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 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.

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:

Voyage of the Dead

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!

Days With the Undead

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.

Apocalypse Z

Originally written in Spanish by Manel Loureiro, Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End vastly exceeds all expectations that one may have for a zombie apocalypse novel. Apocalypse Z is a harrowing story about a man and his cat Lucullus as they struggle to survive the first months of the zombie apocalypse. This apocalyptic book is flat-out awesome! Apocalypse Z is literally jammed packed with the most terrifying, vividly horrific scenes straight from the end of the world, zombie apocalypse hell. From the larger cities to the Spanish countryside, Spain has become a massive graveyard haunted by the most vicious zombies ever imagined, existing only to tear the living to shreds. The protagonist is a mild-mannered man who lives with his most faithful, loyal companion, Lucullus, the neighborhood tomcat, after he recently lost his wife to a horrible car accident. He is no hero. In fact, he’s a paper pushing lawyer and he’s absolutely scared out of his mind. He might have followed the herd to the slaughter in the so-called “safe zones” if it weren’t for the fact that they didn’t allow pets. Facing incredible odds from the start, he is pushed way beyond his limits. “…a def ear to fear.” Love and loyalty overcome paralyzing fear of hell on Earth. He doesn’t get many breaks and he makes plenty of mistakes. Indeed, he is an unlikely survivor. He is not an ex-special forces commando. He has limited experience with weapons and killing, or re-killing the undead, which is certainly not something that comes easily for him. (***NOTE: if you are a “mall ninja” who thinks you are going to shoot your way through the end of the world this book might not be for you…and by the way you’re an IDIOT…yes you…)

Apocalypse Z is a uniquely human story. In a world overrun by the living dead, humanity is rediscovered. A rarity for the genre, Apocalypse Z evokes real emotional response. It made me so angry that I wanted to grab that Ukrainian ship captain and hang him up from a crane by his balls (don’t worry, he gets what he deserves in the end). It has moments of despair as well as some great laugh out loud moments. A book that creates a visceral response is rare. Perhaps that is what separates a good book from a great book. Even if zombies aren’t your thing, Apocalypse Z is an excellent story and in my opinion is an absolute must read.

Torn

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.

After the Storm

after the storm

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.