Wolf & Iron...for Stan Faryna because he asked......

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Thought I'd start a new post...I'm due one actually, because I never start any and only join in others. On Stan's "farewell" post, I mentioned a book I thought he might be interested in, since it covers the aspects of a peddler in a U.S. post TEOTWAWKI scenario. Its titled "Wolf and Iron" and was written by Gordon Dickson in 1991. Stan requested a couple of relevant paragraphs if I had time to post. So here it is Stan....hope you and others get some enjoyment from this...maybe it'll make you at least go out and get the book. It's well thought out, and helped me think of what might be important in a barter type economy.

Chapter 1

A man, failed and unfit, moved west and north. Jeebee had made it safely this far on the electric bike----a variation on the mountain bicycle with an electrically driven motor----moving at night through northern Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. Partway across South Dakota, however, the heavy skies that had been with him since yesterday moved lower; and a late April rain began to come down, cold and bitter on the north wind.

His outer clothing, of a breathable, but waterproof fabric, kept the wet from reaching most of him. But even with the long brim, of his baseball cap and riding gloves, the rain laid an icy mask on his face and icy chains around his exposed wrists.

He stopped at the first abandoned building he could find----a recently burned and partly fallen-in farmhouse. There was a way among the charred and fallen timbers, however, into a part of it where he could shelter from the rain.

He moved in, accordingly, after covering the motored mountain bike with a plastic tarpaulin from his backpack. He ate some of the cold canned stew he had found in another ruined habitation only a day or so earlier; then lay for hours, waiting for the rain to end.

Eventually, he slumbered. But his dreams were bad, about the running and hiding in a world bankrupt and collapsed. He woke groggily and shifted; and sleep came again, at once. This time he dreamed the old nightmare that he had carried with him out of Michigan and westward. He dreamed that he was back working in the study group; and that the computer screen in front of him was full of the symbols of his equations.

Suddenly a darkness, just a pinpoint at first, appeared near the middle of the screen to obliterate some of ths symbols. The blackness grew, spreading and wiping out all his work. It was, he had long since realized, his awareness of the inevitability of the coming Collapse, even though he juggled symbols to prove that it need not come. Now, the inevitability of it invaded his dreams, in retrospect coming to interrupt and destroy all that he had tried to do----he and the others in the study group at Stoketon, Michigan.

His dream shifted. The darkness came out from his screen and became a black shape that pursued him. He found himself in one situation after another, backed into a corner, with no place to go and the darness approaching; growing enormously to blot out everything as it came closer and closer, to blot him out also.

-- Cary Mc from Tx (Caretha@compuserve.com), June 24, 1999


Cary, how funny that you posted about Wolf & Iron. When I saw the header, I wondered if this was about the same book. I read this book in 1992, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, especially the scene where the wolf regurgitates his food into the hero's mouth. Now, that should be enough to make anyone want to read this book! And then there was the birthing scene in the cave with the plastic covered walls ...


-- jhollander (hollander@ij.net), June 24, 1999.

The precursor story is "In Iron Years" and is in the anthology of the same name. READ it FIRST then go for "Wolf and Iron"


-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), June 24, 1999.

In a similar vain (pun intended) try a net-published novel called 'The Gray Nineties.' Turgid prose, but jammed with lots of detailed survival info, about life after an economic collapse, the rebuilding of local barter-based agrarian communities, and a final conflict with extant elements of the federal goonvernment, who have become self-serving renegades (what else is new?).

-- Spidey (in@jam.commie), June 25, 1999.

Read Wolf and Iron a couple months ago, excellent book. Made me want to buy a portable forge and a book on blacksmithing. Pretty doggone useful to be able to make your own tools and such. Haven't found a forge yet though.

An aside--the book has a forward by the wolf biologist who consulted with Dickson. He got ticked off on reading the original story, in which the wolf acts like a regular dog. So he called Dickson up, and they ended up collaborating on the book. Everything the wolf does in the book is taken from something that real wolves have actually been observed to do.

-- Shimrod (shimrod@lycosmail.com), June 25, 1999.

Now you've piqued my interest. I've thoroughly enjoyed Dickson's Dorsai stories, but haven't kept up with any of his other work in the past few years. Will have to swing by one of my favorite haunts (the library) tonight and see if they have "In Iron Years". Thanks!

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), June 25, 1999.

Shimrod: If you want a forge and/or stuff like that, check out rural estate auctions. I've been going to some this year and haven't seen a forge yet (not looking for one either) but that tech-level of stuff is common and I wouldn't be surprised to see one. Also it is a great way to get a gun (not a handgun). (I saw a nice double-barrel 12 gauge go for $125.) I've been disappointed in the prices ammunition goes for though, often cheaper to buy new.

-- Gus (2ykk@usa.net), June 25, 1999.

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