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Literature / By the Light of the Moon

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By The Light Of the Moon is a trilogy of apocalyptic sci-fi novels by Ira Tabankin.

A meteor, somewhere between twenty and a hundred kilometers across, strikes the moon at over 50,000 mph, tearing off massive chunks, some of which fall to Earth. Hundreds of impacts cause tremendous earthquakes (9.9 in some places) tidal waves (up to a mile high) and volcanic eruptions (over 400). Worse, the efforts of every nation with nukes to break up the incoming rocks backfires in a big way, with EMPs crippling electronics and succeeding mostly in spread out the damage more. Plus the minor issue of provoking another nuclear exchange when a number of French missiles miss and drop back down on their original target, Moscow, plus a smaller India/Pakistan exchange. Overall, 80% of the global human population dies the day of impact.


Meanwhile, Jeffrey is struggling with his wife, who is threatening to leave him over his Crazy Survivalist ways. Not helped in the least when he first hears of the lunar impact and immediately maxes out his credit card buying dry and canned food, batteries, useful items and enough materials to refit their garage into a bunker. Her tune changes when the news officially breaks. In fact, Jeff is surprised to learn that two-third of his gated townhouse community are themselves preppers.

After the dust clears, the survivors of Jeff's community are surprised to be attacked by agents of Homeland Security, with orders to break the will of any survivors and herd them into camps. The camps breed resentment, and also disease that kills thousands more. Jeff and his neighbors choose to resist. Eventually, Lisa discovers religion and leaves Jeff because he has taken lives, he divorces her to remarry another survivor, a woman named Judy.


As DHS gets increasingly out of hand, the Joint Chiefs stage a military coup, assassinating Obama and his entire cabinet, then skipping the line of succession, name the Chief of Naval Operations the new President.

Enough dust is kicked up to start a new ice age, similar to nuclear winter or the dinosaur's extinction, making the Northern Hemisphere almost unlivable. This causes the remaining major powers to relocate, with President Wayne loading up shiploads of people to settle half a million Americans in Africa, the Russians seize Australia and New Zealand to be their New Russia, removing any surviving inhabitants by saturation neutron bombing. Meanwhile, in Maryland and Virgina a new state forms, New Sparta, consisting of preppers and militias, cemented together by deserters and veterans. Their government is based on a water-down, cherry-picked fusion of Ancient Spartan and Roman traditions, with a small Senate and an emperor called the Dux. The New Spartans thrive in this new environment and choose to make a much shorter trip south, taking Florida, Alabama and Georgia, as well as Cuba for their own. They also salvage dozens of nuclear missiles.


A Satanic cult, led by "the Elder" emerges from the shadows as a power, and attempts to take Jeff's walled community, but they are rescued by a Spartan taskforce led by the Tesserarius, their supreme military leader. This has the side benefit of convincing Jeff's neighbors that he's right to fear nuclear winter, where previously they had joked about one of those rocks hitting his head.

These four factions, Satanist, US, Russian and Spartan square off to determine who shall rule the new world.

By the Light of the Moon contains examples of:

  • After the End: As in a great many Tabankin books.
  • Amazon Brigade: A group of women appear in the first book, who banded together to survive after none of their husbands returned from work. They're even referred to constantly in-story as "the Amazons." Jeff's second wife Judy is one of them.
  • Apocalypse How: Dropping chunks of the moon on Earth is at least a creative set-up for the story Tabankin always wants to tell, the rugged survivalist vindicated and a civil war between whatever is left of America.
  • Author Appeal: Tabankin himself is a disaster prepper, and active on survivalist boards. It shows.
  • Author Avatar: What's that? Another Tabankin novel about a survivalist suspiciously like himself and totally vindicated by circumstances? Shocking.
  • Colony Drop: Not literally a colony, but this is much the same effect as caused by the impacts.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: The impacts seem like this to the survivors, until Jeff points out the nuclear winter problem.
  • Democracy Is Flawed: Played with, as the US has a military coup to replace a corrupt and evil president, and then the subsequent election is a convoluted farce while the great relocation project stalls in the face of both peaceful and armed resistance. The Russian Federation, meanwhile, completes their move into Australia inside a year by killing all the locals and rounding up their own people at gunpoint. At Jeff's community, the consensus against his global cooling nearly got everyone killed. Averted, however, by New Sparta. Thanks to implementation of a national ID card, the eventual election to confirm the Dux is totally transparent, aboveboard and settles him into power by a substantial majority.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Twice, Jeff gets mocked mercilessly for his paranoia, in building and stocking a shelter in the first place, and later for warning of the new ice age. Both times events prove him correct.
  • Frontline General: Tesserarius, despite being the nominal head of New Sparta's entire military, still handles important missions personally.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: Jeff makes very clear, with a shotgun, that the only people welcome in his shelter are his wife, and the man who helped him build it.
  • Straw Liberal: Karen and her husband Rob, of the homeowner's association.
  • Time Marches On: We can definitely say that no such lunar impact event happened on June 22nd, 2015, a date that was comfortably 20 Minutes into the Future at publication.


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