We Are Go for Secession… California Burnin’ Anthology Greenlit!

Wednesday , 8, February 2017 66 Comments

Tom Kratman and I have approached Castalia House with an idea put forth in this blog last week about doing a California Secession Anthology:  and it’s a go!

Free on Amazon!

It’ll be the next installment of Kratman’s Riding the Red Horse Anthology and it will focus on a fictional successful Secession of California and resulting Civil War within the US.  Currently we’re developing a timeline for the conflict with the assistance of an MI Officer who had POTUS level briefing access during the Iraq war.

Once the timeline is completed we’ll be inviting a Dream Team of today’s best MilSciFi and Science Fiction authors to game the ruination of the Golden State within short stories set against the backdrop of the conflict.  We expect controversy to accompany the launch as the real-time craziness of the current culture war probably spirals into a mess no one could’ve conceived.  But controversy sells and we’re stubborn enough to try, so… game on.

Also we’re incorporating all the comments from last week’s blog speculating what such a conflict might look like.  Any comments re: operations in California, or thoughts on how such a conflict, guerilla operation, foreign invasion, might proceed can also be added in the comments to this post.  And they’ll shape the course of the Anthology and give the writers some ammo to shoot with.  So please… feel free to comment.

Tom Kratman needs no introduction.  He’s the real deal.  As a writer and a soldier.  Myself and the rest of the writers are truly honored to squad up and ride the Red Horse with him on point.

Writers will be announced as they reply to our invitations.  Hint:  They’re the real deal too.

This is going to be epic.

So saddle up.

We’re riding the Red Horse.

Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere. -Revelation 6:4

Nick Cole is a former soldier and working actor living in Southern California. When he is not auditioning for commercials, going out for sitcoms or being shot, kicked, stabbed or beaten by the students of various film schools for their projects, he can be found writing books. In 2016 Nick’s book CTRL ALT Revolt won the Dragon Award for Best Apocalyptic novel. 

  • Scott says:

    Please get David Weber and or Eric Flint.

  • Underwater Operative says:

    I really enjoyed the 1st RtRH.

    This should be epic. Read my first Nick Cole story last night, “Safe Space Suit.” Really Funny!

    Having read Tom Kratman’s “Caliphate” series, I can only imagine the hell California will pay for secession in his story!!!

  • I’m on board. I think I’ll wreck my hometown of Turlock, CA. Should be fun.

  • VD says:

    I’m in as a writer… and happy to leave the heavy lifting to Nick and Tom!

  • Declan Finn says:

    Heh. Let me know if you need an extra author.

  • Rod Walker says:

    Looking forward to reading it! One imagines that the spirit of John C Fremont smiles on the book.

  • Dave says:

    Awesome news. RTRH1 was great, been hoping for another volume. I’d like to see somebody kill off the SF 49ers please.

  • Easy Co. says:

    You guys need to get WJ Lundy!

  • Elros says:

    A story with a North American scope taking into account Colin Woodward’s historical book on the different American Nations would be interesting. I’m thinking of a scenario where the Left Coast of Canada decides to secede and join the Left Coast of the US. And maybe even El Norte secedes from the US and Mexico but that’s probably too much action for a short story.

    This is an expanded version of Woodward’s map of where the various nations settled.


    • Scott Cole says:

      If it got to the point of California succession this is the scenario that would come into play. Any Federal invasion of California would be hampered by internal unrest and rebellion along multiple fracture lines throughout the continent. Just off the top of my head most urban areas would be chaotic and regions such as New England would be de-facto California allies.

      Think about the military that would invade. Many units will be rated on dependability and loyalty due to divided loyalties amongst the troops.

      Fleet concentration areas in San Diego and Washington State would be vital to the Federal government (if the decision was made to retain access to the Pacific) but very vulnerable to the surrounding areas. These would be the areas quickly reinforced by whatever flavor of Federal government responds but good luck conducting normal operations if the local areas cannot be secured.

      • Elros says:

        Yes Woodward goes the history chronologically so he does point out how the Left Coast was a “colony” of Greater New England.

        • Dr. ML Shanks says:

          Scott: The reconquest of California is likely to *start* in North San Diego county… Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (home of the 1st Marine division) and North San Diego County are rather conservative, as is Orange County to the North… Ditto the desert communities around Fort Irwin National Training Center (home of the 11th ACR).

          While the California National Guard *might* mobilize… Two infantry battalions, two field artillery battalions, a brigade combat team, a combat aviation battalion, and a mess of support troops are not exactly a crackerjack force to face a Marine Division and Armored Cav. Regiment….assuming they all stand up.

          I think that the Central Valley and Northern California outside of some coastal pockets are more likely to take the West Virginia approach, and promptly secede from the “lunatics in Sacramento and the Bay Area.”

          And just as a thought…
          …I wonder what happens when someone turns off the spigot to San Francisco siphoning the water of the Hetch Hetchy for their drinking water source… Talk about “environmental justice.”

          • Thucydides says:

            Of course it is debatable if the Guard would be turning out to defend a secessionist California government. They are far more likely to marry up with the Federal forces, or worst case splinter off and join their particular “identity group”, but fighting enemy identity groups as well as the Federal forces.

            Not a pretty scenario either way.

          • Scott Cole says:

            Federal forces will have significant divided loyalties.

  • Tim says:

    I used to live in SLO county. They closed the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant not too long ago. Maybe somebody gets some nuclear material for a dirty bomb from there…? Or maybe some barbarian types sack Hearst Castle and pillage the art collection there? Just a thought. I’m really looking forward to this book.

  • California can’t secede until we build 15GW of new dispatchable capacity (using 2015 numbers; maybe 18GW is a better bet). 🙂

    Long live the People’s Democratic Republic Of San Francisco!

    (Downloading Caliphate as I type.)

  • Peter Grant says:

    Just spoke with Vox. I’m in.

  • Justin says:

    Successful secession of California? I find that hard to believe since even a peaceful secession wouldn’t leave California in tact. California can’t insist on secession while continuing to deny the right of Jefferson State to secede from California. And any California remaining after secession would be overrun from the south and become Mexico, if not in name then in substance. I’ll be interested to see how the authors set this up.

    • JeffCharles says:

      Thanks for bringing this up – as a gold miner and short-time resident of Hornbrook, now in Oregon, this story would not be complete without the State of Jefferson figuring into the plot and the action – picket line at Redding!

      • terry1138 says:

        Ditto! I was going to add that.

      • johnmark7 says:

        I lived and worked in Mt. Shasta City for many years. California could secede based on the voting numbers, but then all the Red counties would demur and ask the USA Feds to keep them in the Union, and how would The Left Coast hold onto them and all their water and resources? (And their sudden freedom from Sacramento’s tyranny as it now stands.)

        And, as others mentioned, the Feds are unlikely to give up major ports and bases like San Diego, Camp Pendelton, Edwards etc.

        Also, who exactly would fight for the Left Coast to hold all the eastern and northern counties?.

        What soldiers? Not many whites. Would they conscript Blacks and Browns? The Asians would flee a military draft, no doubt.

        So they’d have to have a mercenary (Latino?)army and a bunch of white SJWs? Doubtful.

        They’d have the same problem the British had. How do you reconquer a vast territory with few (but enough) people in it who can hide anywhere?

        I’m talking great mountain ranges, high deserts, large lava beds, caves, and many navigable rivers.

        Siskiyou County which I know very well, is five times the size of Rhode island with 50,000 people.

        I should be asked to write a story. I’d be surprised if any of the proposed authors know Cal, especially the North and East as well as I do.

  • HMS Lion says:

    If California secedes peacefully, I see two possibilities.

    Option 1 is the rest of the U.S. holding together. This produces a significant shift in the political center of gravity to the right. The Leftist areas in the Northeast get outvoted. There’s a potential for unrest, which will be put down harshly.

    Option 2 starts the same way, but ends with a Northeastern secession movement. What could happen then is a collusion between the East and West leftist states against the center…the coasts control the major ports, and thus shipping. OTOH, the center controls the water.

    The real fun might be the intra-state secession movements. Outside of the coast, California is pretty conservative. Ditto for New York outside of greater NYC. Some of this will be intra-county breakups.

    • Ken Mitchell says:

      The Gulf Coast provides ports, and Texas and North Dakota provide oil. An independent New England, cut off from gas and oil, would collapse over the winter. California collapses as soon as the power from Arizona and Nevada is cut off, since California doesn’t have nearly enough electric power for its own use – and hasn’t built a single “base load” power plant in 40 years.

      • Wombat-socho says:

        To say nothing of water. Los Angeles will be a death zone within days if they don’t ship kilotons of bottled water in after Nevada shuts off the taps.

  • HMS Lion says:

    I’ll add that there’s a third scenario – rebellion. This one ends pretty quickly. The California Aqueduct runs through the Mojave Desert, nice and convenient to the National Training Center and Edwards AFB. And the local citizens detest the Sacramento regime. Los Angeles goes thirsty. Very, very thirsty. San Francisco gets similar treatment. Reconstruction gets interesting.

  • bob k. mando says:

    i realize you have to have a war scenario in order to justify a book called “Riding the Red Horse” …

    but in actuality, i don’t know why Trump wouldn’t simply build more fence, cut the Colorado river off and let the dumbshits die of thirst and starvation.

    go back in in five years and recolonize it.

    awww hell, give me some pew pew.

    • T. Everett says:

      Well, depending on how fast things get going President Trump may have finished his terms by the time it becomes an issue.

      I can, however, easily imagine that “let ’em go” might be a common sentiment even if it’s not the official one. This could make a reconquest somewhat tricky.

      In any event, I’ve been waiting for the second Red Horse volume and can’t wait to see what you all come up with.

  • Ken Mitchell says:

    “California”, in this scenario, is not a single entity. San Francisco is a disarmed camp of secessionist agitators; the Los Angeles basin is divided territory. The Central Valley and anyplace north of Marysville or east of Folsom would be strongly pro-Union and has the advantage that most of the gun owners would be pro-Union.

    An attempt by the left-wing Sacramento government to secede from the Union would spawn a couple of splinter states. Even if the coastal regions managed to break away, you’d have West Virginia-ish segmentation such as the State of Jefferson, and Mexico might spawn or encourage an Aztlan splinter as well.

  • jdgalt says:

    I like the concept, but at least part of it has already been done (in Dean Ing’s trilogy Systemic Shock / Single Combat / Wild Country).

    That scenario, in which the Mexicans wind up owning most of CA, seems to me most likely (if the US loses at all). And as in that series, secession is only likely to work in the first place if the feds have already been crippled by a big foreign war.

  • John says:

    The book may be fun, but I think the more realistic result would be the rest of the US smiling, nodding, and backing away, never to think of or interact with CA again.

    I live here, and I’m about to move out.

  • Paul L. Quandt says:

    I think that if California went, then Oregon and Washington State would try to also. With the same issues that others pointed out. I.E.: only the populations of the large cities of Oregon and Washington would want to secede.

    Paul L. Quandt

  • Scott Ruggels says:

    there are a lot of people in california that have surprising hardware, due to re-enacting or hollywood rentals. At some point those people if pushed are going to do “surprising things” the leftism seems to be inversely proportional to the love of military history and weapons collecting. Firearms Non Compliance is pretty widespread here.

  • SoCal Stoli says:

    The very large Chinese population in California would lead the Chinese government to offer “protection for their citizens”, a la Russia in Crimea/Ukraine/Baltic States. California would probably accept to get the military aid – better Red than Deplorable.

  • Davik Mols says:

    How long into a conflict with a rebel California would it take for “union” forces to target California’s water infrastructure? How bitter would it have to get? Most population centers in the state are heavily dependent on that infrastructure, and would its destruction result in capitulation? And what would the consequence be for what would otherwise be considered a war crime?

  • Achillea says:

    I live in CA and work in Los Angeles, so if anyone wants little on the spot details, I’m happy to provide.

  • Edward Nutter says:

    One or two of the stories should be set in San Diego. There’s a left leaning Hispanic population as well as the leftist faculty, staff, and students of two major universities. Then there’s a large active and retired Navy and Marine population. Very complex mix geographically, and a topology that would lend itself to some fascinating plot twists.

  • HMS Lion says:

    Workable scenario: California Treason

    The People’s Republic of China is bankrolling a Left Coast secession movement. Their intent is to seize the First Island Chain in the Pacific, either by outright conquest or intimidation. Doing this will require neutralizing the USN and the JMSDF. Which is the plan…secession, followed by seizure of military families as hostages. The enlarged PLAN can then have superiority over all other forces in the region.

    Plot: Hostages seized, possibly during a major exercise like RIMPAC to ensure weak defenses. Hostages either spread out…or herded to pens in the middle of the Mohave Desert. Pity that the traitors didn’t realize that their scheme has no support outside the cities. Major SPECOPS raid to free hostages. Then the water gets cut off to break the plot. Major debate about the degree of punishment to be inflicted. Decision is to follow the method that worked in 1864-5..,burn the rebellious areas out, with the added bonus of hanging leaders who colluded with foreigners. Big fight, Good Guys win. Chastised Leftists realize they can no longer vote….meaning their former victims have the whip hand in the post-war reconstruction.

    And mean to wield it with a heavy hand.

  • Professor X says:

    The Inland Empire would be heavily split, with some pro-Union, conservative-leaning areas, alternating with “more diverse” left-leaning areas. Those left-leaning areas might not universally support secession–for example, how would left-leaning Blacks feel about secession? You might have suburb vs. suburb. And of course, the biggest questions would be (1) loyalty of federal armed forces (e.g., I’d expect the Navy in San Diego to go pro-Union), and (2) loyalty of CA National Guard units. I suspect the latter would also lean Union, which means you’d have SJWs and associated militias trying to do the fighting.

    That sort of thing would get steamrolled pretty fast by Federal forces, but I’d expect the Progs to mount an insurgency campaign after a successful invasion. The consequences for civil liberties, even outside CA, might not be pretty.

  • Leonard Wechsler says:

    A really nice story would be the collapse of the pension systems for all California state employees. It’s collapsing already in some places.

    What happens when teachers, cops, and so many others, realize that not only are they not getting all that much money but there will be no pensions and probably no social security?

  • With all the talk of Calexit lately, I’ve been thinking of doing a blog series on novels that imagine some sort of future American Civil War, so I’ll definitely be checking out this book.

    I’ll put in a plug for R. A. Peters Operation Enduring Unity series which I reviewed. It’s satirical in tone, but the descriptions of its military action seem fairly realistic. California is definitely a battleground in it.

  • Ken Prescott says:

    California imports electricity during peak demand, and the effects get felt as far away as Arkansas. Just turning off the electricity at the Arizona border would be sufficient to cause serious problems.

    The big one, though, is water. LA has four sources of water: the Los Angeles River (which is a concrete-lined channel used for car chase scenes in movies–that should give you an idea how much water is available from that source), the California Aqueduct (the A. G. Edmondston Pumping Station shoves a major river’s worth of water over the Tehachapis into the LA Basin–and Central Valley HATES the coastal elites), the Los Angeles Aqueduct (runs down the Eastern Sierra from Owens Valley–the people of Ownes Valley HATE Los Angeles and will turn off the tap even if they do go with secession, which they won’t), and the Colorado River Aqueduct running from Parker Dam).

    Three out of four water sources for THE major urban area in California are in Indian Country. The fourth is a bad joke.

    What happens to Los Angeles when the underclass realizes that there’s only enough water for the very few Beautiful People? Is Pedro in South Central willing to die of thirst for the greater glory of Sarah Silverman or the Kardashian tribe?

  • Ken Prescott says:

    Also, there is the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: it does not extinguish Mexican claims to Alta California, it simply draws the border of California as running from the confluence of the Colorado and Gila rivers to a point one nautical league south of the Port of San Diego as defined by a survey conducted in the late 18th century.

    California secedes and is no longer part of the United States? Mexico might have a colorable claim to their former province of Alta California, and the UN General Assembly might decide to grant it just to screw with the God Emperor.

  • Fever says:

    Check out Kurt Schlicter’s book on Amazon called People’s Republic, it’s very good and covers this exact scenario…. As a conservative from Oregon, I recommend a story line where the secessionists use the police and loyal National Guard to neutralize the Marines and Navy, typically unarmed in garrison by surprise. Also they conspire with sympathetic Washington leftists to seize an Ohio class sub and park it off the left coast to threaten nuclear retaliation. This leads to a proxy war where the union uses the loyal deplorables with different goals, Jeffersonian’s, Oregon militia, Washington, etc against the secessionists. Add in the Mexican drug gangs, the Russians and the Chinese Navy’s trying to prevent the remain in Union Navy from finding the sub… it’s Syria on American steroids! Oh and Hawaii could play in this too, lots of underlying issues there regarding the native and non-native Hawaiians.

  • John Murrey says:

    A couple of points:
    China would be pushing independence of not just California, but also OR, WA, & HI. Don’t forget Hawaii as part of this. It would be difficult to port a fleet in Anchorage or Juneau but that might be part of it as well. Push for Alaska to join Canada.

    Texas might be against a state of Jefferson as a ‘prevent defense’ scenario in case of a Texit. No breakoff states to prevent a similar scenario in Texas and have precedent. Then Texas tries to convince other states, primarily the old Confederacy that they don’t want the breakaway states… just in case.

    Raytheon or a similar R&D military contractor has recently IRL made a desalinization breakthrough that allows the energy costs of desalinization to be dropped dramatically, however it’s very flimsy and delicate tech. That could be useful in stories about the water infrastructure, possibly an industrial espionage story?

    Lastly would be a Mexican Reconquista story line. Mexican intelligence services use gangs for intel and as fronts for chaos in heavily hispanic areas. They ship in heavier weapons across a still unsecured border bound for Chicago, Miami, New York, Houston, etc. to further ferment chaos in the US while they start putting as many people as possible into California. From their point of view it could be an interesting story as well.

  • Richard Sharpe says:

    I have seen some comments suggesting that CA could just stop remitting federal taxes to DC.

    The problem with that is that the state of California never actually sees those funds. They are sent directly to the IRS by employers.

    Further, while it is fun to laugh at Calexit on a whole lot of grounds, does anyone think that the Democratic party is going to allow it and loose 55 (or whatever) EC votes. They would never win the presidency again.

    It will not come to military issues. The economic and political issues for CA will defeat this stupid idea.

    • “It will not come to military issues. The economic and political issues for CA will defeat this stupid idea.”

      —and this is what most readers will think if we do not have some overarching twist to make it plausible.

  • McChuck says:

    In the larger scope, China allies with and declares California and Hawaii protectorates. Japan sides with US. In an incredibly blessed feat of diplomacy, Trump convinces Russia to ally with the US against China, preventing the PLA from sending sufficient forces to matter. Major naval action around the Phillipines, who try to remain neutral while the big boys rumble.

    Major terror strike on Ft. Huachuca, AZ found to be coordinated by government backed Mexican cartels and Muslims from Phoenix and Tucson. Hadjis start decorating lamp posts and fences across the country soon after. DEA is authorized to execute drug dealers as enemy saboteurs. Inner cities explode. National Guard units cordon off areas and watch them burn after entire companies disappear in Philly, Baltimore and St. Louis.

    CNN and MSNBC executives are accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and Ted Turner and co. are arrested live on the 6:00 news. “Peaceful protestors” respond with Molotov cocktails and handguns against police. Funding and organization of the riots are traced back to several Soros groups, and he is arrested the next day. Seized computers and documents link his activities to several prominent Dem. Senators and John McLame, causing a crisis in the Senate.

    Plus all the stuff in Cali and Mexico.

  • Silent T says:

    Great ideas but a real narrative challenge, worthy of Clancy or even Michener length. Hell, this needs Tolstoy length.

    Ok, first off, although it sounds counterintuitive, a story or series about Calexit or insurrection cannot focus solely on California. The situation today and likely into the future (unless Trump succeeds in winning over black voters with education and job reform) is a vast US with pockets of radical, Leftist populations. Whatever happens in California would be replicated in every Blue city across the country so the story must take that into account. Imagine guerilla war breaking out in all of these cities, so all the ideas floated here about cutting off water to LA and SF are too simplistic. Our people are there, too, all mixed up in the fighting and no clear cut enemy to punish.

    Second, we don’t live in anything like the 1860s. Very few Americans will tolerate a Shermanesque campaign where casualties will be high and media will be used to devastating effect.

    Third, posse comitatus forbids use of military inside US borders, so fed leadership will be extremely reluctant to break that rule leaving national Guard units to do the heavy lifting. How many of them are trained in urban guerilla warfare?

    The Left’s strategy would be, generally, to drag out the unrest as long as possible with as many casualties as possible spread across the entire country and draw on the sympathies of China, Russia, EU and Latin America for financial and material support (with deniability) all with the aim of negotiating a settlement that will give them some kind of viable,unified Leftist country. Extremely messy. Extremely complex.

    Sounds like a good read.

  • LatherRinseRebleat says:

    First off, I highly recommend Nick Cole’s work. Loved Old Man and the Wasteland, and look forward to his contributions. I don’t think any anthology would be complete without a pitched battle through the Napa Valley wine country. Or model the economic damage when all the winemakers burn their crops and leave for better opportunities in the US and Texas becomes the dominant wine producer.

  • Nick Cole says:

    My blog post today on Victor Davis Hanson’s CALEXIT thoughts… oh, and we got some YUUUUUGGGE news about the Anthology last night! Game on!


  • Doug Purdie says:

    Does anybody remember the novel “Ecotopia”?

    • johnmark7 says:

      Oh God, I even loved the concept back in the day when I had so many shitlib notions with my long hair, love beads, and bell bottom pants. (Free love, man!)

      You’ve embarrassed my shamefully to my great dismay with your post. AArgghh, I hate my past!

  • CelticSkyes says:

    Seriously looking forward to this book. For a different story consider including a one from many years in the future after a successful secession. Could give a radically different perspective, but it may not be easy to write.

  • Thucydides says:

    Interesting concept, but I will reiterate what I have posted on other sites: the “Blue” forces are concentrated in urban pockets and extremely vulnerable to relatively simple siege tactics.

    Starving them out or watching their cities go up in flames from behind the roadblocks might not make for very exciting stories, but then again, war is never very pretty.

    • Silent T says:

      How do you employ siege tactics against a guerilla force? The Blues won’t form up conveniently for you to starve out. Will you really circumvallate entire cities to prevent the insurgents from escaping with the general population?

      • Scott says:

        Federal Govt. wins if they no longer care what CNN thinks.

      • Andrew Jones says:


        Semi trailers are large and a city like LA needs massive numbers of them going in and out every day just to eat. Cratering the major arteries starts the food riot clock. One might choose not to do it for humanitarian reasons, but in a total war scenario…

        CA would have to have stockpiles, and the ability to retain control of their own supply lines. Alternate supply lines from Mexico or across the Pacific are possible, but dependent on the restraint or defeat of loyal forces.

        You’d probably have a lot of trouble preventing flight from a starving LA. However, if they’re leaving their strongholds, they’ll be exposed and probably raiding for supplies. The conflict goes from organized army to insurgency.

        Possible story ideas:
        Skirmishes between loyalist farmers and secessionist soldiers in CA.
        Seizure of the loyalist farmer’s lands for the greater good.
        Decision making process around decision to cut supply lines to LA.
        Interception of Chinese relief ship with the background threat of the potential consequences to raise the ante.
        A Mask of the Red Death type story about upper class CA’ers and starvation.

  • I’ll just post here the same request I posted at Vox Popoli; please invite these authors:

    – Jerry Pournelle (drop a meteor on them)
    – Martin van Creveld (teach those ‘pussycats’ a lesson)
    – William S Lind (abandon all tech, fight like it’s 1950)

  • Richard Sharpe says:

    Nick Cole, given the fact that so many boomers (but not me) as well as cops and firefighters have pensions that the dwindling number of young will resent paying, isn’t there a dystopian future where there are bounties on oldies?

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