What I am reading now: From Publishers Weekly:
What is the foundation of our civilization? In this rousing tale of the aftermath of an uncanny event, "the Change," that renders electronics and explosives (including firearms) inoperative. As American society disintegrates, without either a government able to maintain order or an economy capable of sustaining a large population, most of the world dies off from a combination of famine, plague, brigandage and just plain bad luck. The survivors are those who adapt most quickly, either by making it to the country and growing their own crops—or by taking those crops from others by force. Chief among the latter is a former professor of medieval history with visions of empire, who sends bicycling hordes of street thugs into the countryside. Those opposing him include an ex-Marine bush pilot, who teams up with a Texas horse wrangler and a teenage Tolkien fanatic to create something very much like the Riders of Rohan. Ultimately, Stirling shows that while our technology influences the means by which we live, it is the myths we believe in that determine how we live. The novel's dual themes—myth and technology—should appeal to both fantasy and hard SF readers as well as to techno-thriller fans.From Booklist:
For survivors of a mysterious event that caused electricity, internal combustion engines, and gunpowder to fail, the Pacific Northwest furnishes enough land to support subsistence existence in a future that belongs not to today's rifle-toting survivalists but to people who know older ways. Musician Juniper takes refuge on her family's land with a growing group of friends that becomes "Clan MacKenzie." Reenactors know useful things, such as how to build log houses and craft bows for hunting. Meanwhile, Mike Havel, a pilot who was flying when the Change happened, and his passengers, having survived crashing in a frigid lake, gather followers, too. Thanks to a former Society for Creative Anachronism
(a real organization of eclectic reenactors) fencer, and after hard work and the accident that gives their group the name "Bearkillers," they have the knowledge to sell their protective services. There are villains, too, such as a medieval history professor who starts a feudal revival, in Stirling's intriguing what-if about modern humans denied their treasured conveniences.How do you like that? The SCA takes over the world!