Many thanks to these fans that left sound comments and reviews about my books at APPLE BOOKS. Read the full comments HERE.
I especially appreciate this reader comment: “[…] I love the depth of the main character. I love that he is not a special forces green beret rough hewn survivalist sniper with limitless ammunition who’s invisible skydaddy sitting on a golden throne somewhere in the clouds, who teaches eternal and endless love, guides the survivalist’s bullets and enables him to make a footstool of the skulls of his enemies. Thank you for not going there.[…]”
—> exactly the intention of TWO JOURNEYS and FIELDS OF FIRE.
Corona virus is a new flu-like virus. A number of challenges are associated with such new types of viruses:
Like with any virus, antibiotics will not help.
There are no vaccinations available for such new viruses as they appear.
Especially people with weakened immune systems are at risk (elderly, children or people with health conditions). But anyone can become sick, and also a source of infection (even before any symptoms occur).
Simple measures can reduce your risk of contracting such viruses, and will help stem the spread. These tips are common practice even in the absence of a new virus: the common flu causes ~400,000 deaths each year (source).
Frequently wash hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soap (my extra tip: don’t shake hands with anyone)
Cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing. Don’t sneeze in your hands.
Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough
Seek early medical help if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share travel history with healthcare providers
Avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areas
Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods. My extra tip: revisit your shopping, cooking, and eating habits – these viruses stem from animals like pigs and poultry. E.g. Corona virus originated from a fish market.
Lead a healthy life. Eat vitamin rich foods, don’t drink alcohol, don’t smoke, get sufficient sleep, and spend time outdoors.
keep surfaces clean (use alcohol, bleach or soap). Viruses may survive on surfaces for days, so cleaning will help to protect you. Also regularly open the windows to replace the air.
Part of this information originates from this article in the Guardian.
It is advisable to stay up to date on the epidemic: how is your area affected, what do your local health authorities communicate? Best is to select a reliable, down to earth news channel – not a gossipy scaremonger: panic and half truths don’t help. Official government sites are good sources, most good media will use that information. Regularly check the Corona site from the World Health Organization, which explains in detail the best way to act and most up to date status www.who.int/COVID-19.Diseases such as the flu are seasonal, peaking (in the northern hemisphere) in February. The passing of time supports eradication and there is some chance this may be in our favor – although at this stage this is not completely confirmed for corona (SARS-CoV, Covid-19 or 2019-nCoV).
At this moment, the mid and long term economic impact of the epidemic is hard to determine. Listen to the CNBC interview with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. She cautioned against comparing this outbreak to the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. Not only is COVID-19 different than SARS, but eg China and the world economy has changed (China only represented 8% of the world economy in the early 2000s and now makes up a 19% share). Corona may turn out to be very disruptive for investors, reflected in my advice here.
It makes sense to check whether you still have enough emergency supplies in your home – which you should do regularly anyway. After all, during an epidemic you may be forced to spend considerable time indoors. Here’s a list that I find useful. I try to add some variation in my emergency stocks; eating peanut butter three times a day for two weeks can get on your nerves. I have enough space, so I stock dozens of cans with food and sufficient water; enough to last us two weeks. Think about your pet as well.
A stock is created slowly over time. Stocking of food and panic buying are NOT the same. Panic buying ironically creates shortages and empty shelves. In any situation, panic is a poor advisor, so keep your cool. Consider the wellbeing of others.
John Harpsicord*), a follower of this blog, asked: “What about the name of this blog dude! Survive the Apocalypse – I can’t find any apocalyptic content and no survival tips. WTF is that all about? Confused, John.”
Well John, you do have a point. Let me try to explain why this blog may be ALL about surviving the apocalypse.
Once the apocalypse strikes – which may happen earlier than you think, through a deadly combination of global warming, over-population and some completely inept political leaders (so sad !) – there is very little that we can do.
In my novels Two Journeys and Fields of Fire, this shocking situation is caused by a global epidemic. Luckily, humanity has gone a long time without a major pandemic. But outbreaks of viruses such as SARS, corona or influenza (e.g. H2N2 or the Asian Flu H3N2; or bird flu) have occurred repeatedly in the last twenty years or so.
In my books, I try to show a different path than what some so-called “preppers” or the “prepper movement” appear to advocate. If catastrophe strikes, keeping the higher ground morally shows that we are human. Stocking up on emergency food, baseball bats, pepper spray and guns may sound like a sound strategy, but in reality you won’t know what has hit you, once the post-apocalypse arrives.
For me, the best survival strategy is… enjoy life while you can! Take life with a grain of salt and a lot of humor, because none of us know how long we or good ol’ Earth will be around.
The apocalypse does make for some great reading though – just think about the zombie hype a few years back. This is also reflected in my adventure novels (curious ? Look here at www.clemenssuter.com/books). You will find a lot of information about these books on this blog, which is another explanation for the name of this site.
And finally: aren’t we all, in one way or another, surviving our own personal apocalypse each and every day? Life can be tough as shit; and most confusingly, it is also absolutely beautiful. That’s what I try to bring across in my work and in the title of this blog: the negative of the Apocalypse and the beauty of Survival – they are like Yin and Yang. Life is complex and unpredictable: there are no easy explanations.
*) name (slightly) changed
Survive the apocalypse with appropriate headwear. Life is a contradiction and can be confusing as hell, so better enjoy it while you can (Photo by Charles Deluvio)
Arguably, Tokyo is the most populated cityin the world, with 36 million inhabitants during the day and 22 million at night. It is impressive how this city runs so smoothly with that many inhabitants. What would happen if it would come to a sudden standstill? The opening chapters of TWO JOURNEYS (my 2011 CORONA PANDEMIC novel) describe just that.
Below some pictures that I took in Tokyo during past visits and that inspired me to place my post apocalyptic work in this mega city.
Highrises in Tokyo. The sheer bulk of these buildings is overwhelming.
Alan, the hero of Two Journeys visits Tokyo around Christmas time.
Should an epidemic of the proportions described in Two Journeys strike, the lights (above) would extinguish rapidly, the trains such as the one below (famously overfilled) would halt.
Originally I had planned an art exhibit of my work for June, and the organization of this live event was already initiated back in January, together with three other artists. But then the pandemic struck, and it became quite obvious that a live, on-site event was out of the question.
Luckily, through my previous job in business, I have experience in organizing remote events, so the decision to turn this “viral disaster” into a “virtual exhibit” was a relatively easy step to take. In the end, I managed to hand over a surprisingly high number of paintings and books through this approach. Perhaps you are interested in doing something similar, so let me share some tips and tricks on how to make this work.
Set the theme. I called my virtual event “the fundraiser against Corona” as my objective was to donate any proceeds to the WHO corona fund. This was the red tread through all communication.
Choose the timeframe. I took the month of May as the running time for the event.
Connect to your audience, I have a e-mail list with many subscribers, and emailing was centerpiece to the campaign. You can’t overwhelm people with continuous emails, so I designed just three emails: one for April with the general announcement, one for half of May, and a final closing email announcing that the event was almost over, with a final call to action.
Use a website as the central information resource. The link to that website should be simple so that it can be typed in by hand or communicated during a conversation, e.g. over the phone. Here’s mine: www.clemenssuter.com/papa.
Use all channels available. Not all people receive information through the same channel, as it turned out some customers heard about this campaign through Instagram, others through LinkedIn, and others through email. I pushed out the campaign through my website, email, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, tumblr, two sites on Facebook, YouTube… and a few others that I have in the meantime forgotten about ;-) Naturally you can also use any other way: even written letters or postcards.
Use a single, simple and unique hashtag across all social media. Check out my tag #cps_d2c. That hashtag allows all participants to find your work in their personal favorite channel, and it connects all channels.
Post and communicate continuously. Make sure to provide some piece of news every day, across many of the channels. Indicate which day it is: “today is the tenth day of the fundraiser” or “only five more days left for the fundraiser”. As an example, I shared details of a painting each day, or posted about one of my books every couple of days.
Use video. I made short movies that I posted on YouTube, telling why I was running the campaign. Even three weeks in, not all of the people that I had addressed understood what this was about, so you must keep on reiterating your goal. Vlogs are a great way to supplement blogs.
Talk about successes. If you sell your work, tell the audience about this right away. Also mention if you have successfully shipped a painting, or when it has arrived at the buyer. People will want to know that you can deliver. Also provide some guarantee that you will take the picture back if the buyer doesn’t like it. Naturally some buyers will want to look at the art too; so I organized live visits (in line with corona limitations).
Join forces with other artists. Actually, this is a call to action for YOU, if you create high quality art and literature. Imagine such a campaign with a number of artists, each with their own channels! That would lead to an impressive multiplication. If this approach interests you, contact me.
First, I was contacted by Göran Hansson from Sweden, who expressed his enthusiasm for the Union in a direct comment beneath the blogpost. Göran emphasized the tremendous achievements that the EU has made; in the areas of peace and prosperity, but he also expressed frustration at how indifferent fellow Europeans sometimes are towards the EU. In his posts (link above) Göran is also a vocal proponent of the Europe of Regions, which I find a thrilling idea. In my reply to Göran, I expressed my believe that his efforts (as an example) are crucial to drive the discussion about the EU forward:
The EU is not just about voting every four years and, from the sidelines, watch the thing develop. We need more people to talk and exchange ideas about the EU.
And this must be done NOW: in the UK, democrats waited too long to start this conversation and left the playing field to the populists… and now the lower and middle class can feed the bill of the referendum disaster.
You are the EU. The EU is what you make out of it.
In my original blogpost (which I also cross-posted to several EU groups on facebook, e.g. #EUsolidarity Now), I compared the EU to the USA. Several readers pointed out that this is not valid, as the USA was founded by emigrants that could start a brand new state, whereas the EU is a federation of states, each with unique cultural traditions and independent histories. I agree with that view. In fact, I believe that one of the major strengths of the EU is its diversity. However, the original point that I wanted to make is that many people are critical of the EU, because the EU makes decisions that seem to be the result of a malfunctioning EU – but which are not, on closer inspection. I want to illustrate this with a few examples.
During the Corona crisis, many nations within the EU closed their borders (by the way, the Schengen agreement which allows free travel within the EU is just celebrating its 35th birthday). Within 24 hours I received an email from a friend in the US, asking whether this was “The End Of The EU?” Interestingly, the borders between individual states in the USA cannot be closed that easily; I would venture that this may actually have increased the momentum of the pandemic (China, on the other hand, had no issue with closing down the Wuhan region – no questions asked in a dictatorship). But what few people know is that on the other side of the spectrum, the border between Bavaria and Baden-Würrtemberg in Germany was de facto also closed – and although some local residents (or “pandemic deniers”) may have disagreed with that decision, nobody would consider for a second that Germany was falling apart or that Germany was failing as a nation. I truly believe that putting free travel on hold along the national borders partiallyand temporarily was the right decision to slow the spread of the virus. Note: my two sons and I live in three separate European countries, and visiting each other was thus not possible (by the way, we can easily live in three separate countries as a direct result of the many advantages that the EU provides.There is no need for visas, or other unnecessary bureaucracy bullshit – now who said that the EU was overtly bureaucratic?).
There was also a call that the pandemic response should have been an EU-wide- and not a national-response, e.g. the same social distancing rules in Italy, Spain, Estland or Ireland. But why, I wonder, is this a must-have? The EU has a size of 4,233,255.3 km2 and an estimated total population of 447 million! Regions within this huge area are going to be affected in different ways by a pandemic. Again, even within Germany, individual Bundesländer (~states) had individual pandemic guidelines.
Several commentators on my original blogpost agreed that calling the EU a fascist state (as the Kansas City taxi driver did) was way over the top. Sure, as one person pointed out:
it is crucial that a federal Europe must have a sound balance in power distribution; otherwise the fascism argument will continue, or the EU may be incapable of making decisions.
The role of the parliament must be strengthened (and not just in the Brexit negotiations with the UK). But people should also know how to use phrases such as Fascism, which is a clearly defined term and should not be used in a inflationary manner (as, for that matter, socialism, which many Trump voters do not seem to be able to grasp the meaning of).