Category Archives: TEOTWAWKI

War For the Planet of the Apes – a Review

First of all, the title is a bit deceptive. There is a war brewing between apes and men–like it was in the last movie or two, but this one doesn’t depict a war.

There is a cheesy firefight scene at the end, and an ambush of sorts at the very beginning, and that’s about the extent of the combat. The bulk of the film is a psychological profile of Caesar. Woody Harrelson (doing his best Colonel Kurtz) murder’s his wife and son, so Caesar is tempted to adopt tactics and methods that are just as ee-veel as those used by the bad guys (humans).

In this ongoing reboot of the franchise, the film makers evidently intend to erase generations of history. The apes haven’t even taken over the planet yet, and they’ve already introduced both Cornelius and Nova.

The cinematography was the best aspect of the  film. Otherwise, meh.

“Another Excellent Novel”

There are downsides to having a bestseller. It gives your book more exposure, which is certainly a net gain; but it also draws plenty of wild cards.

As in all businesses, customers are probably about 75% more determined to make their opinions known when they have a complaint than when they find a product satisfactory. In the book biz, you also have some jealous, petty and vindictive authors prowling Amazon to size up the competition who, I guess, assume they can elevate their own work by trying to make other author’s work look bad. And then there’s controversial books like False Flag, which are gonna trigger sheeple and SJWs, even when they are warned up front that a particular book will not be their cup of tea.

Case in point: shortly after the post about Roy Moore went live on this blog, somebody posted the first-ever one-star review for Hell and Gone, admitting within the “review” that they hadn’t read the book. Up until then, my debut novel had never drawn less than four stars from any Amazon reviewer. I smell a motive for this drive-by, but who knows.

So the vigilant haters have managed to drag False Flag‘s cumulative review score down to 4.2 stars, but comments like the following tend to improve morale:

Another excellent novel by Henry Brown

First of all let me state that this is the third novel by Henry Brown I have read featuring “Rocco’s Retreads” a group of different special warfare operators who are mostly retired from different branches of the active duty military.

It’s a direct follow up to Tier Zero– the novel where Native American lawman and ex spec ops warrior Tommy Scarred Wolf and some of his friends and family set out to rescue a group of females from the nearby Rez who had been kidnapped in a foreign country.

This time around, Tommy and some of the Retreads have been targeted by a sleazebag Statist DHS spook and his underhanded operators- including several who are basically Manchurian Candidate Brainwashees.
Tommy is now the Sheriff in the town where the nearby Rez is located and his friends are scattered to the Southwest. Rocco, Leon and Carlos are now operating a shooting range and firearms sales and supply shop; Mac has gotten involved with a sleazy race-card baiter in Federal Law Enforcement and Josh has retired to the life of a modern Mountain Man.

Essentially Josh and some of the others find out that Rocco’s Retreads have been flagged as Domestic Terrorists by the dirtbags from DHS and worse- the same scumbags are planning on a False Flag attack on a peace rally in Amarillo Texas following the senseless beating of an African American motorist.

Talk about being ripped from the headlines.

As the NeoFascists in Federal Government see it, by attacking the rally and pinning the rap on “Right Wing Militia extremists” it will give them the justification among the McSheeple to go after the Internet and gun owners.

Tommy, Josh and the majority of their friends and family decide to try and stop the False Flag attack.
When they call in a phony bomb threat and the “proper authorities” refuse to evacuate the facility…well, it’s time for Tommy’s pals in the Native American Militia to step forward and stop the slaughter of innocent people and try and save the country from the insidious forces within the corridors of power who see Freedom as a threat to their own lustful power grabs.

The book is sobering at times and downright funny at others. The descriptions of some of the peripheral characters (looters and so forth) reminded me of some of the more razor-sharp satirical Destroyer Novels written by the late great Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy as both rednecks and looters get scalded by Brown’s pen.

I would love to see these books made into movies someday. However they are so politically incorrect that its’ mostly a pipe dream at this point.
If you enjoyed the Destroyer novels or the old Phoenix Force and Able Team books the Retreads series is right up your alley.

If you’re willing to take just a few minutes to make a small-but-significant impact in the culture war, and you’ve read one or more of my books, why not drop a couple lines into a review and counter some of this sabotage? Amazon isn’t yet as bad as Twitter, Facebook, or Wikipedia, but they’ve proven to me they are sympathetic to these SJW trolls. They took down a review I posted (it’s long-winded; sorry) even though it was obvious I read the book, and I hadn’t violated any of their published guidelines; but they won’t take leftist hit pieces down, even when it’s obvious the troll hasn’t read the book. There’s not much I can do about that. By posting an honest review, however, you could dilute this well-poisoning.

Speed Week Plus: Mad Max – a Review

Motorized Mayhem Down Under! Time to take Speed Week Plus south of the Equator, to a continent comprised entirely of one country–and into the future, where civilization is on the verge of complete breakdown.

Imagine an Australia populated with butch, entitled women; supplicating nancy-boy males considered “men;” oppressed by a draconian police state hell-bent on gobbling up more power until farting in the privacy of your own toilet is a crime punishable by death…

Oh, wait. No need to imagine–Australia is just about there already. Imagine instead an Australia saved from that dystopian present by a nuclear holocaust and utter economic devastation. Whew!

That merciful cataclysm seems to be underway at the beginning of the original, unfeminized Mad Max.

I actually saw the sequel, Road Warrior, before I saw Mad Max. And having seen it, I just had to watch the original.

I should clarify something up front: I won’t be including Beyond Thunderdome for Speed Week Plus, and probably never will review it or the more recent Mad Maxine.

So the “thin blue line” Down Under has become razor thin, fighting a losing battle to keep civilization from toppling. Amoral, perverse gangs rule the roads, stealing whatever they want, raping whoever they want (which is pretty much anyone), and more than willing to murder and destroy in order to do it.

On the side of good is the MFP: Main Force Patrol. Just as our police have come to be known as “cops,” originally “coppers” because of the badges worn by New York policemen, these Aussie lawmen’s badges were made from a different metal, hence they are slurred as “the bronze” by the villains in this film (as well as the hero in Fast Cars and Rock & Roll, which pays homage to many films, including this one).

A very young Mel Gibson plays Max, the MFP’s star patrolman, who’s considering quitting the force and taking his family away from the madness. To bribe him into staying, the MFP makes an unofficial gift to him of “the last of the V8 Interceptors.” It’s a black-on-black Australian Ford Falcon, supercharged, with “Phase IV heads” and “Nitro.” By the end of the movie Max deputizes the Falcon Interceptor to run down the gang that murdered his family and made a vegetable of his friend Goose.

Mad Max Poster

By the way, the clutched supercharger on the Falcon was a pure fabrication sold via the magic of film editing. But Hollywood has plagiarized it with their own clutch-driven blowers in movies like My Science Project.

Director George Miller was fascinated with medical apperattus and you’ll see some on display in Mad Max and its sequel. He must have been equally obsessed with Catholic symbolism.

But the appeal of this movie is the high-octane action, and it’s got a lot. A lot of the speed scenes were undercranked to exaggerate the velocity of moving vehicles, yet it was accomplished with a subtle touch so that it doesn’t make everything comical.

That’s not to say there aren’t some laughable moments (dig that Roman Candle in the exhaust pipe)–if you watch the version with overdubbed American voices, it’s downright groan-worthy. So I recommend getting the version with the original soundtrack.

“We remember the Night Rider! And we know who you are.”

Speed Week Plus: The Road Warrior – a Review

 Mad Max cannonballs through the wasteland in a world devolving back to the Iron Age.

Mad Max cannonballs through the wasteland in a world devolving back to the Iron Age.


You think you’ve seen road rage before? Let’s cruise on over to post-apocalyptic Australia for a high octane killing spree!

Mad Max was such a cult action-adventure hit, the film makers came back with a bigger budget for the sequel. In addition to launching a young actor named Mel Gibson into superstardom, it also inspired too many doomsday visionaries to count…including another film maker who would produce a time travel thriller a couple years later about a killer cyborg sent back from a future similar to this one, to assassinate the mother of a resistance movement’s leader. You may have heard of that flick. It’s called The Terminator.

In the roar of an engine he lost everything…




In the first movie, Australia was on the verge of societal collapse. As this story begins, that collapse is a done deal. Max, once a good cop and happy family man, is now a lone drifter with no ambition beyond surviving in the New Dark Ages.

What we have here is actually a sort of post-apocalyptic western. Max is the jaded gunfighter who is numb to death and has nothing to lose.

The vermin of the wasteland (I guess I’ll call them VOTL for short) have tried to bushwhack him before, but he’s a little too much for them to handle. The prize they’re really lusting after, though, is a strange outpost of civilization in the wilderness.

A small community which still clings to the mores and values of non-barbaric society occupies an oil refinery, defending it with flamethrowers and pneumatic dart guns from the perverse savages who rape and murder any who attempt to break through the siege and run for freedom.

After defeating (then taking captive) a snake-charming gyrocopter pilot, Max encounters this situation just as two would-be escapees meet their gruesome fate.

The alpha-dog ruling over the VOTL barbarians is a buff baddie called Humongous. Don’t ask me where he finds his vitamins, energy drinks and steroids out there in the post-apocalyptic desert. And though he probably has plenty of time on his hands, where he finds a gym to work out in is also a mystery.

Humongous’ go-to lieutenant is an acrobatic Sodomite who puts his crosshairs on our hero early when he gets wounded during road combat with Max. Later he comes totally unglued when his butt-boy is killed by a razor-edged boomerang that belongs to “the Feral Kid.”

The R rating is strictly for the violence…plus some brief non-titillating nudity. I don’t believe there’s any cussing at all. But the violence is on an epic scale for 1981–dished out with a mixture of Medieval weapons, improvised munitions and fast machines. There are only two firearms in the film–one owned by the hero; one by the villain. The ammo supply for both is extremely limited.


Those fast machines are what makes this movie required viewing for Speed Week Plus. Not only is Max’s Falcon Interceptor back (with the Hollywood clutched blower) but there are other Australian musclecars and some vehicles that look like hybrid dune buggies or sand rails.

The Lord Humongous…the Ayatolah of RocknRollah!

One of the suicide machines has two engines. One of them has a crude nitrous system (“noss” for those of you who acquired all your automotive knowledge from watching the Fast and Furious flicks). Add to all that horsepower the added boost of camera undercranking , and the result is insane speed for the chase sequences.

The Road Warrior has its flaws, which become more obvious over time and repeated viewing, but it’s still a great action adventure movie that requires no more suspension of disbelief than most of the CGI/green screen enhanced claptrap Hollywood’s been churning out in the new Millennium.

This is perhaps my favorite post-apocalyptic movie. What’s yours?

Dialog at Twilight’s Last Gleaming #2

This conversation took place during the New York demonstrations against the results of the election.


SILVER SPOON BLACK WOMAN: This country was built on the oppression of dark people!

WORKING CLASS WHITE MAN: First of all, slavery was brought over here before there was a United States of America. Second, we fought a war to end slavery. We fought and killed our brothers and cousins to free the slaves, because we’re “so racist.” Slavery lasted about 80 years here. Care to compare that to another country? Take your pick: Africa, Asia, Europe, Central or South America…pick your continent.

SSBW: Slavery wasn’t as brutal  in other countries. It was more like just being servants. It’s America that made it such a dehumanizing thing.

WCWM: (Scoffs) You’ve been watching too much TV. African slaves in Latin America were treated much worse than in the USA.

SSBW: That’s just what you say. You don’t know that.

WCWM: I study history because I want to know the truth. You should try it. The information’s out there. You read a few memes on Facebook and assume you know everything there is to know.

SSBW: And so what if you ended slavery? That’s nothing to pat yourself on the back about. The fact is, you still did it. And you took this land from the people who were here before, so it’s hypocritical to want to keep other people from coming in and taking it away from you.

WCWM: Can you name one country where the territory wasn’t won by a group that displaced another group? Why is nothing bad unless Americans do it?

SSBW: I’m talking about this country. This is the one I live in. And just because other countries have done something doesn’t make it right when America does it.

WCWM: So the standard for America is perfection, but every other country can do whatever, and are superior in your eyes?

SSBW: I didn’t say they are superior.

WCWM: You want to make us just like them. And you act like I’m wrong because I don’t want their invasion of us to continue. Why is that?

SSBC: The point is, this is a racist country, and you’re too blinded by your white privilege to understand what I go through as a person of color.

WCWM: I understand. You’re given scholarships for nothing but being born your color. You’re given hiring preference for nothing but being born your color. All by oppressive, racist America. You poor victim.

SSBW: Those things are just compensation for what we have to go through every day in life just because of the color we were born with.

WCWM: Oh yeah, I keep forgetting how oppressed you’ve been. Your parents weren’t allowed to work any job except maids or butlers; you weren’t allowed to live in a well-to-do suburb; you were denied an expensive education and you weren’t given a six-figure job right out of college.

SSBW: I had to work for all those things!

WCWM: Ah, so you’re a victim because you have to work for something? They should have just handed it all to you because you’re black?

SSBW: (Under breath, grumbling) People who never experience prejudice just can’t see it.

WCWC: Now you’re assuming I’ve never experienced bigotry, and you assume it because of my skin color. That’s textbook prejudice, right there.

Dialog at Twilight’s Last Gleaming #1

There’s some notable conversations taking place in “flyover country” these days. I think I’ll document some of them.

NGV: I know (our co-worker) has a family to provide for, but stealing from the company…pissing off the customers…I don’t see how they wouldn’t fire him.

RAV: I don’t want anybody to lose their job–especially in this economy. He needs to go on welfare or something, because he’s damaging our reputation.

NGV: I feel bad for his family, though.

RAV: Yeah. There ain’t that many jobs out there, and frankly, depending on what happens in this election, there might not be an America for much longer. It could be a lot more like Brazil or Venezuela pretty soon.

NGV: Speaking of that, when the shit hits the fan, you’re welcome to bring your family and follow me to (redacted) in Idaho.

RAV: No kidding? (Wow, he’s a lot more prepared than I thought.)

NGV: Yeah, seriously. If all you’ve got is your bug-out bag, that’s cool. Ammunition won’t be a problem, either–we’ve got plenty to share.

RAV: Oh yeah? (Holy cow, he’s blowing OPSEC all to hell. Doesn’t he realize we’re talking on cellphones?) I don’t know where I’ll be when the day comes, or what my travel options will be, but I really do appreciate that. (I just wish you’d be wiser about what you say on an unsecured line.)

Random Musings on Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Entertainment


TEOTWAWKI or “The End Of The World As We Know It” is a brand which has been traditionally applied to post-apocalyptic movies, games, and books. In such narratives, the story begins AFTER some cataclysmic event has forever altered life on Earth.

SHTF or “Shit Hits The Fan” stories are about, or take place DURING the cataclysmic event. (Most “patriot fiction” fits inside this genre.)

It occurred to me we’ve been throwing everything under the TEOTWAWKI umbrella (including my own latest novel). Because I review so much work in the genre, I have now made a SHTF category and moved all (I hope) the relevant posts into it, for ease and accuracy of navigation.


I’ve been consuming a lot of SHTF and TEOTWAWKI entertainment lately. Recently I’ve tossed two books aside before finishing them. That has prompted me to create a new category called “Pet Peeves,” and this is my first post to be categorized that way.

There are a few different tropes that often annoy me enough to quit watching or reading whatever incorporates them. As regular readers of Virtual Pulp can probably guess, left-wing propaganda is one of them (explaining why I rarely go to movies anymore, and never watch TV). Another nauseating trope is the obligatory “strong female character,” which in action/adventure manifests as the obligatory Amazon Superninja.

Another deal-breaker for me is excessive stupidity, in whatever form. Going back to TEOTWAWKI, this is why I didn’t get very far watching the Jericho series on Netflix. It started out with a lot of promise, but smacked me out of my suspension of disbelief too many times to even be engaged by the point where we discover the EMP was caused by the Right Wing Boogeyman (egads! What a surprise!).

I recently picked up a handful of books on free promotion, for my Kindle. One of them featured a rare (for the SHTF genre) protagonist: an extremely naive civilian suburbanite victim of normalcy bias. I know too many people like this guy in real life (throw a rock in North America, and you’ll hit one), and find them a real challenge to engage with on any meaningful level. Yet, for me, it was a unique storytelling perspective (and perhaps overdue), and I guessed he would have to wise up in order to survive.

The character did show signs of maturing over the course of several chapters, and I gritted my teeth through his Pollyana attitude/reactions. I even held my peace, with an eye-roll or two, at how cash was still accepted after the economy, infrastructure, and even government itself were all rendered moot.

Then I came to a scene in which the protag and his companions are waylayed by literal highway robbers. Our hero is armed. The villains are not. He has some supplies he and his pals will require to survive along their journey. The bad guys want to take it.

So he lets them take it, in an alleged compromise (they won’t rape the girl traveling with him).

You have to wonder why some people even have guns, if they’re unwilling to use them even in matters of survival. The sad part is, this character is all too real, and the “compromise” is too perfect a metaphor for how we’ve allowed our freedoms, our government, and our country to be “compromised” away from us. Real life and its stupid people are more than enough, thank-you. This story and character is too much stupidity for something I read voluntarily and sacrifice time for.


The population has been so relentlessly conditioned that it’s hard to escape from the malignant sodomiphilic echo chamber even in indie fiction.

Another book in the genre was also from a suburbanite perspective. There were some trace amounts of the “all men are rapists” attitude in this one, but it wasn’t so “in your face” as to make it unreadable. I had finished reading about 90% of the book before the author sucker-punched me by revealing a character as homosexual.

The reaction to this by one of the main characters was how all reasonable, “open-minded” people are supposed to react: immediate support, equal or surpassing what a “straight” individual should get. Just in case there are still some dirty brains still out there, the efforts to wash them are ubiquitous and never-ending.

No thanks. Pass. I have no interest in reading the remaining 10%.


This really should have been pondered long ago, but only lately has it really become a point of fascination to me that 95-99% of post-apocalyptic tales depict a journey of the protagonist. Most often, the journey is taken in order to reunite with family.

On the one hand, this makes a lot of sense. When the SHTF a lot of people will be separated from loved ones by varying distances. They’ll be away on a business trip, or at the office, grocery store, etc., when disaster strikes. So it’s a valid plot.

It’s also a grossly overused plot. So overused that I’m now rethinking a few sequels to False Flag, and a zombie parody I had in mind.

That’s all for now. Happy weekend.

Executive Orders: Homeland #2

The second book in R.A. Mathis’ SHTF series has just gone live on Amazon. I was fortunate enough to have read an advance copy (after nagging the author a little bit–that’s how much I liked the first one: Falling Down), so I’m ahead of the curve.

I reviewed the first book here; then the author and I had a conversation about our books and TEOTWAWKI in general here and here, if you want to get up to speed. You can also read an excerpt.

Executive Orders follows the three main characters from Falling Down as order is established from the chaos. But order isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be–especially when the chaos was purposely orchestrated to bring it about.

Unfortunately, I think the author’s take on how easy it is to manipulate the masses is spot-on (which is to say: even easier, when they’re facing starvation and other severe hardships, than it is now).

America’s “second founding” is how characters in this story refer to the whole order-from-chaos/pheonix-rising-from-the-ashes plan to swallow the USA into the globalist dictatorship certain insiders have referred to as the New World Order . They have utterly destroyed the US economy; taken down the power grid; hijacked the Armed Forces; implemented martial law; begun to kick off their population reduction and relocation initiatives; blamed the patriot resistance for all the above; obliterated what individual rights Americans had left; and made the average Joe beg for servitude by using food shortages as a weapon. This is all right out of the globalist playbook.

I was a bit surprised at how much freedom and initiative Sheriff Hank was able to enjoy, given the stranglehold Big Brother has on everyone and everything. In retrospect, perhaps he was merely given enough rope to hang himself. And scapegoats are always needed in situations like this.

The stranglehold was achieved very quickly. The author has illustrated just how fast our way of life can permanently change. (The same government/media complex that so expertly herds the population using the Hegelian dialectic before the fall will have an even easier time herding with the simple carrot-or-the-stick paradigm.) They waste no time weaponizing the surviving population (now reduced to property of the State), starting with the very youngest.

I got irritated with Sheriff Hank a couple times, due to his naivite`…but, to be honest, he’s no more naive than most people are, or will be, in real life. Will normalcy bias linger on, even after normalcy has been shredded, napalmed and nuked into oblivion? Yes, it probably will, while evils are sufferable.

This is a dark vision of the near future. However, there were just enough glimmers of hope to read on. And Mathis has set the stage for the resistance to bring some major smoke on the bad guys in the third book.

All This and Civil War Too (Part Two)

Here’s the continuation of our discussion of Homeland: Falling Down, and the trends which inspired it.


HENRY BROWN: So, whether faced with our own military or with modern-day Hessians under globalist command (assuming the 3 percenters have prepped adequately enough to avoid being simply starved to death) with no support from a foreign ally and probably without popular support, how viable do you consider a guerilla resistance effort to be?

R.A. MATHIS: You mention in False Flag that no insurgency has ever won without foreign intervention and popular support, which I thought was a very good point. The two things America has to counter that are the 2nd Amendment and the 2008 election of the best gun salesman the country has ever seen. We have over 300 million citizens and about as many firearms in this country. We are also buying up ammo as fast as it can be produced (at least what is left over after DHS gets their share). Combine that with hundreds of thousands of highly trained combat veterans scattered to every part of the country, and the odds don’t look so long.

(HENRY BROWN: What a coincidence that veterans, patriots and gun owners top the list of potential “domestic terrorists” the government is most worried about, eh?)

R.A. MATHIS: This alludes to the working title of book three, “Every Blade of Grass.”

HENRY BROWN: How appropriate–that very quote (whoever said it) was just going through my mind as your words sunk in.

R.A. MATHIS: I think the success of a resistance would vary by region. Rural areas would be virtual no-go zones for regime forces. Some urban areas may just welcome them like the Vichy French.
It seems to me that the biggest problem for the resistance would be the lack of electricity. If the regime restored power to each region as it was brought into compliance, it could make for effective deadly propaganda against the resistance. It’s the old “freedom vs security” dilemma on steroids. I’m not sure which way the populace would go in that case, especially in winter.

HENRY BROWN: Very good point. Most people  take electricity for granted. Few of us have any concept of what a struggle life will be without it. And that’s even without somebody intentionally trying to kill you.

R.A. MATHIS: How would you go about establishing a resistance? Could it succeed?

HENRY BROWN: That endeavor would be a kettle of quandries stuffed full of dillemmas and wrapped in Catch-22s. What I would encourage is a cellular structure perhaps similar to the French Underground or other successful resistance movements. But if it is successful, at some point it would have to take the offensive. And that would require somewhat centralized leadership–anathema to the principles hopefully held by those who constitute such a movement. That would require very rare leadership–willing to step down and surrender the reins of power when victory was secured–as George Washington did.

Could it succeed? Yes. But it would be an uphill struggle from start to finish, with no room for mistakes at the strategic level. At a tactical level I like its chances a little better, partly because of the points you made.

In Falling Down, Cole’s father, Hank, is an honest cop. In my experience that’s a rare, dying breed. But now and then I come across memes regarding certain sheriffs who have gone on record stating they will not comply with unconstitutional orders from the Feds, including civilian disarmament. As with the military, I’m skeptical that many who wear the badge will honor their oaths at crunch time. How do you see it?

R.A. MATHIS: Again, I think this may be regional. I believe small town sheriffs would be more likely to resist the regime as they personally know most of the people they would be asked to arrest, kill, etc. The impersonal nature of bigger cities allows collaborators to see numbers rather than real people. Like Stalin said, “The death of one man is a tragedy…”
Of course, there would be exceptions on both sides of the spectrum. And we must always remember that power not only corrupts, it draws the corrupt.

That last sentence ran through my mind as I read the McMillan scenes in False Flag. You mention window tint citations a few times in regard to this trooper. Was this character and situation inspired by actual events?

HENRY BROWN: Actually, yes. I made friends with a state trooper a few years back. Unlikely, but true. Stories he shared fit with things I’ve heard from other cops and ex-cops. Basically, somebody with a badge can make your life hell now for any reason at all. Window tinting was one of the specific excuses he used to harrass people and help eat out our substance. And that BS fits thematically so well, because the Surveillance State just HATES it when something impedes their invasion of our privacy.

In Homeland: Falling Down, Cole strikes me as a character who’s just an honest soldier who wants to do his duty and avoids politics like the Plague. First of all, is this an accurate assessment?

R.A. MATHIS: Yes. Like most people, he just wants to be left alone. But also like most people, politics affects him in huge ways, whether he likes it or not.

HENRY BROWN: Like the saying goes: You may not be interested in politics, but politics sure has a keen interest in you.

R.A. MATHIS: I found your character Adiur rather fascinating. His connection to Greeley, the secret government training program, the other members of his unit with equally unusual qualities and names. Can you go into detail about this character and your inspiration for him?

HENRY BROWN: This goes back to my research on the occult and mind control, again. There are documented cases of this kind of thing, including superhuman strength, drastic voice changes, change in spoken language, and being oblivious to pain. There’s other bizarre stuff like “remote viewing” and “automatic writing,” too, but I don’t know much about those phenomena yet. Anyway, molestation as a child is pretty common in these “sleeper agents” and sex acts are incorporated into the occultic rituals for adults, too. This is where Greely comes in.

It’s all pretty horrific stuff, which is why I left it behind closed doors, and only implied “vanilla” sex, at that.

Is Cole based to any degree on some particular individual?

R.A. MATHIS: He is the personification of the dilemma faced by our troops in such a time. Hank is the same, but for civilian authorities.

I’ll ask you the same thing about Greeley and Adiur.

HENRY BROWN: Greely and Handel are amalgam characters, based on different people I’ve known and met. I’ve never been involved in drugs or the occult, but I’ve rubbed elbows with others who were. Niether of these characters are what they seem to be on the surface. Greely appears to be the sultry cougar-type “strong independent woman.” She’s the object-of-every-schoolboy’s fantasy. But deep inside she’s a sick tool who is about as independent as a marionette.

Handel’s facade is perhaps just Joe Blow Normal Dude. He’s handsome, clean, in his prime, average intelligence, a “good person” on paper…but there’s more to him than superficial observation would ever indicate. He’s been horribly abused since childhood and doesn’t even know it. He’s fractured. At the risk of spoilers, he has been conditioned to surrender his will and his body over to be used as a vehicle by Adiur–a malicious personality given access to Handel when his psyche was fractured.

I don’t know for sure that anyone I’ve ever met was a bona fide MPD. But I’ve known some guys who were blank slates like Handel, susceptible to that sort of conditioning in my opinion. Such a person has a hole in their soul, and nature abhors a vacuum.

When you first introduced Eduardo in Falling Down, I couldn’t help thinking of Geraldo Rivera. But as the story progressed, I shelved the connection. You really drew a 3-dimensional character in him. He’s a disingenuous self-promoting media whore on the one hand, but he proves to have streaks of decency as well. Congrats on that, BTW. What were your thoughts when you conceived the character, and did he wind up like you first envisioned him?

R.A. MATHIS: He actually was inspired partly by Rivera, especially after I saw how Geraldo behaved on Celebrity Apprentice (not a good look for him). He represents exactly what you stated: the self-serving, headline-grabbing media. He doesn’t care if his reporting is biased or disingenuous. The next step in his career is all that matter to him. He’s not an ideologue, but he will toe the line and support ‘the narrative’ his superiors provide to get ahead. He is a tool (in more ways than one).
It’s interesting that you ask if he is winding up as I first imagined him. I like the question because it implies Eduardo has a life of his own and makes his own choices. As a writer, that’s when I know I’’m onto something…. When I stop directing the characters and let them do their thing, writing down what I observe. That’s when it’s most fun. I don’t know what Eduardo will do or how he will turn out. How will he react when he discovers the true nature of the regime? I don’t know. He is a bit of a wild card.

HENRY BROWN:  Definitely onto something. He lives, breathes, sweats and stinks. Seriously: kudos. Very well-drawn character.

Will the presidential candidate from the prologue appear again in subsequent books?

R.A. MATHIS: The candidate, Martha Jefferson, will have a big roll down the road. And that road is gonna be a rough one.
The assassin’s “little green book” will be a factor going forward.

HENRY BROWN: How many books do you think the Homeland series will last?

Right now I.m thinking at least three, maybe four. It really depends on where the characters take the story…and sales (You’re laughing–I’m not laughing).

HENRY BROWN: Not laughing, really. Just smiling. But think of it as a smile of solidarity.

Is there anything you’d like to share about Executive Order?

R.A. MATHIS: Yes. President Tophet is just getting started. If you thought things are bad now, just wait.

Can you give a hint as to what is in store for the next Retreads book?

HENRY BROWN: I haven’t woven it all together completely yet in the cobweb of my mind, but there’s got to be a showdown between Adiur and Tommy Scarred Wolf. Also between McCallum and either Rennenkampf or Cannonball. The latter would be more dramatic. An EMP. Grid down. Starvation. Dissident extraction. Internment camps. The clergy response team. Jihadi terror cells completely unleashed. Texas secedes. Rocco and his crew take in some refugees. Clashes with occupation forces. And, oh yeah: World War Three. That’s a few off the top of my head.

Changing gears a bit, where did the idea for Ghosts of Babylon come from?

R.A. MATHIS: A few months before deploying to Iraq, I found a picture of my grandfather taken in Germany during WW2. With the photo was a note written on the tissue paper issued to GIs to write home with in those days. He had just learned of Germany’’s surrender and was looking forward to coming home and not sleeping in a foxhole anymore.

I wished I had more. More of his experiences. More of his thoughts and feelings. More of him.
So I kept a journal during my Iraq deployment so my family would have more than a picture and a note decades from then. When I finally got back home, I started writing, using the journal as the basis for a memoir. It was partly self-therapy and partly out of a desire to pass my experiences down to my children while they were still fresh on my mind.
It eventually morphed into a novel. I still don’t know why. Maybe there were things I needed to say that could only be said through fiction. In any case, it eventually turned into Ghosts of Babylon.

We all begin writing for different reasons. I once read that no one writes because they are happy. What inspired you to start writing?

HENRY BROWN: First of all, that is a cool story unto itself. Thanks for sharing that.

As for me and writing, I’ve always had an active imagination, for one. Also, from a very young age, no matter how much I liked a story (either on film or on paper) I saw room for improvement. “It would have been even better if this was changed, that was tweaked, if so-and-so would have said/done such and such…” At least that motivated me in my first creative efforts.

I kind of did that with real stuff throughout my life, too. “Hey, what just happened would make an intense scene in such-and-such type of story.” Or, “Oh wow–check that out! I’d love to be able to capture what I’m seeing/feeling right now and reproduce it.”

There have been times when I really should have been completely focused on reality and my part of whatever task was at hand, but part of my mind was already busy plagiarizing the situation. Somebody once called me “a cultural scavenger.”  I still have mixed emotions about that remark. Maybe he meant it as a compliment, but it still seems a bit insulting. Nevertheless, there must be some truth to it, since I’m constantly compelled to weave fragments of life experiences together into stories (which are much more exciting than real life).

In fact, that’s still at work today, in yarns like False Flag. All these trends are converging toward a perfect storm that promises a bleak future and an end to life as we know it…so why not insert some guys like the Retreads, who won’t take it lying down, no matter the odds. Islands of integrity in a world of treachery. They’ve got the skills and wits to bring smoke on some scumbags in the process. And most important, they’re compelled to try to make a difference.

You strike me as a voracious reader. I sure used to be. When I was on active duty, when possible, I always had a paperback stashed in my cargo pocket or rucksack, for the inevitable “wait” phase of the old hurry-up-and-wait S.O.P. Did you keep a book stashed in your tank?

R.A. MATHIS: I read a little of everything. I especially enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, history, philosophy, and even a little horror. Unfortunately, working and writing leave far less time for reading than I would like. I read as much as I can, but am frustratingly slow at it. I often supplement reading with audio books and YouTube.
I usually had a book handy in the Army, but never got to read it on the tank as I was the platoon leader and barely found time to eat and sleep during operations. But I read constantly during after-operation downtime. Like you, there were also the times waiting on the tarmac for a flight, leaning on my rucksack, stealing a few pages here and there.

HENRY BROWN: Oh yeah, I got a lot of reading done sitting around Green Ramp in my lower enlisted days.

R.A. MATHIS: What do you enjoy reading most?

HENRY BROWN: Excepting horror and philosophy, the same ones you listed, plus classic pulp; westerns; war (fiction and non); military history; and various & sundry fare from the blogosphere in the “neomasculine” genre.

Have you/do you read SHTF or TEOTWAWKI fiction from other authors? If so, which do you recommend? (Some authors I recently discovered, who have written some enjoyable books, are “Joe Nobody” and Mark Goodwin. I’m curious about “A. American” and some others, but haven’t taken a chance on them yet.)

R.A. MATHIS: Oddly enough, I haven’t read many other SHTF works other than False Flag (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and a bit of James Wesley Rawles first book, Patriots. I want to keep Homeland original as possible, so I’m avoiding similar works right now. I do plan to read them once I’m a little further into the Homeland series.

HENRY BROWN: Interesting. It seems that it’s paying off–Falling Down did not seem derivative or imitative of any other SHTF works I’ve read. And thanks for that!
I read Patriots as well, and have considered trying more of Rawles’ fiction…but haven’t, yet.

R.A. MATHIS: Which authors do you recommend I start with?

HENRY BROWN: Me, of course. But seriously, you might want to try “Joe Nobody“–he blends prepping info into his narratives fairly well. The protagonist in the ones I read was easy to root for. The action was believable. Overall a good read.

R.A. MATHIS: Thank you again for having me, Hank. Your questions were enjoyable and thought provoking. I truly enjoyed them.

HENRY BROWN: Hey, same here. We should do this again some time.

All This and Civil War Two

What began as an interview with R.A. Mathis about Homeland: Falling Down turned into quite a discussion about America teetering on the precipice of oblivion. Here is Part One:


HENRY BROWN: First of all, thanks for agreeing to do the interview.

R.A. MATHIS: Thank you for having me, Hank.

HENRY BROWN: After reading Ghosts of Babylon, I guess I assumed you might follow up with something similar, or possibly move on to more mainstream literature. What made you decide to spin a SHTF yarn?

R.A. MATHIS: I wrote Ghosts of Babylon because I had to. It began as an effort to mentally sort out my Iraq experience. The Homeland series is the same.
The seed was formed from the occasional news story of another general being fired for questionable reasons, a new executive order being announced, or the IRS being used as a weapon. That seed took root as these stories began to appear with alarming regularity. I thought it was just me being a bit paranoid, so put it aside and kept my mouth shut. But then I noticed others voicing the same concerns, both on the street and even in the popular media.
The last straw dropped when a guy came to our house to work on the air conditioner. We struck up a conversation as he worked. He told me that he was mortally afraid of the government. That’s when I began to realize how widespread the concern really was. (As a side note, I believe this sentiment is a contributor to the current election cycle’s rebellion against all things establishment.)

(HENRY BROWN: I would have to agree. And on the one hand it’s about time. But on the other…it seems to me that the pent-up outrage, now that it’s finally loose, is proving to be misdirected in many quarters.)

R.A. MATHIS: Homeland is an attempt to test the thesis, to mentally sort it out as a kind of mental experiment. Unfortunately, the thesis is proving all too plausible.

On a similar note, I noticed your Retreads series has gone from pulpy men’s adventure to a more serious SHTF genre. Why the shift?

HENRY BROWN: I’m not sure I can answer that in a way that makes sense to others, but I’ll try. Some of the times I’ve been happiest in life were when I had my head stuck in the sand–either voluntarily or unintentionally. That applies to the writing partition of my life, too. My whole experiment in men’s fiction was partly an effort to relive the fun and the rush of adventure lived vicariously through characters in some of the novels I read as a kid and young man. Better yet: to pass that experience along to new readers. Such was my ambition. (And yet, I couldn’t go Full Ostrich all the way–in Hell & Gone you can already see the government attitude–through the goons in their alphabet soup agencies–that certain law-abiding Americans are more dangerous than actual terrorists. In Tier Zero I sort of laid the ground work for False Flag by introducing some ugly little secrets of black ops, and how, if Washington doesn’t have a convenient one to exploit, our would-be rulers are willing to manufacture a crisis as an excuse for the next power grab in their agenda.) But I got to the point where I just couldn’t swallow the blue pill anymore.

I see the world around me drowning in deception. People who recognize this must not let the truth be buried. We have to shout it from the rooftops as best we can, despite the odds. If those sound like the words of a maniac, well, so be it.

I guess I should mention that I’ve had it in mind to write apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic fiction for a long time–but something a little less heavy, like the Last Ranger series or Doomsday Warrior before it (only without the mutants, the Zen philsophy and the weird psychodelic acid trip scenes). However, taking stock of the situation facing us in America, people need to wake up; not be somnambulized into maintaining their complacency.

The Retreads were established characters, who I and some readers really liked. If I could choose anybody to guard my flanks when facing Armageddon, it would be guys like them. After all, they were staring down the barrel of WWIII from their very debut, and handled it pretty well. At the same time, I knew that pulling out all the stops politically would piss off some readers who liked the previous books. Oh well. Life is too short and freedom is too precious to lose sleep over whether I offended somebody or not. I get offended constantly in books and movies. Suck it up and drive on.

Aren’t you sorry you asked that question, now?

When you introduced the DHS involvement with the regular army in Falling Down, it made perfect sense and I wondered why it hadn’t been done before (my own excuse is that I haven’t yet depicted conventional national military forces). After all, the Red Army had its political officers–military commisars or whatever, feared by all the regular soldiers. Same with the Soviet Navy. The Wermacht was, to an extent, gripped by terror due to the SS and Gestapo. Compared to me, your active duty experience is very up-to-date. Did you witness anything first-hand that confirmed for you this scenario will play out in a SHTF scenario?

R.A. MATHIS: You are exactly right about the Soviet commissars being the basis for the DHS “advisors” assigned to active units in the book. In fact, an important parameter of my “thought experiment” mentioned above is that there must be historical precedence for the events in the book, especially in the actions taken by the government. Knowing that the new regime would be suspicious, or even hostile, toward the military, commissars assigned to keep the troops in line would be a top priority. If you put yourself in the regime’s shoes, the DHS seemed like a perfect fit.
My first-hand military experience ended in 2006, before our current President took office. At that time, the political correctness machine was already in full swing, but I never experienced blatant meddling by civilian agents. That being said, the amount and pace of social engineering forced upon our men and women in uniform since then is both staggering and alarming.

There is something I found interesting as I read False Flag. The occult ceremonies woven into the plot and connected with the tier-zero units and other operatives. Can you go into more detail about their purpose to the regime and why you included them in the story? Also, are these ceremonies simply mind control, or are they really colluding with unseen forces?

HENRY BROWN: Well, now you’ve done it. If people didn’t believe me to be a tinfoil hat whack-job already…

This angle came entirely from my research, which encompassed everything from MK Ultra and Monarch to “satanic ritual abuse.” I followed the leads where they led and was astonished to discover how interconnected it all is. It all sounds crazy on the surface–some of it as if inspired by a B-horror movie or bad sci-fi. And don’t get me wrong–there are a lot of cockamamie wive’s tales out there. Unfortunately, much of it is mixed up with things that happen to be true. I could go on at great length on this subject, but will try to pare it down to just a couple aspects.

One of the first bombshells to land on me was that multiple personality disorder (MPD) can be artificially created in people. And I’m understating the fact here, because some who have studied it much more than I have will tell you that EVERY case of MPD was manufactured by high level experts in cognitive sciences; and furthermore, that they do so with a common denominator of ulterior motives, and with government funding.

Some of those same folks will tell you that there absolutely are unseen forces at work. Certain spiritual beings are always looking for a body to occupy, and when a personality is split, they are given entry. This is stuff I don’t really want to believe. I’ve never been obsessed with UFOs, vampires, werewolves or witchcraft. I don’t watch “ghost hunter” shows or think zombies (as depicted in pop culture recently) are very credible. In most of the churches I’ve ever attended, great pains were made to downplay the supernatural in the Bible, and remove the paranormal/supernatural from the Christian worldview. Frankly, that tendency rubbed off on me, so I’ve never taken that stuff seriously most of my life. That is beginning to change. I’m at the point now that I do see a spiritual/occultic aspect to the postwar mind control efforts. But not many rational people can swallow that–which I certainly understand. What I tried to do was write that subplot in an ambiguous enough manner that the reader can take it whichever way they are most comfortable with–either just advanced brain-screwing built on the discoveries of the Nazi mind control pioneers with occultic trappings to make the victims believe they’re tapping into some ancient spiritual power; or human scientists carrying out the brain-screwing at the behest of the unseen beings they serve (knowingly or unknowingly). The bottom line for most readers, perhaps, is that it’s fiction. There are plenty of theories even more far out than this in other books or movies, and people suspend their disbelief for the sake of entertainment. Frankly, I’d love to be proven wrong about a lot of stuff I’ve said both on this blog and in my books.

As to what purpose our domestic enemies would have for such individuals…when you take stock of what they are doing and still intend to do, sleeper agents they can activate like flipping a switch can come in very handy. Especially in false flags. The cream of the crop could be held in reserve for really big jobs–high profile assassinations, for instance; while the unstable sleepers can be used as cannon fodder in the school-shooting-of-the-week. One investigator has discovered that many of the MPD cases are part of a “super soldier” program, which makes sense when you consider that the mind control endeavors in North America took over where the Nazi scientists left off. Pretty scary, if true.

You mentioned how the purge of the  US high command partly inspired you to write Falling Down. In my own SHTF book, that purge of field grade officers (which began in earnest about 2009) also plays a part. First off, I’m curious how the average Joe in the ranks feels about this today, as well as the junior grade officers. Secondly, you wrote it in such a way as to suggest that Colonel Lee bugged out before being nabbed by the DHS. Are we going to see him again in future installments?

R.A. MATHIS: On the purge subject: Like the old saying goes, you can’t fool the troops. I still have friends in uniform. They see the attack dogs ejected while the lapdogs are promoted. It has an adverse effect on morale across the width and breadth of the active force.
Yes, we will see more of Colonel Lee. Good catch on that one.

HENRY BROWN: Considering those purges, among other things, what is your general gut feeling about whether the regular military will hesitate to make war on American citizens?

R.A. MATHIS: That is why I included Cole in the book. I needed to see the situation through the eyes of a soldier. I don’t think they will obey that type of order, the outstanding conduct of our troops in the Middle East (with very few exceptions) over the last 13 years will testify to that. But what if extreme coercion is applied?  In Homeland, all military families are brought on base when it hits the fan. This allows the soldiers to focus on their jobs, knowing that their wives and children are protected and cared for. However, this move also gives the regime leverage. If a soldier refuses to commit atrocities, his family may be forfeit. That kind of pressure is enough to make good men do very bad things. I do not envy our troops in such a situation. The same tactic can be used on just about anybody. This was a key tool of the totalitarian regimes in the last century. I don’t see why future regimes would stop using it.

HENRY BROWN: I don’t envy them either. In fact, rarely does a day go by anymore that I don’t find myself opining that I couldn’t be a part of what the military has become. It is no place for a patriot, or even for a good soldier anymore.

R.A. MATHIS: What are your thoughts on the likelihood of the American military making war on its own citizens?

HENRY BROWN: No offense, but in my experience officers often have a perspective on situations and shared experience that is rosier than the grunts see it. I’ve been on the enlisted side and could write quite a hatchet-job on the rank-and-file, even back in my day and even in an elite unit.

It boils down to this: kids growing up in the USA have no appreciation for how good we’ve had it here. They not only take our freedom and rights for granted, they are conditioned to have contempt for America. Very few of them resist that conditioning. Those people grow up and join the armed forces and, big surprise, the motivation is rarely patriotism. It’s for college money and job training. And that’s how the recruiting commercials pitch it. They throw bait out for mercenaries and that’s what they get.  (But perhaps many did join in the months/years after 9/11 for a more altruistic motive).

Career soldiers would just as easily fight for any cause and as part of any army. That’s the impression I got of the average G.I.

All officers have some generic pretense of honor, but when the rubber meets the road, most officers and NCOs are serving their career ambitions, not their country. Some are better than others, but those who rise to the top are nothing more than uniformed politicians.

Baron Von Steuben gave us quite the compliment when he illustrated the uniqueness of the American soldier (unlike any other soldier who receives an order and automatically complies, Americans had to have confidence in the motive behind the order before they would comply). This is definitely no longer the case.

All of this was bad enough when I wore the uniform; I’m sure it’s much worse now. Thank God there are exceptions. But what few good soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen remain are either being purged, or forced out by the increasingly hostile environment the military is being transformed into. So yes: I’m afraid most will fire on American civilians, and with little hesitation–especially with the added head games they are sure to get immediately prior. I would love to be proven wrong, but won’t hold my breath.

So, whether faced with our own military or with modern-day Hessians under globalist command (assuming the 3 percenters have prepped adequately enough to avoid being simply starved to death) with no support from a foreign ally and probably without popular support, how viable do you consider a guerilla resistance effort to be?

R.A. MATHIS: You mention in False Flag that no insurgency has ever won without foreign intervention and popular support, which I thought was a very good point. The two things America has to counter that are the 2nd Amendment and the 2008 election of the best gun salesman the country has ever seen. We have over 300 million citizens and about as many firearms in this country. We are also buying up ammo as fast as it can be produced (at least what is left over after DHS gets their share). Combine that with hundreds of thousands of highly trained combat veterans scattered to every part of the country, and the odds don’t look so long.

(HENRY BROWN: What a coincidence that veterans, patriots and gun owners top the list of potential “domestic terrorists” the government is most worried about, eh?)

R.A. MATHIS: This alludes to the working title of Book Three, “Every Blade of Grass.”

HENRY BROWN: How appropriate–that very quote (whoever said it) was just going through my mind as your words sunk in.

R.A. MATHIS: I think the success of a resistance would vary by region. Rural areas would be virtual no-go zones for regime forces. Some urban areas may just welcome them like the Vichy French.
It seems to me that the biggest problem for the resistance would be the lack of electricity. If the regime restored power to each region as it was brought into compliance, it could make for effective deadly propaganda against the resistance. It’s the old “freedom vs security” dilemma on steroids. I’m not sure which way the populace would go in that case, especially in winter.

 That’s about the halfway mark. Look for the rest of the discussion next time. – Hank