Pop culture prepping (not the crazy kind)

Any sane prepper-oriented podcasts/books/other media people have found useful and entertainig? Not so much subject matter how-to guides, I’m thinking more conceptual, scenario-driven or narrative-driven fiction (or nonfiction). I know the site did a round up of movies a while back. I found a couple new ones that way (and saw a couple I absolutely could not make it through–I’m not in it for the apocolypse long haul!) A few other things that come to mind are:

-The Big One podcast from KPCC. https://www.npr.org/podcasts/674580962/the-big-one-your-survival-guide This actually is sort of a how-to guide, but interspersed with a speculative scenario and interviews with scientists and experts. I don’t live anywhere near earthquake territory, but I thought it was really interesting!

-My Side of the Mountain book by Elizabeth Criaghead George. I loved this book as a kid and I recently read it with my first grader, and now he is very into learning how to make fire, live in the wilderness, etc. Get em while they’re young, right?

-Pagami Creek Fire Entrapments — Facilitated Learning Analysis, published by the US Forest Service after a 2011 forest fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5371477.pdf  I have spent a lot of time paddling and camping in the Boundary Waters and I found this report fascinating. It’s mostly a tick tock of the Forest Service’s emergency-response actions, but it is really well written. As part of that response involved interacting with campers near the impacted area it really got me thinking about how I would react in that situation. There’s also a 30 minute documentary with interviews with the rangers you can find on Youtube (search Pagami Fire from user WildlandFireLLC). I haven’t looked but I bet similar reports exist for other fires in other regions. Outside Magazine also had a really incredible piece about this fire from the perspective of campers https://www.outsideonline.com/1914461/sky-burning-caught-pagami-creek-fire?page=all

Any other suggestions?


  • Comments (10)

    • 8

      I liked The Big One.  Not a survival podcast per se but some overlapping interests is the podcast Things That Go Boom on national defense.

      Does the website have a book list?  I think so but not sure.  William Forstchen’s book series starting with One Second After is one vision of a grid down scenario–I would recommend the series in audiobook form as Bronson Pinchot (Balki from Perfect Strangers) is the narrator and he is amazing.

      I also recently read Atlas Shrugged which is a nuclear scenario—similar to the Forstchen series as it’s set in an enclave that has certain natural advantages.  I liked the writing and the book is mainly concerned with on-the-ground response in a particular area.  But you have to wade through the 50’s-60’s sexism and racism to get to it so forewarned is forearmed.

    • 5

      I really liked the White Vault podcast. It checks your box for narrative fiction, though it’s definitely on the horror spectrum. It’s one of the better pieces of survival fiction I’ve listened to in the past few years.

    • 11

      It might sound weird, but I find certain types of nonfiction, like books about serial killers/true crime and past historical experiences (ie: Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes) to be really helpful from a prepping standpoint. The serial killer books taught me alot, especially as a woman, about how violent people pick their victims, and how they gain access to those victims. Many times the books go into great detail which is extremely useful for assessing you own vulnerabilities. Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK was a good one but it was hard to read at points.

      The historical perspectives and memoirs offer insight into what it is like to live in extremely difficult situations like urban poverty, food shortages, disease outbreaks, etc back before we had our modern, extensive social safety nets. These books aren’t going to prepare you for a zombie apocalypse or an EMP, but they offer a glimpse of what life would be like if something so bad happened that we “turned back the clock” to a place where social safety nets still exist but only give people the bare minimum to survive (“here’s a hundred bucks, a bit of free food, and a rent voucher…have fun raising your 3 kids till next month!).

      • 9

        That’s a great point. I have been thinking about The Long Winter from the Little House series a lot during these times of stretching out the old grocery shopping. This also makes me want to go back and revisit the historical reality shows PBS/BBC used to do, like Frontier House, Colonial House, etc.

      • 5

        Not weird at all. I went through a phase where I was obsessed with My Favorite Murder, but I never actually picked up any books on true crime. But for the reasons you point out, they could be very useful about blind spots and vulnerabilities. 

        Are there any others you recommend beyond BTK?

      • 8

        I’ve read “The Gift of Fear and Other Survivor Signals That Protect Us From Violence” by Gavin De Becker twice in the last 10 years. It was one of relatively few books that I kept when I needed to pare down my possessions for an interstate move. Highly recommended.

        Last year De Becker popped up in the news as Jeff Bezos’ security consultant at the time of the cellphone photos incident.

    • 4

      Another fun one to read with your kiddo (maybe when a little older) is Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. 

      • 5

        Hatchet! I remember reading that in school if it’s the same book I’m thinking about. Good one!