Navigating a Submerged Future: An Analysis of J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World

J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World is a seminal work in the canon of apocalyptic fiction. Published in 1962, this novel offers a prescient vision of a climate-ravaged Earth, serving as a haunting reflection on humanity’s relationship with its environment.

Narrative and Style

Ballard’s narrative is set in a future where rising temperatures and melting ice caps have transformed the planet. Major cities are submerged, and the world is reverting to a prehistoric state. The story follows Dr. Robert Kerans, a biologist, as he navigates this dystopian landscape, which is as much a psychological realm as it is a physical one.

The prose in The Drowned World is rich and evocative, with Ballard’s descriptions of the sunken cities being particularly vivid and haunting. The narrative is less about the action and more about the internal journeys of the characters as they adapt to their changing world. Ballard masterfully uses the environment as a character in itself, shaping and reflecting the mental states of the protagonists.

Characters and Themes

Kerans, the protagonist, is a complex character, emblematic of humanity’s struggle to find meaning in this new world. His journey is introspective, exploring themes of memory, identity, and the unconscious mind. Other characters, like Beatrice Dahl and Colonel Riggs, represent different responses to the crisis – resignation, resistance, and adaptation.

A central theme of the novel is the psychological impact of environmental change. Ballard delves into the idea that the external world can profoundly influence the human psyche, suggesting that the drowned world is not just a physical reality but also a metaphor for the characters’ inner landscapes.

The book also grapples with themes of time and evolution. The regression of the planet to a more primitive state raises questions about the nature of progress and the cyclical nature of time and history.

Originality: 5/5

The Drowned World stands out for its visionary approach to the apocalyptic genre. Ballard’s focus on the psychological effects of environmental disaster was groundbreaking for its time and remains highly relevant in today’s context of climate change concerns.

Thoughtfulness: 4.5/5

Ballard’s novel is a deeply thoughtful exploration of complex themes. His examination of how human beings might psychologically respond to drastic environmental changes challenges readers to think about the interconnectedness of our external and internal worlds.

Entertainment: 4/5

While The Drowned World is not a conventional page-turner, it offers a unique and immersive reading experience. The novel’s slow pace and introspective nature might not appeal to all readers, but those who appreciate rich, descriptive prose and deep thematic exploration will find it captivating.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

In conclusion, J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World is a profound and beautifully written novel that delves into the impact of environmental catastrophe on the human psyche. Its prescient vision of a climate-changed world, combined with its exploration of deep psychological themes, makes it a standout work in apocalyptic literature.

Immerse yourself in J.G. Ballard’s prophetic vision by purchasing The Drowned World on Amazon, and explore the depths of human psychology in a changing world.

Exploring Resilience and Art in a Post-Apocalyptic World: A Review of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven

Station Eleven, a novel by Emily St. John Mandel, stands as a poignant and beautifully crafted work of apocalyptic fiction. The book weaves a compelling narrative that transcends the typical boundaries of the genre, offering a thoughtful exploration of humanity, art, and survival.

Narrative and Style

At the heart of Station Eleven is a narrative that stretches across time, characters, and geographies. Mandel elegantly shifts between the pre-apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic worlds, with the collapse catalyzed by the Georgian Flu, a deadly pandemic. The book is not merely about the fall of civilization but is an ode to the world that was lost.

The narrative centers around a troupe of actors and musicians, known as the Traveling Symphony, who journey through the remnants of North America. Their motto, “Survival is insufficient,” borrowed from Star Trek: Voyager, encapsulates the book’s essence – that survival in a post-apocalyptic world demands more than just the preservation of life; it necessitates the preservation of that which makes life worth living.

Characters in Station Eleven are intricately drawn, each carrying their own stories, losses, and hopes. The central character, Kirsten Raymonde, a child actress turned Traveling Symphony performer, serves as a thread connecting various narrative elements. Her memories of performing in a production of King Lear just before the pandemic, and her interactions with the enigmatic Arthur Leander, a famous actor, set the stage for a complex web of relationships that span decades.

Themes and Symbolism

Mandel’s narrative is rich with themes and symbolism. One of the most striking is the exploration of art and culture as humanity’s enduring legacy. In a world stripped of modern comforts, the Traveling Symphony’s performances become a beacon of hope, a reminder of the beauty and resilience of the human spirit.

Another significant theme is the interconnectedness of people and events. Mandel masterfully illustrates how the lives of her characters intertwine, both before and after the collapse, suggesting a deep, almost mystical network of human connection.

The novel also delves into the nature of memory and nostalgia. Characters grapple with their recollections of the past – a world of electric lights and airplanes – and the pain of knowing it can never be reclaimed. This nostalgia is not just for individual loss but for the loss of a way of life.

Originality: 4.5/5

Station Eleven stands out for its unique approach to apocalyptic fiction. Mandel eschews the typical focus on survivalism and dystopia, instead choosing to illuminate the enduring nature of art and human connection. The novel’s structure, jumping between characters and timelines, is executed with skill, making the story both fresh and intriguing.

Thoughtfulness: 5/5

The depth of writing and the themes explored in Station Eleven are exceptional. Mandel’s prose is both elegant and haunting, filled with reflections on the human condition. The novel encourages readers to ponder not just the fragility of civilization, but also the enduring qualities that define humanity.

Entertainment: 4.5/5

While the pace of Station Eleven is more reflective than action-driven, it remains an utterly engaging read. The characters are compelling, the narrative is rich with detail and emotion, and the world-building is immersive. Readers will find themselves lost in Mandel’s post-apocalyptic vision, captivated by the intertwining stories and the lyrical quality of her writing.

Overall Rating: 4.67/5

In conclusion, Station Eleven is a masterful work of literature that transcends the boundaries of its genre. It’s a novel not just about the end of the world, but about the things that survive: art, memory, and human connection. Emily St. John Mandel has crafted a story that is at once a lament for a lost world and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Click here to purchase Station Eleven on Amazon and explore the enduring beauty of Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic vision.

The Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott Card

“The Folk of the Fringe” by Orson Scott Card, a collection of interconnected stories set in a post-apocalyptic America, offers a unique take on survival and community rebuilding. Published in 1989, this book takes readers through various narratives that converge to paint a picture of a society trying to hold onto its humanity amidst chaos.


Originality: 3.5/5
Card’s approach to the post-apocalyptic genre in “The Folk of the Fringe” is noteworthy for its focus on community and rebuilding rather than on the collapse itself. The book’s structure as a series of interconnected stories rather than a single narrative arc gives a broader perspective on the post-disaster world. However, some of the themes and scenarios may feel familiar to avid readers of the genre, slightly impacting its originality score.

Thoughtfulness: 4/5
Orson Scott Card excels in creating deeply human and morally complex characters. The stories in “The Folk of the Fringe” are rich with religious and philosophical undertones, exploring themes of faith, community, leadership, and morality in times of crisis. The character-driven narratives offer a thoughtful exploration of how personal beliefs and values are tested and reshaped in a world where societal norms have been upended.

Entertainment: 3.5/5
The book’s segmented structure provides varied and intriguing insights into the post-apocalyptic world Card has created. While each story is engaging and emotionally resonant, the collection’s diverse narratives might not provide the cohesive suspense or pacing that some readers prefer in their post-apocalyptic fiction. However, those who appreciate character development and moral dilemmas will find the book highly engaging.

Overall Rating: 3.7/5
“The Folk of the Fringe” is a thoughtful and introspective addition to the post-apocalyptic genre. It offers a unique perspective on how individuals and communities might strive to rebuild society on the fringes of a collapsed world. While it might not have the constant thrills of more action-oriented post-apocalyptic stories, it compensates with depth and moral complexity.

Orson Scott Card’s “The Folk of the Fringe” is a compelling read for those interested in the human aspect of survival in a post-apocalyptic setting. The book’s strength lies in its exploration of the resilience of the human spirit and the complexities of rebuilding civilization. It’s a recommended read for anyone who appreciates thought-provoking, character-driven narratives in their science fiction.

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Surviving the Seas of Despair: The Last Ship by William Brinkley

“The Last Ship” by William Brinkley is a riveting piece of apocalyptic fiction that delves into the aftermath of a global nuclear catastrophe. The narrative centers around the USS Nathan James, a naval destroyer, and its crew, who find themselves among the last survivors in a world ravaged by nuclear fallout.

Brinkley’s storytelling is both intricate and expansive, offering a thorough exploration of the psychological and moral dilemmas faced by the crew. The plot unfolds with a tense, gripping pace, maintaining suspense while also allowing for profound character development. Each character is meticulously crafted, with their personal struggles and ethical quandaries adding depth to the narrative. The interactions among the crew members, as they grapple with their new reality, are both realistic and deeply moving.

A standout feature of this novel is Brinkley’s detailed depiction of naval operations and life at sea, which adds a layer of authenticity to the story. This attention to detail, combined with the evocative descriptions of a desolate, post-apocalyptic world, creates a vivid and immersive reading experience.

In terms of thematic exploration, “The Last Ship” is a rich tapestry. It delves into themes of survival, the human condition under extreme circumstances, and the resilience of the human spirit. The book poses profound questions about leadership, morality, and the essence of humanity in the face of total annihilation.

Ratings: Originality: 4/5 – Brinkley’s post apocalyptic naval perspective and detailed exploration of life aboard a destroyer is refreshingly unique.

Thoughtfulness: 4.5/5 – The novel excels in its deep psychological and ethical exploration, offering insightful commentary on human nature.

Entertainment: 4/5 – The suspenseful plot and well-developed characters ensure a captivating read, though the detailed naval jargon might slow down some readers.

Overall Rating: 4.2/5

“The Last Ship” is a compelling and thought-provoking read, perfect for fans of apocalyptic fiction seeking a novel with depth and authenticity. Brinkley’s masterful storytelling and the book’s poignant themes make it a memorable addition to the genre. Check out the audio version on Audible Here.

Rediscovering Humanity in the Ashes: Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker

In a world where the remnants of civilization whisper through crumbling ruins and overgrown landscapes, Russell Hoban’s “Riddley Walker” stands as a poignant exploration of humanity post-catastrophe. Set in a dystopian future England, Hoban’s novel is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring quest for meaning amidst chaos.

What sets “Riddley Walker” apart is its unique narrative style. Hoban immerses the reader in a world through the eyes and language of Riddley, a young boy navigating the complexities of a society rebuilt from the ashes. The language is fragmented, echoing the broken world in which Riddley lives. This linguistic creativity not only adds depth to the novel’s atmosphere but also challenges readers to piece together the world as Riddley sees it.

The story unfolds in an England reverted to a primitive state, where folklore and myth intertwine with the remnants of a forgotten technological age. Hoban masterfully crafts a narrative that is both a coming-of-age tale and a philosophical musing on the cyclical nature of history and knowledge. Riddley’s journey is not just physical but also intellectual, as he uncovers the mysteries of the past and grapples with the implications for his future.

The magic of “Riddley Walker” lies in its ability to transport readers into a world that is at once alien and eerily familiar. The novel invites us to reflect on our own society, on the fragility of civilization, and on the stories we tell to make sense of our world.

For those seeking a deeply immersive and thought-provoking read, Russell Hoban’s “Riddley Walker” is an unparalleled journey into a future primitive world. It’s a novel that resonates with profound truths about humanity, survival, and the enduring power of stories.

Discover Russell Hoban’s “Riddley Walker” on Amazon Here

Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy: Unveiling the Mysteries of Area X

“The Southern Reach Trilogy” by Jeff VanderMeer is a mesmerizing and intricate journey through a world that defies the boundaries of traditional science fiction. Comprising “Annihilation,” “Authority,” and “Acceptance,” this trilogy delves into the surreal and the unknown, leaving readers both enthralled and unsettled.

The apocalypse type in VanderMeer’s trilogy is unique—a slow, creeping ecological and biological transformation, originating from a mysterious zone known as Area X. This entity or phenomenon, ever-expanding and altering the landscape and life within it, creates a setting that is both eerily beautiful and profoundly disturbing. VanderMeer’s depiction of Area X is a masterclass in environmental storytelling, blending elements of cosmic horror with ecological intrigue.

The trilogy’s tone shifts across the three books, mirroring the evolving nature of Area X itself. “Annihilation” is claustrophobic and intensely personal, told through the eyes of the Biologist. It’s a tale of discovery and transformation, heavy with a sense of foreboding. “Authority” switches gears to a more bureaucratic, but no less eerie, perspective, focusing on the Southern Reach, the agency tasked with understanding Area X. Finally, “Acceptance” weaves multiple viewpoints, timelines, and revelations, culminating in a finale that is as enigmatic as it is satisfying.

VanderMeer’s characters are deeply complex and flawed, each shaped by their encounters with Area X. Their development is as much a part of the story as the mysteries they unravel. The trilogy is a study in how people react to the unknown and uncontrollable, with each character’s journey adding depth to the overarching narrative.

“The Southern Reach Trilogy” is a goldmine for readers who love dense, thought-provoking, and atmospheric storytelling. VanderMeer’s prose is rich and evocative, capable of painting scenes that linger in the mind long after the book is closed.

“The Southern Reach Trilogy” is a landmark in speculative fiction, a work that defies easy categorization and stays with the reader long after the final page. It’s a journey into the unknown that asks as many questions as it answers, a fitting tribute to the power of nature and the limits of human understanding. For those intrigued by this hauntingly beautiful series, it’s available for purchase Here.

Red Alert by Peter Bryant

“Red Alert” by Peter Bryant is an intense foray into the cold, calculating world of nuclear brinkmanship, set during the peak of the Cold War. Bryant’s narrative is a chilling exploration of the political and military machinations that could lead to global annihilation.

The apocalypse type in “Red Alert” is a potential nuclear war, a theme that Bryant handles with a tension-filled and meticulous approach. The story unfolds like a high-stakes chess game, where each move could either prevent or precipitate a global catastrophe. The detailed depiction of military and political strategies adds a layer of realism to the narrative, making the threat feel palpably real.

Bryant’s tone is taut and suspenseful, masterfully capturing the razor’s edge balance between peace and global destruction. The characters, primarily military and political figures, are portrayed with a depth that goes beyond their roles in this grand chess game. Their internal conflicts, fears, and motivations add a human element to the otherwise clinical proceedings of strategic warfare.

For entertainment value, “Red Alert” is a compelling read, especially for those intrigued by military strategy and political intrigue. The book keeps readers on the edge of their seats, not with action-packed sequences, but with the intense psychological drama of near-apocalyptic scenarios.

“Red Alert” is a gripping novel that offers a stark reminder of the thin line between peace and global disaster during the Cold War. For those interested in delving into this tense narrative, the book is available for purchase Here.

Dark December by Alfred Coppel

“Dark December” by Alfred Coppel plunges the reader into a world cloaked in the grim aftermath of nuclear war. Set against a backdrop that’s both haunting and stark, Coppel’s narrative weaves a tale of survival and the human spirit’s unyielding resilience.

The apocalypse type here is nuclear, which Coppel handles with a deft touch, capturing the bleakness and desolation of a world scarred by atomic fallout. The landscapes are etched with the remnants of what once was, serving as a stark reminder of the war’s irreversible impact. This setting becomes a character in its own right, shaping the lives of those who navigate its challenges.

The tone of the story is somber yet captivating. Coppel doesn’t just tell a tale of despair; he explores the depths of human emotion and strength in the face of overwhelming odds. His characters are vividly drawn, each carrying the weight of their past and the uncertainty of their future. They are not just survivors; they are embodiments of hope and endurance.

In terms of entertainment value, “Dark December” offers a gripping narrative that keeps the reader engaged from start to finish. The balance of action, introspection, and the human drama is masterfully done, ensuring that the story is not just a bleak portrayal of a post-apocalyptic world but also a compelling exploration of humanity.

“Dark December” is a powerful addition to the canon of apocalyptic fiction, offering a poignant reflection on the human condition amidst the ruins of civilization. For readers interested in exploring this haunting yet beautifully crafted world, the book is available for purchase Here.

The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

The “Foundation” series by Isaac Asimov, while not a conventional apocalyptic narrative, weaves a fascinating tale that resonates with the core themes of apocalyptic fiction. At its heart, it’s a saga of the decline and fall of a Galactic Empire, echoing the historical cycles of rise and fall that characterize our own history. This sprawling epic is set against the backdrop of a universe teetering on the edge of a dark age, instilling a sense of impending doom that is quintessential to apocalyptic literature.

The series begins with “Foundation,” where Asimov introduces us to Hari Seldon, a visionary mathematician. Seldon’s psychohistory, a blend of history, sociology, and mathematical statistics, predicts the inevitable fall of the Empire and a subsequent dark age lasting 30,000 years. To mitigate this, he proposes the creation of the Foundation – a repository of knowledge aimed at reducing this period of barbarism to a mere 1,000 years. This premise alone is a masterful stroke, blending the intellectual thrill of seeing the future through the lens of psychohistory with the visceral dread of an impending collapse.

As the series progresses, we are treated to a rich tapestry of characters and civilizations, each grappling with the legacy of the fallen empire and the looming shadow of the future. The tone of the story fluctuates between hope and despair, capturing the existential dread of an apocalypse with the thrill of potential rebirth. The series spans centuries, allowing us to witness the evolution of societies and ideas, a rare treat in fiction.

What stands out in the “Foundation” series is not just its grand scale but its focus on the resilience and adaptability of humanity. It’s a story about how knowledge, culture, and science are beacons in the dark times. The entertainment value lies in the intricacies of the plot, the intellectual challenges posed by the problems the characters face, and the satisfaction of seeing the long arc of history bend.

For those interested in exploring this seminal work, I’d recommend starting with the first book, “Foundation,” available Here . This not only sets the stage for the rest of the series but introduces you to Asimov’s unique style of blending grand historical themes with engaging storytelling.

Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem

“Amnesia Moon” by Jonathan Lethem is a phantasmagoric journey through a post-apocalyptic America, a narrative that blends the boundaries between reality and dream. In this novel, Lethem takes us into the life of Chaos, a man living in a movie theater in a town where the color green has ceased to exist. The story unfolds as Chaos embarks on a road trip across a nation fragmented into myriad micro-realities, each dictated by the psychic dominion of individual dreamers.

Lethem’s world is a kaleidoscope of bizarre landscapes and even stranger characters. The towns Chaos visits are surreal microcosms, each governed by its own set of peculiar rules and realities. From a town where everyone shares the same dream to another where people are unable to wake up, Lethem’s America is a fragmented puzzle of existential crises and distorted perceptions.

The narrative is as much a psychological exploration as it is a physical journey. Chaos’ quest is not just to understand the fractured world around him, but also to piece together his own shattered identity. The tone of the novel is one of persistent uncertainty, a dream-like quality where the lines between reality and illusion are perpetually blurred.

For fans of speculative fiction, “Amnesia Moon” is a richly imaginative and compelling read. Its entertainment value lies in its ability to continuously surprise and challenge the reader, drawing them into a world where nothing is as it seems. The novel’s strength is its unique blend of post-apocalyptic setting with a deeply personal story of discovery and transformation.

In our accompanying image, we capture the surreal essence of “Amnesia Moon.” The small, desolate town against a backdrop of a kaleidoscopic sky represents the altered realities that pervade the novel. The odd, mismatched structures and subtle hints of strange phenomena contribute to the sense of a dream-like, altered world where reality is in a constant state of flux.

For those intrigued by the surreal and the speculative, “Amnesia Moon” is a journey worth taking. Discover this mesmerizing world here, and be prepared to question the very nature of reality and perception.

A New Look at The Road

In the desolate landscape of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” we traverse a post-apocalyptic world that is as haunting as it is harrowingly beautiful. The novel, a masterpiece of apocalyptic fiction, takes us on a journey through a land ravaged by an unspecified cataclysm. The story is centered around a father and son, traveling towards the coast, hoping for a better future amidst the ashes of the old world.

The starkness of McCarthy’s prose mirrors the barrenness of the landscape, a world where the remnants of civilization lie in ruins. The author masterfully crafts an environment where the silence is as profound as the desolation, and every breath of the wind carries a tale of lost hope and enduring love. This journey is not just a physical one but also a deep exploration into the human spirit, testing the limits of endurance, morality, and the unbreakable bond between parent and child.

The Road’s apocalyptic setting is not defined by the usual tropes of nuclear fallout or alien invasions. Instead, it’s a hauntingly realistic portrayal of a world where the rules of society have disintegrated, leaving only the instinct to survive. The tone of the story is grim, yet it’s punctuated with moments of tender warmth, serving as a poignant reminder of what it means to be human in the face of overwhelming despair.

The entertainment value in “The Road” lies not in action-packed sequences or thrilling plot twists, but in its profound emotional depth and the beauty of its sparse, poetic language. It’s a book that lingers in your mind long after you’ve turned the last page, a testament to McCarthy’s prowess as a storyteller.

In our accompanying image, we capture the essence of “The Road.” The long, empty road stretching into a horizon overshadowed by dark clouds encapsulates the journey’s ceaseless uncertainty and the faint glimmer of hope that drives our protagonists forward. The abandoned cars and barren trees, set against a backdrop of muted browns and greys, evoke the omnipresent sense of loss and the stark reality of survival in a world that has lost its color.

For readers intrigued by “The Road,” you can delve into this journey Here Be prepared for a read that is as emotionally challenging as it is rewarding, a true masterpiece in the genre of apocalyptic fiction.

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 on Twitter

E.E. Borton on Facebook

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

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

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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.
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