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 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+.

The Walking Dead Season 4 Claimed

We are briefly introduced to two new groups of survivors in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 11 titled Claimed. Unfortunately, none of the new characters are among the most civilized or intelligent human beings. With no fence for protection, survivors are never safe from the endless zombie onslaught. Not to mention the threat of encountering other people that are more ruthless and violent. Those that have survived over a year into the zombie apocalypse ought to be hardened killers by now. We get some interesting pieces of information in this episode and some hints as to where our friends in The Walking Dead may be heading. Watch this episode through AMC’s website here or on Amazon through the link below.

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episodes 9 and 10

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.

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.

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.

Apocalyptic Books

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!

Nuclear War

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.

Zombies

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.

Plague/Pandemic 

 

EMP

Asteroids/Comets

Economic Collapse