Guest Post from E. E. Borton Author of the Post Apocalyptic Book Series Without

This guest post is by E. E. Borton, author of the post apocalyptic book series Without. I was excited to hear from E. E. Borton since the Without Series tells the story about the devastation following an geomagnetic storm that permanently disables all of the electrical devices on Earth. This fictional scenario happens to be one of my favorites, in part because it is a fairly common on our planet, at least as far as we know. The last time a major solar flare collided with Earth’s magnetosphere was in 1857 (see Carrington Event). If we had a geomagnetic storm of similar magnitude today, we might be looking at a scenario quite similar to E.E. Borton’s Without series. Thank you to E. E. Borton for sharing some insights into his post apocalyptic book series.

The WITHOUT series is a collaboration between friends. Sean Chase and Keith Foster pitched me the idea for the first novel over a pitcher of beer. I was hooked and finished two versions of the first chapter the next day. Once I convinced them to let me create the story in first person versus third, and change the title from WITHOUT POWER, I was off to the races. Three months later, I wrote the last page.

Before I set out to write a book, I have a detailed outline to keep myself on track. There is a certain pace and cadence a writer follows, and all of them are different. There was no outline created for WITHOUT.

Sean and Keith gave me the premise for the first chapter. The characters I created gave me the rest. They told me where they wanted to go and what they were going to do when they got there. All I had to do was write down what happened along the way. It was the most challenging novel I’ve written in my career so far, but by far the most rewarding. It taught me a lot about myself as a writer.

I served twice in Naval Intelligence. Once after school and again after 9/11. The travel and experiences were phenomenal. It showed me what the rest of the world looked like. Some of it was breathtaking. Some of it was heartbreaking.

There are 7.5 billion people on the planet. 1.2 billion of them live without power. I’ve traveled to many third world countries and have witnessed their daily struggle to survive. It intrigued me to think about how the population of our country would survive if electricity was taken away…forever. Life for those who never had it wouldn’t change much at all. Ours would be turned on its head.

My novels are works of fiction, but the amount of research I had to complete WITHOUT was extreme compared to my other books. I had to answer questions about a world few of us have experienced. The most glaring was how fast would a modern society disintegrate after a large scale catastrophic event. The answer was disturbing. In an urban environment – in a city – it would start as soon as the sun went down.

My research covered a wide range of events that were either man-made, accidental, or natural disasters that caused large-scale power outages. Most only lasting a few days, but some lasting a few weeks. In every situation, the good and the bad in people hit both ends of the spectrum. In every situation when large groups of people were plunged into darkness, things went from bad to worse within 24 hours. The downward spiral didn’t change until power was restored.

Those who were prepared – even slightly – fared much better than those who were caught off guard. A portable generator, store of batteries, or even a hand-cranked radio/charger/flashlight combo became more valuable than a pot of gold. At the very least it gave them the ability to see what went bump in the night, work in the dark, and communicate with the outside world. It may not seem like much, but it made all the difference for them.

WITHOUT and WITHOUT II – The Fall, are novels about what may happen if the lights go out…and they don’t come back. I wanted to immerse my character, and myself, into that world and push the boundaries of my creative process. I walked most of the route the character took. I lived without power for days. I was alone while doing both. I didn’t want to tell you what happened to the characters in my book. I wanted to show you.

E. E. Borton

eeborton.com

@EEBorton on Twitter

E.E. Borton on Facebook

Guest Post From Emily at The Road Virus theroadvirus.com

I’m excited to introduce our next guest post from Emily at The Road Virus. Emily contacted me in regards to a very cool project that her and a friend are starting and I was instantly interested in the concept. The Road Virus is on a mission to share and exhibit some of the best fringe literature available (which includes some of our favorite post-apocalyptic stories). Thank you Emily for sharing The Road Virus with us and we wish you all the best of luck in your adventures! I encourage all of you to support The Road Virus in any way you can. Follow them on social media and share the links with your friends. Thanks!

 

trv-bus-logo-stickerIt began as a wistful conversation about how awesome it would be to open a bookstore between two best friends. We’ve always been book lovers, one of us was a librarian (Em), the other is an author (Sade). But it was impossible in outrageously expensive San Francisco, and that’s when we started joking about mashing together the concept of a tiny home – like a bus or boat or rv – and bookstore. And so germinated The Road Virus, a mobile bookstore dedicated to fringe literature like horror, apocalyptic lit, sci-fi, queer studies & fiction, and fantasy.

We purchased a bus, retired and revamped into a library’s bookmobile, then set out to pasture before being purchased by us to make her into a big, rolling bookstore, we also remodeled it with help from South FL Roofing Companies. She’s been kitted out with generator already so she runs 110V, both the gennie and motor are diesel and we plan on swapping her over to veggie oil and solar asap. She’s also got book shelves installed that are built like a bomb shelter – truly – we had to remove two small shelves to make space for our beds to fit, and had a KILLER time doing so because the materials were so durable, and construction was impeccable. We can climb the shelves like a ladder and they do not budge. Visit http://discreetinvestigations.ca/ to learn more.

TheRoadVirusNaturally the first things put into her were our mobile preps, 72 hour bug out bags, first aide kits, solar and crank powered lights and radios, extra bottles of all fluids the bus needs (like fuel additive, coolant, quick start spray, etc), and about a week’s worth the dry/canned goods. We’re not getting stranded if the bus breaks down, zombies rise up, solar flare or EMP takes out all electronic devices!

Along with our preps we’re bringing our books, naturally. Some of our favorites are The Road, The Stand, Lucifer’s Hammer, How We Live Now, Dies the Fire, Desperation, and I Am Legend. Em’s surprise favorite is The Last Tribe by Brad Manuel, a global pandemic EOTWAWKI novel that was self published by the author. It follows the few survivors of the plague – specifically one family – trying to reunite with one son who was away at boarding school in the Northeast. As someone who grew up in Massachusetts (where a lot of the book is set), the idea of trying to survive a winter as a young teen while things like heating, plumbing, sanitation break down is enough to send a chill down Em’s spine.

theroadvirusposterThere’s lots left to do in the bus, whom we’ve named Jolene Lenore Freebird – including installing plumbing, propane cooktop, and tanks so she can either be shored at a park, or go off-grid without losing the basics of a home. We also need to have her vinyl wrapped so our store is recognizable, and she has some work that needs to be done on her electrical system. We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help us achieve these goals – along with help us do some really awesome programming to help The Road Virus give back to the communities she visits, like literacy outreach, movie screenings, and a little free library. Please consider backing us – and bring the plague of literacy to a community near you!

Read more about our vision and goals for The Road Virus at our Kickstarter here:
theroadvirus.com/ks 

Also, check out my friend’s earthquake preparedness site Earthquakebag.me . They’ve got some great kits for those of us living in earthquake prone areas.

We’re also documenting our journey, and telling folks where they can find us via our website here:
theroadvirus.com

You can also reach us on all social media as @roadvirusbus
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Love and Pathogens,
The Road Virus Crew

Guest Post by Danny Stevenson Post Apocalyptic Model Maker and Tabletop Wargamer

This guest post is from Danny Stevenson, the founder of the Post Apoc Wargames Forum, a post apocalyptic model maker and wargamer, he especially loves to play CS:GO and he´s always on the site mycsgoboosting.com. Danny posted a comment on Twitter in response to Evan T Pickering’s guest post, describing how he related to the notion of rebirth and rebuilding after the apocalypse. The idea of post apocalyptic rebirth resonated with Danny, so I asked him if he would write a guest post to carry on that theme. He has created some really awesome post apocalyptic models that he displays on his blog here and I’ve posted some images below. Thank you to Danny for sharing his thoughts and insights!

model2Rebirth after the Apocalypse? This is a question a few people have asked me when they see or read my work.

Chatting to many people down the years, many people associate the Apocalypse with whole scale death and destruction. That this is it. Nothing more. Any remaining humans are reduced to scavenging savages. They seem surprised that in the world I created humanity is slowly trying to rebuild. Looking to recover. Rebuilding from the ashes and anarchy.

For me, one of the joys of the Post Apocalyptic genre is the ability to explore and create new societies with freedom. The destruction of what was removes the existing rules. Some of the societies that I have created are realistic in nature, others are real life in a satirical way and some are purely for fun.

tarotdeathIn the Tarot, the death card doesn’t mean just death and destruction. It can mean change or a new way of looking at things. From this death, change follows rebirth and growth. It happens again and again around us every day in every aspect of our lives. The Apocalypse is in many ways the death card for the whole planet.

Looking at the past, it is clear that our dear old planet has survived many apocalyptic events in one form or another. Mother Nature springs back. Life clings on and becomes abundant once again. Often these apocalyptic events remove one dominate life form and allows other (often weaker) life forms to flourish and survive.

Recovery of nature is essential for rebirth after an apocalyptic event. The process could take anything from a few years to centuries. Once the recovery of nature starts it will help support plant and animal life. These in turn will help any human societies starting to form.

What about the plant and animal life? Would an apocalyptic event destroy them all? Have any of the other apocalyptic events in history? Massive amounts of species were wiped out but many survived. When you look at our world, animal life is everywhere, even places that appear barren and dead. Once the spark of life is there it will fight to hang on. Look at the area around Chernobyl. The area was evacuated when the disaster happened. It was heavily contaminated. In less than twenty years plant and animal life has returned to all but the most contaminated areas.

model4The last piece of our jigsaw puzzle is humanity. When you view a single human and compare them to similar sized animals, humans have no natural weapons, armour or fur. We often have poorer vision, no night vision, poorer hearing, slower movement and little sense of smell. Our success lies in our adaptability, ability to work together and use tools. We instinctively come together as groups and work together. We can build things to help our survival. These instincts won’t go away in times of adversity but often are strengthened.

History provides us with plenty of clues about how humanity can come back from the brink. The main difference is that now some humans would have access to knowledge, weapons and tools from the modern age. These may give our survivors more of a edge.

model1One thing that takes people aback is in my settings the new societies are often rebuilding. I find it odd that people wouldn’t consider it. After all mankind is a builder. Maybe my real life job as an Engineer has coloured my view. In my experience there will always be someone who can fix, repair and build things. I have met many amazing individuals who despite no formal education can fix anything and build amazing looking vehicles. Not all knowledge would be lost. There will be people with things rattling around in their heads. Things that may help your group of survivors rebuild.

The Apocalypse brings death and destruction. It brings great change which in turn triggers rebirth of the post apocalyptic world . Of course the Apocalypse may allow a new rival to evolve to claim the top of the pile and push humanity into history.

Danny Stevenson

http://mattblackgodsworld.blogspot.co.uk/

@wastesrider on Twitter

Post Apoc Wargames Forum

model3

 

 

Guest Post from Evan T Pickering Author of Hood

This guest post is from Evan T. Pickering, author of the post-apocalyptic novel Hood: American Rebirth Series Book 1. Evan skillfully shares a profound personal experience with us. He shows us how this experience has influenced him and how it relates to his unique perspective and writing. Thank you Evan for describing end of the world fiction in a way that fans and newcomers alike can and will appreciate!

Our Own Destroyed World

Doesn’t it feel like the end of the world sometimes?

For us, I mean. For us as individuals in our own lives. The longer we live, the probability that we make some catastrophically bad choice for ourselves will eventually reach 100%.

It’s part of existence. We fuck it all up. Hopefully it doesn’t kill us. When I was 13 I jumped into the street on my BMX bike and got smashed by a car. Because, y’know, I was thirteen and a dumbass. I had to have my leg rebuilt but otherwise I was still alive. In some realities, maybe I or someone like me would have been brokenlegkilled. It seemed like an easy decision: there’s no one in the road, I want to bomb this gap. Oh wait, a car came while I wasn’t looking. Smash. Lying bloody in the middle of road, unsure of who I was, so deep in shock.

We can all look back at our lives and point to events that caused our world to fracture and collapse around us. A ruined relationship and the profound emptiness that follows. A terrible life decision that destroys a career. There’s many, many creative ways to fuck up your own life.

And from those personal tragedies comes a deep satisfaction in reading/watching apocalypse narratives–all our great mistakes and convoluted modern lives have been wiped away. We are reborn in our survival. The world has changed. In Apocalyptic scenarios, the earth is like me on the bike jumping in front of a car. It limps on, injured but coalescing, turning into something else. Reborn.

rickrebornBecause that’s what happens to us, isn’t it? Or at least, it can be. In the wake of whatever catastrophic event we have in our personal lives, there is an opportunity. A window wherein we can be reborn, change profoundly and become someone different than who we were before.

As I lay in the road with my shattered leg, I quietly observed the world around me. People came to me and asked me questions and called an ambulance, but I was not me. Deep in shock and under the influence of whatever drugs my brain had dispensed to keep me from losing my mind, I was no one. I distinctly remember thinking:

“This sucks for whoever this is happening to.”

I didn’t even realize that I was me. A feeling that lies somewhere in the realm of holy shit territory. But eventually when I attributed my consciousness to myself again, I had to deal with the implications of what had happened to me. My life was changed, forever altered, and already I started to question what I was doing, what I wanted moving forward, what my life would be like from then on out.

newlifeindeadstumpMy take on Apocalyptic fiction in general is one that is obsessed with rebirth. With the idea that apocalypse narratives are just macrocosms of our own lives. Sometimes it feels like we’ve destroyed our own world, that we feel so distant from who we used to be and what we used to believe. But where something is lost the opportunity for something new to be born arises. A new life can come from the part of us or our world that has died. That’s what I write about. That’s the story I want to tell of the apocalypse.

-Evan Pickeringhood

www.EvanPickeringAuthor.com
https://twitter.com/EvanTP87
https://www.facebook.com/EPAuthor/

Follow Evan on his social media above and check out his post-apocalyptic American Rebirth Series. Book 1 Hood is shown right and book 2 Whiskey is also available. They are both currently on Kindle Unlimited.

Guest Post from Ron Welch Author of Theradlands.com

This next guest post is from Ron Welch, blogger and author at Theradlands.com . Ron is a purveyor of all things wasteland. That is, to say he is a sort of aficionado of a fictional post apocalyptic, post nuclear war Earth. A planet completely devastated by nuclear war, civilization reduced to rubble, radiation pollution, the whole works! Think of the world of Mad Max or Fallout and you will get the idea.

I reached out to Ron after reading some of his well written and interesting posts and realized that I hadn’t really focused nearly enough on the so far fictional wasteland. The idea of the wasteland is prominent throughout all types of post apocalyptic fiction and it certainly deserves a place here!

I really enjoyed reading Ron’s insightful commentary. He actually puts the wasteland in a new sort of perspective that I hadn’t really considered before. Please enjoy his article and make sure to follow him on Twitter @The_radlands and visit his site theradlands.com . Thanks Ron!

The Power of Post-Nuclear Fiction

by Ron Welch

Post-nuclear fiction is unique; it captivates us with tales of inhumanity, survival, and occasionally grotesque mutations. Although each writer creates a different post-nuclear world, there are always a handful of similarities throughout to define sandstormthe genre and keep the audience anchored into the setting. Because a post-nuclear world necessarily requires advanced technology, the genre finds itself at a crossroad between sci-fi and fantasy, utilizing the social commentary of the former with the fantasticism of the latter.

From Mad Max to Fallout, post-nuclear worlds are generally rooted in techno-feudalism. Great leaders rise to power, protecting slaves and serfs from the horrors of the wasteland. Typically, walled villages are mandatory to keep out monsters (both human and beast). Bandits and raiders are present in every wasteland incarnation, similar to pirates radiationin both sci-fi and fantasy. Although outwardly techno-feudalism outwardly looks identical to traditional feudalism, where it diverges in post-nuclear fiction is at the means of collecting resources. Traditional feudalism is rooted in farming and the production of resources. Techno-feudalism is rooted in the scavenging of resources, both for convenience and because the secret to advanced (and even primitive) technology is lost on uneducated wastelanders. Scavenging is key to the setting.

falloutWhile exploring the wasteland, scavengers often come across pockets of radiation. In reality, radiation from nuclear weapons dissipates after a few months. In fiction, radiation is used as a placeholder for magic (again calling on traditional fantasy). Mutants (both human and beast), psychic powers, and unexplained anomalies are engrained in post-nuclear fiction.

From the burnpit screamers in A Boy and His Dog to Ghouls, mutants have been critical to the success of the post-nuclear genre. The existence of these creatures captures our imagination in a way that fantasy monsters and sci-fi boyanddogaliens cannot. Mutants, by their nature, rely on body horror. Generally, mutant designs are just a twist on something that already exists. For example, the Fallout franchise combined dogs and men into centaurs. The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise has grotesque chimera and pseudogiants. A handful of franchises go a step further, adding sentient mutant races to interact with humans, filling a roll similar to Elves and Dwarves in fantasy or aliens in sci-fi. Mutants are engaging, as they encourage the audience to think about what other animals would look like in the setting.

Although less common than mutants, some post-nuclear settings also include psychic powers. This again calls back to the cross between sci-fi and fantasy. Psychic powers are effectively sci-fi magic. The difference is that mutant powers are often sporadic and uncontrolled (see Psykers in Warhammer 40k or Dark Ones in Metro 2033). Likewise, some settings (specifically S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro 2033) have anomalies that split from traditional radioactive horror and merge toward something more mysterious and occasionally spiritual. Anomalies rarely have a scientific explanation (even a super-scientific explanation that works within the universe), but they reflect something critical to the genre. After a nuclear war, the world will never be the same again.

madmaxvehicles In many ways post-nuclear fiction is similar to sci-fi and fantasy. They all reflect societies where governments are loose, territorial, or non-existent. They all have monsters, but the manner in which those monsters express themselves through design and intelligence varies widely. All of these things help the audience to better connect with the genre, because although fictional, it is rooted in reality. The locations are the same, but they are presented in through the filter of destruction and radioactive horror. Given the opportunity, post-nuclear fiction can define the post-apocalyptic genre the same way Tolkien defined fantasy and Frank Herbert defined sci-fi.

What do you think makes the post-nuclear genre unique? Tell us in the comments!

If you enjoyed this piece, you can read more specific articles at www.theradlands.com or follow us on Twitter @The_RadLands .

 

The Walking Dead Season 7

twdseason7Going into the third episode of The Walking Dead Season 7, most fans of the show are aware of the deaths of some fairly significant characters. I won’t go into any specific details just in case you haven’t seen the first couple of episodes, however, I felt that it was appropriate to comment on a couple of things.

First of all, the zombie post apocalypse is certainly a violent and unpredictable place. It would be completely unreasonable if the main characters remained unscathed. We were already hearing voices (no not the voices in my head – fortunately, I don’t hear those yet…) complaining about how there weren’t any significant character killings in most of the 6th season. Inevitably, those voices would have gained strength among fans claiming that the story was unrealistic (insofar as anything could be unrealistic in the zombie apocalypse). Naturally, fans expect that people will be killed, but only those characters that they don’t like or get to know very well. Anyway, in keeping with the comics (which I haven’t read intentionally), our core group of survivors has dwindled down further, much to the dismay of many.

Over the years, we have watched as our remaining core group of The Walking Dead characters became less isolated. As they meet new groups of survivors, we are starting to see that there is indeed a type of functioning semi-civil-system in place, at least in that part of Virginia, and perhaps all over the world. It seems as though what remains of civilization has reverted to a form of feudalism. The strongest and most ruthless rule the day while the weaker serve them. In neganthis case, we find that Negan, ruler of “The Saviors” is the “big boss”, enforcing his power through his liberal use of brutality and his special friend “Lucille”. I have previously discussed to the likelihood of a tendency for sociopaths to rise to the power in the post apocalypse (link) and I think that would hold true. We have seen “The Governor” in previous seasons, now we see Negan, who certainly would “fit the bill”.

In the second episode, we also meet a whole new community of survivors that call themselves “The Kingdom”. It turns out that “The Kingdom” is quite fascinating and amusing place, to say the least. The leader of “The Kingdom”, “King Ezekiel”, is downright hilarious and has a flair for the dramatic, having been a Shakespearean actor and a zoo keeper pre-apocalypse. Oh, and did I mention that he has pet tiger named shivaezekielShiva! That’s right, A PET TIGER that actually comes along with a fairly detailed background story as well (maybe we will see more of this story in future episode flashbacks). How awesome is that!

Then we have the end of our modern fairy tale notion that things always get better. “Better” being a relative term, of course. Unfortunately, in the real world, and certainly in any imaginable post apocalyptic scenario, “things” get worse too. You might think “how much worse can it get for Rick’s family”. Well it turns out, it can get much, much worse, as we have witnessed in these episodes.

Being such a fan of apocalyptic fiction, I find that I’m “pinching myself” (metaphorically, most of the time) while I watch The Walking Dead. Is this show really on Prime Time TV on a Sunday night? Is it really the most popular show on television?

Oh, and did I mention that there is a fucking TIGER! A rather large tiger with huge, menacing teeth and very sharp claws! I can’t wait to see Shiva tear into some zombies or living people for that matter (as long as they’re bad guys 😉 ). Will she take their heads off with her claws or bite and crush their skulls? I think Shiva tearing off Negan’s head would be appropriate, then they can shove that barbed wire bat “Lucille” down what’s lucilleleft of his throat!

Innovation in fiction. Ultimately, it’s the unique “tiger” ideas that I love. These great “where did that come from?” ideas are what keep me reading and watching. The post-apocalyptic environment is well suited for those “what the fuck! (WTF)” moments (who they hell thought of that?). After all, the apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic genre is a bifurcation of science fiction, the exploration of “what ifs”. I think people appreciate the way that the writers (Robert Kirkman, et al) of The Walking Dead have re-imagined and reinterpreted the zombie apocalypse. They are exploring it in a new way. It is different from George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead that has been regurgitated countless times. People can sense when an idea or concept is worn out and they get tired of it. Fortunately, just when you think it has all been done before, someone comes up with something new and flips everything on its head. Who knows what type of calamity someone will come up with next? Whatever it is, I’m looking forward to it. That is, of course, if we have time left for those types of things…

The Terminator

terminatorIt’s odd that I haven’t mentioned The Terminator on this site before. It was one of the first end of the world movies to capture my imagination. In many ways, the movie and the concept really sparked the genesis of my odd apocalyptic preoccupation. The Terminator is one of my all time favorite movies. An awesome combination of a killer cyborg, time travel, the dawn of true artificial intelligence and nuclear war gets me every time.

First off, lets get the criticism out of the way. I’m not claiming that the acting or the story line logic is perfect. Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting is fair at best (well, he is a cyborg). And yes, there is some unnecessary nudity – no I’m not referring to Sarah Connor. For some strange reason, only human tissue can travel through time, oh and a metal skeleton, but not clothes…Ok, lets move on shall we…

The premise itself is perfectly logical: artificial intelligence is born, sees humans as a threat, concludes that to eliminate the threat efficiently it must initiate a full scale nuclear strike against The Soviet Union (which was still intact at the time that the film was made). A newly born artificial intelligence aka Skynet knew that such a strike would be reciprocated and “bye-bye” humans, well most humans anyway. Of course, there would be survivors, but Skynet must have deduced that such a threat would be minimal with 90% of the world’s population dead and most of humankind’s infrastructure decimated.

We are led to believe that Skynet was somewhat surprised by the human will to survive. Indeed, humans can be quite resourceful and tenacious when necessary. The human resistance became something more than a nuisance to Skynet, so it comes up with quite an innovative plan to use cyborgs to infiltrate human populations to kill, kill, KILL!

Furthermore, Skynet decided to use its newly discovered time travel technology to send a terminator back in time to prevent the human resistance leader from being born by killing his mother Sarah Connor. Ha! Take that stupid humans!

However, apparently Skynet didn’t fully consider the consequences of time travel as Kyle Reese followed the Terminator back through time to defend Sarah Connor. We find out that Kyle is actually John Connor’s father!

cyberdyneNot only that, but we later find out (in Terminator 2) that Cyberdyne systems actually based most of its work off of the robotic arm and circuits that they found and studied from Terminator 1. Oh Boy! So did Skynet actually create itself accidentally by sending the first terminator back in time? Wow, time travel is fun isn’t it, if you can get past the headache! 🙂

Some of my favorite parts of the first Terminator movie are when we see the future through Kyle Reese’s dreams and memories. We see tricked out resistance 80’s cars with stolen mounted Skynet laser cannons (below). We watch as the early terminator units infiltrate a human enclave and kill everyone. We watch as a giant robotic tank drove over skulls in post apocalyptic Los Angeles.

Considering the special effect technology that was available in 1984, these scenes are epic! It’s like Mad Max mixed with Star Wars. Add in the 80’s synthesizer music and we are talking over the top awesome for a 10 year old kid and a 41 year old man alike!

The Terminator franchise now covers 5 movies, a TV series, novels and a comic series. The Walking Dead fan’s might be interested to know that Gale Anne Hurd was a writer and producer in almost all of the Terminator movies. It’s hard to really understate the influence The Terminator has had on our modern culture. To this day, it still stands as one of my favorite movies of all time.

 

Guest Post from Chad A. Clark Author of Behind our Walls

This guest post is by Chad A. Clark, author of the end of the world novel Behind Our Walls. It’s fascinating and encouraging to see some of the influences that inspire people to write books. Growing up in the 80’s, I can sure relate to a lot of Chad’s inspiration! Thanks for sharing Chad! I encourage all of you other guest posters and readers to chime in and leave a comment and follow/say hi to Chad A. Clark.

behindourwallsSeveral years ago, I wrote a short story, titled Tomorrow’s Memory. It is set in an apocalyptic future following some undefined event in which the governments and societies of the world have collapsed. The main character is a man in his early twenties, traveling with a female companion. Along the way, he decides to start keeping a journal and the story consists of his entries in that journal.

I have always been fascinated with what the landscape of the end of the world might look like. And what I mean by that is, we have seen no shortage of films and books, laying out scenarios by which our society could meet its ultimate destruction. And while I have certainly enjoyed these stories, I also wanted to try going in a different direction. I was interested in the perspective of the people on the ground and how their lives are affected, where they go from here.

Just as an example, one thing that has always captivated me about the film Cloverfield is how it is essentially the telling of the Godzilla story, but from the perspective of the screaming mob trying to get away from the monster. This was the sensibility I tried to bring to this story. In an age where we depend so much on technology for our information, what happens when the world crashes down around us and the only means of learning about things is from the mouths of people you encounter on the road. People you may or may not be able to trust.

These were my favorite aspects of writing Tomorrow’s Memory and it would eventually spark my desire to write a full length novel in that same universe. It was from the seeds of that initial story that Behind Our Walls would eventually grow.

I didn’t want this to be a supernatural story. There are no zombies. I didn’t want this to be a techno-thriller. I wanted it to be a human story. I wanted to take genuine characters and see how they handled complete immersion in a hostile and violent environment. What would it look like if a group of survivors were to try and rebuild on the ashes of a society and start over?

The book I wrote was originally much longer and offered a few more backstory and clues as to what caused society’s downfall. In the end, I decided that I was being too ambitious and that it would be better to quickly immerse the reader in the world of this story. I wanted to challenge myself to bring the reader closer to the experiences of the characters.

Behind Our Walls is a dark book. It presents a bleak picture of our humanity and what people could be capable of, if left alone with each other and to their own devices. But I think there is also a hint of optimism there as well. As I wrote this, I definitely wanted to bring to bear all of the beautifully grim fiction I had read over the years but I also wanted to avoid the idea that all hope was lost. At the end of the day, I still believe in the inherent goodness of ourselves and I think that should be evident as the story draws to a close.

This book, as the rest of my writing in general, is driven by my love for dark fiction. There are any number of sources I could point to as the origins for my narrative sensibilities. As a child, I was reading at a very early age and by the time I was ten or eleven, I was given a fair amount of liberty in terms of what I was allowed to read. It wasn’t long before I found my way to the likes of Stephen King and Robert McCammon.

And of course, no discussion of the eighties can rightfully leave out the incredible horror movie franchises that came about. There was a special immediacy and dark reality of the practical special effects of the day. Watching slasher or zombie movies, you had an uncomfortable feeling that you were being made privy to something that you weren’t supposed to see.

All of this acted as a brine of sorts, in which my narrative outlook would start to develop. I love the visceral experience of the horror genre. I love the view you get of humanity in the reflection of horrific events of a story. I love reading and writing books with dark content because it forces you to be a part of the process. You have to bring your own morality to bear and evaluate the things that are happening and how they make you feel. That’s what I think all good art should do.

And if I can accomplish that at least some of the time with my own writing, I will consider myself to be a success.

 

Chad A. Clark

cclarkfiction.wixsite.com/chad-clark

Follow Chad A. Clark on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Google+.

Guest Post from M.L. Cain Author of Dead Salvage Series

Our latest guest post is from M.L. Cain, author of the post apocalyptic book series Dead Salvage of which the first book called Mourning is now available. M.L. Cain told me that he wrote this on his phone which I must say is impressive! Thanks to M.L. Cain for sharing his very unique perspective with us below!

deadsalvageAlright, my name is ML Cain, an author within the Post apocalyptic/ Military Sci-fi genre, though I don’t like to limit myself. I typically don’t talk about myself much, so forgive me if the awkwardness bleeds through.

Oddly enough I’m not a fan of fiction books (there are a couple of exceptions, of course), when it comes to books I prefer non-fiction, usually within the realm of Military History, Ancient Greek history/mythology, and books about killers or other strange happenings and subjects based somewhat in reality.
 
So what was my motivation to create a post-apocalyptic fiction series? Simply and honestly put, I enjoy entertaining the idea of human extinction, and the path or struggle to extinction. I grew up on Horror movies, and the gory, adult themed Anime of the 70s- 90s era. I’ve always been fascinated by dark stories of gore, horror and the annihilation of the human race via movies and anime. I’m sure I can attribute some of my inspiration to these films and series which held me spellbound in my early childhood and teen years.
 
For me, personally, I look at writing as a form of art, as self expression… I don’t play an instrument, I don’t draw or paint, so I write, it is my release… more than communicating a message, I may want to communicate an emotion or ask a question, or maybe i just want to assault the reader in a non physical way. I’m someone that writes without care for social or moral norms, or rules of a genre. My works are an outlet for my thoughts, emotions and philosophies.
 
Dead Salvage is my first work of fiction, and my first series. My goal with the Dead Salvage series is to tell the story of human extinction, in a unique, meaningful and interesting way.  With this and my other up coming works I hope to define/refine myself and my style as a writer,thank you.
 
Official page: Authormlcain.com
 

Addiction and the Apocalypse

nickbloodAfter watching the first season of Fear the Walking Dead (FTWD) again, it occurred to me that we rarely see any type of substantial fictional exploration of addiction and the apocalypse. As you may or may not know, depending on whether you watch the show, one of the main characters is a heroin addict. He is one of the first characters that we meet on the show and is also one of the first to encounter zombies if indeed the outbreak started in California.

Regardless of how you might feel about FTWD, the writers deserve some credit for making a legitimate effort to humanize addiction through Nick. Whether or not you agree with his reaction/behavior, it is an interesting fictional story line worthy of further exploration. Nick’s character offers some insight into the implications of addiction during and after the apocalypse.

The most fascinating idea that comes up through Nick’s character is that his life before and after the zombie apocalypse isn’t that much different. Death was always his constant companion. He was already living moment to moment, never seeing beyond his next fix.

An addict’s life isn’t that much different from the life of a post apocalyptic survivor. Instead of finding more drugs, almost all of a survivor’s energy is spent obtaining the necessary food and supplies and protecting those resources. Death is never far away in either case. Indeed, it is a constant companion.

Now, consider the life of an average, modern day person. Most people have become so dependent on modern conveniences that a drastic change in lifestyle would be a major shock to say the least. Many people simply wouldn’t be able to let go of their former life and do what is necessary to survive. It is in this light that we can begin to understand Nick’s relative ease in adjusting to his new environment. Compared to everyone else, his new life isn’t much different from his old life.

This is not to say that I necessarily agree with FTWD’s particular interpretation, in fact it changes all the time, get the latest one here from a different perspective. I don’t know if that’s the way a typical addict might respond to the zombie apocalypse, however, I applaud their valid attempt to address the issue. Actually, FTWD is the first major end of the world type fiction that I have encountered that tries to examine the topic of addiction on more than a superficial level. Many might argue that a drug addict would be less concerned with the well being of their family and more concerned with raiding homes, pharmacies or hospitals for leftover opoids. This is usually how the issue is dealt with in apocalyptic fiction – “those degenerate addicts need to be contained” type of attitude prevails, in most cases, always implying that “these people” are the first stage of the human transformation into raiding cannibal clans.

As with most issues, its not quite as simple as “forget about those degenerates”, especially when someone that you love is an addict or alcoholic. Ultimately, I think most people would be surprised to find out that addiction is running rampant right in their cozy little neighborhoods.

I having been sober and drug free now for 16 years. But also I can attest to the notion that some portion of alcoholics and addicts can recover and that they might be people that you would want around should things go bad.

If anyone knows of any other works of fiction that explores addiction and the apocalypse please forward it to me.

On a side note, I have been really pleased with the response to our first few guest posts and I really appreciate everyone that has given positive feedback. I’m still looking for people to write guest posts and would like to make it a regular occurrence on this site. If you are a writer, please send me a note at apocalypticfiction@gmail.com or use the contact form below to express your interest in doing a guest post. For a guest post, rather than discussing your book or fictional work directly, I would prefer if you could discuss some of your inspiration for creating it and possibly share some life experience that has influenced you and drawn you towards the apocalyptic genre. I look forward to hearing from and meeting as many of you as possible!

Guest Post From E. Rachael Hardcastle Author of the Aeon Infinitum Series

This guest post is from E. Rachael Hardcastle, author of the post apocalyptic book series Aeon Infinitum. E. Rachael Hardcastle offers us some great insight into her motivation and inspiration for writing. It’s very encouraging to see that she shares similar motivations with our previous guest post author Michael Poeltl and considers her post apocalyptic book series somewhat of a cautionary tale. I encourage all of you, fans and other authors to follow E. Rachael Hardcastle on social media after reading her guest post below!

The Meaning of Life and Writing

My name is E. Rachael Hardcastle. I’m a British indie author of high fantasy and post-apocalyptic novels.

aeoninfinitumI write in these creative genres because I believe the human race is capable of change. I’d like to play my part in initiating it by showing you what I predict could happen if we don’t. Through my work, my aim is to transport you through time and space to a variety of desperate futures; to show you them through my eyes.

Between the lines of my most recent release, Aeon Infinitum: Run For Your Life, I’ll introduce you to Ad Infinitum, a planet suffering six months of night and day. I’ll show you mutant creatures driven mad by unbearable temperatures, the ruins of a once flourishing society and a community forced underground, starved and overpopulated, to escape what their own ancestors created. I’ll ask if we are really the dominant species in a universe so vast and endless.

Although my novels don’t follow a religious theme, they invite readers to be open-minded and imaginative, using creation, survival and the overall meaning of our existence to guide my  characters through various life or death scenarios.

Writing is also a means for me to empty my chaotic mind and an outlet for the ideas I hoard. Authors like J. R. R. Tolkien, Stephen King, Charlaine Harris and countless others have imprinted on me just as much as their other fans – only difference is I feel it my duty to turn that positive influence into something new, exciting and memorable.

Aeon Infinitum: Run For Your Life is book one in a trilogy that’s published out of order. Book One, the story of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world, is actually the second along the time line of Earth’s fall. Aeon Infinitum: The Wanted, the explanation behind the end of the world is the prequel. Aeon Infinitum: Faded Realm is the continuing adventure of the survivors and the sequel.

Book one is now available with Amazon Kindle and in paperback (even with Prime). Visit www.erachaelhardcastle.com to read my mission statement, learn more about writing and publishing with my author interviews or check out my other published novels.

Follow E. Rachael Hardcastle on Facebook and Twitter

Guest Post from Michael Poeltl Author of An Angry Earth

This next guest post is from Michael Poeltl, author of the apocalyptic book series The Judas Syndrome Trilogy and more recently, a picture book called An Angry Earth. These guest posts are even more fascinating than I anticipated as we get to see why some writers choose to write about the end of the world and what comes after. It turns out Michael Poeltl’s motivations are essentially altruistic as he seeks to use his fiction as a learning tool for change. Read for yourself below. Enjoy!

Why a Picture Book about the Apocalypse? It all began a long time ago…

angryearthIn 1999 I had just completed my first novel. It was nowhere near polished enough to be published, but it was finished in that unedited, unformatted way that most unrepresented author’s works end up. It was a book about an Apocalyptic event which took a group of teens out of their comfortable summer vacations and into survival mode after a nuclear war erupted around them. That book was professionally edited and self published in 2009, and was well received by indie-readers, which stirred enough confidence in me that two more books in the same, evolving storyline, soon created a trilogy – The Judas Syndrome.

This was my first foyer into writing at the novel level, and as The Judas Syndrome went on to win awards and accolades, its successes prompted me to continue the writing and self publishing journey.

Apocalyptic books took a back seat to experimenting with other genres until the summer of 2016, when a story emerged during a bedtime reading to my six-year-old daughter.  Eyes too tired to read another page from her children’s books, I turned out the light and this story about environmental awareness popped into my head.  I went on about how the earth rumbled and the sky fell and the water rose and all because of the damage we were doing to the planet. When she was asleep holding her amazon fur pillows I sat down and wrote what had poured out of me and thought; ‘there’s a book in there somewhere’. As it turned out, it was to be a picture book.

It’s a tell it like it is story which includes dark pen and ink illustrations to help visualize the story. I wanted to make sure people take away the vision I had for the book. Be scared. Be very scared that our world could end up like the one in the book. Do something about it. Stop the apocalypse before it becomes unstoppable.

I’m marketing An Angry Earth to adults and parents rather then to children, leaving it up to them whether they want to share the potential of a dark future with their children. I will be sharing it with my daughter. I think it’s important to teach consequence where their actions or inactions effect the health of their environment and their very lives and also teach her to live a healthy life herself and taking care of herself with the best diet and the right supplements as Kratom products.

Being a picture book, it makes sense to want it in print format, which is available and recommended, but I have also made it available as a Kindle for those who are done with printed volumes. 

Michael Poeltl

Follow Michael Poeltl on his WebsiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Amazon.

 

Guest Post C. Chase Harwood Author Of Sudden Origin

Our next guest post comes from C. Chase Harwood, author of the Of Sudden Origin Saga. In his apocalyptic book series C. Chase Harwood introduces us to his own action packed interpretation of the zombie apocalypse. Thank you C. Chase Harwood for giving us all some insight into your creation and for sharing your thoughts with us!

ofsuddenoriginI suspect that we all secretly wish for a zombie apocalypse–for a day. I also imagine we would all want the option to exit the moment we might get chomped.
It’s not as if we want our family, friends and neighbors to deal with such a horror. It’s the survival thing. We all fantasize about surviving the worst; being put into a situation of terrible odds, the thrill of facing the dead head on just around the bend. We don’t imagine that it just happens, that we’re walking down the sidewalk and a raving zombie suddenly charges us–we defenseless and without arms, no, we imagine ourselves well prepped for such an event. We’re ahead of the curve as the news of the building catastrophe grows into the day of reckoning. When it comes, we are ready to take on the end of civilization–for a day.
Zombie novels provide a window, a visit to such an event without having to actually get the hands dirty… or em… bloody or the face bitten off, guts used in a ropey tug-o-war. Zombie novels let us imagine blasting our deepest nightmares apart, fighting injustice and overcoming the worst of men. They place us in the raw undiluted space of me against the ruined world, perhaps with the help of some friends.
All of this is fine. All of this is fun. I’m as much a huge fan of The Walking Dead as the next guy or gal, but there’s one part that always leaves me frustrated: how in the hell do the dead walk–particularly the ones that are mostly skeleton? I know it’s best not to ask such things. Just go for the ride already. Don’t delve into how the cars stay on the track.
Of Sudden Origin solves this conundrum for me and I hope for others like me. It utilizes the conventions of Armageddon and zombies, but goes a bit further. The series makes an attempt at creating a scientific basis for a zombie apocalypse. The zombies aren’t dead. They can die any way that any other person can die, but they are fast, have a bit of brains left, and are just as relentless as their dead kinfolk. They also have a secret weapon: the novels explore a sudden leap in evolution, thus the title Of Sudden Origin. The offspring of the infected are the next iteration of man, and you don’t want to meet one. You’d much rather have the covers pulled up to your chest, book in hand, rather than cowering under the blanket as mad humans and their horrific offspring charge into your home.
As with most apocalypse tales, Of Sudden Origin explores our relationships and interactions with each other when faced with the very worst and asks, can the best in us survive?
C. Chase Harwood

Follow C. Chase Harwood on Facebook, Twitter and get his books Here or through the link below:

Guest Post Raymond Dean White Author of The Dying Time Impact

Our first guest post comes from Raymond Dean White, author of The Dying Time: Impact. His apocalyptic book explores one of my favorite end of the world scenarios – a large asteroid impact! He offers us a brief synopsis of his novels and gives us some insight into what pulled him to the genre. Thanks Raymond!

 

dying-time“THE DYING TIME: IMPACT” reveals my take on how to survive the worst possible disaster that could befall humanity—a mountain-sized asteroid impact.

When the Impact destroyed civilization and re-sculpted the globe the only survivors were the hastily expanded crew of the ISS, who watched the devastation below with growing horror, while wondering if they would ever get to go home, a few Preppers, whose stores of food and other commodities made them irresistible targets and the desperate hordes who would do anything–eat anyone–to live.

“THE DYING TIME: IMPACT” is a stand alone novel that is also book one of a trilogy. It has almost 300 great reviews. You can find it here on Amazon.

 

http://amzn.to/29G9jRf

 

“AFTER THE DYING TIME” is also a stand alone novel and is book two in the trilogy. It details the fight to preserve liberty against a rising feudalism.

In a post-Impact world there are Kings, subjects, slaves and those desperately fighting to remain free. Twelve years after The Dying Time Impact, Joseph Scarlatti reigns as King of California, or at least that’s what he’s called to his face. Behind his back the words tyrant, butcher, monster and cannibal are spoken softly in fear of being overheard. His spies are everywhere. His empire spans the remains of the entire West Coast. But his need for power is all consuming so he invades the Colorado Freeholds and the Nation of Deseret (formerly Utah) and he hasn’t forgotten about gaining control of the top secret weapon that can assure him of world domination.

On the moon, where the crew of the International Space Station relocated to survive, a mutiny is brewing. The population is growing, resources are getting scarce, their power supply is failing and people are getting sick of military rule.

There’s also a growing fear that if anyone on Earth gains control of The Weapon they’ll use it against Luna City and plans are hatched to destroy the space based laser.

Meanwhile, Havoc’s twin is hurtling toward Earth and that weapon is the only thing that can prevent another Dying Time.

“AFTER THE DYING TIME” has received more than one hundred great reviews. You can find it here.

 

http://amzn.to/29ozBtb

 

As a boy of ten I stumbled upon Andre Norton’s post-apocalyptic tale titled “Star Man’s Son” and thus began a life long love affair with apocalyptic fiction. I’ve been an avid reader for more than fifty years now, but the novels that finally pushed me over the edge from reader to writer were a pair of classics. Stephen King’s “The Stand” and Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s “Lucifer’s Hammer” did the trick. They captured my imagination and inspired me to begin writing about my own apocalyptic vision.

Please visit my author website at www.RaymondDeanWhite.com and check out my other books as well as my Dying Time Newsletter. Those signing up received a free copy of my non-fiction Prepper book, “BUGGING IN: WHAT TO DO WHEN TSHTF and YOU LIVE IN SUBURBIA.”

Follow Raymond Dean White On Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

October Surprise

squirrelDoom is in the air this fall. Wait…wasn’t it in the air last year?…and the year before that?

It seems as though Autumn is the “doom” time of year. Perhaps humans have coexisted with the rise and fall of seasons for so long now that we sense the death and destruction that comes with winter on an almost instinctual level. Isn’t it possible that we transpose this sense of impending doom onto our world view. That is to say, our perception may have a built in doom filter this time of the year.

Going hand in hand with sense of impending doom is our nesting, preparation tendency that seems to come forth in the fall. Our harvest is in and it is time to secure and preserve our resources for the long winter. As much as we’d like to believe that we exist apart from nature, we are clearly “hardwired” to our environment in more ways than we realize.

Of course, this could all be learned behavior, instilled in us from our childhood. How many of us watched our mothers pickling, canning, freezing and preserving the bounty of the summer’s garden? My mother always likened fall preparation to squirrels burying nuts for the winter, hence the term “squirrelling away” in my family.

No doubt, these nesting behaviors have been passed down many generations and it is most likely the reason that we are alive today. It wasn’t that long ago when the seemingly simple task of eating involved a great deal of planning and effort. Dinner wasn’t a simple matter of going to the nearest grocery store or restaurant for our predecessors.

Once again this fall we are hearing the term “October Surprise” all over the mainstream media and through a lot of alternative sources as well. While the term has its roots in the idea that newly released information could influence a US November presidential election, it has taken on a broader meaning in recent years to include all types of devastating scenarios ranging from economic collapse to World War 3.

Not to understate this particularly chaotic and tumultuous time in history, but having witnessed a few periods of doom frenzy, I’m not convinced that this upcoming period is any different. My sense is that a large scale events occur when we least expect them. Then again, who knows? More than likely we will have some time left to enjoy our strange apocalyptic preoccupation. Speaking of which, I have a few guest posts coming up that I’m sure you will enjoy! 

t2fire