“Vapid” is the best word I can use to describe this book. Predictable, dull, and way too similar to Pat Frank’s Alas Babylon to be considered anything but a poor copy of that much superior and landmark novel. The modern world shuts down, but this two little communities don’t run out of food at any time? Just a few vagabonds and thieves besetting the community. Mere months to build a four-mile wall around the community, with no heavy equipment? And, months after the event, enough of the power grid remains in perfect shape so someone flicks a switch and the power comes back on? No maintenance and everything just works again? Yeah, sure.
It’s too bad. The threat of an EMP is actually quite real, but this fanciful portrayal of life after one is just far too unbelievable. The characters don’t help matters by being cardboard cutouts, and the writing style is so leaden that a reader looks upon the advancing chapter numbers with the hope the next one will be the last. And then to have the whole thing wrapped up in a very unsatisfactory coda … well, I probably won’t be looking out for The Blackout II: Electric Boogaloo anytime soon.