At the risk of sounding like a complete fanboy...
...this is extremely cool:
That's a thoughtful review.
As to the Wiccans, that's how one group pulls through; the religion is part of the way it does so, using it to help build the sense of community and belonging which are so necessary in that context. The details of the belief aren't as important as the fact of belief itself; of course, the fact that the Change pretty well discredits scientistic materialism for most people helps.
And as one character comments in the sequel, it's a good religion for farmers -- the festivals all make sense if you're raising crops in the northern temperate zone.Other groups hit on different methods.
Incidentally, traditionalist Catholics _are_ prominent among the other survivors, as will be brought out somewhat in the sequel, THE PROTECTOR'S WAR (out in August). Both good ones (the warrior monks of Mt. Angel form a major nucleus of survival) and bad ones (the Protector's church centered in Portland).
It sounds legit--call it a gut instinct. Welcome, Mr. Stirling--and thanks kindly!
So--how many established science fiction authors have visited your blog lately?
Didn't think so.
By the way, I would be remiss in failing to mention that a published fantasy author visits here once in a while as well. Interestingly enough, I lent her my copy of Dies The Fire, and she, too, is almost Pavlovian waiting for the sequel. If she wants to pipe up, fine--but I'll keep her anonymous otherwise.
Not so BTW--thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you don't have to wait to August for the entire sequel. Sample chapters are here.