A few months back, Lollygagger posted a review of Lewis Dartnell’s The Knowledge, which was described as a sort of real-life companion to Station Eleven. Since my fall Composition I course will be focusing on dystopia, I thought a real-life how-to guide might be a great thing to read. And it certainly was interesting.
While Dartnell does not tell you how to skin a deer or make an igloo, he does talk about some of the building blocks of society that we will need to understand and reinstate in order to fully rebuild our society. He specifically talks about chemical processes, technology, and infrastructures that will help us to rebuild cars, clothes, factories, electricity, and other processes that we (especially I) take for granted. He is especially proficient at modifying chemical and engineering processes in order to rebuild a society that’s akin to the one that we know today. The chapter on medicine was one of my favorites, because it talked about some natural remedies and lore that could actually come in handy.
I must confess, I was a bit letdown by this book. I am no chemist or engineer or biologist or metal-worker. I am a teacher. I need basic survival skills and tips that will help me survive. I’m not sure I’ll find myself mining for minerals or making a version of steel. I mean, I need to know how to recreate a toilet and toilet paper. The clothes are pretty important, too, I grant you. So, while this is a great reference book to have in case of apocalypse, I’m not sure how handy it is for me at the present moment.