When was the last time you experienced a real blackout? Years? I can't remember mine. I think there was a dark evening with candles somewhere in my childhood... but it lasted a few hours and was only in our city block. Now imagine what would happen if the whole continent went black. Imagine what would happen if it lasted for days instead of hours.
What would happen? Our infrastructure would fall down hard. We would go be overwhelmed by our primitive drive to survive!
This is the premise of this fantastic story: Blackout by Marc Elsberg.
One day, all the traffic lights went black, creating an initial chaos. That was the first sign of the Blackout. By the time people realized what had happened, the only lights that were left, were the spotlights of cars carefully making their ways through the chaos. People somehow went to bed. And when they woke up, the power was still off...
The story follows the footsteps of an ex-hacker during the blackout. He accidentally finds an information that he deems important. But no-one, not even the police, is willing to listen to him. So he decides to investigate on his own, leading us to discovering what happened and exactly how.
This is all I can say without revealing crucial details of the stories.
Let's science the shit out of this
You might remember this sentence Matt Damon said in the the movie "The Martian":It feels kind of the same in this book.
Behind the novel with its suspense, adventure and weird situations, there is a solid foundation of science, engineering and (IT-)security. The IT related parts, the electronics and the security (or lack thereof) are horrifyingly well described. The procedures performed, at least on the IT side are spot on. The author is - at least on this end - very well documented.
Thus, when he describes how our society would crumble down after a few days without electricity, you might understand that I got worried. Energy, communication, transportation, food, hygiene, security, militia, sickness, mobs, populism... it is all in there. And it will freak you out!
I have caught myself many times thinking about it ever since. Wondering about our infrastructures. Asking myself what I would do if this or that happened. These are the signs of a good book. A book that follows you for many days afterwards. But I must admit, I am not at peace. Our society relies on electricity for everything. If it were to disappear.
Oh boy. My "prepper's mind" has awoken. I need to complete the plans I started to get my family to safety in case something like this happens... aaaaa.
I swallowed the audiobook version of Blackout in only a few days. And it's been on my mind ever since. It goes without saying, I highly recommend it.
You'll find it in a good bookstore near you, or on Amazon in German or in English here. And please tell me how you liked it afterwards!
Note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links
Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash