get even a decent foothold going.

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Madoc would have you know...

Posted March 5, 2009
Speaking of the Euros pulling their heads out...

...think of all that oil still there in the Middle East.

The Middle East is neither all shiny and smooth after Israel got done glassing it but nor populated by anywhere near its original numbers. And those numbers weren't a whole lot to begin with.

The Israeli nukes did a lot more than just a simple decimation. But they also tended to leave the oil production and transportation facilities alone. For one, such infrastructure is separated from the populated areas. Perhaps not by much but by enough. Secondly, such infrastructure is pretty robust. It'd take specific targeting to really wipe it out.

So, you now have a situation where there's damn all people about yet there's still plenty of that black gold which your nation requires to keep itself in the Twenty First Century.

I can see a number of European countries keeping / sending military contingents down to the oil patches of the Middle East in order to guard the other contingents of oil production crews they've sent down there to keep that black gold flowing.

Sure, there'd be enough locals left to be rather testy about things. And that's where the lads with the boomsticks would be earning their pay. The "we're all on a ragged edge back here in Europe and it's all gonna come apart unless we keep getting that oil!" would be the motivation for those troops doing the dirty deeds of keeping the locals at bay.

What fun!

But seriously, I think the Euros would rush to ensure control and access to the Middle East's oil fields and do so despite there being nuke craters all around them.

Madoc

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Murphy reckons...

Posted March 5, 2009
Madoc, I think the book hints that a European force is headed to the area anyway. Even if not, I can see the Europeans arguing the need for troops based upon humantarian concerns.

That said, I bet the Russians get down there sooner. They could pop across the Iranian border and get their warm water port.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted March 5, 2009
This thread seems to boil down to a Hobbesian v Lockean view of people.

I'm inclined to go with Opie's views - it's from the horses mouth and I'm inclined to take the views of experts in a field over laymen. People would continue to make a living the best way they can, because they damn well have to. Then as now.

But WW is a Hobbesian view of the world, he gets name checked at least twice I think. (Having now read the book and thus bolstering JB's fortunes.) But I don't recognise the picture of France and Britain's actions as a reflection of the countries I know. Nor, the way it plays out post wave generally. Except for Israel's actions, for some reason I had no problem swallowing that one.

Overall I think the world would have been shocked into seeing the need to all pull together and maintain. In that, I think the wave would have been like the finale of Watchmen, (for those of you that have read that august tome).

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 5, 2009
I serously doubt the reaction of the global community would have been unity.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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mckinneytexas ducks in to say...

Posted March 5, 2009
Madoc--i'd completely forgotten about the mid-East oil. whether the Euros can organize and supply more than a very small presence in the mid-East without a major draft (not out of the question)is an issue. What might be of real interest would be a reconstituted pan-Euro force going toe-to-toe with the Russki's. Should JB see fit to use this idea, he owes us a drink. That would be a hell of a series. John, you should give this a lot of thought.

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Dex has opinions thus...

Posted March 5, 2009
First off, let me say I just finished the book, and the only problem I have with you, Mr. Birmingham, is that YOU DON'T WRITE FAST ENOUGH!

(in other words, good job)

On to the topic at hand:

It would seem to me that the biggest item of interest, not only to would-be looters but also to the remaining world powers, will be America's nuclear arsenal. All those missile fields in Montana, with Minuteman missiles sleeping away in them. Every remaining power on Earth is going to be extremely interested in securing those warheads at the very least, especially in light of Israel's actions.

So. I would expect a multinational invasion by Russia and the EU (including Britain) to secure America's nukes. This would be a great excuse for those powers to loot and perhaps occupy America and her resources. I would expect to see the rebirth of colonialism, and perhaps wars over a North American continent made virgin once again.

Note: If anyone's read Whitley Streiber's "Warday", or the more recent "Resurrection Day" (forgot the author) post-nuclear America in both cases was very much in danger of becoming a British colony once again, an effort masked by the British "helping". With what was happening to Britain in "Without Warning" there's danger of the Brits doing that in this case, too.

Anyway - if you simply consider the nukes, it doesn't seem to me that Americans will reclaim their homeland, not without a fight. Who gets post-Wave America will depend on who can get there firstest with the mostest and fight the others off...something that should be taken into consideration before determining what the post-Wave economy would be like.

Sorry if this has been addressed before. This is my two cents.

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Dex puts forth...

Posted March 5, 2009
PS - Area 51 might have some extremely interesting and profitable stuff!

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted March 5, 2009
Dex - re 'addressing stuff before' That's the purpose of being a lab rat - going bck and retrying spots that could weaken. Also a bit of stuff has happened in the world since the first book was written - the economic crisis for example. Which - despite lots of very well educated opinion and very expensive modelling had gone in directions no one predicted or thought of.

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lostatlunch mutters...

Posted March 5, 2009
Co-operation is just NOT on the cards... I am as moderate as people come... but I would seriously looking at .au grabbing some of those cool thermo-nuclear warheads and some eggheads nicking a wing of B-2's and I would having some words with the Howard if he did not offer to "mind" these items, give thema safe home. When there are massive national resources at stake, Friends are just enemies who do not have the ability to take advantage of you.

Europe cannot generate anything more than opportunistic grabs for assets. Britian is busy sealing itself in and the Afganistan war is now on the streets of Paris, after the French civil war..

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Matthew K mutters...

Posted March 5, 2009
Well yeah, securing nukes I could definitely see - you wouldn't want them in the wrong hands would you? And quite possibly securing a bit of territory as well. But hopefully America's friends would hold them in trust for the US.

Only assuming, of course, that US armed forces couldn't hold this stuff themselves...

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lostatlunch mutters...

Posted March 5, 2009
The US would trust Australia more than some other countries who probably have recovery planes in the air with eggheads and special forces troops. Those canucks are now the biggest boys on the continent and they will not be pushed around.. eh.

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Havock has opinions thus...

Posted March 5, 2009
Mckinney, i see you have the EU heading south into the Mid East. WHY do the words Crusade and OH SHIT here we go again pop into the head. The ME will not like it, they may now have a serious amount of glass surfaces courtesy of Israel, but that won't stop them getting the shits....

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lostatlunch ducks in to say...

Posted March 5, 2009
how can the EU go to the middle east (with a large portion "glassed" with a small force, when the americans can't sort it out with a large force over a long period.

Military force does not work as well as it used too, those mad bastards in the middle east just keep coming against each other, against the invading west they are going to go mental, after The Great Satan has taken a body blow.

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted March 5, 2009
A great diservice has been done to England. She would feel honour bound to assist the remaining Americans. The cavalry always appears in the end.

J.

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lostatlunch mumbles...

Posted March 5, 2009
These are the days of Tony Blair's Cool brittania... allegiance to the old ways is gone, it is now new aggresive and smart(ish).

They are are still smarting over the american revolution... Do not sell them short.

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Trashman has opinions thus...

Posted March 5, 2009
I think a military force in the ME from the EU (or any other major player), would probably have a greater effect than expected because the Rules of Engagement will have changed. This is no longer about getting rid of 'inconvenient' leaders or governments. This is now about survival, which means the gloves come off.

What was the operation the Admiral activated against Iran & Iraq when they declared war? I think it was called Damocles and involved B52 raids against Baghdad and Tehran.

My only gripe about the book is I don't recognise the UK as it's portrayed. Why is there effectively a national pogrom going on? So Iran and Iraq declare war - they're no threat. Why the national spasm? If anything I think Britain would be more assertive abroad. Or did I miss something?

In France I could see an Intifada in Paris and the other major cities. We've seen a smaller version of that in the last couple of years, but a full blown civil war seems to be stretching it a bit. Historically, the French government is probably less likely to roll over than most other people. If a threat is perceived the nation the French government will do whatever it perceives is necessary and won't care what anybody else thinks.

Having said that, cracking book JB - when's book 2 coming out???

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Matthew K puts forth...

Posted March 5, 2009
Erm. Yeah what SJ said. Seriously, I think UK as well as France would busy themselves with trying to reconstruct America in so far as they could afford to what with steaming south to ahem, "secure" strategic oil reserves.

The danger with that is that they might try to set up some romanticized version of the USA based upon their image of America.

It's a fun book but UK and France, with a history of centralizing government wouldn't have gone that way. Basically people would be asking "WTF was that? Are we going to get hit next and how do we fight it?"

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted March 5, 2009
Trashman, Oplan Damocles is never described in detail but it basically pertains to the defensive posture US forces had in the region once the Iranians entered the fray. Admiral Ritchie activates the plan and orders General Franks to execute it.

Basically all it means is that Franks can pull the gloves off and kick the crap out of the Iranians. Sadly ( or not depending on your POV ) nobody knows what the Israelis are about to do at that point so Franks ends up doing a lot of prep work for them.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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mckinneytexas asserts...

Posted March 6, 2009
One possibility is that France, the UK and Eastern Europe will gear up and work with what remains of the US. The same group could also occupy the ME. Russia remains a threat to Suez, the ME and Europe directly. The more likely scenario is a UK/US/Canada/ANZ alignment, but who the hell knows what JB has planned.

IMPORTANT PRONUNCIMIENTO FROM MCKINNEYTEXAS

Like AoT, there is room here for a lot more than three books, which launches me into unsolicited, free career advice to JB: you have a large base who like exactly what you are doing right now. It is vital to maintain your tempo (and your cash flow)by staying with what your market wants. The time for charting new territory is AFTER you've thoroughly explored the worlds you've created.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted March 6, 2009
I concur with McKinney on the wide canvas that is available for exploration in both worlds but as a very small writer I have noticed one problem that often manifests itself with projects such as this.

Writer fatigue. The best example is to look at Turtledove's World War II Space Lizards series. It was pretty good during the actual war years but then he picked up another series which followed the colonization fleet twenty years later. In many aspects, it was not as good. Same can be said for the alternate North South material that stems from the South's original victory in a shorter American Civil War.

It seems, in my humble opinion, that the best size for such projects is about three books before the writer begins to wear a bit around the edges (and this is ANY writer).

There are ways to mitigate this fatigue and Eric Flint probably has a viable solution in using the co-writer system. In fact, Baen seems to have a de facto apprenticeship system where a big writer will assist a small one in order to produce a novel.

That could and often does stretch series projects beyond the three novel structure. But there is one other problem that I think is worth addressing.

A fundamental component which makes alternate history interesting is exploring the causes of the breakpoint or the divergence between the history we know and the history that the writer will be extrapolating from the changes in events. The immediate purpose of the breakpoint is often to generate conflict and plot material (The Wave, the Alien Space Lizards, changing the laws of physics, etc). But as time marches forward in the new alternate universe, the further it marches away from what we know into something completely new. Sometimes these extrapolations are successful, but it often seems to me that they are not. Since I usually stop reading after the third to fifth book, I can not quite say why they start to fall apart.

But it is a real concern.

Another way to deal with the problem is to let a series go fallow for awhile and revisit it later.

So I am not disagreeing with McKinney about demand or the market potential. I am in full agreement with him. But there are dangers and if the writer begins the dread sitting in front of the keyboard, no one will benefit from it.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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tygertim asserts...

Posted March 6, 2009
John, just a quick thought to add to the many excellent posts I've just read.... Somebody mentioned Utah and the Mormons, and I gotta tell ya, that there are a LOT of Mormons world wide... The Mormons outside the Wave will be wanting to occupy Salt Lake City, and Reconstitute their church hierarchy... and occupy their Holy City... might be a storyline or two in there somewheres...

Mormons have a STRONG work ethic, and would provide a LOT of bodies for the rebuilding of America...

Also wiki "Job Corps". This American program could provide a model for you as per a resettlement program as it would provide a means to provide labor/new citizens in a controlled manner, especially for specific settlement areas and/or problems... The Military could run it (which would make them happy) and part of the program would be to inculcate "American" attitudes in the new citizens (which would make some of the more paranoid politicians happy, and just maybe their political parties as well... "Join the Democratic Party! We care more for you than the Fat Cats do!" or "Join the Republican Party! The best Government is the Smallest Government that will stay out of your lives!"). Be interesting to see an Australian view of American Immigrant Integration and the society that results... Given that wicked Aussie humor, it'll be a wild ride!

Take care,

Tyger

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted March 6, 2009
If JB does have a large enough fan base who like exactly what he is doing then, yeah I guess he could consolidate or expand his existing universes. But I reckon I'd get itchy feet.

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Brian asserts...

Posted March 6, 2009
Hmm . . .Birmo, are we ever going to get a fan-fic site again? ISTR that a few new people were eager to write something.

McKinney, Murph - you're probably right. But look on it as more of conserving a scarce resource ie Birmo's muse.

Eric Flint is one smart cookie. I recall that he said his income was in the 6 figures. Given his output - a lot of that looks like its being generated through his editing and franchise operations.

But he has a 1632 team. There is a thing called the Grantville Board - which looks after the nuts and bolts of that operation.

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George03 is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6, 2009
If all you guys convince JB that he has writer's block or is burnt out, before finishing the next book, there will be hell to pay!!!!

I will send all my bearded mates to go visit your camels!!!!!

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andyf puts forth...

Posted March 9, 2009
dunno about france, but UK is definitely 1 twitch away from a police state. and the government control of the media is so good and subtle they'd have us supporting it.

gloves off I dont think any advanced military would have a problem occupying the middle east, just use the model the Nazis used in france,i'm sure the media could dress it up nicely for the public.

where are the control nodes of the SOSUS system?

what are the chances that some foreign state will act to.. remove , the problem of the US SSBNs?

and then go for the land grab-

what about japan? maybe the crazy detectors theyve built can track nuclear rectors at sea.. kamaokande?

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Respond to 'Post Wave economies.'

Man, I should really check my own canon before setting these exam questions.

Posted March 1, 2009 by John Birmingham
My apologies for the spinal chord thing. That was a red herring which came from rushing out the door and typing without thinking.

I remember having a short exchange with one of my editors early in the drafting process of Without Warning, a brief conversation about exactly who got zapped. It was important, because there does exist a brief one par explanation of the Wave, locked away in a secure and secret location, written before the book was composed, explaining what the Wave is, what it does, and why.

The book, however, remains deliberately vague, because most of it is concerned with the character's immediate reaction to the Disappearance. WW is much less about the Wave than about crisis management. Investigating the phenomenon comes later. And directly investigating the affected areas has to wait until the Wave was gone.

So, allow me to confirm a small spoiler from After America, by way of explanation. And this is Canon.

The Wave took primates.

It killed or temporarily incapacitated vast numbers of verterbrates, but only the primates were Taken.

Birds, btw, instinctively fly away from the Wave, unless they are in it, in which case they get knocked out of the sky, either dead or unconscious.

There is a character in WW, Stavros, who says he can't see any animals moving around in the drove feed from Cuba. But that's just Stavros thinking aloud under pressure. In these books, just because someone says something, that don't make it so.

From WW:

“No." said Melton. "This is nothing to do with them (al Qaeda). Unless it was merciful fucking Allah, of course, like Saddam is telling everyone. But nobody knows. Some kinda weird energy bubble or something. Seems to have zapped all the primates inside its boundary. Some of them gone. Some of them just sort turned into mush.”

“Primates?” Euler looked aghast. “And mush?”

“Just before I took off, that was the latest on CNN. Some Japanese blogger checking web cams of the San Diego zoo noticed all the monkeys were gone. Didn’t take long to work out from there.”

There is some later discussion of the 'spinal chord' effect. But it's specualtion.

So, a new topic.

To federate with what's left of Canada or not?

103 Responses to ‘Man, I should really check my own canon before setting these exam questions.’

NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 1, 2009
If you federate with the Canuks, won't they have the majority eh?

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Brian puts forth...

Posted March 1, 2009
Birmo? Y'know? That trip must've really screwed up your metabolism . . .still the entire invertebrate thing was going to really put a spike in the story. It was an entire ecological catastrophe .

OK. Presuppose - some die off in invertebrate populations due to the Wave. Hmm . . .leave it there.

Federation with Canada :

Pro. Canada is wedged between former US States. There is an existing Free Trade Agreement. There is commonality in language, culture and borders. There will be mixing across those borders. Both entities are weaker on a geopolitical scale than seperate. Neither entity is much interested in outsiders coming in and taking their turf. There is shared fear of the Wave perhaps coming back and shifting direction a bit. Canada has a better shot of repopulating the US down through the middle then the seaboard.

Con : Canadians like their government. Americans like theirs. Canada may look towards the British Commonwealth. The States will be the senior member given their military.

Then there's what's left over(if any) of the Quebecois.

A Federation of more perhaps a Co-Dominion? Hmmm . . .

Pass the rest to the American Burgers. There's subtleties there that could be a deal breaker.

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Christo has opinions thus...

Posted March 1, 2009
I say definite -

As per the earlier conversations about the American west and mid-west turning into another dust bowl desert, look to our disappeared friends to the north for rich farmland.

Perhaps one of our Canadian friends can confirm this, but I believe Southern Ontario, Southern Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec all have fertile areas that could provide a reasonably abundant food source for a new America. Heck, with the discussion of possibly selling the eastern seaboard to an ally (i.e. England), this could lead to a 3/4 width, 1 1/2 height sized US of A.

But, hey, what the hell do I know?

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shifty mcgee reckons...

Posted March 1, 2009
Perhaps a lease agreement for 10 or so years. Her Madge remains head of state, while The Prez becomes head of government. Canadians get to vote. The Provinces remain as they are. two canadians guarenteed cabinet positions.

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Tarl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1, 2009
I suspect they federate. What's left of the U.S. mainland (Seattle) is much closer politically to general Canadian politics - and what's left of Canada (anything outside of Ontario is considered the Boondocks by current Canadian government), is largely rural and probably closer politically to the U.S. norm.

They're both hurting, and share common problems and common languages - and Canada has lost their Quebecois distraction, and the U.S. is no longer particularly concerned about illegal immigrants from Mexico.

In WW, you didn't tell us how what was left of Canada was governed. From Edmonton? What were their relations with Seattle?

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted March 1, 2009
If you look at a map of the Wave you'll see it is hard up against Edmonton. Assume panic and chaos and the total breakdown of order there.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted March 1, 2009
As I've mentioned in my blog review of WW, Stavros is my favorite character in your latest novel, and I invited you to explore other characters of Greek ancestry.

More to the point: being Greek, Stavros is culturally and genetically predisposed to acute observational and communication skills. So if he said he couldn't see anything moving, he meant it.

Okay? Okay. I'm glad we had this talk.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1, 2009
I'd push for an alliance of English speaking peoples. Not a Federation per se but perhaps a Commonwealth of sorts, an expanded Commonwealth.

If only primates were taken then that makes the ecosystem problem much more manageable. What you should see is conditions similar to what is found in the Korean DMZ and Chernobyl.

I wonder if resettlement priorities would be different for a Federated States of America? Or maybe a North American Common Union? Hell, we could have a lot of fun coming up with names.

In any case, I think a combined Pacific Fleet is going to be vital to the post Wave order. Someone has to police the Pacific and with the US reduced, others will have to step up.

I wonder what kind of population Canada would have in a post Wave world? Would they be interested in moving South? What about their ties to Great Britain? Britain has a pop of what? 70 million? Some of those folks could be sent to Canada to run farms, industry, the like.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted March 1, 2009
Murph; "Some of those folks could be sent to Canada..."

Last time we read about the UK in WW they were having some pretty fascist sounding fun exporting of anyone vaguely swarthy, however I didn't read of a takeover by a totalitarian state. I think "to send" would require a regime quite unlike the doe eyed democracy extant.

Maybe in the intervening period the wheels fell off and such a regime took over.

Otherwise you'd have to lure them with offers of lousy weather, crap fish and soggy chips & the chance to mistrust south Asians in new & exciting places.

(sorry it would appear I took my grumpy pills today)

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted March 1, 2009
I'd rather see the entire U.S. desolate for eternity than to give one inch of it to those damn Canadians.

J.

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Ace ducks in to say...

Posted March 1, 2009
I seem to remember a brief exchange between an Ensign and General Tusk (I think, I don't have the book handy to check) explaining that they had hacked a webcam feed from the San Diego Zoo and that only the primates there had been taken, and the rest of the animals had been left. So is this just official confirmation, or was I imagining that scene?

As for the federation issue:

I would say so. Quebec is getting closer and closer every year to breaking away from the rest of Canada as it is, so the topic has been broached to some degree already, and I think that the wave would do wonders for the pro-arguments.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1, 2009
Well, that was rather uncharacteristic of SJS, wasn't it?

Per what the book says (my copy is sequestered with Trinity, who is sleeping and therefore neither are available) regardless of what it says, terraforming a continent is a massive research undertaking. I think it might make for a fascinating science fiction novel, just not this novel.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian would have you know...

Posted March 1, 2009
Murph : re terra -forming - ditto.

Trinity is sleeping with Birmo's book? Sweet dreams then.

Still all that work about terra forming shouldn't go astray. Some of it could be worked into the green-groups protests. (rocks hands - author privilege)

American Federation. Why not. Of course sports will now skew to ice-hockey. I think the English speaking Mafia would go with that. There's already defacto support right across the English speaking world.

Would this allow the States admittance to the Commonwealth? Now that's an interesting can of worms. The US would end up owning it. Cue federating with New Zealand and Australia at a later stage.

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Leo euler mumbles...

Posted March 1, 2009
Just putting this out here...I think JB's post follows my original idea that the Wave is some sort of anti-consciousness field. That as animals have nervous systems that get closer and closer to being complex enough to produce consciousness/self-awareness, the Wave affects them more.

By the way, JB, are you teasing us by using the word, "Taken?" Why not just say that primates were killed? Are you implying that there is a possibility that they were not killed, but transported somewhere?

As for Canada, I agree that some sort of joint agreement would be desirable, even if it were something as simple as defense.

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sibeen mutters...

Posted March 1, 2009
Shit, I suggested an anschluss between what's left of the USA and Canada at least a year ago. It's bloody obvious, especially as those weird frenchy type canucks no longer exist.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted March 1, 2009
Leo gone done a bad thing!

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savo would have you know...

Posted March 1, 2009
Don't think there would be a majority of Canadians. Sure the snow fields are left but they'd be full of Australians and as for Vancouver, that would be full of Hollywood types making movies on the cheap.

What is the capital of Canadia anyway?

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted March 1, 2009
Toronto isnt it?

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted March 1, 2009
My bad, its Ottawa... thank you wikipedia

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted March 2, 2009
I'd go with a 'North American Union'. Most of the population of Canada is gone-the unaffected part is fairly lightly populated.

It really doesn't matter, because I'm still thinking what's left of Europe, China, Russia, and ANZ will be dividing North America up just like Africa in the 1800s.

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Leo euler ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
"Leo gone done a bad thing!"

lol.

Where was Canada's new capital in the book? Did they put it in Vancouver?

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Madoc would have you know...

Posted March 2, 2009
YD & all,

"..what’s left of Europe, China, Russia, and ANZ will be dividing North America up just like Africa in the 1800s."

Um, them and what armies? Oh, right they do have their own armies. And they've got their own _massive_ internal problems to deal with.

In the meantime, the USofA has _ITS_ armies and it also has _ITS_ nukes. I think those would serve as a really effective "No Trespassing" signs for any large scale state sponsored grabs.

It's the small scale "independent" grabs I'd worry about. Then again, just about anything like that which is big enough to worry about would also be big enough for the US military to pick up and nail long before it gets ashore.

Folks, I'm still not much convinced the US would have much to worry about in terms of anyone making territorial grabs or massive immigration waves swamping us.

The countries which might sponsor that are to disrupted, to busy putting their own houses in order, and don't want to run the risk of being vaporized. The individuals and even the groups of individuals wanting to run in are just to far away from the US to do so. The oceans either side of us and the devastation that is Mexico to the south of us would pretty much preclude uninvited guests being around the table for dinner.

Oh, and I think Puerto Rico would become THE major US military base just as soon as we got done evacuating the last of the folks out of Gitmo. And from that point forward it'd be open season on Chavez and his goons. In fact, I'd imagine the US would have quite a few "operators" busy in Venezuela after that point and that good ol' Hugo wouldn't be long for a "sanctioning."

Madoc

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Madoc ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
Folks,

As to Canada, prior to the Wave Canada had all the necessary elements within it to remain a fully functional sovereign nation. After the Wave it does not. Logistically and economically, what is left of Canada can not sustain itself independently. It might well form - in, I'd imagine it would definitely form - some sort of emergency government that would attempt to run things after the Wave. It might even be able to pull this off. Sort of.

I just don't see that as being a functional thing for the long term.

Inevitably, some sort of union with the US would be mandatory. This, all the more so once the Wave ceases.

However, I think you could get a whole lot of mileage in the story by bringing up short any American characters who got presumptuous about Canadians simply rolling over for it on the double quick.

Madoc

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yankeedog mutters...

Posted March 2, 2009
But that depends on who can get hold of what's left of all the stuff lying around the abandoned military bases. A nation could conceivably make off with a handful of nukes (they will be lying around in various states of repair) and get themselves a deterrent of sorts. The 3-4 million Americans left can't possibly cover every inch of the old nation. Any access to the former satellite surveillance network would be disrupted (the main access and control centers have been abandoned for some time and possibly some have been destroyed) so I'm not sure the US forces can instantly 'see' everything that's going on.

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JdR has opinions thus...

Posted March 2, 2009
Unless there's some sort of immediate external threat, I don't see a political union happening.

Certainly, there may be an extremely close alliance of convenience - sharing of resources in particular - as appropriate for a crisis.

But I'd suspect wiser heads would see no hurry for a permanent political union in uncertain times.

Maybe a five year or ten year Treaty of Cooperation that at a practical level establishes some very strong coordination (although remember, the Canadians have a very strong experience of this sort of thing, through many years of its balancing Quebec and other interests in its federation) but leaves the future to be dealt with in the future.

I look forward to seeing more of Canada in WW2.

I also look forward to a new start on the ecological thread, now that we know the little animals made it - you'll have to read Earth Abides now JB - sheep and chickens die off because they are too reliant on humanity, but cattle and turkeys make it. Some breeds of domestic pets make it, some don't - lots of them die because they're locked inside when humanity departs. There's a massive rat plague for a while, before it exhausts itself (maybe not in three years though). A nice piece of drama for you JB could be when the rat plague erupts out of the wave zone ....

And how spoilerish is JB's capitalisation of Taken? Could the missing primates and homo sapiens be brought back?

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lostatlunch swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 2, 2009
New Mexico, Texas & California are going to be part of Mexico withing days.. Mexico is full of people in poverty desperate to make a land grab, like the original settlers heading west. Would a Canadian union be able to prevent that?

Canada would be the bulk of the population now, thus the senior partner in a democracy, would the US military accept that?

The economy of the 4 million population US could no longer pay the wages of a 1000,000 man army the US is now a mighty military force in a very small democracy... how long does the democracy last?

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
I think the idea of Federation should be shelved.

Various factors. Political outcomes are notoriously long. A de-facto state of Union will undoubtedly exist. SOmething like the British devolution of power may be the result - where Scotland and Wales have their own Parliaments but Foreign Affairs and Defense reside squarely with England. So Canada and the States may have their own Civil governments but Defense rests squarely with the States. It already does so.

On a practical side. The Canadian economy is heavily cross linked with the States anyway ie power, fuel, water.

Another amusing side plot could be people wanting an American Common Market - just like Europe. With the Union Capital in Quebec - perhaps another Congress could be put up where these views are aired. Not saying its likely or even preferable - but its a venue where such a stupid idea could arise.

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Fhakk mutters...

Posted March 2, 2009
I reckon Canada would be down with a formal allegiance, especially if other nations started invading the continent en-masse on the basis of Terra Nullius. The US Army would be much better equipped to deal with the task of reclaiming military installations, as well as re-establishing agricultural industries. I doubt the two nations would merge, but that would depend on how much of the continent they can reclaim.

I think any nation with a modest army would be mad not to invade - pre-made cities (requiring some maintenance), existing agricultural infrastructure, rail roads, freeways etc. It's all there for the taking, and the world has become comfortable with the absence of America. I can see a lot of political refugees making their way across the Atlantic, forming problems of their own on the Eastern Seaboard once they land. There would be the resurgence of mini-nations and fiefdoms, especially in the North-East such as Boston and NY. I imagine the victor of the civil conflict in France would be keen to reclaim Quebec, as well. They have pre-made cities AND street signs in French.

The one to watch out for - Venezuela, down south. You've got a lot of failed states in Latin America (especially Central America), and given Chavez's actions following the Wave, I would expect nothing less than to see him march across Mexico with an army of disenfranchised people seeking a new life in the good ol' US of A. Los Angeles would be lost, and I can see the line being drawn in the sand between San Francisco and Texas.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted March 2, 2009
Darkman. Mexico including Mexico city is gone. The Zone arced through Cuba and terminated well south of Mexico CIty.

In some ways - the States would be smart to secure everything from the Panama Canal to the former Zone border. AT the moment they know the limit of the ZOne and that land strip could be useful. Apart from which - the surviving Mexicans are a known quantity.

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lostatlunch puts forth...

Posted March 2, 2009
damn, it has been too long... gotta re-read & take copious notes.

Who is going on the Einstein factor. Topic: The literary works of John Birmingham.

Can the US secure Panama with a military that may not being paid.. They do not seem to be able to secure a border now.

Will a GI fight for an empty home, food & shelter? I would be expecting lots of the military seeing a life going ranching and give up the military life collecting a wife from Asia, Russia or Central America and a wild west developing of armed homesteaders.

With organised military opponents, I suspect the USA will only have a small military, a citizen’s militia and a deteriorating nuclear deterrent.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
Which ever way you cut it. The surviving North American population isn't large enough to secure the continent.

This is not meant to be controversial - but no matter how appealing the idea of Americans rebuilding what they had - they lack the manpower, economic infrastructure and trained military manpower to secure the land mass. They either have to wind down their military to release people back into civilian rebuilding effort or . . .maintain what they've got from a tax base they don't have.

The don't have an economy to support a massive army. They don't have an economy - period. The Brits faced the same dilemma after WW2 - keep an Empire or rebuild their homeland.

The other world powers face a similar problem. Try for a land grab. Why? Can they afford it? Are their own problems at home under control? What is the economic payoff? One reson why the Panama Canal is important. Who ever holds that potentially threatens every one through interdiction of International trade AKA protection racket.

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 2, 2009
Every time this recolonisation topic gets opened up there emerges a serious debate between those who believe the USA retains the capacity to control movements within the newly emptied continent and those who think the human tide and/or incursions by foreign powers will be too much to manage.

Without getting too much into the foreign powers/human tide element I'm leaning towards brians logic on the state of the US military. A 1'000'000 man (?) army plus a large naval fleet is incredibly expensive to sustain. When there is no economy behind it you have to ask yourself a question about what happens next.

Will the rank and file remain part of a decaying (yet still incredible powerful) organisation or will they take their chances in the wider world? When the choice is between food and shelter and patriotic duty to a vanished nation-state my bet is on the hungry man.

As a third altrernative; in the post wave chaos and confusion I could also imagine some military units going AWOL under a variety of nouveau commander Kurtzes. Maybe not so much in the Navy as the maintenance of ships requires a large central organisation best handled on a fleet scale but for something like the infantry who are more or less capable of being self sufficient in smaller groups this could be a factor.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted March 2, 2009
Lobes, the Active Army is 545,000. The Reserves and Guard maintain the other half. Even I am not suggesting this force level be maintained. I am suggesting that they would do their best to maintain a robust force. I'll post on that in a bit.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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mg mutters...

Posted March 2, 2009
don't touch Canada - it is what makes North America worth visiting... something happens south of the border that makes me feel uneasy whenever I cross it

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 2, 2009
Further to the logic or possible scenario. I look at the States abd I see a remnant population that could comfortably fit into either NYC or California - and then I look at the land mass. The population density could now be a person per hundreds of square miles (just a guess - possibly understated by several orders of magnitude)

The remnant population outside the military are skewed towards people who could afford to travel - retirees, college kids, and ex-pat business people. Not a demographic that could rebuild a nation - not 'hands-on' people. Urbanite - middle class on the whole. This is 'Survivor' writ large. These guys aren't in that mold.

The problem is manpower. Slash and burn agriculture experts wont resurrect the US ag base - which is industrial based. The farm machine and fuel infrastructure is shot, so are the high speed transport nexuses ie railyards, interstates.

There's got to be a way out of this scenario. One way is for the States to seize the gold reserves and start to spend it. Recall that England lost most of her reserves to the States as the price for WW2 aid. This time, the US spends it in New Zealand and Australia (they'll get it back eventually)

Murph? Force projections? They have to be based in places to be most effective. Some part of the Navy has to go over to Coast Guard and Merchant Marine. Some part of the AirForce has to pick up Civ Aviation duties. Some part of the military is going into securing silo's, weapons stocks ie Security detachments. They're going to be pretty dispersed.

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Naut mutters...

Posted March 2, 2009
Hey if Canada is Federated, does that mean Troy Hurtubise can be the next President? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_Hurtubise

Also, am I the only one intrigued by Birmo's use of the word Taken, complete with the capital T.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 2, 2009
It's home, Darkman. I'd defend it, whether I was in uniform or not. I might move to a different part of the United States (I'm not fond of Missouri) but I'd still defend it.

We have, until World War II, historically had a small military. Very small. Prior to the Spanish American War the Active Duty Army was 28,000 men. That's it.

I might further add, as I have in previous threads, that the United States has never let the size of her Army stop her from doing something in her own interests. If it is taking place on the North American continent and of interest to the US, chances are the Army will be there.

That said, I think there will be a smaller force in some respects. I also think there will be some incentive, unrelated to security issues, for keeping as many troops under arms as possible. One of the most important is giving them a job.

In any case, here are some assumptions I worked with.

Population of the United States by 2006: 10 to 15 million.

-This number squares with what is available outside of the Wave affected in addition to supplementation by a liberal citizenship program. The United States has never had any trouble bringing people here or giving them reasons to come. In fact, we usually have trouble keeping them out.

Using this number as a baseline, one can go look at wiki for comparable nation states in terms of population and see what they have. Personally, I believe the best model for a post-Wave America is Chile (which, getting a bit ahead of myself, is a stable state as of 2003 with a deep and abiding distrust of dictators).

So, what do you get in terms of Armed Forces? Go with the best and worst economies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_2005

Granted, wiki is a bit questionable but a bit more effort at a library will probably verify these numbers.

Cuba is probably the poorest yet most militarized with a pouplation of 11 million and at the low end of the population scale.

Conversely, Chile is better off economically with a respectable, professional military (by respectable, I am not referring to their human rights abuses, which is a different topic altogether). Their population runs 16 million. For a different example of a well off nation, there is the Netherlands with the same population of 16 million.

Cuba's standing Army: 49,000 effectives

Chile's standing Army: 45,000 effectives

Netherlands standing Army: 25,000 effectives

Given what I know about the three respective Armies, the Netherlands has the most technologically advanced force with Chile coming in a respectable second place. Cuba can draw upon a large citizen reserve if needs must (and probably would if the US tried to invade, something only Castro takes seriously anymore) yet I suspect Cuba is predominantly a light infantry force.

So if I were in Birmo's shoes, I think the strength of the U.S. Army's Active Force would be between 50,000 to 100,000, perhaps even higher. The main reason I suggest the need for a larger force is mainly to provide some form of employment. Further, I think some support personnel are vital.

In terms of equipment I further argue that the US Army, regardless of her size, will be a formidable force for some time to come. Stockpiles of weapons, parts, replacements and the like would be more than sufficient to sustain the force as well as any citizen militia forces. The real danger is the one that Lobes points out, that some people might grab this gear and set up their own little fiefdoms. This is along the lines of what happens in Stirling's Emberverse (granted, an inert Abrams will not serve you well if the gojuice don't go).

In terms of a Marine Corps, again we look to nations of comparable size. With Chile you have a force of 2,500 men. Given the surplus gear and the need to defend so much coastline, there would probably be a serious effort to maintain the Corps with a far larger number. Assume a range of 2,500 to 7,500.

In terms of the United States Navy, it all depends on whether or not the US Government forms a coalition to secure the Pacific Ocean (something that would be a high priority given that my supplies my come from nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Korea and the like).

If one posits a Coalition Navy, a Combined Pacific Fleet if you will, then it is probably possible to maintain a Nimitz class carrier in addition to a Wasp class LHD.

Keep in mind that in my previous discussions, I've pointed out that the air wing of this Nimitz carrier would most likely be a multinational one with a squadron from Australia, one from what is left of Canada, and perhaps other countries.

If we posit a stand alone Navy, then I suspect great effort would be made to maintain the latest build of the Nimitz class on active reserve, probably at Puget Sound Naval Base in Washington State. This carrier would probably operate sporadically with reduced efficiency with a higher accident rate. A second might be maintained on secondary reserve.

That said, they'd probably end up much like the carriers that Brazil, Thailand and India have. Used rarely, put to sea for a couple of months, kept in port most of the time.

So a likely model for a US Navy post Wave is probably either Chile or the Netherlands, perhaps Australia.

I think you'd see the Navy stick with their latest, least manpower intensive surface combatants. Perhaps a force of Arleigh Burke Destroyers, which are not assets to be sneezed at. At least two Ohios would probably be maintained, perhaps three (and these would probably receive the lion's share of resources) and if at all possible, the Navy would probably try to maintain a Wasp class LHD for some at sea airborne capacity using Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers.

Conversely, if one goes with Cuba as their model, then the US would be hard pressed to deploy a brown water navy. A navy of patrol boats and a few frigates hard pressed to protect our shores.

Those are my thoughts on the matter and granted, I didn't touch the Air Force yet.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
Per Canada, Federation or not, Canada is going to be just as interested in maintaining the sea lanes in the Pacific as the US, if not more so.

I think, therefore, a coalition naval force is definitely in the cards.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Madoc mutters...

Posted March 2, 2009
Folks,

Like I posted previously, during the period after the US has withdrawn its forces from the Gulf to the moment the Wave ends, there'd be time a plenty for US military planners to plan what to do once the Wave ends. The priorities would be hashed over and set. The mission plans to effect those priorities would be composed. We have full recon of the continent so we'd know _exactly_ what the physical state of things on the ground. I'd imagine the planners would have even drawn up road maps - literally - of what to do once the Wave ended.

Then, once the Wave did end, they'd put those plans into effect.

First thing would be to secure the US land based strategic deterrent. That means going after all the bombs, all the missiles, and all the weapons grade nukee boomy stuff. This, over and above any decontamination efforts.

With our nukes secured so to are our borders. At least from any nation state seeking to send over its "excess" population for resettlement.

Next on the priority list would be securing the military and industrial facilities necessary to maintain our conventional and nuclear military forces. Even with Australia, England and Japan's help, spares would have to be pretty damn low a year on. It would take quite a while to generate new spares but at least the stocks would be there.

Even with the majority of Americans settling in to California I can't see the US leaving the rest of America up for grabs. An "active" military presence up and down the Atlantic and Gulf coasts would ensure our sovereignty on those edges of the continent. A _very_ active US military presence along the Canal Zone would secure that land route. And the new occupants over on the West Coast would do the same for that edge.

Long term? Yeah, we'd need a pretty massive influx of folks to get things up and running and keep them so. I think the US would then give preference for English speakers and that means UK, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders by the many thousands. These, with preference going to technical experts in the many fields which need technical expertise.

I can't see food production needing hordes of folk to run since the US would be aiming at self-sufficiency not being the world's breadbasket. At least not for a while. The fertile fields of California could easily meet those needs. Initially, I think they could meet a low key demand without the full irrigation system being up and running. Beyond that, yeah, they'd need folks to run all those canals, dams, and pumping stations. Helping that however, would be a full year's worth of rainfall with no demand placed upon it.

One of other thing to think of is robotics. I'd have to imagine that in the many months after the Wave's start there would have to have been some very serious robotic efforts mounted to get into the US and do some stuff on the ground. Stuff like making sure certain things were turned off, certain things were turned on, and certain other things were kept running.

Think sending some sort of rover out to some of the damns to open their spillways. Or rovers pulling along a big tanker truck to make sure the water pumps at a spent nuclear fuel holding tank have sufficient fuel to keep running.

Lotsa things to think of here.

Madoc

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 2, 2009
The majority of Americans have had the "Pledge of Allegiance" drilled into their memories. Every American, military or non-military, should be reminded of that oath. Members of the military could be paid with land, goods, and bonds. Do you think the U.S. keeps all of its assets in country? Any elected politicians left in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Washington, Puerto Rico, and the American Virgin Islands should demand all American assets of the deceased, private or public, from the Swiss, the Caribbean, and any world banks - or else. We could have a resumption of nuclear testing.

Don't forget, despite their sometimes callous and selfish behaviour, most Americans are terribly sentimental - and greedy. America won't go easily into the night, and we'd deal with the devil rather than see what is ours taken by outsiders. And this is from a liberal Democrat...

J.

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JdR asserts...

Posted March 2, 2009
Tangenting away from Canada - I'm intrigued that lots of people are expecting wholesale invasions of US turf.

I guess it makes for good drama and so forth and is a staple for techno-thrillers.

But in reality most nations would weigh up the advantages of a status quo in terms of maintaining territorial integrity.

While the US's (and Canada's) claims to its territory can't necessarily be fully backed up by force, and the absense of US power would see considerable disruption to the international system, most countries would continue to back the rights of nations to maintain their borders and territories.

Look at Iraq's original invasion of Kuwait. Nobody supported Iraq's territorial claims - instead governments across the board supported Kuwait's right to territorial integrity - implying their general and self-interested commitment to the concept.

You wouldn't see China or Russia or Cuba marching onto the North American mainland claiming territory and terra nullius.

Not many rational and thoughtful governments would throw away the legitimacy of their own rule and borders to claim new turf. Sending your armies or people there also moves them somewhat beyond your own control.

There's a few irrational states though that would make things interesting. But I could see China just as likely to smack Venuzula or North Korea down (diplomatically and economically) as to support a 'proxy' invasion (perhaps JB you've got some scope to disrupt the readers expectations with this kind of stuff).

More likely to see the major nations manouvering to have significant and desirable roles in a 'peacekeeping occupation'.

Of course, there'd still be desperate Mexicans and Cubans and others moving into the empty territory. But I don't see them claiming it "for Mexico" etc. Many of these people are looking to escape their old governments, rather than bring them with them.

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JdR asserts...

Posted March 2, 2009
By the way - I look forward to the thread about "what does America give up on?"

If the novels are an exercise in crisis management, then they're one of prioritisation.

Many commenters have emphasised that they'd see the US maintaining everything.

But that can't happen.

So the issue will be things like:

- how to get out of the Panama Canal with whatever can be salvaged?

- how to not run all the international (non-military)institutions the US is closely involved in - the World Bank, the UN, etc etc.

- how to pull troops back from everywhere?

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 2, 2009
OMG. SJS is making sense.

From a story point of view that sentiment has to be satisfied.

Madoc. Tick.

More on California. Three remaining US states and rumps are Pacific based. From a civilian logistical point of view - there's a nexus. Also as has been pointed out before - you can drive from Seattle to California.

What else has California got? Gas fields. A viable fishery. Hookup to the Hoover Dam a couple of states over (?) San Diego. Viable porting facilities for the Pacific Fleet. Sea access to allies. Pacific anchor point for Panama Canal access point.

Hmm . . .I'd be putting a lot of anti sub capability around both entrances.

On the East Coast. Gitmo. Bulk of the armed forces from Europe and the Middle East. Hmm . . .actually not sure about that. Air routes seem to be shorter that way. However - access to the mouth of the Mississippi. Strike for the Panama Canal. That's an umbilical to weld both Pacific and Atlantic forces together.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted March 2, 2009
Parts? Well, for F-16s, securing Dallas-Fort Worth should be a priority. Lockheed's production facility is there. Same can be said for Saint Louis, Missouri and the Boeing production facility there. The Lima Army Tank Plant in Ohio, run by General Dynamics, is another asset one would need to secure.

http://www.lima.army.mil/location.htm

That said, some parts and spares can probably be procured from our allies such as Japan, South Korea, Germany (the 120mm main gun comes from there).

There is also this possibility. Many of these operators from other countries could be enticed to send technical experts to these facilities to help maintain some level of operation. Colonies of a sort, production based company towns with foreign national support, could be established around some of these facilities.

Just as probable is that if some independent operator gets a hole of a facility like the one listed above and forms a relationship with an international partner, they could solidify their political power base within the United States.

Per the Canal, I think it will have to be maintained, not shut down or closed. It is simply too important to global trade. I suspect a multinational force would be used to maintain the canal and shore up the stability of the Central American countries.

Per population, I definitely think a liberal immigration program is vital to rebuilding the population base. I'd add to the nations already mentioned by Madoc anyone from the Indian subcontinent as well as the Filippino population (because I do like the irony).

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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lostatlunch is gonna tell you...

Posted March 2, 2009
hmm.. not sure how much would have been done to establish control, with robots, just "deh govenator" by himself can not keep the whole state running during the event... it seemed to be a battle for survival and to get a grip on what has happened. I am not sure the level of planners required to start securing the assets is or the willingness of troops to enter the territory.

I can handle the whole military pay situation.. an existance in the military is better tan roaming the wasteland of continential United states. ... I'll give you land, bond or Paris Hilton clone (still mindless, but you will not notice) for service to the nation.

SJ, the majority of Americans are gone.. not sure how much legitimacy you get from those crafty swiss bankers.. especially if the facists have risen to power in europe and the rule of law has been compromised. The law in Australia is basically without living direct relatives, the assets goes to the government, and if the assets are in Australia.. then they are Australian.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted March 2, 2009
The US and Canada would develop an even closer alliance but I can't see either giving up independent nationhood. Both countries would remain touchy about these things. The Candaians would need to be coerced into it. The U.S. military would need to be securing its continental nuke bases and this would be very expensive, both in terms of manpower and fixing up neglected and damaged infrastructure.

Then they'd need to include looking after the Panama Canal as well as the Pacific. Where's the cash going to come from? Sell off salvage rights for particular areas?

The ecology is still going to be pretty screwed after the nuclear winter style effects.

Still, there's a whole lot of unpopulated land which has great potential. Land deals where people who return land to viable agriculture are allowed settlement rights? Similar deals with industrial enterprises who return key industries to production are allowed to assume ownership rights within a US economic (tax-paying) framework? There has to be effective and workable programs put in place to restore agriculture and industry. Lots of legalities to work through with esdtablishing ownership of existing land, buildings and plant.

But first, there has to be breweries (and hops and barley to feed them). Whoever gets the first kegs rolling out is awarded their own city, with naming rights.

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Madoc asserts...

Posted March 2, 2009
Brian,

I think Puerto Rico would be THE Atlantic / Eastern nexus for US forces whilst the Wave was in effect. The moment the Wave ceased it'd be a mad-ass scramble back up to Newport News / Hampton Roads to secure that base. Among other things, that's where the major ship-building and repair for the US Navy is located.

I'd also expect the US to get a lot more "lively" with dispensing long range "examples of our displeasure" with any other nation's antics once we lay our hands back on our warstocks of ammo. In particular our stocks of cruise missiles and their ilk. Think of all the parades we could rain on in Venezuela at that point. With such conventional weaponry secured our threat of nuclear annihilation would no longer be such a hard to trip trip wire for effecting US policy.

Yeah, Hoover would be uber good for the US California effort. So to would all that hydro power sitting up there in Washington state.

The way it's sounding, the Wave survivors would be beyond busy getting California back up and running. Their children however, would be the ones bringing life back to the rest of the continent.

I'd also imagine a real strong isolationist view would settle in here. We'd be to damn busy with our own problems to give much attention to the rest of the world's. And we'd have to little capacity to do anything long term elsewhere either. Oh, I'd imagine we'd _FULLY_ honor our assistance agreements with the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. A few others to. Beyond that?

Madoc

Madoc

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Brian mumbles...

Posted March 2, 2009
Canada and the US. What thoughts on the Great Lakes?

We've only been thinking about the South and West Coasts.

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lostatlunch has opinions thus...

Posted March 2, 2009
I do not think it would be a nationalistic effort to claim US territory, I would expect more likely a "people Power" grab for land.. I would swap the sums of Sao Paulo for a 2 month walk north to sunny Florida and a free orange grove with house in need of a big tidy up. The common man will see an opportunity ahead and grab it with both hands, just like the western shift in america and the squatters in Australia. I would even suspect it would be a good thing.. getting tyhe place functioning again.

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 2, 2009
We've tolerated the damn Swiss for too long. Nuke them. Nuke them all, and we have the nuclear subs to do it.

J.

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
Kwajalein... We have enough nuclear power at Kwaj. to destroy the world.

J.

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Madoc is gonna tell you...

Posted March 2, 2009
Darkman,

Okay, individuals making that decision and taking those actions would be one thing. Anyone down old Mexico way who's left standing a year after the Wave has been running and who then gets a hankering for a norther walkabout would have a daunting task in front of him.

Mexico's population is gone. So to is anyone who could've maintained its infrastructure. Such individuals seeking to head into the US would have to traverse the length of Mexico to get there. They'd have to become very, very adept at scavenging supplies as they went. Presuming they're able to find supplies to scavenge. Sure, there'd probably be a bunch of gas left in the storage tanks at gas stations. And water? Well, they could get bottled water from whatever convenience stores are left - i.e. haven't burnt to the ground or become contaminated in any fallout from city & industrial fires.

Oh, yeah, there's that fallout to consider. I'd imagine some of it would've wafted down from the US and also over from Mexico's industrial complexes. Such many square miles of toxic dust and deposits could be utterly lethal to walk through. Or even drive through.

I dunno, I just think any "individual" effort is gonna come to a grim end. And that's just getting across Mexico.

Once in the USofA they'd be finding nothing but the same thing. More contamination. More overgrowth. And _ZERO_ functional infrastructure.

Sure, that house in Miami would be free for the entry - but the water wouldn't run, the electricity wouldn't run, and nor would anything else.

Right now in many a southwestern US community they're facing a significant health crisis due to the mortgage disaster. It seems a goodly number of folk have simply bailed on the houses they stupidly bought. This has left the properties untended. Many of those properties happen to come with swanky backyard pools. With no electricity to run the pumps, no replacements for the clogged filters, and no regular "shocking" of the water with chlorine, those backyard pools have become massive puddles of stagnant water.

Just the thing to breed clouds of mosquitoes from.

Can we say "West Nile Virus?" Yes, I thought we could...

Think of trying to move through urban area after urban area with such ecological disasters in each backyard.

Madoc

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Sweet Jane Says would have you know...

Posted March 2, 2009
Fly overs with pesticides and defoliants...

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Sweet Jane Says mumbles...

Posted March 2, 2009
All the drug dealers down south lost their boats and planes...? What "walking?"

J.

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Trowzers reckons...

Posted March 2, 2009
My 2 bit of pocketchange - Military invasions by other countries may well be scared off by the threat of retalliation from the remaining US forces. But what if the invading force isn't a military force? I'm thinking of John Marsden's 'Tomorrow' series, where Oz is not just invaded, but organised settlement takes place soon afterwards. What if these settlers come in, not behind an organised military force, but in dribs and drabs of self-sufficient family groups, dropped of on the quiet. China has done a great job of making sure Tibet won't go anywhere in the near future thanks to the importation of huge numbers of Chinese immigrants - wouldn't the same strategy work in the empty US? It doesn't have to look like any particular government is doing it. And the US forces will be pretty busy fixing things and protecting their nukes and bases to keep an eye on ALL that coastline. And even if they do see them coming - are you going to blow up a ship full of farmers and their kids? Will there be Tampa-style standoffs? And once they are settled in and planting their vegetables, is anyone really going to run them off and make them go back home? So I wonder if a lot of different settlements from different nationalities are going to spring up in the US, flaunting US rule, and squabling among themselves for the best arable land and water sources. Maybe they got there on their own, maybe they were helped on the way with the understanding that they remember who their *real* government is.

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
In a story, the US invades and inhabits the Soviet Union after killing all the citizens, but an odd thing happens. New inhabitants, Americans, begin to act like old citizens, Soviets, because the land has a spirit of its own; and a land and its people eventually become one. With enough money, anyone can become a "good American." Anyone making a go at a living in the old U.S. could be bribed, or threatened, into becoming an American.

J.

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tygertim mumbles...

Posted March 2, 2009
Just a few scatterbrained points off the top of my head...

Chavez may have sung his swan song. Imagine that you're a Venezuelan General... Looking at the blast front of a Nuke detonated just off the Coast of Caracas... That wasn't as benign an action as it appears... Tsunami. Hector may just have shortened his life span.

Chavez will be seen as the jerk who got a lot of Venezuelans killed for nothing. If I were him I'd be worried about my own neck, Heck he wouldn't be able to kill them off fast enough...

The Governors of the remaining Mexican State will be worried about ANYBODY to the south of their Southern boarder, but ESPECIALLY the Venezuelans. Occupying Cuba will be seen as a threat to their Gulf Coast Oil wells (some of which are still outside the Wave area) and Mexican Governors are by Tradition and Custom ruthless bastards. They will seek to come to some sort of accommodation with the Rump States..

As for Juan Cubano, I wouldn't rely too much on him welcoming his new Venezuelan overlords... If I was JCS, I'd make taking Cuba a priority simply because Cuban Bases pose a clear and present danger to the US...

As for Canada, well, they do have a government. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is Queen of Canada, and appoints a Governor General just like with Anzac Countries... how this will play out is a good question... but some sort of cooperation between the US and Canada is a given

As for paying for stuff? Hey there's a hundred years of refined steel in the cities alone, not to mention copper, aluminm, etcetera....

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
Actually I'm on the same page as Madoc regarding the grim challenges facing small groups on any long walk across MEX/USA. I think its doable but only the best prepared groups with more than their share of luck would make it.

A flotilla of small boats into florida OTOH is more speculable. The people and drug smuggling sectors are already quite busy in that part of the world and with no coast guard or coastal radar installations functioning they would have a straight shot at southern florida. By securing land near flowing water they could probably scavenge enough to survive until their first crop was ready. The first people into the empty areas obviously have a massive advantage which one imagines could certainly make it a bit of a 'gold rush' so to speak. Kind of what Trowzwers hypothesizes

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Sweet Jane Says asserts...

Posted March 2, 2009
Cuba is not a threat to us and hasn't been since Krushchev was denied access to Mickey Mouse (that was just mean of Disney...). Florida has more Cubans than Cuba.

J.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
Trowzers, per illegal immigrant settlements, whether they are tolerated or not all depends on how they behave. If they show a willingness to become US citizens and assimilate then I suspect they'd be tolerated. If they were seen as basically harmless, they'd be tolerated. If they were actively trying to carve off a portion of CONUS for an independent state or for some other nation-state, then rest assured, it wouldn't be tolerated.

Well, I should amend that. It'd depend on the type of President you had. Some of our guys are quite willing to sell out the store given the right circumstances. Thing is, I don't think Kipper is that type of guy.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted March 2, 2009
I still think that a lot of settlers will skip the hassles of the US and head for the new frontier - Mexico - completely empty and no one\government to claim it.

Yeeeehawwwwww!

Open slather, the wild west all over again!

Just think of some of the wild groups that would set up 'countries' there

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Madoc has opinions thus...

Posted March 2, 2009
Murph & all,

I could easily see the US coming up with some special agricultural agreements with _certain_ countries. That is, our allies. Something on the order of; "in exchange for bringing this several hundred square mile area of farmland in what used to be Iowa / Nebraska / Idaho / Illinois / etc.,.. we'll let you guys have exclusive access to its products for the next ten years with an option for another ten at the end of that period..." sort of thing.

That plus "homesteading" / citizenship for qualified citizens from allied countries. Send over your best and brightest farmers, irrigation system specialists, steel mill operators, civil engineers, etc., and we'll happily let be citizens after they've done their bit. Oh, and we'll throw in the forty acres and a mule while we're at it to...

Given how bad things might be in Poland by this time, I'd imagine there be yet another bunch of Americans-of-Polish descent populating the American mid-west. Same same with any of the other countries that stood beside us once the Wave hit.

Speaking of which, the US would still posses the world's best strategic military forces and still posses the best conventional long range strike capability. I'd imagine that our allies would get first call on that as well. Such force usage - I'm thinking of B-1, B-52 and any Spirits that happened to be at Diego when the Wave hit - would be in America's best interest as well. Our allies calling for the US to put the smack down on their enemies - and Uncle Sam showing up to do it - would keep their future enemies at bay and remind the rest of the world that the US still has got that big stick at hand.

Madoc

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Madoc ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
MickH,

Ooo... now there's a possibility! The US would be very busy restarting the US. And so long as the groups aren't to big at any one time as they transit past the Canal Zone covered areas and so long as the groups don't make much of stink while getting situated....

Yeah, that'd be the real Wild West alright. And with the added bit of chaos thrown in with the US always being in the background ready to lob down a few JDAMs on any fools getting to big for their britches ("I proclaim myself Emperor Cuauhtémoc and with the wealth from the oil field I control I will raise an army to take over the world!" /insert big high explosive air dropped boomy goodness here/ "Oh, uh, nevermind...")

Madoc

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lostatlunch puts forth...

Posted March 2, 2009
Madoc, sounds like the place is not worth salvaging really..

maybe that was the plane after katrina?

OH OH OH!!!

a bunch of south americans freelance out from their squalid slums, get up north by any means possible.

They embrace the concept of

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."\

establish a peaceful~ish people, it could be quite some time before anyone from Seattle shows any interest in Arkansa or Tennessee. one they have set up camp and are feeding themselves, I suspect it would be hard to get rid of them, tolerating them may be the best you can hope for.

basically it is going to be impossible for a government with a population of 4 million will be able to secure a territory the size of the US & it will be even worse with areas that are contaminated with chemicals and toxic waste.

The most advanced military cant even secure a little place like Afganistan.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted March 2, 2009
First things first ... on Canada ... I don't see a formal union taking place ... I mean, the fundamental question is cui bono? Perhaps an extended mutual defense treaty. We already have NAFTA for trade - Canada is ("was" in the context of WW) the largest trading partner of the US. Most people overlook that. But as far a a formal political union ... don't see that happening. However, playing Devil's advocate, I could envision a scenario where G.B. really went down the fascist path and Canada wanted to back out of the Commonwealth and came to the U.S. for 'protection'. For a union to happen there would need to be some significant external catalyst.

On invasion by other nations, etc: What I'm not seeing in a lot of the comments is the acknowledgment that the U.S. has had a functioning federal government for at least a year. In the epilogue section "One Year" President Kipper was reviewing reports from physics labs about the wave, had a Secretary of State waiting to see him, comments about co-funding the fleet with Australia and negotiations with G.B. over arctic oil fields ... so there is a fully functioning, recognized sovereign and, more importantly, working, government in place and I think that rules out any invasion by China, Russia et.al. I would imagine that there are working plans on the desks of the military for mobilization to secure sensitive sites in the event the wave went away ... the military loves nothing more than to plan, plan, plan. I'm thinking that within 1 hour of the final sentence of WW that Kipper was on the horn with his Joint Chiefs giving the go-ahead for executing such a plan. They have plenty of bodies to drop and in the past year I'm sure that there were tons of drone flyovers, hacks into base security systems, etc., to determine whether sites were 'clean' or not.

One thing that I think you will see, and I said this before, is smash and grabs for tech, industrial secrets and wealth (gold, jewelry, art) sponsored by corps or cartels.

As to repopulating the U.S. - take a look at the growth of population in the U.S. between 1776 and 1876. Because of modern transportation it won't be a matter of population spreading from the east to the west ... instead, you will see groups of people settle in strategic places across the continent with population spreading from those points.

The U.S. was able to administer growth in a pre-industrial era and manage huge waves of immigration. What is to stop it from doing so post wave? Sure, there will be some squatters - think of the mountain men and other settlers moving ahead of civilization in the 1800's ... but formal government structure always overtook them and the same thing will happen over time. Hell, look at the HBO series Deadwood and get a sense of how it worked. Resistance is futile.

Regards,

Rhino

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
Its my understanding the government of the United States of America derives its legitimacy from the Union of the States. Whats in the constitution to give dominion over these areas that have no representation? They are no longer part of the Union and it seems that with zero population it would be a re-colonisation of terra nullius and first in best dressed no matter what the settlers previous affiliation with the Union.

Murph or Mckinney you've probably addressed this before but isnt their some doctrine giving dominion over the physical land or is the above plausible from a legal POV?

I think any US govt recoloisation programme is obviously going to start from the far NorthWest. The question is what is the level of interaction between the Wasington and Oregon (I always get those 2 mixed up) state govts and the Canadian and B.C. govts? Chances are they already cooperate on a number of things, border and maritime duties being ones that come to mind, so thats how your initial thrust into the continent is going to be delivered.

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