Cheeseburger Gothic

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 is gonna tell you...

Posted March 2, 2009
I just ask myself. What would the Road Warrior do?

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Trowzers mumbles...

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 mumbles...

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 would have you know...

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 would have you know...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 ducks in to say...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 reckons...

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 would have you know...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 mumbles...

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 has opinions thus...

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 reckons...

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 mumbles...

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 asserts...

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 has opinions thus...

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 reckons...

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 mumbles...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 asserts...

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 asserts...

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 mumbles...

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 ducks in to say...

Posted March 3, 2009
JdR,

Dude, you _so_ have to read the book!

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kittenheel asserts...

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 would have you know...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 asserts...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 mutters...

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 mutters...

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 mumbles...

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 puts forth...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 would have you know...

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 mutters...

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 would have you know...

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 puts forth...

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 has opinions thus...

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 ducks in to say...

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 would have you know...

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 would have you know...

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 reckons...

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 has opinions thus...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 has opinions thus...

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 puts forth...

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 ducks in to say...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 mumbles...

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 reckons...

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 mutters...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 puts forth...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 asserts...

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 mutters...

Posted March 4, 2009
Don't stifle my creativity!

J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted March 4, 2009
Heaven forbid.

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Havock ducks in to say...

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 has opinions thus...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 has opinions thus...

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 mumbles...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 would have you know...

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 has opinions thus...

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 ducks in to say...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 ducks in to say...

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 mumbles...

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 mutters...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 reckons...

Posted March 5, 2009
PS - Area 51 might have some extremely interesting and profitable stuff!

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Brian mumbles...

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 would have you know...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 asserts...

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 mutters...

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 has opinions thus...

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 asserts...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 asserts...

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 puts forth...

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 ducks in to say...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 reckons...

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 puts forth...

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 mutters...

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 reckons...

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 asserts...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 would have you know...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 reckons...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 asserts...

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 mutters...

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 reckons...

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 would have you know...

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 mutters...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 reckons...

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 ducks in to say...

Posted March 1, 2009
Toronto isnt it?

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Lobes mutters...

Posted March 1, 2009
My bad, its Ottawa... thank you wikipedia

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yankeedog ducks in to say...

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 has opinions thus...

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 reckons...

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 would have you know...

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 asserts...

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 ducks in to say...

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 mumbles...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 reckons...

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 would have you know...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 has opinions thus...

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 asserts...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

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 mutters...

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 mumbles...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 ducks in to say...

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 has opinions thus...

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 mutters...

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 mumbles...

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 mumbles...

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 has opinions thus...

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 reckons...

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 mumbles...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 ducks in to say...

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 would have you know...

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 puts forth...

Posted March 2, 2009
Kwajalein... We have enough nuclear power at Kwaj. to destroy the world.

J.

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Madoc mutters...

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 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 2, 2009
All the drug dealers down south lost their boats and planes...? What "walking?"

J.

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Trowzers is gonna tell you...

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 mutters...

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 mutters...

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 asserts...

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 ducks in to say...

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 is gonna tell you...

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 would have you know...

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 has opinions thus...

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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Therbs would have you know...

Posted March 2, 2009
Enough with the egghead blah blah blah! Doesn't anyone care about the breweries?

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George03 would have you know...

Posted March 2, 2009
One thing that Rhino alluded tothat goes along with my thinking is the US having a functioning government after 12 months.

But what about an economy?

What would JB's ideas be on the state of the world economy 12 after the wave and some sort amount of nuclear war? Would there be one? Or would the world be totally isolationist and not dealing with anyone they didn't have to?

What would be the value of diffenent currencies around the world? Would there be only one......GOLD????

All these questions ,and more, would have to be considered before deciding what would happen after the WAVE went away, as it would have determined many alliances and treaties in the new World Political Order and how things are re-aranged post Wave.

One line of dialogue that intregued me in WW was uttered by one of the generals when he said that he never saw himself as a "gun for hire". When you consider the state of world affairs after One Month in the book, the only real asset that the US would have left is their military and I can see them being exactly that.......Guns for Hire!

To pay their way for sheltering their citizens and restocking their war supplies, the US military would have to hire itself out to places like South Africa and Australia to help them keep their Gold reserves as that would be the new world currency, along with whatever is considered valuable at that time.

There is an 11 month gap in the timeline of the book, up to the point the Wave went away..... What happened????

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George03 asserts...

Posted March 2, 2009
To Therbs.....

The Yanks never knew how to make a beer anyway!!!!!

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Brian puts forth...

Posted March 2, 2009
To George03 : Yes they did. Most of those Milwaukee brewers were Germans.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted March 2, 2009
MICKH, I happen to know a bloke with a few LARGE planes, fancy a little expedition, maybe KINGDOM construction.

Hmm, now, once that little puppy lifts and all those people go charging back in, WHO is up for some PRICE GOUGING....

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted March 2, 2009
yeah, i am Actually very curious as to how the Republican / Monarchist thing will pan out!...........

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted March 2, 2009
How ironic if America were to rejoin the commonwealth. History will have gone full cirlce

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted March 2, 2009
OH LOBES...now that would be FUCKING wicked...go on JB.

I DARE YA!

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Brian mumbles...

Posted March 2, 2009
Hmmm . . . Birmo?

'4-Corners' - Russian Arms Dealer. How he made his fortune out of the Soviet collapse. Try ABC Iview later in the week. Its on now. Analogues. Soviets pulling out of bases in Czechoslovakia and needed to get rid of weapons surplus to requirements to finance their return to Mother Russia. Remind you of anything?

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted March 2, 2009
Lets turn this around. Under what conditions would the rest of the English Mafia officially federate with the US?

I can't help but think of all those Coalition troops bugging out of Iraq. Not the US contingent - the rest. Not sure - but I think there's an angle we're missing. Think Roman Legions bringing their auxilaries home with them. Plus families.

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sibeen would have you know...

Posted March 2, 2009
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…

I just can't see a lot of Aussies, Kiwis or Canadians taking up the offer. Where I can see quite a few white, english speaking, farmers coming from is South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia etc. You're not going to get a lot of farmers from the UK either. The ones who own farms in the UK will probably want to stay on them and I don't think a bloke from the Glasgow or Manchester is going to make the greatest land worker in the world. What you probably will get from the UK is your engineers, technicians and other proffesionals; all trying to escape the rather bleak place that it has beome.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 2, 2009
Lobes, McKinney and others could probably address the real estate issue better than I could. I could give you examples of how the US settled the West using governmental incentives such as the Homesteading Act of 1862 (there is some debate as to the effectivenesss of this act, just FYI) but insofar as settling who owns what, my gut feeling is that if a living relation can be found, they'd probably be given title.

If not, then the government would probably hold it in some sort of trust.

Got class in five. We're talking 'bout the Panama Canal today.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Thomas Potter asserts...

Posted March 3, 2009
Here's my two cents. Union with Canada makes sense, they are interconnected and the Western Provinces are much more USA conservative types in general. I know some of them. Secondly, the rest of the world has it's hands full surviving. Mexico is toast and even Hugo should be having problems due to food and fuel issues. The main refining capacity for his crappy and dirty oil was in the USA on the Gulf Coast. The rest of South America is struggling to maintain as is Africa. China is in Civil War, Russia is bound to be having problems with her sattelites and the aging military infrastructure is not yet receiving massive dregs of oil money (and likely never will-who's going to buy it?). Europe is in trouble and France has Sarkozy tryiong to tie up loose ends, UK is turning fascist, Germany is experiencing troubles from her guests as well.

Resettle if you can, use military bases to make secure areas. Do you realize how much of the US's military outside CONUS at time of the Wave's arrival. 1st & 3d MarDiv, 2/3 of the 2d MarDiv, same with airwings. 1st ArmDiv, 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 25th IDivs, 101st Air Assault Div & 173d Airborne Brigade, plus Third, Seventh and Eighth Army HQ, I Corps, V Corps and parts of III & XVIII Corps HQ and all the supporting troops, probably 2/3 of the USN and a large proportion of the Boomers, plus a ton of USAF assets worldwide. I'd guesstimate surviving US forces including National Guard and Reserves in remaining areas at between 700,00-900,000 personnel. Puerto Rico still had the Navy Range active and it's own NG brigade. I would surmise the USAF moved assets there in the return process to support Guantamo. It's one of my gripes in the story line. Same thing in Washington State- the biggest military presence in state was Navy and not Army with 4 bases, including the PacFlt Boomer base. Fort Lewis didn't even have a complete division stationed there in 2003. Station surviving forces in areas where they cna stiffen US presence. 3ID at Ft. Benning, GA; 101stAAD at it's base at Ft. Campbell, KY; 4ID at Fort Carson, CO; 1AD at Fort Hood; 1st ID in SC; redeploy what is left of 2dMarDiv in NC; 1stMarDiv back at Pendleton in CA; 3dMarDiv on Guam; 25ID stays in Hawaii; 2ID to Fort Lewis; 173d Abn Bde to Fort Drum, NY or perhaps Panama. Use the military as a linchpin to start resettlement. Get economy started on limited basis and subsistence farming to start with. Begin cleanups or whatever slavage priorities there are. Get to the silos and check out the ICBMs. Get to the airbases and salvage what you can. Make the infrastructure operational. Highways, rail, bridges, dams and reservoirs. It will be a long process.

There should be about 10 million Canadians, and according to what I gleaned from the book anywhere from 10-15 million USA citizens. Thin on the ground but doable to keep territorial integrity given everyone else is in hot water as well. How many dead worldwide from all this disaster and war? A billion or so? Maybe more? Does make a difference in population pressures, economics and just general health issues. But hey, just my thoughts...

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mckinneytexas mumbles...

Posted March 3, 2009
Coming in late, as usual--the territorial integrity of the US would remain at least theoretically inviolate, and perhaps pragmatically so given the military assets Birmo left us with. Lobes is correct that the US is actually a federation of 50 theoretically sovereign states. However the federation document, our constitution, includes the laws passed pursuant thereto, and by either constitutional or legislative fiat, each state is a part of the US, whether populated or not.

Now, it is another thing entirely for a half a dozen families to settle in Texas and then have the right to two senators and a congressperson, per the present terms of the constitution. How it was amended to allow for repopulation in WW is unstated. Under the current, live version of the constitution, each state gets two senators and one representative, an additional representative for each additional X number of millions of population--a half million, I think, but would have to check to be sure. If I had to guess, the country would be redivided into a much smaller number of states, with Washington, Hawaii and Alaska expanding considerably.

I think federation with Canada is a done deal. Edmonton will have degraded thoroughly and most of its surviving population will have wandered to Vancouver, or crossed the border into Washington or will have settled down in rural areas where small groups can find the resources to survive. Basically, Canada now consists of Vancouver and some really nice but cold mountains. Vancouver needs what remains of the US more than the remainder of the US needs Vancouver. Plus, we can get to Vancouver and the Brits really cannot.

But then, I see a pan-federation of UK, US, ANZUS, Canada all teaming up to repopulate the US with a shared political future so what do I know?

If I were writing the property ownership laws for the empty portion of the US, I would have all vacant lands revert (escheat? help me Paul) to the feds for subsequent sale, award, assignment, etc. For those limited number of cases where a survivor wanted to assert a right to property owned by someone who would have left it to the survivor, well, first you'd have to either prove testamentary intent or have, as most states do, laws of intestate distribution, i.e. who inherits when there is no will. The number of survivors with claims to a piece of property who actually want to live on that property will be very, very small. small enough, in a country now so reduced in size, to be accomodated by special legislation.

A final note--no one from Mexico or Brazil will be walking to the US. It is too far and far too inhospitable. I've hunted Mexico and South Texas. A very small number will make its way by car. Most will die as those countries, especially Mexico devolve at least a century if not two. Farming in Mexico is not an option. It is already over-planted with disastrous environmental complications already manifesting. Everyone south of the wave will have to live a full year on what they had on hand, can grow or can steal/kill. That is very damn little. The basic fabric of society will be gone inside 3-4 months.

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mckinneytexas mutters...

Posted March 3, 2009
Potter--good stuff. that usually gets you killed by Birmo, usually in an unpleasant way. Well done and welcome.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted March 3, 2009
Potter. G'day. Good stuff. Very good indeed.

McKinney : I see nothing I'd disagree with. The Canadian remnant population numbers surprise me. IIRC Canada has a current lower population than the States? I always thought the bulk of it was over on the East Coast.

RE-federation. Why worry about the actual framework now? A de-facto arrangement will become actual given time.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 3, 2009
Per the Navy in Washington State, I honestly do not think they have the ground deployment assets to enforce their will upon Seattle. Nor the experience. More to the point, the commanding offer of the Naval District is a Rear Admiral. Blackstone, if he is I Corps Commander (and I, for all intents and purposes, assume that he is since Fort Lewis is home to I Corps HQ) would be a Lieutenant General. The novel doesn't break it down in detail, but Blackstone would be the ranking officer on the scene.

It is possible that the Navy might have an equivalent or higher ranking officer in the area at the time of the Wave. Even if such an officer were to assume command and make Blackstone a subordinate, the Army would still be responsible for whatever measures were taken within Seattle.

I suspect, given the type of man Blackstone is, he wouldn't necessarily let an Admiral tell him how to run his AO.

Per basing units at various Forts throughout the US, I feel a bit differently. Certainly the equipment at those facilities need to be secured. Some of them are definitely canadiates for reoccupation, but the fact of the matter is that the security needs of the nation will have changed. It makes more sense to place those units on likely, easily defendable transportation routes and near manufacturing centers which are a high priority.

Given that the locus of American authority now centers in Washington State, it seems to me that one would want to secure an East to West overland route which could be patrolled by highly mobile forces. I-90 would probably be the best candidate if it can be cleared. I-35 might be a candidate for a North-South spine that runs from I-90 down to the Gulf. I'd place forces in small, mobile units along these routes. As the West Coast restores herself, another candidate for reoccupation would be Fort Riley, since she sits right next to I-70.

But if I were placing Brigade Combat Teams, I'd place them in place like the Lima Tank Plant or near the Lockheed plant in Texas.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Jeff R. puts forth...

Posted March 3, 2009
Is Puerto Rico still politically connected to the Rump US by the end of WW? Its governor wasn't even considered during the leadership search, it doesn't seem to have even been considered for accepting refugees, and it doesn't seem to have been part of the constitutional convention (where its population would have made it outweigh most of the other participants), and Chavez also seems to have forgotten about it, thinking that eliminating Gitmo would make for an American-Free Caribean.

I'd say it either jumped ship early, offscreen, or else the map is wrong and the wave stretched out over the entire island...

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Murphy mutters...

Posted March 3, 2009
Jeff, the problem with Puerto Rico is that it is so far from the other US assets that I have a hard time seeing how they'd remain politically connected to the US. The Wave is in the way for one thing. Also given the foricble reorientation of US power, I suspect they'd probably go their own way. Granted, they have the assets to make life difficult for anyone who tries to mess with them and perhaps they'd maintain ties with the US to one degree or another.

But they are very much on their own.

More to the point, Puerto Rico's congressional delegation is a non-voting one given their territorial status. They'd probably have trouble getting a delegation to the Convention in Seattle and if you invite them then you'd have to ask the American Samoans (nice people, served with them in the Army, not to be fucked with) and others to the table.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Jeff R. mutters...

Posted March 3, 2009
Well, the Island itself is a non-state, but the people on it (as well as the American Samoans, the Guamanians, at al) are US Citizens, and would seem to have as much a right to be considered in the convention as the US Citizens living on lands that aren't even US territories...

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savo would have you know...

Posted March 3, 2009
About this re-population thing, I believe it is unavoidable that US Forces give the nod (hey there could be a song in that) to a race to secure military and civil facilities, infrastructure and assets, much the same way as coalition special forces raced ahead to secure deserted/partially deserted Iranian military posts.

It is all going to be extremely difficult to get to the flat bits of the US as the roads east and south from Washington will not be in good repair. Likewise there will be very little in the way of usable airfields or harbours. Getting to the river systems in the heartland and east will be nigh on impossible with Uncle Hugo in the way. I look forward to seeing how JB is going to do it.

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Thomas Potter would have you know...

Posted March 3, 2009
Blackstone is addressed as a Major General in the meeting with our hero after arresting the council. The whole situation is a bit muddled. He appears to be the garrison commander of Fort Lewis. Where the actual I Corps commander is located at theis point is not mentioned. He would be a Lt. Gen. Also, the Navy, in particular the nuke guys, would not recognise his authority. The Navy has extensive air assets their as well as homeporting a CVN. And there are Marines there, too. Seattle area is much more a Navy town than Army....

Thanks for the welcome. I've been lurking here for some time. Since the new Gothic is up I feel somehow freer to post...

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Thomas Potter swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 3, 2009
Puerto Rico doesn't have Congressional votes but they do count popular and electoral votes in National elections. So do the Samoans. And we sent refugees to the South Pacific so I know they would want a say. If we are still on Gitmo we would be even more involved in Puerto Rico. There's just so much more there, not to mention millions of US citizens.

As far a using bases, they would serve as excellent hubs. Fort Hood, Fort Bliss and to a lesser extent Fort Sam Houston are pretty big establishments with lots of equipment and housing. Same thing for many of the other Forts. They would be someplace to grow from and to help hold down US authority. 'Boots on the ground' as it's called. There is so much stuff that needs reclaiming and guarding and the military would have a job to do.

Even if the seat of Government is on the West Coast, it isn't necessarily going to stay there. And there is so much manufacturing plant in the east... Not to mention all the gold at Fort Knox. In the current economy, that was likely the first place secured by the government.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted March 4, 2009
Mr Potter (or should that be WO Potter? I can't quite tell from the profile pic) I too welcome you & your most excellant input.

I concur that your namesake is going to meet a messy end if the quality of your input keeps up to this standard.

Don't fret - it's a compliment.

Good stuff!

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NBlob reckons...

Posted March 4, 2009
RE: Fort Knox.

I once heard that there was a decentralising push in the early 80's, so that bullion & currency stockpiles were distributed all over the joint. Ft. Knox probably still has a concentration of glinting goodies, but I'd imagine private holdings & distributed reserves would be more attractive targets for villains & a much harder prospect to secure by the millitary.

It would be a long term prospect for villlains - that old supply & demmand game. Snaffle it up, then (figuratively) sit on it for ten years while the global market returns to some semblance of normality. This is a game for big boys, not a deserting unit of a dozen grunts. Back to that old chestnut - for anything to be valuable you've got to find then get it to a market. Who wants 2.5 tons of gold? anyone? anyone? Bueler?

Or should this be over in the "post wave economics 101" thread ?

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 4, 2009
I spent time at Fort Lewis. I have a fellow adjunct that spent time there. More to the point, Lewis has contingency plans for Seattle and in 2003 with Stryker Brigades, a number of National Guard assets, as well as I Corps Corps Level assets, they have the ordnance to move into the city, Navy town or not.

As for Marines, aside from folks assigned to Naval ships and shore patrol detachments, there just aren't that many. Furthermore, Fort Lewis is closer than Bremerton.

Even if Blackstone were a Brigadier, if those forces follow his orders, the Navy is going to have a bit of trouble, carriers or not.

Which I think is just simply implausible anyway. You don't give a swabbie control over a land situation.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted March 4, 2009
Murph, lets not forget that conservation of assets is crucial. Whilst I agree that bases will be secured and manned at certain locations, dispatch of troops would be a last resort. UCAV’s, global hawk type platforms would be the preference due to loiter ability and the cheapness to not only build, but run as well. Unless really required, heavy units would be a last dispatch resort, more like Air mobile units I suspect.

Also, as the major centres will harbour the majority of the populations this is also where to a larger extent, the military will be utilised for control as well. Lets also not forget, that all those heavy units will have been extracted from their locations after the wave event, then where will they have been put. I suspect a BIG BROWN LAND, plenty of space as we say.

Also, I see a certain amount of US units being retained off shore at the Partners of whatever coalition is formed post the wave, especially if it houses strategic infrastructure or perhaps close to a region where it has turned to shit, which I fully expect south east Asia to do.

Then toss in security of SLOC’s from these countries to the US. This must be maintained as well, I wonder how many piss ant countries there are that supply certain raw materials, that may be crucial to manufacturing and require securing, just a thought.

Mckin is right, overland from the Americas is not really an option, its boats, question is, large countries with massive populations: how quickly can they re organise, is three years sufficient to pose a credible threat to the re population of the US, even with its current might post the wave. I suspect nit. BUT, would progressive boat loads of refugees be frowned upon or fired upon by the new president, I think not. THEN what will they do?, it’s a big question.

Rail is a no brainer and it must go east west with also a north south link. Its cheap cost effective transport.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 4, 2009
Havock, depends on the refugees. If they are coming to become US citizens, I suspect they'd be welcomed with open arms.

If they were coming to carve off part of the country and establish a colony, they'd be fired upon. It would constitute an invasion of soverign territory and we'd have the right to stop them.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted March 4, 2009
Murph, I agree, but how do you sort the good from the Bad?

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 4, 2009
Classic case was put in the book by JB, the GITMO Incident

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Thomas Potter mutters...

Posted March 4, 2009
Murph- I understand your point about Lewis but there is a lot of Navy around, and they won't let ground pounders run their bases. And they have more aircraft. But, it appears from the novel that Blackstone didn't even care...

Rail seems a great cost effective way to get stuff across this ravaged continent. Sorting out the good from the bad isn't done all that well now when it comes to immigration, it will likely be worse in the post WW period.

For those who care, my avatar is my late father in law, USMC. He was quite a guy....

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 4, 2009
If Seattle is going into the crapper but Bremerton isn't, why would an Army Commander send troops to both?

That said, if it had been General Stephen Francis Murphy (the tuckerized guy or the real guy who is typing this entry right now) at Lewis, my response to the situation in Seattle would have been to say, "I'm sorry, it is a Civil Matter."

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Havock would have you know...

Posted March 5, 2009
Ah, yes, but we no you!, unlike the author Murph, are not a nutter when it comes to literary crafting matters....

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted March 5, 2009
Well, in defense of the Blackstone character, the Seattle storyline wouldn't become a discussion of civil/military power without him. To be fair, I think the man meant well (a lot of tyrants mean well, sucks to be the one being thrown out the back of a C-130 but that is another matter) but he seems to have lost touch with a fundamental aspect of the American Military.

We answer to the civilians, no matter how stupid and boneheaded they are.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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lostatlunch mumbles...

Posted March 5, 2009
there is a lot of military (in fiction) who are convinced that they can and will do a better job without pesky civillans imposing "limits" and making military decisions based on "political implications" and with conceern to "war crimes" such other piffle.

Damn civillians getting in the way of good old fashioned ass-kicking. Bush was a military mans President, beats the crap out of Kipper, I beleive in Change!!

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Questions asserts...

Posted April 4, 2009
I raised a few questions in another forum about Without Warning and was directed here by one of the posters who said you'd love it. So, here I am. LOL The issue is simple. How would you keep the survivors of the US armed forces supplied?

"Finished the whole book. Even with the allies funding the remnants, I still don't think the American forces could be supported. But then, I'm not all that knowledgable about the American army. So, I'll ask the ones who are better informed on the subject: Was what was shown believable?

Thanks,

Arun

On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 1:25 PM, Arun Prabhu wrote:

I'm reading Without Warning right now having heard some good things about it in this forum.

America disappears off the face of the earth and the world goes down the toilet. So far so good. But the American armed forces are still around and they kick some truant ass. And this is where my problems with the novel start. When there's no mainland to support the soldiers, how are the units able to engage in combat like they do? What about the spare parts? What about fuel - the Col. once said in this very forum that for military vehicles mileage gallons per mile and not miles per gallon? Where will they get all the fuel from? What about food? What about ammunition? What about finance? What about replacements for wounded soldiers and such? What about soldier fatigue from the constant fighting? I consider all this and the book becomes very hard to believe. I know that one has to suspend one's belief to a certain extent when one starts reading a book, but this seems to be too much.

Thanks,

Arun"

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Rog in The Evergreen State is gonna tell you...

Posted April 27, 2009
Ok, I just finished reading Without Warning, and I have a few random thoughts in response to the questions and comments in this discussion thread.

First, as a native of Washington State (though I am proud to say I am NOT from radical Seattle), and having a passing familiarity with Canada’s British Columbia, I think that it is likely that some sort of union between the truncated U.S. and Canada is both likely, and desirable. As stated earlier, Western Canada and the U.S. Northwest are similar in politics, economics, (the pacific coast areas are dependent on international trade, the interior areas are heavy in agriculture), culture (English is spoken, not French), and in terms of ethnic diversity and cosmopolitanism. Both Western Washington and Vancouver B.C. have large East Asian and East Indian populations, and both have sizable groups of Native Americans/Canadians. That’s Indians to the rest of you! Yes the unelected Queen of Bloody (and increasingly Fascist) England is technically the head of state for Canada, but Canada’s future in the WW world is obviously Pacific-centered, not Atlantic-centered. Canada could just say “toodles” to old England and move on to form a new democratic tradition with her American cousins. And to that point, why not have the Aussies and Kiwis do the same, and form a United States of the Pacific with the U.S. and Canada? Down with Monarchy!

Oh, and why on earth would the Canucks pick Edmonton as their new capital? Isn’t it on the border of the Wave? Vancouver B.C. is a much more logical and safe point. Plus, it would enjoy protection from the U.S. Navy Bases at Everett, Bremerton, and Whidbey Island, all located in Washington’s Puget Sound. And, being a large port city itself, Vancouver is going to be Canada’s major economic engine, with imports from the world and exports from the interior farmlands.

Another question that arose is how the U.S. can support its large military, specifically the fuel needs. I am not an expert in petroleum processing, but Alaska has plenty of oil, and there is a petroleum refinery at Anacortes, Washington that could likely be expanded to accommodate the demand for refined petroleum products. And the Puget Sound Naval Shipyards at Bremerton, Washington are, in the words of the navy website, “Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility is the Pacific Northwest's largest Naval shore facility and one of Washington State's largest industrial installations.” (http://www.psns.navy.mil/History.htm) Any naval repairs, refits, or construction could take place here. The shipyards are capable of servicing any class of U.S. Navy vessel. Plus, the U.S. Navy’s nuclear Trident subs are based and maintained at the Bangor (yes, you guessed it, WASHINGTON!) sub base.

So, in closing, Washington ROCKS!... and the Canadians are cool too…

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Respond to 'Man, I should really check my own canon before setting these exam questions.'

Post WW ecology. North America.

Posted February 27, 2009 by John Birmingham
Okay. Here's your challenge.

If it had a spinal chord, it got eaten by the Wave.

Three older nuke plants melted down, the rest failed safe. Lots of cities burned. Some were vast conflagrations.

Three years later, what has happened to the biospehere of North America?

114 Responses to ‘Post WW ecology. North America.’

Cjackson swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 27, 2009
I guess it would depend on which plants melted down and how much radiation was released. We could use Chernobyl as an example of the devestation to the water table and the flora and fauna.

"A recent EPA study on the worst case scenario of a nuclear

accident concluded that if a nuclear reactor 1/5 the size

of the Chernobyl plant in the former Soviet Union had a

meltdown in a state the size of Pennsylvania, it would kill

45,000 people, contaminate 70% of the state, and cause

seventeen million dollars worth of damage. If you multiply

that by five, it would kill 225,000 and cause eighty five

million dollars worth of damage and contaminate five times

the amount of land."

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 27, 2009
There are no nuclear plants in the US that are designed like the Chernobyl plant. In light water plants or even HTGC reactors, the meltdown would be contained and the contamination limited to the building itself.

Sorry.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
As I read WW, it was announced that the plants were on the verge of melting down. If the wave had not vanished, I would have thought the US military would have sent in drones to shut down the plants by using hellfire rockets to destroy the plant control rooms.

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Cjackson is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27, 2009
Also, there is an International Nuclear Event Scale to measure the amount of damage an incident causes. I found this as well in reference to Chernobyl,

"After the disaster, four square kilometres of pine forest in the immediate vicinity of the reactor turned ginger brown and died, earning the name of the "Red Forest". Some animals in the worst-hit areas also died or stopped reproducing. Most domestic animals were evacuated from the exclusion zone, but horses left on an island in the Pripyat River 6 km (4 mi) from the power plant died when their thyroid glands were destroyed by radiation doses of 150–200 Sv. Some cattle on the same island died and those that survived were stunted because of thyroid damage. The next generation appeared to be normal.

In the years since the disaster, the exclusion zone abandoned by humans has become a haven for wildlife, with nature reserves declared (Belarus) or proposed (Ukraine) for the area. Many species of wild animals and birds, which were not seen in the area prior to the disaster, are now plentiful due to the absence of humans."

I just wikipedia'd Chernobyl after effects.

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Cjackson ducks in to say...

Posted February 27, 2009
Paul, well there ya go. Only minimal contamination to the local site instead of widespread dispersal.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27, 2009
An interesting place to look to is Chernobyl. An abandoned city, no population. Its been used as a study place for urban post human ecologies. Dogs, cats, rats, pidgeons, cockroaches. Look at those 5 in the short term.

I shall postulate a lot of poison baits distributed by attack helicopters. MRE's, poison baits - according to some folks, not much difference to choose.

Play up the bush fire aspect. The Zone could act like a big thermal inversion zone. One suburb fire loading equals one Eucalypt forest - devastation could be on the million of acres scale. Particularly California. They follow the same fire pattern as Australia. You need US-burger inputs.

I shall now retire - and leave those who want to talk about deer,ducks, geese, raccoons and coyotes. And the best way of tackling them. Free-fire zones?

Hmm . . .total fire ban day. All the kids are home. Need to do some prep.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 27, 2009
Cjackson - I agree that it is cold comfort. But Chernobyl was an RBMK-100 design (I have no idea what the acronym stands for) which used light water for cooling and graphite for neutron modulation. The design was a spin-off of one of the earliest - and cheapest - Soviet military reactors. The thing is a monster.

In the disaster, the reactor safety protocols (as poor as they were) were intentionally overridden to increase heat and therefore energy production. But that heat actually ignited the graphite, and it was the burning graphite that caused the radioactive cloud that drifted west.

I am not saying the US reactors are absolutely safe, but there are none built on the Soviet RBMK model. Also, the environmental movement in the 1970's resulted in regulations that mandated automatic safety systems that run whether there are people there or not. The containment domes are overly designed to withstand stresses and pressures that will never happen. And, to make matters better (or worse, if you are building a reactor in the United States) the law requires redundant safety systems just in case one fails.

The upshot of this is that a reactor meltdown will devastate the reactor building and the surrounding land, but it will be very, very local.

However, the likely burning and explosions of coal, natural gas and oil fired power plants will totally fuck everything up, spreading toxins far and wide.

The breakdown of irrigation systems - especially in California - due to lack of day to day maintenance will render most of that the Golden State into desert. The wild fires that are sure to start due to cars crashing, etc., in the California forests will burn out of control. Years of active fire suppression has created the largest tinder box the world has ever seen.

Oh yeah, and the Wave killed all animal life. So there is no "ecology" left to speak of.

Between the loss of irrigation, uncontrolled wild fires and the burning of conventional power plants and multiple refineries, it will look like California was nuked from space.

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Cjackson swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 27, 2009
Paul,

Good points! You know your stuff. So any wildlife attempting to repopulate the U.S. would need to come from the unaffected areas of Alaska, Canada and Mexico. And I'm sure would steer clear of any contaiminated areas.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 27, 2009
PNB. Didn't birds survive?

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Naut asserts...

Posted February 27, 2009
Most of Washington would have survived, not many spinal columns there.

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
So nothing but grubs and insects hey?

okay, the insect population would be starting to get enormous, not sure if 3 years is enough to make it really bad, but the growth would be exponential.

Most of the flora would be ok, since insects mostly pollinate them but the pollution and toxins will obviously take its toll.

Perhaps the largest insect populations will be in pockets depending on the clarity of the air and water

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Cjackson puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2009
So anything that can migrate from Canada and Mexico will, and without most predators will flourish. Granted insects pollinate the plants, feed the herbivores and therefore the carnivores.

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lostatlunch is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27, 2009
it has just been 3 years... The infrastructure is cactus, the roads are over grown and still clogged, power is out everywhere, the infrastructure and skills to restore the services (which are not required because of the lack of population) are gone.

There is still contamination from corroded infrastructure, toxic fires and run-off.

fire brigades have maps that specify the hazards in their area. but they would/should be a bit "Homeland Security" protected in the USA.

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Moko puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2009
The 'All Ghillied Up' level on Call of Duty 4. That's EXACTLY what it'll be like.

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lostatlunch swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 27, 2009
Moko ... how much fun was whacking the chopper pilot & defending at the pick-up..

it made up for the getting run over by the tank thing...

I can do that and the spectre mission all over again.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2009
There are many desert plants dependent on birds or bats for pollination. They would go extinct. Without reptile predators, the insect population would eat the plants that remained, and when the plant life is gone, the insects would die, too, leaving the deserts, well, even more desolated.

Which in turn will affect cloud formation and weather patterns the way the Sahara, the Gobi and the Rub al Khali do. These deep deserts heat up so much in the daytime that they essentially act to prevent cloud formation, which in turn tends to perpetuate their dry conditions.

Most of the central United States will revert to deep desert without the benefit of the relatively vibrant ecosystems that the Saharah, the Gobi and the Rub al Khali have. Which means that the Great American Desert - stretching from Mexico to North Dakota - will not be able to sustain human life at all.

Oh yeah, deep deserts are often inaccessible by air. I spent a great deal of time in the Rub al Khali. Due to heat thermals, most of it could only be crossed by specially designed trucks. Aircraft could were not viable except in certain areas. And even the trucks I rode on were dependent on supplies of fuel and water provided by small settlements or Bedu camps.

Without water and an ecosystem, the Great American Desert would not have any human inhabitants, which would make it even more difficult to work within.

The conditions the Wave left behind would cause the creation of the Great American Desert in relatively very little time.

Cjackson - no, the migrating animals would not avoid the contaminated areas. There are animals, plants and insects all over the Chernobyl site. Those that are sensitive to the the contaminates will die; those that are more hardy will survive. The migration of animals and plants back into the Wave Zone would be very, very slow.

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JdR puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2009
Presumably some migratory birds will be doing their thing?

They will no doubt stick out majorly on an otherwise eerie landscape.

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aaron asserts...

Posted February 27, 2009
I think the question of insects is important - were they affected? It would really determine what would happen - and could help plot device wise to explain what caused the wave.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2009
Locusts? Possible for them to breed up over a couple of years. Killer bees? Monarch butterflies? Hunh! Bees! How long ago did commercial hives started to die off?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 27, 2009
JdR -Good point about migratory birds, but migratory birds are dependent on specific niche ecosystems - i.e., ducks and geese are dependent on wetlands to use as rest and feeding stations during migration. If these are gone, and it is likely they would be, along many of their migratory routes, that would affect the speed and spread of repopulation.

Also, many of the lakes would contain toxic compounds that might actually kill the birds that landed there. This happens near gold mines in the US that use arsenic to leach out gold from low grade ore. The byproduct is small lakes of arsenic rich water, which and geese land in when migrating. They don't survive the experience.

Aaron - I agree it is important to know whether insects survive. John said anything with with a spinal chord dies. Insects don't have spinal chords, so they would survive, and if they do they will populate like mad, eat everything and each other, then die out leaving desert behind.

But if the wave destroys them, the plants would survive - and thrive without predation. This would cause other problems, but it would create a much more hospitable environment for animals migrating back in.

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yankeedog has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
Well, since insects are invertebrates, they should be living.

Obviously, in addition to nuclear plants, there will be a lot of chemical plants and refineries abandoned and/or burned. I'd expect the Gulf Coast from about Houston to Mobile might be a mess, along with the chemical processing belt along the Jersey Shore. The southern end of Lake Michigan (chemical, steel, and refineries south of Chicago)would be contaminated as well. Don't think you'd want to spend a lot of time there.

The lightly inhabited stretches of North America (the boreal forests and Western Plains) would probably start to revert back to their natural state.

If all vertebrates were eliminated, the ecosystem would a mess. I'm assuming a 'nuclear winter' due to all the fires started when the Wave hit, so most of the Northern Hemisphere is screwed for at least a few years.

For that, I'd also guess there'll be a land grab for North America the likes of which hasn't been seen since the 1800s. There'll still be a lot of resources, land, and technology lying around for the picking.

How about this as a secondary topic:

You're in charge of one of the remaining powers (say, Australia). You hear that the Wave has receded. What do you attempt to secure for yourself-the remanants of the Pacific Fleet in San Diego (solidify control of the sealanes)? Try for the ICBMs in Wyoming ('instant' deterrent)? Secure the breadbasket of the San Joaquin Valley for colonization? Something else I may not have thought of?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
Immigrant/refugee/scavengers living in the ruins of the big cities. It would be impossible to police such a situation. Plenty of canned food to eat and bottled water to drink, but as population grows, supplies will dwindle, creating tribal conflict for control of territory and the resources within them followed by intertribal warfare to take what others have because what you have is not enough.

The San Joaquin Valley would be a desert within a year. I suspect that with the climate change brought on by the "nuclear winter" caused by fires, including the California forest wild fires that are sure to happen, snow and rainfall will shrink, which means the aquifer would lower if not disappear in most places. Without plentiful ground water, the San Joaquin will remain a desert.

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2009
Agree with much of what PNB and YD have postulated.

Guessing what the insect population will do is the $64K question. Veterbrates tend to be in the top half of most eco-systems so there is a chance the ecological crash will not be quite as hard as if insects had vanished. Fire will dictate a lot and that in turn will be dictated by weather patterns.

This map indicates most of the Nuclear reactors are concentrated in the East half of the continent

http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/map-power-reactors.html

Heres a list from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_reactors#United_States_of_America

And heres a bonus wikistory about the USS Savannah, nuclear powered cargo ship with 30 luxury staterooms. A very nice looking vessel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NS_Savannah

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted February 27, 2009
Insects are doing fine.

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2009
Ah-quite possibly right about the San Joaquin. How about the major river valleys, then?

JB, you probably will have to go back and reread 'Earth Abides', which, although dated in some ways, describes nicely what a depopulated landscape would be like.

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simon bedak mutters...

Posted February 27, 2009
'If it had a spinal chord it got eaten by the Wave'

Presumably, as some kinda meal, all that was eaten got shat out into some kinda jelly somewhere after the Wave had broken. I'm thinking a big lake of grey goo with mosquito lavae in it. Well, ok, brown goo then

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted February 27, 2009
I talked to my military intelligence/teaching peer today about some related issues to the post Wave situation. We were speaking specifically about a tactical matter I'm working but I think he might be on to something.

He recommends firebombing urban areas that are lost to unsanctioned entities. He also recommended the use of persistent nerve agent.

In any case, ecology. The big question to answer is the nature of the biological aftermath (the goop that remains once the zapping transpires) and what effect it might have. The cliched road to travel is to say, "Oh, well it is a contaminant," and thus create a virtual wasteland.

I think the Wave, since we don't know what makes it tick, could actually do something different. Perhaps it goes 180 in the opposite direction and purifies the landscape prior to evaporating. In areas where fires transpired, the pollutants are whisked away or rendered inert. More to the point, the biological aftermath, the goop, could actually turn out to be a super fertilizer of sorts. For those who have looked at The World Without Us, you'll know that it would not take long for nature to reclaim areas of human habitation.

So I see a frontier where the plant life is going gangbusters. Clearing the brush is just as large a requirement as clearing the wreckage from roads and rail (those few that have wrecks).

Over time, once the Wave departs, the wildlife of upper North America and lower Central and South America would start to enter the region. Birds would probably be first along with small vermin such as rats/mice and such.

That said, whole sections of the food chain are missing. It might be a priority of the United States to try, as much as possible, to restore the original ecology status quo antebellum with stocks that can be found from around the world.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
Yankeedog - the major rivers in California will suffer from the same drought caused by the "nuclear winter." The American, Feather, Sacramento Rivers - and the Sacramento River Delta - are all dependent on Spring snow melts. If there isn't any snow, those rivers will dry up.

I'm not sure about the Colorado, Mississippi or Ohio rivers.

JB - Well, if insects survive, but anything with a spinal chord doesn't, then the insects will proliferate without predators and farmer-applied pesticides to control their numbers. They will eat everything green - leaves, stems and seeds - and then die themselves when they've exhausted their food supply. Desert will remain.

Those insects that scavenge - such as ants - will proliferate as they scavenge the herbivorous insects. But the ants, too, will die out when they've eaten all of the corpses of the other insects.

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gtrof would have you know...

Posted February 27, 2009
What about life under water? Did the wave have an affect below the surface?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
Great question.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2009
A lot will depend on how the 'nuclear winter' pans out and how it affects regular climate drivers such as the gulf stream, el nino etc. Different rainfall patterns will have a significant impact on the land. Any meteoroligists out there?

Some coastal areas should retain good rainfall. Going along Paul Boylan's line the US may end up like much of Australia. A bloody big chunk of desert through a large part of the continental landmass. Australia could sell camels to those resettling the U.S.

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JdR would have you know...

Posted February 27, 2009
Had more of a think over lunch, and I think your timeframe of a couple of years is too short for much dramatic potential, beyond "Its empty."

The three year period gives you a chance to try to do something unique - most literature ensures a much longer period for natural change. But it'll be hard I guess.

The surprise appearance of some migratory birds overhead could make a little piece of drama. The sudden attack of a mountain lion or something like that ... probably too early on anywhere other than the periphery. People will be moving in much faster than anything else with a spine.

A massive locust plague is probably worth including for our intepid explorers to deal with. But the 'insects eating everything', like a locust plague, only lasts for a cycle, if that makes any sense. In normal nature, times become good, the locusts go nuts, then run out of food, die off, and vegetation grows back.

I think it would be distinctive and interesting if you can avoid the 'wasteland' scenarios - as they're pretty common in literature. Sure, there are a few no-go areas due to industrial accidents etc, but the continent is vast and industry is relatively concentrated.

You've probably read George R Stewarts 'Earth Abides' (the grand-daddy of empty earth fiction)- I only read it a few months ago - and while it had a 1940s technology level (so less nasties than today), what stood out was how gradual it was for nature to erase humanity's influence.

A small point I liked from Earth Abides - engineers are smart, there are failsafes, etc. Why not go with that and make chemical spills, industrial disasters much rarer than some in this thread envisage. Dams aren't going to just break. Chemicals don't just leak out of storage.

Water will still presumably come out of most taps - gravity still rules most reticulated water systems.

Without people, forest fires etc are far less likely to occur.

Rotting refridgerated food and the absense of scavengers like rats and stuff will be an issue.

Of course, assuming you're going to offer some explanation for the wave means you've got a nice big can of sci-fi options for having all sorts of weird stuff happening. Matter and energy could've done all whatever your imagination wants, really.

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shifty mcgee has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
While this isnt ecology, its probably useful for you to know: apparently no one person has the combination to Fort Knox Gold Depository.

http://www.homeinsurance.org.uk/most-secure-things.html

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MickH puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2009
Yeah I was thinking about the fish too. If they are gone and I suppose they will be then the Ocean is denuded of life as well and anything that swims (or flys) into it during the first year.

Wow.

Thats a LOT of dead fish etc

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Brian mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2009
mickH : Lot of dead fish? Californian otters. Migratory whales (maybe). Hmm . . .isnt there a sardine fishery off California - or is that Mexico. Hmm . . .Cod fisheries? The whooping crane and Californian Condor are now officially extinct. On a brighter note you can reintroduce the North American Grey Squirrel back from Europe. Dunno about the bald eagle.

Hmm . . . there were a lot of Ostrich and Emu farms around Texas IIRC.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27, 2009
Thinking about some more. I'm going to ignore the oceans.

The highest form of insectivore left in CONUS is the spider. Ghila Monster - gone. All birds - including humming birds, tens of millions of bats, anteaters, Road Runners, lizards, snakes, frogs,alligators, cayman, turtles, riverine wild life - snapper turtles, salmon, trout. Lots of crawdaddies - pity about the catfish.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
brian - yes, exactly. That which the Wave leaves untouched isn't going to last long without the stuff the Wave took. Ecology is balance. If the delicate interwoven dance between predator and prey is disrupted, things will fall apart.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted February 27, 2009
The oceans around Nth America will be dominated by the squid. Now the largest organism in them

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WalkingShaw is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27, 2009
What about all the fires? Surely the ecology would be affected more from the raging fires - see Victoria at the moment - and the inability of those fires to have been extinguished. Most grassland, forested areas and urban areas would have been scorched. 3 years on with normal rainfall it would have been extremely fertile? This would lead to all manner of insect life flourishing - even mutating near these nuclear fall out areas?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
Ben - You've been watching too much 60's Sci Fi. Contrary to popular misconception, it takes many, many generations for radiation to mutate anything successfully. Most radiation induced mutations are so extreme the mutated organism dies, and if it doesn't die, it cannot reproduce, and if it can reproduce, it is simply unattractive to the opposite sex.

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WalkingShaw puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2009
Paul, maybe the wave had some unforeseen consequence on invertebrates? Isn't the wave an act of fiction also? Plus I am too young to have seen any 60s Sci Fi!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2009
Liar!

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 27, 2009
PNB : (waving hand) I saw 60's Teev.!

Lobes : Coming back to the oceans for a bit. Things like starfish and sea urchins can have an impact - especially on kelp forests. Moray eels like octupus - no more Moray Eeels. Lots of Octupus. Speaking of eels - I believe part of the lifecycle depends on CONUS rivers.

Generally. The spiral of this thing gets wider. Migratory birds, just don't North South they also go East West - intercontinental.

Wasp population will explode.

Y'know this is going to make reestablishment of agriculture nigh on impossible? Not enough insecticide in the world to hold back all the insects from crops and lifestock. It'll take decades for larger vertebrate predators to make a dent. Am I wrong? I'm thinking of the short insect lifecycle - with all the controls off. Lots of vertebrate goop for breeding grounds etc

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MickH would have you know...

Posted February 27, 2009
its only 3 years Brian

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savo ducks in to say...

Posted February 27, 2009
I thought I remembered reading someone in Cuba watched a flock of birds fly into the wave and pass through with no apparent effect?

Could be wrong. Have to ask Rhino, I believe he has memorised it.

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 27, 2009
mickH : Well - discount Locusts in the US. The Rocky Mountain variant died out for some reason and there doesn't seem to be any other referrant. And that is surprising - locusts are everywhere except the poles and Europe. And that's what I was thinking of - the lifecycle fitted the time frame.

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savo asserts...

Posted February 27, 2009
The channels between the Great Lakes are clogged from Zebra mussels, massive flood damage due to bio-dam.. No appreciable change to forests only 3 years. Competing bacteria would stop the rampant growth of one species over others.

Ooow I just realised what the grey goo is: left over bacteria and fungus from the disappeared cordata host.

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savo reckons...

Posted February 27, 2009
nerve gassing the left overs of NYC ... since nerve gas was a development from pesticides it should clear out the roaches and silverfish.

Insects, like bacteria, would tend to balance each other out, sure there would be some growth, but not a lot. Man does not kill many insects in the scheme of things and bacteria would not have even noticed our presence let alone our absence. If everything big is gone the little will grow a bit but they tend to eat each other...a lot.

Chemical damage, nuke waste, fire damage will affect trees grass abandoned buildings and really nothing much else that we would take much notice of.

There won't be fungi forests, cockroaches the size of New York City cabs, or man eating mollusc's. In dead zones steralized by radiation, i would imagine that bacteria would get the first foot hold but, as said, Chenobyl is a wildlife park besides the nuke plants will contain the radiation. Problem could be research establishments whoes Level 4 seals degrade over the years and let loose all sorts of natural hell viruses, let alone the guvmint ones with the unnatural manmade horrors.

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Bangar mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2009
A thought, how many generations of insects since the wave? They've had a chance since then to occupy niches. Is the three years from the start of the wave or the end of it?

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Brian mumbles...

Posted February 27, 2009
Bangar : 'A thought, how many generations of insects since the wave?'

That depends - Mayflies are very short. Mosquitoes - multiple generations in a season. No fish or frogs. Maggots - to the limit of the food source. Hmm . . . beetles. No birds to take care of caterpillars. No mice to take care of cockroaches.

Immediately after the wave - there would be all this organic goop. Insects may feed on it. If nothing else lots or organic matter for other invertebrates even plants. Potassium. calcium etc Whichever way you cut it - abundant food supplies. Removal of most of the usual predators. Usual seasonal die off but a bigger breeding population left over. Second year. More insects - the insect biomass has to have grown. Its taking up the biomass goop. There's also the crops. More predators. I imagine something like the insect explosions in the Arctic tundra during Summer. The air is an insect soup. Third year repeat. Three years seems too short a time for a balance to have been achieved. Oscillations in population - big ones.

Some insects need animals to breed. Dung beetles and their analogues. Flies. There's going to be weird ups and downs in certain insect populations.

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DrYobbo has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2009
We need a beardy ecologist type to bore us all arseless with what would happen if you suddenly pulled all the vertebrates out of biology. No, on second thoughts, we don't.

Technical point JB - just the vertebrates or the chordates as well? (I presume there's some biological reason we're picking on things with a spinal cord - or is that going to be left frustratingly unexplained as well???)

Quick attempt at explainifying this, if I can manage it after a few too many cheap short-dated Grolsches after the NZ-India T20 game.

OK we have all bilaterian animals - that is the animals which have an axis of symmetry running down the middle. That's most of them, as you'd probably imagine. There's three superphyla within the bilateria - the Ecdysozoa, which is the arthropods (insects, crustacea, chelicerates etc) and other crawly shit, the Deuterostomes which I'll get to, and the Lophotrochozoa which is a weird and wonderful collection of Miscellaneous and one of which is the evo-devo model which gets me paid. The most recognisable Loph's are the molluscs (snails, squid etc) and the annelid (segmented) worms.

The deuterostomes are made up of the chordates, hemichordates and the echinoderms. The latter are sea urchins/stars/cucumbers and shit. The chordates are things with a central nervous system running down the length of the body (the hemichordates are wormy things which are a sister group to the echinoderms though have some chordate-like properties including a munty degenerate version of a simple nerve cord which might be an evo precursor of same.) The chordates include all the vertebrates, but are not limited to them. All chordates have a notochord (basically an embryonic version of a backbone) and a hollow dorsal (upper side of the back) nerve cord, at some stage in their life cycle.

Anyway the point I'm eventually getting around to is... what are you defining as your dead 'spinal cord' species? 'Cos depending on exactly how you kill these things off your net could be considerably wider or smaller in terms of how many species you lose from your ecosystem. Anything with a spinal cord AND a vertebrate backbone seems to be what's inferred here by my fumbling guesswork, but if it's just anything with a nerve cord (which is equally a spinal cord depending on your semantics) then there's a couple of thousand additional species which get wiped - probably with some sort of effect on your ecosystem dynamics. It is, though, overwhelmingly the vertebrates who make up the chordates, so you could probably just gloss over it and get away with it. I'm guessing your audience has more military detail Nazis than biological detail Nazis. I'm guessing the Wave has microwaved the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) of the vertebrates. But if there's not a convincing biological explanation for this I will be cracking the shits thermonuclear style.

Savo's right I think (don't have WW to hand at present) - birds seemed to pass through the Wave reasonably well in Cuba, whereas Cubans tended not to - and birds are tetrapod vertebrates, effectively the sister group to mammals. If they're OK, from an evolutionary perspective it can really only be the mammals that are buggered, as whatever the biological commonalities between affected species which would have served as a susceptibility agent to the action of the Wave - unless it was little green men coming down and personally picking and choosing species to off - are unlikely to 'jump' entire biological phyla (eg present in mammals and reptiles but not birds, even though birds and mammals have a common ancestor more recent than the common ancestor of birds, reptiles and mammals, for instance.)

In short, though, the insects/arthropods will own everything, no question. No predators other than each other, and generation time for most insects in the realm of days - while 3 years is definitely too short for actual new species or abilities to evolve (or at least to emerge through mutation and become fixed in populations through selection), it's certainly plausible that adaptation to available niches would take place in that sort of timeframe (up to thousands of generations) - though picked off at the fringes by 'invasive' vertebrate species from the north and south. President Yom Kippur would be well served investing in a couple of million pallets of Aerogard.

I'd have thought the nuke meltdown effects would be largely localised, and less destructive than the 'meltdown' caused by collapse of other industrial processes catching fire and torching entire neighbourhoods, forests and towns, which would have been on a massive scale by comparison. Just simple electrical overloads would have caused serious issues.

Re bionasty agents, anything 'live' stored in a research lab - virus, bacteria, honours students - is long since dead courtesy all the -80 freezers packing it in after nobody paid the power bill for >3 years and the backup generators ran out of fuel. Something with a spore forming stage, like anthrax, would likely persist, but anything else would be a non-issue. In the outside world, though, there would have been a massive proliferation in microbes associated with the breakdown of natural materials - all them animules with spinal cords, specifically - so it would be a pretty arse-scented place to go about your business... but very rich in organic fertilizer.

If the bees are OK - which in the US they're not, courtesy American foulbrood et al - crop pollination will largely be OK, though they'll get picked off by insects. Like domesticated animals, some domesticated plants are too stupid to thrive under non-spoon-fed conditions, but they should survive OK if gone somewhat to seed.

Apols for the rambling. Blame short-dated Grolsch.

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savo puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2009
an' a 'nuther thing, 30,000,000 tonnes of human bio mass along withh all the cows and other things disappeared. How did that sudden missing mass affect the seismic stability of the continent? Is it enough to make a difference?

Would Katriana and Wilma have happened with all of the cooling from the fires? potentially not so NuOleenz could be intact-ish

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Tarl puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2009
If birds got zapped, all migratory species which travel through north america are now extinct. They wouldn't have know to not migrate in while the barrier was up, and died.

I think excluding all vertebrates is too big a jump; we don't have any experience with pure insect ecologies. We know that excluding (e.g.) land mammals has a major impact on land appearance - a while back, they took a square mile of arid grassland and fenced it in (in particular, making sure no praire dogs could enter). The area became covered in shrubbery, demonstrating that prairie dogs by themselves have a major impact on vegetation and land appearance.

I think Paul is incorrect that insects not preyed upon will wipe out all plant life. Insects are predated by other insects and arthropods, so there is some degree of restraint on insect populations.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted February 27, 2009
Um, just had a thought. Fish and migratory birds etc, do not have a EARLY WARNING BROADCAST SYSTEM. So what impact would this have when FISH SWIM INTO the WAVE ZONE as the migrate, same with Birds from Nth to South. ITS going to kill a lot more than what was there, also, IF, the animals adapt, what impact does this have on their breeding as well, You would theoretically have a massive build up on the edge of the event as birds, fish and so forth blunder into it, I THINK

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Mark R. Whittington asserts...

Posted February 27, 2009
My impression was that the Wave only got the primates, leaving most animals alive.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 27, 2009
Not all insects are going to thrive. Mosquitoes are going to be in trouble, at least the ones that rely upon animals to support themselves. Same can be said for any other insect that interacts/supports themselves off any animal life.

I think a major element of reconstruction will require the United States to restructure some sort of ecology with animals from other parts of the world, something we have no experience with. In many ways, resettling the United States will be very much akin to terraforming Mars in some respects.

Very science fictional and a Very Big Challenge to get right.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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pegleg ducks in to say...

Posted February 28, 2009
Anything affected underground? Would any people have survived there? Morlock-Miners? Or animals/insects?

Very disturbing...I'd hoped you had already finished all three books and were just waiting to release them, one per year. Damn, but WW was good!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 28, 2009
Murph - I love the terraforming analogy. It opens up huge possibilities. And you're right: mosquitoes would die out without animal life to support their life cycle, which will affect the life cycle of invertebrate water animals that depend on mosquito larvae for a food source.

Savo - You've hit on something important with the comment on zebra mussels. If their food supply exploded due to a nutrient injection via the goop left behind when the animal life in the Great Lakes died, and you combine that with human zebra mussel management programs suddenly stopping due to there being no humans around to do it, then the zebra mussel population explodes, resulting the massive destruction of water infrastructure throughout the midwest and beyond. I am having difficulty even imagining the consequences for American waterways, including the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

And then, like the insects, when the feast ends abruptly, the zebra mussel population will decline rapidly, leaving behind incredibly clean water (they are filter feeders) and a thick cement of their shells covering and clogging every surface underwater from boat hulls to water treatment plant intake and outlet conduits.

I am loving this discussion.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 28, 2009
I have contacts at the California Department of Fish and Game who probably know people who could shed a little light on the question. I'm going to give them a call - after coffee and a bit of reading (this stuff doesn't count).

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Thomas Potter mumbles...

Posted February 28, 2009
Well, now, I took it completely the other way re: birds. I thought I read where they fell out of the sky after they flew through the Wave. Perhaps I am out of my mind. Remeber, it also talked about how empty the cityscapes on the 'vids were, nothing moving other than the wind. Lots to ponder and see what comes- the continent is a mess anyway you shape it!!

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Thomas Potter would have you know...

Posted February 28, 2009
You know, JB, that brings to mind a further question. How many people would be willing to go into the Wave Zone? It happened once so what prevents it from happening again? People in other parts of the world likely are leery of going there because of that reason. Besides, they all felt safe in their home countries, even with war and civil war going on compared to sure death in the Wave...

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Robert has opinions thus...

Posted February 28, 2009
I found answers on the Discovery Channel.

The show 1000 years after humans (humans suddenly disappear). Not so many conflagrations as in WW, because the electric fails quickly and that stops the gas pressure in the lines. Lots of weeds and dust!

And the show about life in the Chernobyl region. Apparently, it's left to house cats and bears. Glow-in-the-dark bears...

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Robert asserts...

Posted February 28, 2009
After Chernobyl:

http://dsc.discovery.com/search/results.html?query=chernobyl&search.x=25&search.y=7&search=search

After Humanz (over at the History channel):

http://www.history.com/content/life_after_people/about-the-show

Anyway, Birmo, there's your competition! In full High Def...

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Domestic Daze ducks in to say...

Posted February 28, 2009
Perhaps still recovering, nature has a habit of surviving if and where it can, maybe not in the way it used to, but adapting to what it has to work with.

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Madoc swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 28, 2009
Folks,

What's this three year limit here? The Wave ends a year or so after it started.

A year isn't much time for many critters to do much adapting.

We really gotta define how far down the evolutionary scale the Wave wiped things clean.

As to the physical state of the US, I think that'd depend on how many things burned. The nuke plants I don't think would be much of a problem. At least not the generators themselves. They'd either shut down automatically or make puddles of themselves within their containment structures. I do have to wonder as to the state of the spent fuel storage pens though. As I understand it, they need a constant circulation of cool water to keep them sufficiently moderated. There's backups for those water pumps but they'd all have run out of gas in a year's time. How bad that problem could be remains to be addressed.

Mainly though, it's the fallout from all the fires that would be the problem. If the smoke plume born toxins from the fires in the US caused problems in Europe and elsewhere then they'd definitely make things much worse in the US. How much worse is an open question.

Would a year's worth of weather have diluted / washed away enough of the contaminants? Would thousands of square miles of US territory - much of it prime agricultural / industrial - be uninhabitable?

Also, you can bet your bottom dollar that the US military / government would have worked up plans for the reoccupation of the US. Once some semblance of normalcy had returned after the Wave started, there'd be plenty of time for some folks in the military to have made such plans. That's one of the military's ongoing and constant missions - contingency planning. So, the sudden end of the Wave would be a surprise, certainly. But the next steps would have some thought to them.

How long that thought would last and how long those plans would remain realistic is something else and again.

Madoc

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted February 28, 2009
Talk about being late to the party, I just got my copy of WW today.

S. F. Murphy:... "recommends firebombing urban areas that are lost to unsanctioned entities."

Gotta love those Terminator like phrases that emanate from the US military. Would scare me shitless if i thought they were my enemies, as it is it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted February 28, 2009
Thomas, what is to prevent the Wave from manifesting itself anywhere else on the planet? I also think some folks will want to go home no matter what. More to the point, I think some folks would want to take the chance given the worsening security situation elsewhere on the globe.

Matt, the conversation went like this.

ME: Say, how many troops would you recommend for use in a tactical problem set at X location.

Response: I'd say two to three Corps. Do you care about casualties?

ME: No Blue Force casualties if you can help it but Red Force casualties are acceptable. Further, I do not think Blue Force can muster 150K for the problem given the probability of a smaller Army.

Response: I'd use persistent nerve agent then.

ME: Umm, I don't think that will fly. (Explained reasons why, which I can not divulge since they'd spoil the second novel).

Response: What about fire bombing?

ME: Unlikely as well.

Personally, I see the appeal of firebombing. It deprives foreign invaders of territory and assets which can not be secured by other means. Same can be said for the nerve agent. I can easily see a scenario where a decision is made to destroy certain locations within the Wave affected United States in order to deprive their use/loss to the enemy.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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George03 reckons...

Posted February 28, 2009
I don't really know which way JB wants to go with his plot, but all this discussion about wildlife repopulation of the USA would be small potatoes compared to the flood of human population to the continent.

The "refugee problem" all over the world at the momment would be nothing compared to the availability of a a whole continent without people and if the US could not solve the problem of Mexicans coming over the border when they had a population of 300+ million, the chances of stopping people coming in with only 10 to 15 million inhabitants would be impossible!

To someone from Asia, South-east Asia, Africa or the Middle East the idea of a whole country sitting there, waitng to be taken would just be too much!

They would be going there in pirated cruise ships, cargo ships, sail boats and inflated tyre tubes in uncountable numbers and death by conamination would be a minor inconvenience!

My 2 cents worth!

George

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted February 28, 2009
George makes a good point. My argument is that the best way to deal with these folks is to do what we Americans have always done, or should be doing.

Offer them the opportunity to become Americans themselves. We provide safe transport to a resettlement site. We give them the resources and a job to sustain themselves in return for a certain number of years service (we originally provided labor via indentured servitude) and thus co opt them into our society. These Stakeholders, in turn, will be more amenable to keeping trouble makers, those that wish to carve off sections of the continent for themselves, out.

That said, priorities should be as follows:

1. Provide a generous citizenship offer to those willing to be a part of rebuilding the United States.

2. Restore the economy to a functional level (note that I did not say status quo antebellum, but functional). The nation needs to be able to pay and sustain itself.

3. Rebuild a functional eco-system. In many ways, the eco-system will probably adapt to a certain degree and once the Wave disappears, some restoration will take place anyway. Herds of animals moving both North and South. Flights of non-migratory birds moving into the deserted region. Vermin and rodents in the form of rabbits, mice, and such. Reptilian life, the works. But in some cases, human intervention will be in order.

4. Secure a reasonable level of defense.

What do I mean by reasonable? It is truly impossible to police all of CONUS. We have trouble, as George pointed out, keeping Mexicans out as well as dealing with smuggling. We should accept a certain level of it so long as it is relatively benign.

By reasonable I mean that it should be demonstrated to non friendly nation states that the price for incursion is far higher than it is worth. Or as my previously mentioned military intelligence officer/teaching peer said in a previous discussion, "I'd act like a crazy man with a locker full of nukes."

Another ecological point to consider, drawing upon Collapse by Jared Diamond. I recall reading that rabbits were introduced into Australia to provide for some meat and something cute to look at. It wasn't long before they got loose and bred, well, like rabbits. Now these creatures strip the landscape bare of vegetation.

There could be unintended consequences to introducing or reintroducing certain fauna back into the ecosystem. What those consequences are or could be are far above my pay grade. But they need to be considered.

I would like to reiterate my argument that the "Wasteland" cliche is a bit overworn in science fiction. There will be hardships aplenty but I think a Wave which acts as a sort of purification device might create real estate worth dying for. If we go the typical wasteland route, I suspect it would be akin to trying to settle people on Mars.

Lastly, what about creatures who might be below the Wave effect on land? Animals in deep caves and that sort of thing? It would depend on the depth of the effect (never established in canon though I have some inside ponderings on it which I will not share). That also needs to be considered.

BTW, Birmo, I got your doc but I can't open it. Can you resend your traffic? Thanks, man.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted February 28, 2009
Murph? Birmo's e-mail is down? Still?

Re: Fauna re establishement. You still have Canadian and Alaskan ecologies as reservoirs. I think you can forget about top predators for the while. No food sources. Have to build pyramids. Small animals.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted February 28, 2009
Bats.

Excerpt from a spooky post on bat die off in the States.

'I wanted to give everyone a heads up, just heard about this last night, and

from the scientist's being interviewed they expect the infection to reach

Tennesse and Kentucky some time next year, and reach as far as Iowa,

Nebraska and the Dakotas. She was saying that the die off rate could be as

high as 90% (but a winter based estimate of 15-35%), but they will not have

real numbers until spring, if that is true we are in for a world of hurt

when it reaches the bread basket states, considering how important bats are

in keeping instect populations in check.

The infection is targeting bats that hybernate during the winter instead

migrate.

http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/02/04/news/

doc49891eb38ce2c915130498.txt '

So . . . .what was that about insects again?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 28, 2009
There will be no massive migration into the empty land because to go there will certain death from starvation - which is the point of all the fauna and flora reintroduction talk. Between massive ecological niche collapse and toxic/acid rain, the land will not be able to produce the food necessary to support a population of any large animals - including humans. You can't grow grain if the soil is too acidic or basic. It won't matter if Canada and Alaska can act as ecological reservoirs. Those plants won't thrive until the land recovers, and that means none of the animals can live there either.

The big cities may be repopulated, but only so long as the existing food supply lasts. Then it will be dependent on imports, which will not be coming from anywhere.

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George03 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 28, 2009
Many are assuming that the whole of the US would be wiped out by acid rain and the pollutants from the fires, but on checking my copy of WW, the main areas affected were towards the east and then on to Europe.

It, therefore stands to reason that a good deal of the West coast would only be lightly affected and still be able to sustain crops and food production, therefore human habitation.

Any recolonization would have to start on the West coast.

My 2 cents worth!

George

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Murphy reckons...

Posted February 28, 2009
Damn it. I just now put two and two together, Brian. After Mick gave me a hint. If only I wasn't so hemmed up with so much other bullshit right now. Crap.

Paul, I do not get the impression that the pollution will be all that wide spread from my read of Without Warning. I think large parts of the US will be viable for some form of agriculture. Granted, it will not be what supported 300 million plus but it could support a viable number sufficient to restore a moderate nation state. Even 10 to 15 million is nothing to sneeze at. Chile is a respectable nation with a pop of 15 million. One wouldn't triffle with them lightly.

I think a repopulation effort would have to be targeted to two general locations or zones.

Zones which could be restored to agricultural productivity. I've said in previous discussions that the Midwestern US is probably your best bet for this. Transport nets tie into the center of the nation, the river transport system ties in here and the risk from pollution is manageable.

Zones which could be restored to industrial productivity. I suspect there will be a sizeable market for salvage parts of reliable quality as well as restored manufacturing capability of certain goods (the Lockheed and Boeing Plants in Texas and Missouri respectively).

I also think some import of food is possible given the environment at the end of Without Warning. After all, a number of customers for agricultural products in the Middle East are no longer among the living. China is a security nightmare and at the end of the novel it appeared that India and Pakistan were certain to go at it. With so many potential customers gone or soon to be gone, those with net surpluses could export their products to the States.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Madoc would have you know...

Posted February 28, 2009
Folks,

Still waiting on the three year bit...

Next question, immigration. Answer: from where?

Aside from the few million or so of American citizens who happened to be outside the Wave when it happened, there really aren't gonna be many folk in a position to get into the US once the Wave stops happening.

Canadians? Gone. Not entirely, but almost.

Mexicans? Absolutely gone. All the way down to Acapulco. Any folk in Latin America who might want to head north are gonna have to pick there way through what is left of Mexico first. And that presupposes that there'll be enough of them to do so after the collapse of their economies due to America's being zapped.

Anyone else outside the western hemisphere? Why?

A year on after the Wave, there should be some semblance of normalcy. The immediate crisis would've passed and they would've had to have figured a way to get on. Sure, lotsa population reduction, harsh measures, and harsher times.

Then the Wave stops.

Okay, then what? A mad rush to cross the oceans to get into the US? Sure, some looters who happen to be very well organized and financed might make some runs for it. But beyond that? No, there'd be no mass migration. The situation elsewhere might be bad but at least it'd be stable. Hoping off to the depopulated and burnt US would be jumping out of their frying pan and into a flame.

Some would. You betcha. Large numbers of folks? I don't think so.

I do agree that the West Coast would be a good place to start back up. Prevailing winds would mean that the majority of the toxic soot would've all blown away from America's Left Coast. There'd still be some pretty dire places out here but not nigh as many as elsewhere.

The San Fernando Valley, Imperial Valley and the Central Valley are all prime agricultural areas. To be one of the largest food production regions in the world they require a massive irrigation infrastructure and an equally massive force of technicians to keep it running.

To fed a few million American refugees camping out in a state that formerly held over thirty million? That seems much more do-able. This, even with the decontamination efforts required for what parts got burned and "slimed."

Madoc

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted February 28, 2009
Madoc, I think those immigrants could come from Central and South America. Mexico is mostly gone but the rest of Central America isn't. There are also potential refugees from places such as the Middle East and those who were forcibly deported from the United Kingdom. Toss in refugees from the destablized situation in China and throw in another Indo-Pak War, I see plenty of possible takers.

How do they get here?

Well, there are no shortage of Naval assets which could be used to bring them. Empty a Nimitz class carrier and load it up with people. We did something similiar at the end of World War II to bring our troops home.

Three years? Here is what I can say.

The Wave disappears at Year Plus One, the end of the novel. During that year when the Wave was still in effect, the plant life that did not need insects to cross pollinate would florish.

As for three years, I am going to posit that perhaps the marker is from the start of the Wave. Thus perhaps the novel is set three years after the start of the first novel.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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JKBrooks85 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 28, 2009
Discussion on ecology below:

Lots of slugs, snails, etc. You'll also see enormous algae blooms along pretty much every major waterway and in every body of water in the Zone. The reasons for this are two-fold: You've just killed off most things that eat algae, and the resulting pollution from the various industrial accidents is going to create a perfect anaerobic growth environment in a lot of places.

You'll see a surprising number of birds: They'll be quick to repopulate the area -- particularly insectovores and herbivores -- not so much raptors and birds of prey, of course. Long-range migratory species like the Western Sandpiper -- which migrates from South America to Alaska and back annually -- will quickly take advantage of the opening in the biosphere.

The year of having the Zone in place is going to hurt a lot of these long-range migratory species, but Alaska and Siberia serve as the breeding ground for more than a third of all long-range migratory waterfowl in North America. The spring migration season hasn't begun by March 14, but if the birds can fly around the zone (the throwaway sentence about birds flying away from the Zone in Cuba indicates they might be repeled by it) they can survive.

As to land species, I'm less sanguine. There's no easy way for an animal in the Yucatan to migrate to Nebraska, say, and no reason for it to do so. The same goes for species in British Columbia or here in Alaska -- most aren't suited for the climate and there isn't a food web for them to exist, anyhow.

Fish are probably the biggest problem -- there's no way for a freshwater fish to even theoretically reach the inland lakes of the Zone without fish farms and the like being established. Without fish, you've knocked off a whole section of the ecosystem -- fish-hunting birds won't return, bears are going to have a hard time, and all sorts of other predators won't have it easy, either.

My best theory for what develops is a kind of bastard collapsing ecosystem. You've got a veritable buffet for herbivores, and any that arrive are going to flourish for a time. Then they'll either out-eat their supply of food and die back, or predator numbers will surge, causing a die-off of herbivores then a die-off of predators.

That's unlikely, however, in the time frame you're talking about.

In the guideline of the three-year frame, I'd suggest a small amount of insectivorous and herbivorous birds across the entire Zone. In areas near human settlements and around the edges, I'd propose a bastard ecology in which mice and other small herbivores that breed quickly and can hide in shipments are the base. Above them are feral cats and dogs, again brought by whatever settlers arrive.

The edges of the Zone are your best bet for quick recovery, but creating a coherent ecology across all of it is going to be the work of decades -- if not centuries -- without a human-driven effort to purposely restore the ecosystem.

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JKBrooks85 has opinions thus...

Posted February 28, 2009
More thoughts on restoring ecology:

If you get even a minor effort directed toward restoring the ecology of the Zone, things'll move a lot quicker. Introducing a few thousand deer into the Zone will be a boon, as they'll have ample food resources available. We've seen in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone how quickly the environment can recover from an accident -- and animals tend to be far more radiation- and chemical-tolerant than humans.

Anyhow, introducing a small number of deer will let you introduce a few predators -- wolves and the like (possibly transported from Alaska or Asia) -- a few years later. Your limiting factor in these cases will be the breeding rate of the deer and/or the amount you're able to spend on ecological restoration.

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Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted February 28, 2009
Murph we regularly thank the Poms for rabbits, foxes and blackberries. Perhaps we send them some roos?

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Madoc mumbles...

Posted February 28, 2009
Murph & all,

Okay, three years it is then.

But a lot of what things would be like in three years time is heavily dependent upon what happened in the immediate time after the Wave ended.

How many cities and how many areas of the US are toxic death traps? How far has their contamination spread? A burnt city is one thing. A burnt city next to a major river or along the coast is something else and again.

Did the Wave's effects happen beneath sea level? If so, then were any of the US Navy's nuke subs within the area of the Wave? If so, then those might be sources of contamination as well if they crashed into the ocean bed and ruptured. Something else to think about, I guess.

I'd imagine that no matter what, Americans would be awfully thin on the ground even three years on. There's just not a whole lot of us left and precious few of those would have the skills necessary to get things back up and running.

Has Birmo thought much about Puerto Rico? I'd imagine that would become a major American refugee center in that year of the Wave. Sure, there'd be other refugee camps set up for Americans in other countries - but which would folks prefer? A refugee camp in a foreign country or one in American territory.

I'd also imagine that PR would become a major agricultural resource for Americans stuck outside.

As to Latin & South Americans getting into the US, why? Their economies have collapsed, order has collapsed. At least to some major extent. There's an awful lot of distance to traverse between the untouched areas of Latin America and the US. Any migration is gonna find a Waved-out Mexico between them and the US and the US isn't going to be any better than Mexico. That being the case, why bother going?

Also, what of the Panama Canal? The US seized it, as I recall, so that'd be one helluva impediment to any large scale land rush coming up from the south of it.

More things to ponder...

Madoc

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Brian puts forth...

Posted February 28, 2009
Masoc, Murph et al

The three years and everything with a backbone threw me as well.

As far as I could remember birds were making it through. There could be two alternative explanations for this. One : Whatever it was - did target backbone animals but the effect tapered towards the edges and was muted in some spots by buildings and mountains. The second : whatever it was had two settings - one short another long term.

Biological controls are going to be a bitch IMHO. There's only a few vertebrates that have short enough breed up times to do the job. Frogs - spawn in the hundreds. Mice : multiple generational capacity.

One thought though. Introduction of domestic birdlife and then them go 'organic' - chickens, Turkeys, Ducks, geese. There are farms scattered across the world, whose sole purpose is to hatch eggs for the poultry industry.

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sparty mutters...

Posted February 28, 2009
Mark R Whittington? - I enjoyed "Apollo" (and for everyone else that doesn't mean a BSG slash fest!).

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 28, 2009
Geeze Birmo, are you watching me?

Everytime I'm out of the loop you trot out the good sh!t.

Dr. Yob "We need a beardy ecologist type to bore us all arseless...." I guess I'm the closest we've got at the moment.

First thoughts.

We can only begin to guess at the ripple effects of removing everything with a backbone, as was said above - no mammals = no mosquitos. The whole complex web of life thing with interdependancies & symbioses will be beyond extraplotaion.

The migratory birds are out. Again as said above If the population was outside CONUS on der tag, on the first return migration they would have flown into the wave affect and been slimed. 100% of the population. From honeyeaters to snow geese.

As for repopulation. It is sugested that animals expand their range in response to push factors not pull (Bears don't read pulicity) so when population pressure in a locale raises to a point where resources are starting to get thin, then animals try somewhere else. Also most species are quite specific in their niche, so an arctic subpopulation would not have the capacity to repopulate a temporate climate area. 3 years is a Very Short Time Frame for these kind of natural processes.

I think Birmo is going to have to restock a domestic suite of animals & go from there.

More when I've thought a bit more.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 28, 2009
If the post Wave ecology is beyond extrapolation then the best thing to do is make the best guess and then go weird.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted March 1, 2009
As for a resettlement pattern for humans, I think it will be the reverse of the original settlement pattern. The US center of gravity is located in the Pacific Basin around Hawaii, Seattle, what little there is left of Oregon and Alaska. I think a plan for resettlement would probably go as follows:

1. Secure the West Coast first. That means resettling key portions of California and Oregon. Given Chile's nature as a thin country along the Pacific Coast, I'd use that nation as my model for story telling purposes.

2. Spread over the Rockies. There will be people who will want to get as far away from authority as possible yet still have some expectation of protection from the US Government. This is no less than was expected by the Colonials in the 1700s which eventually lead to the French-Indian War and the British Proclamation of 1763 which was an attempt to stem Colonial migration into the Ohio River Valley.

3. I'd spread out along the rivers and restore key rail transport lines. While it isn't my favorite place to live, Kansas City is probably going to be key to this. We are at the center of a major transportation and distribution network and the novel left the city relatively intact.

4. Find a way to secure key Eastern Seaboard facilities. I think this will be extremely difficult without fresh blood in the population stream. One way this could be dealt with is to sell off sections of the United States to our allies who have supported us through the three year period. Transferring it back over to the United Kingdom might be an option worth considering.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Tarl would have you know...

Posted March 1, 2009
Murph - the problem with settling from the west coast in, is that other than a narrow strip along the coast, it's mostly desert of high mountains for a long way. California's central valley is an agricultural delight only because of irrigation - which means the infrastructure for that has to be intact. Will any dams or canals have been lost with three years of inattention?

Note that dams in general react poorly to overflowing, and require constant monitoring by humans to prevent such events. Even if the dam itself (as a concrete hunk) isn't damaged by the overflow, the foundations and bedrock may be less durable and erode with a cascade of water coming down the front face. Dams have spillways designed to handle some overflow, but if the reservoirs are allowed to be full when a serious flood hits, you probably get overflow in places that weren't designed for it.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1, 2009
Tarl, those are good points. Californians could probably speak better per that issue than I could. Even if agriculture is not immediately viable, I think the ports on the West Coast have to be secured in any event. I'd start my resettlement oriented around major naval bases, especially where there is a lot of high value material.

I also think that if one could get enough workers on a task, irrigation could probably be restored.

Puerto Rico was mentioned in an earlier post and my original thoughts, when John and I talked about it, was that the US would probably have to cede their authority over the Atlantic. There are no bases to operate from once Gitmo goes under other than those in Central America. I suspect, therefore, that the island could either opt for independence or maybe join with another regional power.

We could try to hang on to it but it is awfully far from any other supporting location on the globe.

Per Panama, I think hanging onto the canal is vital for immigration control. You want to engage a problem as far forward as possible and it is vital to maintain the Canal for reasons besides the immediate military ones. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see a multi national force down there.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian puts forth...

Posted March 1, 2009
I'd argue for a Calfornian settlement plan myself - or at least a major prescence.

California is a net ag. exporter amongst a host of other things. Its almost a self sufficient state by itself. It's on the Pacific Rim - its a logical first call from Hawaaii, Alaska and Seattle. Its got Disneyland - which funny enoughh, is another self sufficient state by itself. Joint is riddled with tunnels. Hmm . . .Florida Disneyland is worth a thought in that direction.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted March 1, 2009
Amusing side thought about California.

Make sure its populated by 'immoderate' moderates this time around. Just say'n.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted March 1, 2009
Hey Tarl, here is a question for you and any other IT type.

What computers would be available in the post Wave 2006 time period? What would their capabilities be? What about issues such as wifi and internet access? Global or local only?

I was thinking one way to maintain communications in specific regions of the US would be to use unmanned blimps fitted out with cellphone technology. That might provide temporary coverage until ground based systems could be restored. Thoughts?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted March 1, 2009
Murph "make the best guess and then go weird. "

Yeah that's pretty much what I was thinking. A blank slate on which His Birmoness + associates, minions & that crazy guy with the "Romans 14:12" sign to go nuts with.

Murph, RE: info tech. There is a mob called the Centre for Appropriate Technology who developed an Email on HF Radio platform, for use in the geographically scattered Pacific Island communities. Check it out.

RE: Human Repopulation. Methinks not all will be invited. The Phillipine Archipelligo is groaning with excess population & it's the kind of historical irony Birmo seems to like.

If the India/Pakistan exchange turned out to be one sided (snickering to myself that the Pak bomb didn't go off) then there are great steaming gobs of population there.

The Indonesian Archipeligo could ship off half a million without any kind of stress, not to mention the South Americans.

I concur that West Coast Naval bases will be the logical launching point for repopulation efforts. What re-startable agricultural assets are within say 200 miles of San Diego? Rumour has it there are many varied, stealthy & interesting Defence installations North of San Francisco - wonder what they could bring to the party?

I'm still liking the Big Marine Hovercrafts replacing the 1850's paddlesteamers on the mighty inland river system.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted March 1, 2009
Oh and add Africa to my list of population sources.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted March 1, 2009
Filipinos, lol, I like it, NBob. Slick.

Hmm, hovercraft. Viable on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers perhaps. The Missouri would be much more treacherous without constant dredging. It was a treacherous river to get steamboats up in the 1850s.

http://www.1856.com/

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted March 1, 2009
Communications. Telephone- copper and optic. Microwave, HF repeeaters. Regular radio.

Broadband uses a Korean War technology called multi plexing. Effectively any copper pair can carry mutliple voice signals using frequency shifting. (Used to work for Telstra many years ago as a Coms tech). Microwave repeaters use the same idea.

Satellite capacity is always designed for future loading.We have drastic demand reduction - therefore huge spare satellite capacity.

Re : Calfornia. 12th largest economy on the planet. A

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1, 2009
As I understood it Murph, Hovercraft do not "draw" any depth they are equally capable of crossing deep water, sand banks, snow fields, desert & the confused psychologists maze that is the State Library of QLD car park (most recent siting of a bunny crewed gold plated hovercraft.) Thus no dredging required. They are apparantly hungry bitches though - those gas turbines consume hundreds of gallons per hour at idle speed.

I think that fuel will be one of Birmo's big challenges. As I posted on an earlier Post WW thread all those resovoirs of processed fuels will be useless as the volitiles that make it burnable will have long since evapped. So he will have to either A: buy in, B: restart domestic refinement (very manpower hungry) or C: go alternative. I kinda like the idea of a horse & mule based agriculture serviced by a super high tech state.

Yes yes this is supposed to be an ecology thread, but in a chordate free zone the ecology is so altered we can't begi to guess.

One idea - as herbivores won't be reprocessing the plant nutrients, fire loading will go through the roof. Incidence & severity of wild fires will sky rocket. Each time this happens the soil is made poorer as nutrients are burnt & lost instead of being returned to the soil as dung. Desertification will rival that of western China. They are the experts in managing this process now, I wonder where their efforts were in WW timeframe - (06?)

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NBlob mutters...

Posted March 1, 2009
OK so the cordata thing is off.

1. The great lakes will be (much more than they are currently) totally cactus. The combination of slime runoff, millions of tons of dead cattle from the biggest stockyards in the world & the inevitable pollution from industries burnt / failed unsafe. The eutrophication will kill anything that was still alive.

2. The Gulf of mexico will have suffered some pretty catastrophic pollution as oil processing & associated industrial chemical plants failed unsafe. But it does have a flushing current, so in time it'll come back. I just wouldn't be keen on eating anything out of it for say 20 years.

3. Three years ain't a long time for most populations to blossom. Deer, elk, bear, wolf populations will be up, but probably not massively so I'd guesstimate 10-20%. Bison were reduced to such tiny pocket populations that they would be on the increase, but still in tiny numbers relative to 1800's.

4. If anything the rats cats & dogs populations would probably have crashed. There would be remnant feral populations, but animals dependant on humans would (probably) not adjust fast enough to survive.

More as it occurs to me.

I like this game very much.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted March 1, 2009
NWB : Dog and Cat's - agree. Reconfigure on the bigger populations of rats, mice and bats. Given that these are omnivores and that they can find shielding ie subterranaean, buildings, sewer lines - population explosions?

Good game. Your serve.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted March 1, 2009
If only primates were zapped when we have a World Without Us scenario. Fortunately, someone wrote a book on that. One I need to read.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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savo mumbles...

Posted March 1, 2009
Think Africa was self destructing, so lots would want to head west but how? As for the Indon and sub continent diaspora. Yes, lots of room for tension and explody goodness I'd imagine. Indonesia has experience in displacing current populations with dispossessed from Jakarta so shipping them to an empty country should prove no problem at all. Should be a nice harbour in San Diago with lots of infrastructure. Once there, really hard to dislodge plus getting a large enough population back would be an utter horror.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1, 2009
100 yeah!

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Tarl has opinions thus...

Posted March 1, 2009
Murph - communications... The Iridium constellation had already undergone Chapter 11 re-organization by the time of WW, and was essentially under military control at the time. I suspect there is a good chance control over the constellation was retained, and would be the primary means of military communication on first re-entering the continental U.S. (Like during the expeditions to secure all the loose nuclear weapons).

For longer term, we'd probably see something like we currently do in the third world, where cell-phone networks are being built instead of land-lines. The existing long-distance lines are probably used to maintain communications across empty areas, but for anything in the 30-50 mile range, you'd probably end up with cell phone tower technology providing primary communications.

I doubt we'd see blimps used for the purpose - too much development work needed to set them up. In the post-WW era, things are going to be tight enough that spending engineering dollars is going to be a problem. Instead, everyone is going to use known working technology (towers, mountain tops). The issues with keeping blimps up 24/7/365, and maintaining electronics in them probably keep that approach from being used.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted March 1, 2009
Good point on Iridium and the blimps. I had done some digging on Iridium and I figure it is useable enough.

The Army will have their own systems, notably systems like Mobile Subscriber Equipment Technology. The problem with it is that I do not think it is suited for urban environments per se.

Restoring towers and local systems shouldn't be that difficult. I think (God help me) I'd make retaining signal corps personnel with experience in civilian communications a top priority. The sad thing is that many of them can barely handle military gear (my personal experience, your mileage with US Army commo pukes may vary). Civilian gear is different in so many ways. I dealt with it to some degree when I was in the Guard (even though I was an infantryman) but I never became even rudimentarily proficient in it.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NBlob reckons...

Posted March 1, 2009
Sorry for the detour, Brian remember the old group NWA ?

Quazi millitary rap outfit I believe the acronym was (forgive me) Niggaz Wid Attitude.

I'm wondering about NWB. Numbnuts Wid Bongs? Not While Breathing? Nice With Bourbon.

ahem

Sorry 'out that boss.

Back to the ecology.

America led the way in industrialised agriculture. IE Pork production with thousands of hogs per farm, Egg farms with tens of thousands of chooks, fedlots with thousands of beef cattle. There is no chance that any of these animals would have survived. Each of those sites would after three years of no intervention be extraordinary little forests of super dense tree cover. You would probably have some feral animals - horses, cattle & sheep. Apparantly domestic turkeys, while theoretically still fertile, can't get close enough to um consumate because they have been bred for ginourmous breasts. (who wants it? anyone? Dolly Parton / Sam Fox?)

The bulk stored grains would likely: if in bags in warehouses be rodent hotspots, if in silos probably still OK. Need to check with Lord Bedak on this, but silage would probably still be good, but hay bales in barns would probably have all burnt down.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted March 1, 2009
Oh and Murph, I'm a zepplin fan as well.

I'll tell you about one of my dreams for global domination, when these shifty characters aint around.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1, 2009
Speakin' of zep fans. Jose Farmer has gone to the big hangar in the sky.

Got a story about a remote controlled blimp I saw in Melbourne.

brian

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savo would have you know...

Posted March 1, 2009
The issues with keeping blimps up 24/7/365, and maintaining electronics in them probably keep that approach from being used.

Issue fixed

Helikite

power cable up to the equipment slung under Helikite. Bring down when stormy

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted March 1, 2009
laready have internet/radio repeater solution http://www.allsopphelikites.com/ just don't know if it was available in 06

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1, 2009
Savo good spot on the Hekilite. I have never heard of this device before!

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted March 1, 2009
O/T Just read that Ridley Scott is makeing Haldeman's 'Forever War' in England at the moment. Due out 2011.

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CraigWA asserts...

Posted March 2, 2009
So if it's just primates then it's just people and things in zoos that have vanished. Presumably everything else in zoos will die without someone to feed them.

So we are left with pets, livestock and wild animals.

Assuming there were dogs able to get outside presumably there will be packs of dogs in any built up areas. There will be lots of feral cats now that they aren't being fed by their puddles of ooze. All of the weird and bizarre pets in LA or New York flats are presumably just going to die and not have an impact on the outside world.

For livestock, any animals kept in small areas are probably going to die. That'll presumably be good for all sorts of insects in the short term. Animals that need constant attention, like horses being shod, probably won't be dead but will be having a pretty shit life not being able to walk properly. Sheep, cows, goats and other farm animals prospects will depend on where they were at the time. Fields with animals in them will probably end up devoid of any plant matter.

Fields with crops in them will presumably have grown, gone to seed and grown again. Several times if it's 3 years. The event was 14th March. I don't know when they plant various crops, but anything that was in the ground on the big day will presumably be plentiful growing naturally if you get back there at the right time of year.

Numbers of wild animals that are hunted will probably increase, but it's hard to imagine enough are being taken out of the wild every year for this to have a marked effect in a short time period. Numbers should definitely be on the increase, particularly if lots of the crops are growing but not being harvested.

Chernobyl has turned into a relatively animal friendly area and they are breeding quite happily by all accounts. Assuming there isn't massive radioactive fallout, the animals should be fine.

What does a couple of years of not mowing the lawn do to the place? Gardens that weren't burnt out will be overgrown. Golf courses will require a lot of work.

How long do the Hydro dams keep generating electricity without maintenance or anyone in the drivers seat? I presume that there aren't any particularly bad failure modes here.

Presumably lots of trucks carrying toxic chemicals had minor spills when the wave took the driver. There will be lots of minor spills of chemicals near roads all over the place, particularly on the bends of highways and interstates where cruise control or momentum landed vehicles.

If there is any management of forests to try and limit the amount of fuel available for bushfires, then that won't have happened.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted March 2, 2009
NBOB, grain in Silos isnot AIR TIGHT, BUGS, crawlers will get into it. You get masive weather changes and DAMP or moisture and it will go to shit FAST.

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted March 2, 2009
Havock, if the silos get dry ... KaBOOM!

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted March 3, 2009
Feral dogs and cats are a minor issue these days but they could become a sizeable one in the post-Wave world. I also know that wild horses are a significant concern for the Bureau of Land Management. In a post-Wave world those horses become very valuable again as a means of transport.

Wild turkeys and deer are pretty common in some parts of the US, particularly here in the Midwest. I see both frequently (humans, however, are a different form of turkey). Some pigs might get loose from the farms in the area and go feral as well.

Per planting, here in Missouri what would be in the ground are potatoes and winter wheat. I asked my dad about the wheat following Craig's angle and he confirms that it will sustain itself over the years without much human intervention.

Seems like in a previous discussion of silos my dad said the grain might last for some time but I can't remember for certain.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 3, 2009
Re grain storage (important as stock feed if not people feed)

As I understand it - If it is dry, then it is fine, if it gets wet, then fungal action can produce temps high enough to ignite. Same with hay bales. Silage is different, as it is stored underground in a depleted O2 atmosphere.

Interesting what Murphs Dad said about wheat being self sustaining over generations. I think this would apply more to the "heritage" breeds than the newer You-beaut high yield breeds. I heard a while back that many of these are deliberately geared to NOT self seed / produce viable seed staock - as the business that created them wants farmers to buy new seed stock every year. Hmm GM....

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Respond to 'Post WW ecology. North America.'

Reports my death are greatly exaggerated.

Posted February 15, 2009 by John Birmingham
Well, unlike Murph or Trinity I didn't really get sick, or if I did, the big box of anti-biotics and a long sleep at the McKinney ranch sorted me right out. I was fine again by the time I flew out of Houston.

Seattle was the next stop, which was kinda weird because I'd spent so much virtual time there in Streetview on Google Earth. I knew the city, or the parts of it in the book at least, very well, in a two dimensional sort of way. It was passing strange to finally be there in 3D and put the whole thing together like a big diorama thingy.

The hills suprised me. On screen, you don't get a sense of how the downtown area falls away dramatically to Puget Sound, or how the vibe of the city changes from one avenue to the next. I was staying down on 1st at a Kimpton Hotel (this Bristol maybe?) Like all Kimpton hotels it had a theme, in this case, literature, which meant my room, which was huge and plush and very beautiful, was also decked out with masses of books. Actual books, not just the empty covers and spines you get in some places. There was also a fireplace and a separate lounge and I could have quite happily lived there.

It was a few blocks down from the market district, which I really loved. So too would Mr Flinthart I expect, given the number of freaks and weirdos and top shelf buskers there. Did my gig at the uni bookstore who were very welcoming, and had a curry afterwards with Dave and his family - one of Craig's mates who works for Google.

The following day I did some signings and had a look around for research purposes, before flying out, or rather attempting to fly out for LA and home. Having done the whole tour without a hitch it was inevitable I'd come a cropper right at the end.

First they thought I was on the wrong flight, one I could possibly catch, then I turned up on one part of the booking system but not the right one. Finally after forty minutes of thinking I might be staying a little longer in Seattle I made it onto my actual flight, which was then delayed because there was no captain to fly it.

We left about an hour or so late and got into LA with less than an hour before my Qantas leg for home left. Unfortunately the airport was shutting down and there was zero indication of how to make that connection. No signs. No staff to pester. Nothing. I wandered around an emptying terminal until a cleaner suggested I leave. Outside a security guard pointed me at another terminal, which did have some Qantas flights, so I joined the back of a long, slow moving security queue. About halfway up I thought, this is taking so long I can't possibly catch this flight. Finally through I went looking for my gate, but entirely without luck. Having run through most of the terminal, which was being rebuilt, I at last found a Qantas staffer who told me I was in completely the wrong building. I'd have to go back out onto the street, and do the security shuffle all over again in the next terminal.

Nnnnnnnaaarrggh.

I almost gave up, but really didn't fancy spending the next few days at LAX while I tried to find a new connection home so I sprinted through the night and hit the next long snaking security line where I got my first break when nobody questioned my bogus entitlement to barge right up the front of the speedy, elite line and toss my bags into the x-ray machine like a Spartan javelin champion.

Made the flight, sweating like a pig. Felt real sorry for the poor Canadians next to me.

Anyway, I'm home now, jetlagged, but pushing on thru until bedtime.

33 Responses to ‘Reports my death are greatly exaggerated.’

Abe mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome back. You haven't missed much.

Geez I hate LAX.

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kittenheel puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2009
I will assume that it is an oversight that you skipped over my town while you were in America. After all, it is the 4,549,836th largest metropolis in the state. *turns nose in the air and pivots importantly on heels*

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Flinthart has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2009
Whoa! You made it through the LAX disaster leg! Nice one. Oh - welcome back. I take it your house neither burned down nor floated away while you were gone?

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Bangar mutters...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome back, you didn't leave a tap on did you?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 15, 2009
Marvelous. SF, SD, NY, Houston, Seattle. Not a bad sampling. Glad you safely got back home - and just in time to continue working on the fourth book in the AoT series!

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Domestic Daze is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome home, looking forward to hearing your tales of adventure, when you re-join the time zone.

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WalkingShaw reckons...

Posted February 15, 2009
Well done JB! Welcome home...

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 15, 2009
Hmm . . .yes, looking forward to some distracting travellers tales. Just got a 'flee or stay' advisory for the next suburb over. Any distraction would be nice about now.

The Californian and Montana fire guys have turned up. So have 8 Indonesian Victim ID specialists. I reckon its worth a Blunty on those guys. Had a surprise yesterday Boeing have been raising money for the guys down here. US $750,000 - the Company matched it. US$1.5 million. All done internally. I was pretty gobsmacked by that - a post by a guy over on Baen. Unfortunately beyond that post I can't attribute

Here's the post :

""Well, when I logged in at work this morning, first thing that popped up is

that Boeing is doing 100% corporate match on donations to Aussie Brushfire

Relief. . . So I threw a hundred bucks your way, and Boeing is throwing

another hundred. (Heck, I worked 18 hours overtime this pay period, time

for a little more charity. . .)

But by the time I logged out at close of business today, Boeing employees

had donated over 3/4 of a million dollars. (There's a widget on our Intranet

that dispenses such factoids. . . )

In ONE DAY.

Plus the match.

Nobody said anything, just a simple announcement on the login web page. But

the response makes me damned proud of my fellow Boeing people. In a nasty

recession and job cuts coming, and we STILL helped. . .

My REAL hope is that this is just a typical example. . . . . ""

How about that?

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sibeen reckons...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome home, JB.

Brian, as someone from Melbourne, I'd like to give a hearty thanks to yourself and all the staff at Boeing.

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girlclumsy puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome home!

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Bangar reckons...

Posted February 15, 2009
Thankyou, such generosity is appreciated and never forgotten.

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Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2009
That's an excellent turn by the Boeing crowd, much respect to them.

In other news, a ComicCon interview with JB has been serialised on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAm3TpgbeNE

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
good to see you back, in one piece and knackered... NOW BACK TO WORK!

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MudCrab puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2009
Should of gone to the FunHouse on 5th ave. Like the review says 'if only there was a bar where I could get drunk, see Japanese punk bands and play half court basketball'.

The Sci Fi museum in the Seattle Center (ie the bit with the Space Needle) is really cool too.

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Big Bad Ad puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2009
Damn, they let you back in.

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CraigWA asserts...

Posted February 16, 2009
Well I'm just hoping my flight back this afternoon is a lot less exciting than yours. My only transfer is from the train to the plane and I have plenty of time to spare, so I'm expecting it to go smoothly. Great seeing you again.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2009
Well, Trinity and I hope you enjoyed your first visit to the States. Hopefully it will be the first of many. We hit the ground on Monday with a rolling deployment at 0730 hours and didn't stop until we both hit The Wall on Thursday which brought us low. We both seem to be recovering though. Thank God we didn't pass it on to you.

I hear LAX is a SuperBitch to get through. I think if I go Down Under I'll have to go in the opposite direction.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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JdR asserts...

Posted February 16, 2009
Yep, LAX is a nightmare. The Canadian missus refuses to go that way. Thankfully there's now the occasional direct Sydney/Vancouver flight to we can visit the relatives.

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MickH puts forth...

Posted February 16, 2009
Welcome back JB!

I bet it's good to be home!

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2009
Good riddance...er, glad you made it back!

Hope you enjoyed your visit, but it's always good to be home.

Next tour, a stop in the Midwest, please. Dinner's on YD.

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Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2009
LAX sux...

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted February 16, 2009
LAX! Don't know what you people are complaining about. All you need to do is get there the day before your scheduled departure.

By the time the religious freaks have had their way with you you'll be in such a state of dissociation that you'll be smiling your way on board like a valium junkie from the 60's.

Glad you made it back, JB. Hope Brisvegas doesn't flood!

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2009
Chicago. I definitely lobby for Chicago on an After America tour.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted February 16, 2009
Sorry, you went somewhere?

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2009
Wow, LAX sure seems to have gone downhill. When I last passed through in 91 it was as slick a sh!t through a goose. 25 minutes from arrival through security & check in to sitting in the boarding lounge. At the time I understand it was the busiest airport (Pax not flights) in the world. I battled Heathrow and found Le Giardia(snicker)& LAX relative joys.

RE: "Actual books, not just the empty covers and spines you get in some places."

I thought my leg was being pulled when I first heard of this, but I was shown a mail order catalouge where you could get "The Classics" in a choice of leather binding colour to match your decor without all those bothersome words and disturbing ideas.

Unbelievable!

Murph, on the same trip I walked from the central railway station in Chi town around the corner to an ATM then a resturaunt. When I left the resturaunt a nice man with a revolver relieved my of my folding cash. So polite & well dressed it was a surreal moment. He even gave me my money clip back.

I was lucky that while dining I had transferred most of my money to my big wallet that contained passport, credit cards & airline tickets stashed in my boot.

So yeah Chicago is an interesting place to visit.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 16, 2009
Oh, and postscriptus.

Very Fine Work Boeing.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted February 16, 2009
NBob, I'm sorry to hear that. Sadly, that could happen anywhere in the world.

I passed through LAX on the way to Korea in 1992 where we joked about the fires per the Rodney King Riots (which had long since passed). It seemed okay when I was there but that was years ago.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob has opinions thus...

Posted February 16, 2009
Murphy - Flinthart was in LA for those riots - wrote an article about it for me in the student rag...

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savo mutters...

Posted February 16, 2009
Flintheart was the LA riots.

Welcome home John. Staying in Brisvegas for a while or continuing the Grand Tour?

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2009
GB, I have very little good to say about those riots other than, "Typical."

An amazing thing.

1. I'm angry.

2. I'm angry so I'll burn my house down.

3. You've sent the cops to stop me from burning my house down so now I'll burn the cop car and go down to the only store in my neighborhood, owned by my friend, and burn it down.

Even Martin Luther King Junior, responding to the Watts Riots, wondered just what was accomplished by this sort of behavior. Do you know what the response is?

"We made them (meaning the Oppressor class) pay attention to us."

If MLK Junior couldn't figure it out or explain it, I'll be damned if I can figure it out.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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tygertim has opinions thus...

Posted February 17, 2009
Glad you're home, JB, and DIDN'T pick anything up from youse knows whom.....

Let me know when your next trip is and I'll take you someplace nice.... Steak AND Lobster?

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted February 17, 2009
Murph, anger don't have to make sense.

The African Amercian population had been complaining of rascist assaults by LAPD for 40 years, any & all complaints were disapeared. Finally they felt they had evidence - video footage of a beating. The footage was broadcast on high rotation for weeks which built up a fine head of righteous indignation - somewhat like the 911 footage.

When the case fell over (probably for the very best of legal reasons) elements of the population lost any remnant faith in "The System" and suspended their end of the social contract.

It was a tiny minority, as in the other race riots, that actually took to the streets. Many who took to the streets were not politically / socially motivated - just out to do some burning.

I am not not not justifying or condoning the actions taken, just trying to explain to myself how such a terrrible situation could develop.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted February 18, 2009
NBob, I understand the frustration. I'm frustrated about things but I do not respond by burning my own house down.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Respond to 'Reports my death are greatly exaggerated.'

The McKinney Ranch Hoedown.

Posted February 13, 2009 by John Birmingham
The latest in the series of JB's World Tour Shout Outs goes to the senior Senator from the Peoples Republic of Texas who put in a huge effort looking after your main man here when I pulled into Houston yesterday.

I was feeling kinda worn out after New York, where I may have given things a bit too much of a nudge. The Senator settled me down into the Presidential Suite where I rested while he worked the phones on behalf with the book lovers of the city. I'm thinking Random should hire him as publicity consultant as his arm twisting skills with the readin' public seemed to be considerable.

A good gig was had by all, and we repaired to a local high end noshery where of course I had the steak. It was qite beautiful, so tender that I only needed to wave the knife over it and perfectly medium rare chunks would away.

I'm in Seattle now, having finished my uni bookshop gig, which was also good fun. CraigWAs mate Dave and his family took me out for curry afterwards and I've just got back to my hotel, which is somewhat swish. A room so big and well appointed I think I could live here.

Tomorrow I'll sign books and do the Underground tour.

51 Responses to ‘The McKinney Ranch Hoedown.’

Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 13, 2009
A steak I had in Texas was the best I ever had. As someone who only recently learned the definition of "Seppo" I am gratified to know we've shown you decent hospitality.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
Good eatin'!

Paul - to be fair. We only explain the term seppo to our mates. Mostly we prefer to leave people confused.

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Moko reckons...

Posted February 13, 2009
mmmmmmm steeeeak.

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
'Seppo' is best left unused in Southern company, purticly Texas. Would you believe that they actually get offended?

One of the better steaks I had in Sydney was ironically at a tex-mex place in the Golden West. Ribeye you only needed to look sideways at and it melted onto your fork.

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girlclumsy asserts...

Posted February 13, 2009
Mmm, steak.

Sorry, I've got nothing else. ;)

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girlclumsy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2009
And I copied Moko without even realising.

I need a good nap.

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Abe puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
Hope you've managed to upgrade to Business Class.

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Lobes mutters...

Posted February 13, 2009
I hope you put a dent in his cellar

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2009
How big was this steak? Did it have a suitable garnish? Did you have a choice with gravy ie ketchup. diane, mushroom, a cheeky little number made with an approved wine?

On a sadder note. The grape harvest in SA and Vic has been severely damaged by heat waves and fire - best to start stocking up the cellars and wine racks immediately. Hmm . . . perhaps Victorian truffles are going to be in short supply as well - I'm not precisely sure where they've sourcing them, but if its the Yarra Valley, well . . . .bye, bye.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
Brian, they be Crispy truffles

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savo asserts...

Posted February 13, 2009
Did y'all go huntin' 'n fishin'?

Yarra Valley OMFG!!! I have some superb 2001 DeBortoli Yarra Yalley Shiraz. I'd better check on it!

Yup, still good.

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Trowzers mumbles...

Posted February 13, 2009
Unrelated to anything previous, but just noticed a new Tarantino movie trailer seems to have snuck out: http://www.pajiba.com/inglorious-basterds-trailer.htm

Hmmm, not really a Tarantino fan, but Brad Pitt in some sort of Dirty Dozen-ish remake by Tarantino? ... I dunno what to think. This movie has been on the radar for years, I guess it has made me curious. Be interested to see what other thought.

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Brian mutters...

Posted February 13, 2009
That reminds me. Texas does concealed carry. So . . .did you get properly dressed? What's the proper dressing for a Jackalope?

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damian puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
Best steak I've had was in Rockhampton and not at all expensive. This was at the Cri - the 19th century hotel in the middle of town - but probably could have been anywhere, and not at all expensive.

Culturally Rockie is probably about the same distance from Brisbane as Texas is from California, though I wouldn't push that analogy too hard. I have no doubt that some of the finest steaks in the world can be had in Texas, but it may be the one truly parochial streak in me that wants to insist: Queensland beef is the best beef.

Sounds like a great ol' time anyhoo, hope all goes well.

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damian ducks in to say...

Posted February 13, 2009
Meh, overedited or underedited or something... price was significant because it easily equalled steak that cost 4-5 times as much

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DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 13, 2009
I see your Rockhampton and I raise you a Casino. THE ONLY TRUE BEEF CAPITAL. FACT. A concrete and chicken wire bull with frequently stolen bollocks does not a Beef Capital make. Not compared to the glory and wonderment of the Miss Casino Beef Week pageant.

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Mark R. Whittington is gonna tell you...

Posted February 13, 2009
Hmm, I had no idea that Kay Hutchison was a fan.

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Mark R. Whittington reckons...

Posted February 13, 2009
Hmm, JB said "he" which suggests John Cornyn, who is the junior Senator from our great state.

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Nautilus ducks in to say...

Posted February 13, 2009
Sorry Doc Yob, it is an established fact that the Beef Capital is in Wagga Wagga!

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yankeedog has opinions thus...

Posted February 13, 2009
You should get a good steak-it is Texas, after all. I'm told Houston is a decent stop if in the Lone Star state.

OT- "On a sadder note. The grape harvest in SA and Vic has been severely damaged by heat waves and fire - best to start stocking up the cellars and wine racks immediately."

-Brian

I was going to ask you locals about that. There has to be some crop and livestock losses down there. We get a lot of Oz wines up here-looks like it'll cost a bit more now. Which state in Australia is considered the 'breadbasket'?

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James swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2009
JB - if you get a chance, Mario Batali's dad runs a cured meat and sandwich shop on the southern end of downtown Seattle called Salumi... HEAVEN

The only great restaurant in the city is a place called Wild Ginger - and it really is fabulous. High end fusion food... and really worth the time

Wish I was still in town to host you at one of them!

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damian puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2009
Doc, I hear you there but I still hold that there's a certain unworldliness about Rockie... hard to explain I guess.

I did learn recently that after the Maralinga tests in the 50s a cloud of strontium-90 was tracked passing over central Queensland. Perhaps this goes some way toward an explanation...

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CraigWA asserts...

Posted February 13, 2009
I hope you find much joy in hearing all about Thomas Crapper and his toilets on the Seattle Underground tour.

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jennicki ducks in to say...

Posted February 14, 2009
Mmm...steak...especially cooked med rare.

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mckinneytexas reckons...

Posted February 14, 2009
It was a filet served with wild mushrooms. I had the grouper. We split a bottle of French pinot. John gave a great chat. We finished the evening with an Irish single malt. As it happened, the next morning I had to fly to San Antonio about an hour before John was wheels-up for Seattle, so it all tied together pretty well.

Burgers, on a related note, our man needs to slow down a bit. He pushes himself too hard and needs to cut back. Seriously. I am worried about our boy.

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Matthew K reckons...

Posted February 14, 2009
Brian concealed curry? Wouldn't the pungent aroma give it away?

Oh CARRY. I see. Still, I prefer the idea of packin' Indian heat in a shoulder rig. What would Dirty Harry be hefting?

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Rhino asserts...

Posted February 14, 2009
BAH... if Birmo would have made it to Atlanta I would have BURIED him under stacks and stacks of BBQ pork ribs slathered in smoky sweet sauce at Matt's Rib Shack with an armed security detachment of members of this country's armed forces. Pork ... the true food of the gods.

But no ... the rat bastard goes hailing off willy nilly to rainy, damp Hippieville.

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Rhino asserts...

Posted February 14, 2009
Oh ... and another thing, steak, mmmmmmmmmmmm

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted February 14, 2009
Matt ... Dirty Harry carries the .44 magnum.

In his own words, "I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 14, 2009
I didn't say that Texas steak I had was the best in the world, just the best I've eaten thus far. I am quite eager to make it No. 2 on my list. replacing it with, perhaps, some Beddak White Tail. Damned if I don't find myself thinking about just that.

Rhino: I am on my fucking way to Atlanta to be buried in ribs. Truth be told, pig meat is my favorite, and convincing - but admittedly circumstantial - proof that God loves us.

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted February 14, 2009
So what's the curry equivalent of the .44 magnum?

Coincidentally the the .44 magnum was invented by a man called Elmer Keith - no relation though. That's as close as I'm liable to get to a legal pistol seeing as I'm British.

(Although I understand that illegal concealed carry is quite the fashion nowadays in some urban quarters)

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Robert ducks in to say...

Posted February 14, 2009
I put $6 into my Steak Fund last night after I bought WW for $19 at Borders, where they included a discount card, which makes a handy bookmark.

Say, Birmo, today is Feb 13 and you might bend the ear of your publisher that Borders STILL is WTF about WW. Your book is on the shelf, tucked away in the sci-fi section, but it's not listed properly in their database. If you seek WW the dbase sez it's not published yet. But is IS in the dbase under Disappearance or some such.

Now, that's no way to treat a New Release that has a cool fighter jet on the cover. (I'm only to chapt. 9, so I don't know why the jet, just yet--but knowing your style, I expect all hell to break loose soon--the Caitlin hospital scene was just warmup...)

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Murphy asserts...

Posted February 14, 2009
Hmm, maybe we walked him too much in the Big Apple.

It is possible we all caught some sort of bug there. Or more likely (since I am willing to take the blame) he caught something from me as I had some sort of ear/nose thing which flared up that Friday afternoon before we met at the bar. If that's the case, I feel pretty bad about that.

Hopefully it clears up.

Robert speaks the truth per Borders and Without Warning. It is listed in a screwball manner and you've really got to dig to find the book. I don't know WTF is up with that.

Go easy for the rest of the trip, Birmo.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted February 14, 2009
So. . .we send one our reveed authors to a far off place and he's catching exotic diseases?

Gawd . . .he'll be in quarantine for weeks . . . .living on institutional food.

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted February 14, 2009
Dose this mean we'll have to send care packages to Brisvagas as well as Victoria and FNQ?

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Tucker Dwynn puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2009
Arrgg!! You are in Seattle? When Where?!?! I kept looking for Book Tour dates and times, and I never saw one for Seattle Listed! ARRGGGGG!!

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Trinity would have you know...

Posted February 14, 2009
Hope you feel better. Take care. Drink plenty of juice and get as much rest as you can. Hopefully Murph didn't make you sick like he did with me, the bastard.

Take care,

Trinity

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 14, 2009
Trinity - Murph is a sharing, caring kind of person. You're making him out to be the livig embodiment of 'Typhoid Mary'.

Wait a tick . . . .?

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
It's typical of Murphy family tradition to blame me for the illnesses. Trinity has picked up on that tradition. :)

I need to link her blog.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Leo euler would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
You had a senator helping you out? Cool! That sounds like a lot of fun, very hospitable. Hopefully it was not as hectic as the political stuff in WW.

While we're on the subject of local cuisine...I think Oklahoma is more famous for its BBQ, steakhouse stuff, etc., and more infamous for it's bull testicles (Rocky Mountain oysters). I'm thankful I've never had the latter.

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Tarl puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2009
S.F.Murphy writes: "It is possible we all caught some sort of bug there."

Don't think so... I sat next to you for a couple of hours, sharing that guacamole, and didn't catch anything from you. Not that I'd have been able to tell, spending several hours on subways and Amtrak the next day.

Granted, walking from Union Square to Central Park in the howling wind and cold could have been more than a tender Brisbanite should have been doing - but you have no excuse. :-)

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2009
Well, I'll take what absolution I can get, Tarl. Thanks.

Umm, it was awfully cold, walking to 52nd Street, wasn't it? But not intolerable.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy asserts...

Posted February 15, 2009
BTW, Suvudu finally put up the Birmo interview at YouTube. I've got the four parts up at my blog but you can also get them at the Suvudu.com channel on YouTube.

But they don't have The Soggy Bottoms Boys as a bonus feature at their blog. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
I thought they were referred to as "Brisbanians."

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted February 15, 2009
I just watched that interview. Despite my delight in hearing the term "MacGuffin." the rest of it was gruesome. Seriously.

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
PB: I thought they were referred to as “Brisbanians.”

IIRC the correct term is "Banana Bender"

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2009
Really?

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
For real. Its a colloquialism for anyone from Queensland. They grow em bent up there apparently.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
I like it, and will remember.

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damian reckons...

Posted February 16, 2009
Lobes - no they come off the tree straight, we have to bend them because people expect bananas to be bent for some reason. It's a bit like the way Americans expect cheese to be orange.

Paul - Brisbanite is much more commonly heard than Brisbanian, which I think is an error of the uninitiated. Brisbanite, Sydneysider, Melburnian, Canberran, are all pretty constant.

Actually -ite is quite common in Australia for smaller towns too... I think we like to think of ourselves as lost tribes of Israel or something.

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Nephasis is gonna tell you...

Posted December 1, 2010

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Respond to 'The McKinney Ranch Hoedown.'

New York wrap up.

Posted February 11, 2009 by John Birmingham
I'm almost done here. In half an hour I'll step out for dinner, heading up to Gabriel's, a really lovely Italian place just off Columbus Circle. I ate there with Betsy my publisher the other night and was impressed enough to want to go back. That's always been my way when travelling. If I find a place I lke I will visit a few times to fix it in my memory for future reference.

Today was culture day on Planet Birmo. I walked up to Central Park for a bit a wander and some happy snaps, exiting near the New York Historical Society, which had a civil exhibition focusing on Grant and Lee. It was quite fascinating and gave me an idea for a column later this week. From there I cut back across the Park to the Met, where a I spent a couple of hours browsing the art. I particularly dug the Classical and the Medieval galleries.

The street in front of the Met was crowded with starving artists selling their wares so I picked up a hand painted piece for Anna's room. Thomas got a pencil sharpener fashioned in the shape of a cannon from the Historical Society. Jane got an Obama doll (she scored some Kate Spade shoes yesterday) and for me, an ice cube tray with Titanic and 'berg shaped cubes.

I meandered down Fifth Avenue for a while, occasionally stopping to shoot pics of any buildings that took my fancy. I'm kind of a fanboy for neoclassical architecture and this part of New York has plenty. Eventually the residential blocks gave way to the shopping district, where I'd been on Monday and where I thought I'd scored a bowl of split pea 'n ham from the Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame. Turned out to be a franchise outlet, but the soup was still great and the staff were non frightening. For anyone passing through, this place was just across the street from the New York Public Library, where I was most impressed with the combo of Roman Grandeur and civic virtue.

We seem to be working backwards here, so I guess Sunday was all about touring around with Murph and Trinity before they flew out. I had some things I needed to do at Comicon but caught up with them for an early lunch at the Carnegie Deli. My driver had told me on arrival in NYC that I had no choice but go there for the pastrami on rye, and not being one to disobey a limo driver, I insisted that we did.

Here is the result.

Apart from the pastrami mountain I've eaten relatively modestly in New York. One curry feast with a former editor and two fine Italian meals at Gabriel's would constitute the extent of my calorific blowout. Apart from that, it was easier to just have fruit for breakfast and lunch. One of the very civilized things I have enjoyed about dining alone in the US is the unexpected friendliness of my fellow diners, especially when noshing away at the bar.

Indeed, I just got back from dinner at Gabriel's where I had a green leaf salad and beef ribs with polenta mash, which were all beautiful, but must enjoyable of all was the company of my fellow singeltons, in the first instance an African American freelance publicist for a bunch of off Broadway shows, in the second a German documentary maker who explained in great detail what she was shooting in New York, but I'm afraid it went in one ear and out the other. I do know she was off to see Placido Domingo sing at the Met, however. So good luck to her.

I started chatting with her because I was very much taken with the big bowl of gnocci and duck ragout she was eating. So much so I almost ordered it myself. But that sort of dish is very easy to score in Oz, whereas the thing with which I will credit premium American chefs is a reverence for the treatment of meat that is rare back home. Hence my choice of the beef rib tonight.

In the end though, I was here for Comicon, which was amazing simply because of the sheer mass of geekdom gathered in one place. It was almost oppressive. No, bugger that. It was oppressive. I have some great photos, both mine and Craig's,which I will publish when I can get wordpress and flickr to start talking again, but for now I'll just say that it felt at times there were more geeks and weirdos gathered together in the convetion hall than you could find in all of the antipodes.

42 Responses to ‘New York wrap up.’

Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2009
Crikey that's one helluva sammich! My missus loved New York - her scond favourite city she reckons. But like you JB she was wary of American servings of food - she too would have fruit etc. for brekky, buy some immense sandwich at lunch, eat half and likely have the rest for dinner!

Good thing it's now lunchtime, I'm off out for a meaty sandwich.

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yankeedog puts forth...

Posted February 11, 2009
Yeah, that serving size would be about right. You and Mrs Bondiboy had the right idea, rationing out the big feeds. Best way to go. Even I do that when possible. Two meals for the price of one.

Hope you enjoyed the Apple and none of the Yank 'burgers scared you too badly.

Liking your souvenir swag there-good job going full metal tourist! It's all right though-if I ever get to Australia I'm looking for the Sydney Harbour Bridge pencil sharpener or the Opera House paperweight.

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2009
Don't forget my Statue of Liberty sharpener.

Love to check it out one day. Unfortunately I feel the only I will is if I manage to swim that last 3 K's undetected to shore.

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Domestic Daze mutters...

Posted February 11, 2009
Warning: Do not view that picture on a full stomach. How many is that supposed to feed? A family of four or something?

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 11, 2009
Pass me a 'Quick Eaze', pronto.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2009
nice.

I like a cubic yard of beef on bread

I assume that greeen thing was only for scale or garnish.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2009
Don't. Forget. To. Eat. A. Thin. Crust. New. York. Style. Cheese. Pizza. Before. You. Go.

capiche?

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted February 11, 2009
Umm, I notice the blueberry cheesecake which was consumed AFTER the sandwich was not mentioned. I guess that was the fruit John mentioned. :) Never fear kids, Trinity got a shot of this NYC Cheesecake Monstrosity. I'll post it in a day or so.

Serving sizes in NYC were way above the call of duty. Trinity and I ate at Maxie's (where some of the food should be served with a side dish of insulin or AED devices) on Saturday night. A couple next to us from Turkey said the portions were huge and wondered if Americans always ate like that.

We assured them that the massive serving sizes at Maxie's were out of the ordinary, even in our eating experience.

I thought we ate heavy in the Midwest and if you go to someplace like Stroud's in KC, you'll get large portions. But not on the scale we saw at Maxie's.

As for eating fruit, which is what Trinity and I normally try to do during our more mundane lives, best to buy it at the market and prep it at home. In fact, this was our original battleplan but the leg injury prevented expeditions to the markets for that purpose.

As for the sandwich, I had a ham sandwich of the same size. It would have been a hamburger but we were told, "burger take twenty-five minutes."

Sheesh, you'd think they had to put a rivet in the cow in the back alley, butcher the meat and sear it with a bic lighter before bringing it in if it was going to take that long.

Lots to eat in that town. Lots.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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JdR is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2009
Surely there's a column or several to be written about Comicon? Did you pick up some reading for the kids, or was it all about Watchmen??

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2009
Argh... That's not EVEN a marbled rye. Where is the saurkraut? You might as well be eating at Burger King.

J.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2009
The hot kraut was on Trinity's hot dog.

When John and I were wandering the aisles, gawking at the figures, the weirdoes in costume, the comic books and the nervous pent up long frustrated sexual energy of the place, I finally blurted out this.

"Lord, it is a bit much. Isn't it?"

"Yeah," Birmo said. "It is."

I felt much better after that. I thought it was just me. Go googling around for the Comicon Light Saber Fight if you want to see just how over the top this was.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Chaz asserts...

Posted February 11, 2009
Hmmm yes, I'd of thought that in NYC you'd be able to get proper salt beef on rye with gerkins, obviously not. Oh vay gevalt!

I find it funny about the size of the portions when you consider that NYC was pretty out there with nouvelle cusine. Think i'll stick to half a crucified cow down in puerto madero.

Murph/JB were any of the butchered cow places there allowing English mustard?

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2009
Did you guys manage to catch the excellent work of the Green Light Anti-Zombie Squad at Comic Con?

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2009
Comicon will have provided plenty of material for the Geek blog no doubt.

That pastrami on rye brings back memories. Happy, beefy, memories.

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted February 11, 2009
Looking at their website it seems that the owner knew you were coming and left early... it is supposed to be a 'must see' kind of place.

http://www.carnegiedeli.com/

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted February 11, 2009
Geez, I'm not going to survive the food when I'm there this Fall. Thank goodness I've lost so much weight. I'll be able to get a running start.

By the way JB, what's that green penis doing on your plate?

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lostatlunch mutters...

Posted February 11, 2009
not bad for a work trip.. the last pic on flikr... why so small.. she look, Um, interesting, in an insane way

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DrYobbo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2009
I see pastrami. I see not rye.

I see coronary heart disease and bypass surgery.

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2009
YD, it was just the missus - I've never been to the States. I'd probably just make a total guts of myself!

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Big Bad Al puts forth...

Posted February 11, 2009
Mmmmmmm..... Meaty goodness...

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