Into Autumn by Larry Landgraf

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“Into Autumn” is a very interesting, thought-provoking read. For many years before we began to hear about the threats that Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons pose a serious and growing threat to our national security, I used to tell my husband that if anyone wanted to send us back to the stone age, all they would have to do is destroy our electrical supply because every aspect of our lives was so dependent upon it. And that was before computers and cell phones became so much a part of our lives.

“Into Autumn” does not mention EMP’s—but the power grid has gone down and along with it all internet and cell contact. The only thing that still seems to work is the ham radio network, and that is for the few who have them.

The first sign of disaster was the spiralling downward plunge of the stock market which sends shock waves throughout the country. (Today, as I write this, the stock market has dropped precipitously over the past 3 days and I must admit I have thought about Landgraf’s story!)

Eileen Branson works in the stock exchange. At first, she is puzzled, then stunned and frightened. As she watches the news on TV she realises that fear is turning into chaos in the cities and she makes the decision to pack a few belongings and prepare to leave early the next morning. She rushes out to get some cash but doesn’t think to fill up her car’s gas tank. Panicked by the sound of shots in her neighbourhood, she hurries home and hides out in her house with no lights on to draw attention to it. Early the next morning she leaves the city and heads out, not knowing where she is headed but knowing that she will surely die if she doesn’t get away from the city. She is unarmed, has a limited amount of food, a limited amount of water and a gas tank that is not full. She embarks on a journey that I am pretty certain I could not have survived. I could imagine the fear, the anxiety, the uncertainty and the desperation she felt after her car stopped and she walked down a road in a forest, having no idea where it would take her or if she would survive.

Lars Lindgren had chosen to live life off the grid a few years earlier, so is fairly well equipped to deal the circumstances when society falls apart. He has solar panels that provide a limited amount of power. He grows enough vegetables to feed himself, he hunts for his meat and trades with the few neighbours who are in the neighbourhood. His is a good shot and he is well aware of the dangers of intruders. In fact, when he discovers a ragged, starving Eileen at the side of his house, she was very fortunate that he didn’t shoot her there and then.

Into Autumn is an interesting look into what life would become like if infrastructure that keeps our world working failed. No money, no government, no food, no fuel for vehicles, those who have guns would inevitably maraud and kill the helpless to take the little that they have. Civilized humans would quickly revert to savage animals in the quest for food and shelter.

I believe this book is a pretty realistic portrayal of what life would become if you had the “will” to survive in those circumstances. Everyone would have to pull their weight, neighbours would either band together in support of each other for protection and the comfort of human company—or they would kill each other and the survivors would take the spoils. Hard choices would have to be made, and some of them would totally go against what a person’s moral beliefs, yet to survive they would commit to the choice. Invariably loved ones would die and the survivors would pull themselves together and face the days ahead.

There are many other elements to this book. This isn’t an end of the world story, but it is a portrayal of the collapse of society. There is a love story or two and yes there is the human element of sexual relationships—sometimes pretty steamy. There is also death, birth, loyal friendship, struggle, hard work, celebration and the sharing of goods to provide food and safety.

When I finished reading the book I felt certain that Landgraf was a “Survivalist” so I looked up his bio. I didn’t find anything that might link him to the groups that we hear about, but he produced a great story!

My husband is pretty picky about what he reads, but I have told him that I think he would enjoy “Into Autumn, “ and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a book that has action, adventure, murder and mayhem interwoven with the ordinary aspects of life.

Into Autumn can be purchased on by clicking here.