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 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 .

 

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 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

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.

The Walking Dead Season 4 Dead Weight

Apparently redemption is not in store for The Governor In the seventh episode of The Walking Dead Season 4. These last 2 episodes have been interesting and enjoyable as we take a break from the prison scene and give Rick and the gang some time to wallow in the muck while they clean up after the flu outbreak. Any hope garnered from last week’s show that The Governor has changed is shattered in this episode. Yes, that’s right he is still a homicidal sociopath, willing to do whatever it takes to ensure his own survival and the survival of those people that he deems worthy. Unfortunately, time and time again, in a variety of apocalyptic movies and books, we see how a sociopath could be well suited for surviving the apocalypse. Survival, by any means necessary, unburdened by any morally questionable choices. Following such a person might seem like a good option to someone scared, hungry and tired. However, plant a seed in your memory, in case such a situation arises for you someday: RUN (just as soon as you get a chance). If running/getting away isn’t an option or your inclination, do the world a favor and STOP them before they hurt anyone else (think rabid animal or zombie for that matter). Such a person cannot be trusted and will eventually lose favor with you. You will most likely end up dead, or worse. Just one more thing to look out for if the world ends – guys like The Governor will rise to the top.