Source: Review copy
Publication: 1 March 2021 from Contraband
My thanks to Saraband and Random Things Tours for an advance copy for review
My dad taught us to be prepared for whatever was coming. He said we should know the facts about how long we could survive without food, water or fresh air, and to remember that we couldn’t live at all without hope. It was better, he said, to be ahead of the game. Better to be ten years too early than one minute too late.
That’s why he did what he did, on that morning …
Inspired by her father’s advance planning and her own ingenuity and courage, this is one teenage girl’s survival guide for navigating life under a new, even more deadly pandemic from the confines of a prepper compound. Will she ride out the collapse of everything she knows, and how can she save her family – and sanity?
It is a tremendous pleasure and a huge privilege to have Ewan Morrison as a guest on Live and Deadly today. How to Survive Everything, published just a few days ago, is garnering massive critical acclaim. Morrison is a writer of significance and Irvine Welsh has said of his books: One of the most provocative, intelligent and original novelists working in Britain today.’
Of How to Survive Everything, Ian Rankin says: ‘ I wasn’t sure there could be a great pandemic novel. Here it is.’
I am delighted to welcome Ewan to my blog and he’s going to share with you six pieces of wisdom he has garnered from his years of research for this book. Over to you, Ewan!
WE’RE ALL PREPPERS NOW
Six things that Ewan Morrison learnt in his five years researching the doomsday preppers survival lifestyle.
1. “We are all Preppers Now”, said the New York Times during the Covid-19 pandemic, while the BBC declared ‘Preppers are going mainstream’. Preppers are people who are preparing to survive catastrophes that could destroy civilization – and they are now a much larger group than the ‘Survivalists’ of old. Survivalism was historically associated with gun-toting, right wing American militias, whereas today’s Preppers include ecologists, left-leaning ‘home schooling’ families, zero growthers, millionaires, and everyday couples wanting to be more self sufficient, growing their own organic or macrobiotic food to become less dependent upon corporate food supply chains. There has been a 50% increase in the number of Canadians joining “Preppers & Survivalists of Canada”, while Australia has reported a ‘Doom Boom’ with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing cities in ‘Covid flight’ to live ‘off-grid’.
2. The must-have pandemic panic-purchase is no longer toilet roll, it’s live baby chickens! Since Covid 19, the American Poultry Association reported an “exploding… resurgence in raising backyard poultry”. Fear of scarce eggs and lockdown boredom has led many to start prepping for food self-sufficiency. The New York Times reported “People are panic-buying chickens like they did toilet paper.”
3. Most groups of Preppers forget one major thing in their plans and stockpiles. When you are living in lockdown in a bunker, hiding from (a) nuclear attack (b) asteroid impact (c) plague or (d) societal collapse, you realise pretty quickly that in your focus on the big things like water purifying systems and a 3 years supply of antibiotics you forgot to pack any (a) books (b) condoms or (c) pens and paper.
4. As hospitals will be overrun in any society-wide collapse, Preppers have to practice home dentistry and home surgery, with stocks of surgical equipment and refrigerated antibiotics. Before the discovery of antibiotics (1928) the number one cause of death in the world was simple bacterial infection and the average life expectancy at birth was only 47 years. Cuts and scratches were highly feared.
5. Sadly, the most important thing in every list of prepper stockpile is weapons. Your family of preppers may have developed a wonderfully inventive self-enclosed, cyclic system for growing algae, that feeds fish, that purifies water and grows more algae to feed more fish – but in the event of societal collapse your system is only as good as your ability to protect it.
6. ‘Bunker madness’ or ‘folie à deux’ is the one thing that preppers can’t prepare for in advance. ‘Folie à deux’ (madness for two) can extend outwards to ‘folie à famille’. Being cut off from the rest of the world in lockdown amplifies stress and social isolation, and so paranoid delusions can grow and be fed by others in a group. They then start breeding a delusion together and this can escalate to hallucinations and shared psychosis. An example is the Dutch family who lived in a bunker for nine years believing a nuclear apocalypse had occurred, and the extended family in Taiwan who lived in a state of constant flight from imagined assassins.
My thanks to Ewan for his instructive post, though I am now worrying about whether I can keep chickens in my one bedroom flat…..
Ewan Morrison is a multi-award-winning novelist, screenwriter and essayist. His 2019 novel, Nina X, won the Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year and is currently being developed as a feature film with a multi-award-winning director. He has previously won the Scottish Book of the Year Fiction Prize (2013) and the Glenfiddich Scottish Writer of the Year (2012). His first feature film, an adaptation, was released in five territories in 2016, and was a finalist for four international film awards. American Blackout, a feature length docudrama co-written by Morrison, reached an estimated audience of 30 million viewers. Morrison has also been nominated for three Scottish BAFTAs.