Author of One Second After Calls out Popular Mechanics For Their Misinformation

Below is the letter to the editor of Popular Mechanics rebutting the lie that the EMP Commission’s estimate that up to 90% of Americans could die from the consequences of an EMP attack is derived from Bill Forstchen’s novel “One Second After.”  Note that one of the rebuttal letters is from Forstchen himself.  Pop Mech published neither and made no correction, so the lie persists.  Just a few weeks ago, Pop Mech published another article claiming Americans should be happy if North Korea made an EMP attack, instead of blasting a city, because an EMP attack would kill no one, contrary to former CIA Director Woolsey.  So Pop Mech does not even learn from its mistakes, apparently does not want to learn, and is contented publishing fake news.  No wonder most Americans despise journalists and don’t trust the press.



Ryan D’Agostino

Editor in Chief

Popular Mechanics

300 West 57 Street

New York, New York 10019




As the author of One Second After, I take extreme exception to your article of March 31, 2017 by Kyle Mizokami titled, "No, North Korea Can't Kill 90 Percent of Americans."


Please get your facts straight.  You state that my novel influenced members of congress regarding the potential casualties from an EMP attack declaring that, "...North Korea could kill 90 percent of the American people was directly pulled from a science fiction novel."


Kyle, you tragically and dangerously have it backwards.  The bipartisan Congressional commission's reports evaluating the potential casualty rate of 90% from an EMP attack were published in 2004 and 2008.  My novel, based on those congressional studies, was published in 2009. Therefore, how could my novel impact the thinking of members of those studies unless we were indeed in some sort of "sci-fi" alternate reality?


Your article is a grave disservice to the American public at a time when we face a serious national threat from a very real enemy who, on a regular basis, threatens to strike us using nuclear weapons.  The most effective means of maximizing that type of attack is not to directly hit a few cities on the west coast, but to instead use such weapons as an EMP strike that could impact the entire nation.   


When writing my novel I drew on hard facts, as provided by the two well-researched Congressional reports.  It was not, Kyle, the other way around: that I influenced Congress in what can only be your creation of a "false news story."


For the sake of our nation's safety, please get it right and do not attribute real threats to a novel.   As the author of that novel I am disturbed that you claim that fiction has shaped fact, rather than fact shaping fiction.  Your article is a reckless lack of fundamental research.   It is a blatant untruth that is libelous to me and a gross misrepresentation of honorable members of a bipartisan congressional committee.   


I expect an immediate retraction, printed in your magazine, and a formal apology to me and all who were involved in two studies that should serve as a warning to all Americans.




William R. Forstchen Ph.D.

Author of One Second After

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