Forced to abandon the relative safety of their prison home and separated during the chaos and destruction following the Governor’s attack, small, fragmented groups of survivors struggle to find hope and safety in the second half of the 4th season of the post apocalyptic tv series The Walking Dead. A complete and utter destruction of one’s home, the illusion of safety, a careful, delicate construct of the mind created to comfort and shelter us from the harsh reality of our often short, brutal lives. The word apocalypse itself, translated from its Greek origin meaning ‘the disclosure of something hidden’, points to this truth and was only later incorporated into english taking on its current, more religious, end of the world context. Isn’t the apocalypse indeed the destruction of our carefully constructed sense of reality, revealing the often cold, hard reality of our situation that we survive on a small speck of life within the vast, empty void of space.
A profound lesson is encoded into apocalyptic fiction that is easily missed. On a surface level, end of the world fiction highlights the necessity to prepare for disaster by storing food, water and having the ability to protect your family which are certainly worthy goals. Going a little deeper though, the real gem concealed within apocalyptic fiction relates to the transient and fragile nature of life itself. While we aren’t forced to face the illusory nature of safety and ‘home’ on a daily basis like the survivors in The Walking Dead, inevitably, even if it isn’t until our time of death, we must face these illusions. Perhaps if we can incorporate and cultivate an awareness of the fantasy nature of true safety, we will be more liberated and able to live more fully in the moment.
To assist you in your contemplation of reality and your own mortality [ 😉 ], follow the links below to watch the latest episodes of The Walking Dead titled ‘After’ and ‘Inmates’.
These episodes are also available for free through the AMC website through this link: http://www.amctv.com/full-episodes/the-walking-dead but there is some way you need to login using your cable company account that I find both annoying and confusing and they are only available there for a limited period of time.
If you had unlimited money and resources to prepare for the zombie apocalypse you might be lucky enough to have a setup like the protagonist does in the apocalyptic book Voyage of the Dead, book one in the Sovereign Spirit Saga, written by David Forsyth. As fortune would have it, Scott Allen, who won hundreds of millions of dollars in a lottery, is on a worldwide cruise on his massive ship with all of his family and friends when the zombie pandemic begins. His resources are formidable: a completely modernized and retrofitted cruise ship with enough weapons and ammo for a small army, a helicopter, amphibious vehicles, a cigarette boat, a seaplane, a ships hold full of cars and trucks (and later an armored personnel carrier), months worth of food and enough fuel to travel half way around the world. On their voyage up to the California from the Mexican coast on an official government mission to rescue a CDC scientist, they encounter many obstacles and develop quite a following of other vessels that join them in their journey, the best of which is a Coast Guard cutter, complete with its own helicopters, specialized equipment and weapons.
In stark contrast to life on the Sovereign Spirit, we get a glimpse of what life is like ashore in the “Interlude in Hell” segments as we follow Carl Stiller as he struggles to survive in post zombie apocalypse Los Angeles. Carl was one of the unlucky ones as he was about to board a plane with his wife when the zombie virus strikes. He is swept up in the chaos surviving only through his own ingenuity and sheer luck.
Voyage of the Dead is a very fun book to read. It’s easy to get caught up in this apocalyptic fantasy like a kid in a candy store. If one had to experience the zombie apocalypse, surviving with the best equipment and resources on a fully contained floating city would surely be the way to do it. Oh, and this book is free on Amazon as of this writing. Check it out and leave a review so other zombie fans will know it’s a good one!
Written from a uniquely Canadian perspective, Days With the Undead, an apocalyptic book by Julianne Snow follows a crew of survivors as they travel around North America in order to escape the zombie apocalypse. The pandemic rapidly spreads from Toronto’s Saint Michael’s emergency department after Brooks VanReit, patient zero, attacks the first victim. Fortunately, a small group of survivors that had been preparing for some type of disaster event is able to mobilize just in time before the outbreak rapidly overtakes the city and begins to spread out of control. The story is presented in a journal format as the protagonist Julie, a pathologist, documents their journey. Rather than choosing a hunker down type of strategy, the crew of forlorn Canadians chooses to stay on the run, travelling full circle, down to the southern United States, then over to the west coast then back up to Canada and eventually back over to northern Ontario. Although running is an understandable strategy, given their situation, it is unclear why they choose to travel the way that they do. Regardless, the zombie pandemic is spreading fast and they can’t seem to outrun the undead in their travels. Days With the Undead has a few surprises in store and strays slightly from the traditional zombie apocalypse scenario to include some unique zombie incarnations. Overall, this is a fun apocalyptic book and unique journey through the zombie apocalypse.
The world is on the verge of a new ice age in Jacqueline Druga’s blockbuster apocalyptic thriller Torn. Torn is entertaining apocalyptic novel with a great sense of humor, however some of the events and the fact that these events coincide, lead to the creation of a mostly improbable, unlikely scenario. Reading it is a lot like watching Hollywood blockbuster movie. It is as if the author sat down and came up with a number of different apocalyptic scenarios and worked diligently to cram all of it in to one book. An apocalyptic recipe, if you will: First add in some solar flares, pandemics, a little radiation, pole reversal and a new ice age. Mix thoroughly. Next, randomly garnish with hordes of snakes, swarms of bugs and bird attacks which really adds to the shock value. The story revolves around a small group of friends and acquaintances, among them scientists and reporters, as they begin to understand the gravity of the apocalyptic events that are about to unfold. What begins as a series of unrelated, bizarre phenomena turns out to be the initial events leading to a magnetic pole reversal that will lead to a new ice age brought on by cyclical solar events. Torn actually resembles the movie Armageddon in terms of its structure (discovery, preparation, solution), however, in Torn, there is no happy ending, at least for humankind in general. Scientists exchange ideas on how to prevent and/or alter apocalyptic solar and geological events but to no avail. One cannot fault writers for constantly recycling stories and ideas (mostly everything has been done before hasn’t it?) but fiction is more easily digested when this process is a little less obvious. On the bright side, this apocalyptic novel certainly has a great sense of humor, mostly through character interaction, which is thoroughly enjoyable.Torn is worth reading but might be best suited for those readers that have only a passing interest in apocalyptic fiction and are looking mostly for a little action, adventure and quirky romance.
An asteroid collision has destroyed civilization as we know it, killing 95% of the world’s population in Don Chase’s post apocalyptic novel After the Storm Book One: Menotomy. A group of survivors, at its core lifelong friends, have built an organized cooperative of sorts in the rubble of the Boston suburb, Arlington, Massachusetts (Menotomy). While the Boston area has escaped complete physical destruction due to the location of the asteroid strikes, it has been decimated by the complete collapse of economic, social and civil structure. Additionally, the world has gone into a nuclear winter caused by the massive amount of debris that was released into the atmosphere after the meteor collision. The group of survivors or “clan” as they are referred to in this post apocalyptic novel, has built their headquarters out of an abandoned strip mall. Duncan Mackenzie or “Mack” as he is most often referred, has been reluctantly cast as the leader of this small suburban Boston clan. Mack has more than his fair share of problems in this new world. Of course, food, water, fuel and medical supplies are always in very short supply but a new complication arises as the remnants of the US Army, ruled by a non-elected, ethically challenged government, comes up from their bunkers and tries to reestablish control over the population.
Given such a dire post apocalyptic setting, the characters in After the Storm relate in a refreshingly jovial manner, “busting balls”, as longtime friends are prone to doing. Under extraordinary amounts of stress, we see how close friendships, community support and comradely are essential in the survival and well-being of everyone in this tight-knit group. The development and continuation of meaningful, substantial relationships becomes the source of strength for the entire community. As long as one doesn’t get hung up on some of the minor technical details that could upset some hard-core prepper types, such as the reliance on gasoline without mention of its limited life span, After the Storm is a very enjoyable book. The story is continuously refreshed through the often times hilarious dialogue between regular folks. After the Storm is different from many apocalyptic novels. Instead of focusing on endless scientific and technical details, it primarily focuses on the relationships that would sustain survival. After all, meaningful relationships are what would make survival worthwhile in the first place. It is a point well taken by this reader.
In an attempt to provide a relatively comprehensive apocalyptic book list , I have scoured the internet and come up with what I believe to be a substantial list of books divided into the following categories: Nuclear War, Zombies, Plague, Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), Asteroids/Comets and Economic Collapse. Please understand that I use the term “apocalyptic” to cover a wide variety of fiction that includes post-apocalyptic and many other sub genres. You may or may not agree that all of these books belong lumped into the apocalyptic category and that is fine. My intent is not to split hairs with semantics but to provide a resource for fans of “end of the world as we know it” fiction. Keep in mind that this list is a work in progress and I will add new books as I find them. Feel free to leave a comment if you have a book that you would like added to the apocalyptic book list. Thanks and enjoy!
Many of these books were written during the height of the cold war and as such have some dated subject matter. In case you weren’t alive during this time, people around the world lived with the possibility of widespread, instantaneous nuclear destruction by fire, blast wave and radiation. It’s no surprise that some of this preoccupation with nuclear destruction was expressed in the fiction of the time.
For some reason, which is clearly beyond the scope of this website, the zombie fiction genre has really taken off in the last 20 years. Possibly fueled by some great remakes of zombie movies like Dawn of the Dead and some awesome originals like 28 Days Later and Zombieland. Whatever the reason for the zombie insurgence, we now have enough zombie apocalypse entertainment to fill the rest of our days.
The resistance is drowning in suspicion and fear in the third episode in the new season of TNT’s post apocalyptic tv show Falling Skies. With the constant threat of alien attack and possible traitors in their midst, the new city of Charleston is struggling to maintain some type of hope and order. The human survivors are facing a bleak situation for certain, but they’ve seen worse. If nothing else humans are tough and innovative, especially when backed into a corner. It’s just this sense of human perseverance that is brilliantly captured in Falling Skies that keeps me coming back for more episodes. Perhaps a redeeming quality for humankind: stubbornness, an absolute refusal to give up against all odds. Watch this episode through the TNT website here or on Amazon instant video here .