HOUSTON, Texas – In the world of survival fiction, the majority of books are distributed thanks to small publishers. The upside of this system is that more and more writers can tell their survival story to what seems like an expanding market, while not being forced to rely on the good graces of major mainstream publishing houses.
The downside to this system for the writers is actually the upside for readers: that is main stream publishers filter the lesser talented writers or uneven stories from gracing book shelves across the nation and costing readers money they will regret spending. With small publishing houses or self-publishing, more writers get published, and more stories told, but sometimes the writing is subpar and the stories uneven.
So when a writer like Chris Pike enters the fray with his EMP series “Unexpected World,” it’s a pleasant surprise for everyone involved.
Like other survival writers, he could have written an “edu-tainment” book that simply disguises textbook survival lessons as a story. The popular James Wesley, Rawles “Patriots” series may be the most recognizable of this genre. Instead, Pike wrote an actual novel that sought to entertain readers while giving them plenty to glean for their own survival plans.
Unlike the “edu-tainment” tomes that fill survival bookshelves, Pike focuses as much on character development, relationships, and actual human feelings as he does on the circumstances of a compelling story. This one is set in south Texas and Louisiana immediately after an electromagnetic pulse takes out the modern world as we know it.
As a lifelong resident of Houston and south Texas, Pike’s debut novel uses his knowledge of the Gulf Coast for the benefit of his readers. And as someone who spent most of his time in south Louisiana, this reader appreciates a good TEOTWAWKI yarn spun in Cajun country. After all, the culture and landscape can be quit foreign to what the majority of Americans experience on a daily basis.
The description of the plot by Amazon is about as good as it gets:
“Unexpected World” is a gritty and compelling survival tale about human courage and steadfast determination to live, to endure, and to persevere against all odds. Assistant District Attorney Dillon Stockdale is on the phone with his daughter when an EMP obliterates the entire electrical grid of the United States. Anything relying on a computer is fried, including the plane his daughter is on.
Gripped with the terrifying realization the plane has crash-landed somewhere in the expansive and dangerous landscape of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin, Dillon sets out to rescue her before it’s too late.
“Unexpected World” is a story of good vs. evil, of a complex narrative of fight or flight, and mind-bending choices resulting in profound consequences. Dillon Stockdale is determined, he’s well-equipped, and nothing will stop him. Or will it?”
While this reader could find a few things to nitpick about the Texan’s understanding of the Louisiana Cajun (for instance, people from New Orleans are not Cajuns. The Cajuns live south and west of the Big Easy.), the vast majority of readers will not know the difference. And frankly, it has no bearing on the quality of the writing, or the story.
The fact is Pike is a good writer with a gift for cliff hangers, which makes the book very hard to put down. His characters are more deep and real than most in the fictional survival genre. The relationships are complex and the emotions of tough and tragic experiences are not glossed over. This book feels like a real novel, and it’s well done.
Overall, the only real possible drawback to the novel is that some story elements tend to get tied up into neat little bows. Certain pieces just seem to fit too perfectly. But do not let that deter you if you’re looking for a good book.
“Unexpected World” deserves it’s place among the quality survival novels. Perfect for the holidays or any weekend, it will satisfy a reader’s desire for a good page turner while filling any need to get your survival fix.
Available on Amazon, Paratus Business News recommends “Unexpected World.”