“Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers” by Tea Krulos. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press, 2019. 236 pages. Paperback $17, Kindle, $17.
When the end of the world comes, will it be with a bang or with a whimper? Poet T.S. Eliot asked this in the 1920s, but author Tea Krulos examines what modern-day survivalists see as humanity’s grand exit strategy. Topics covered include the Zombie Apocalypse, doomsday bunkers, escape to outer space, end-time prophets from history, and when Artificial Intelligence takes over the earth.
End-time strategies include hoarding commodities, saving seeds for staple grains, practicing evacuation drills, and carrying firearms. One New-England survivalist is quoted as saying “Modern skills are less practical and self-sustaining”. She does not expect any government agency or nonprofit to come in and offer aid in the event of extreme adversity.
This book will be a disappointment to those expecting religious discussion of Armageddon or a commentary on the Bible book of Revelation. Theories presaging the end of the world that are dealt with by Krulos include: natural disasters, global pandemic, civil unrest, and takeover by intelligent life from other planets.
In terms of artificial intelligence, the author contends that humans are “experts at creating things that can kill us”. Unintended consequences of superhuman intelligence seem to loom large in the popular imagination. Another expected consequence of TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) is total economic collapse and the failure of world currency systems.
Krulos also explores overpopulation, climate change, and consequential global extinction of species resulting in human extinction. In fact, most scenarios examine outcomes straight from the pages of current dystopian novels—all the while putting a human face on the believers by interviewing those who are willing to talk. The survivalist community in general is not big on calling attention to themselves or maintaining relationships with establishment entities.
Many skeptics dismiss the people who supply preppers or survivalists as belonging to an industry that preys on human fear, yet prepper conventions and convocations are going strong no matter who holds public office. Many among this contingent believe in the prediction that only 12 percent of humanity will survive the first 6 months of a society-ending event. Krulos examines this entire cadre without overt skepticism, while reserving some good-natured humor for those in the farthest fringe of the speculative.
Tea Krulos is the pen name of a middle-aged freelance journalist from Wisconsin who writes on pop-culture and social science. This is his 3rd nonfiction work. His first two books examined the superhero movement and paranormal investigators.
Lisa Kobrin is the Reference Manager and Genealogy Librarian at the May Memorial Library. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (336) 229-3588.