Jeebee starts off well-stocked with gadgets, and rapidly loses almost all. In fact, he's so certain to lose them that Dickson almost forgets to tell us. The problem is that Dickson becomes so enamored of the practicalities of survival that it becomes the core of the story, and he throws in ever trick he can think of. The book is essentially a rewrite of Robinson Crusoe in Montana, complete with makeshift fortress and source of bounty - except that in Jeebee's case, that's not a ship, but a nearby ranch, and Friday is a wolf. The ranch is where the book loses its storyline most thoroughly. Even the man-wolf relationship, otherwise the saving grace of the book, is secondary to description of day-to-day chores (though Dickson is much more shy of body parts).
I only know one stanza of T.S. Eliot's poetry, and the most popular one at that: "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper." Of all the apocalyptic scenarios that I've read about, the one invoked by this line seems to me to simultaneously be the most likely, the most interesting, and the most overlooked. Dickson does a good job of walking through the nitty-gritty details of survival, but very quickly the book becomes too focused on these points without evidently trying to use them for any higher purpose. It is here that Wolf and Iron hurredly throws in some potentially interesting plot developments, and even has some wonderful closing scenes, but they are far too rushed to be enjoyed.
For how much research Dickson put into this novel, it's strange how often the little details seemed to escape him. I started the book thinking it would be something more along the lines of "A Boy and His Dog" and was pleasantly surprised to find it was a more realistic depiction, but I still feel like the interactions between human and wolf suffer from the same pitfalls as the survival writing: bland lists of researched details couched in the thinnest plot.
The book really is your standard journey of redemption which the world falls apart and reverts back to a most simplistic and as you would expect barbaric age.
post-apocalyptic, but concentrating mostly on the story of one man.
Post-apocalyptic, Man & Dog (well, wolf), Gordie Dickson: what's not to love! For the second time in a week (the first author who did it was forgettable and forgotten), I read how it was important to stay "upwind" of a predator so that it couldn't smell you.
The protaganist, JeeBee, was a scientist, a social economist, who had been studying social phenomena and had predicted the collapse.
With all the modern survival equipment I wonder if life would be better, or easier, than Jeebee's tremendous efforts.
What I learned from this book: If you are a nerd who survives the end of the world, get you a pet wolf to sick on people.