The second book in the post economic collapse novel series World Made by Hand written by James Kunstler called The Witch of Hebron further delves into the story of survivors in a small upstate New York town after the total collapse of the United States. (Read About Book One Here) As the title implies, this post economic collapse novel crosses into some supernatural territory with the introduction of a witch (or is she a prostitute) that has some rather “unique” abilities. A comment made about our review of World Made by Hand seems even more relevant with this book: “I took a lot of the behavior to be more in keeping with the wish fulfillment of a libertine aging boomer author.” (Thanks Russell1200) This witch just happens to be the most beautiful and seductive woman alive! (paraphrasing the inner commentary of every man who sees her). While this reader has no problems with a writer embellishing their story to explore some fantasies, it could be annoying to some, especially to the female gender. But alas, surely most fans of apocalyptic fiction would not be terribly offended by some fairly descriptive scenes? Anyway, the book is more of a coming of age story following a boy that runs away from home and gets involved with a sociopath, villainous thief and wannabe cowboy who happens to be on a murderous rampage. If you liked World Made by Hand, you will probably enjoy The Witch of Hebron. It isn’t the best post shit hit the fan novel but it is entertaining.
World Made by Hand is a captivating post apocalyptic novel written by peak oil speculator James Howard Kunstler who is perhaps best known for his non-fiction work The Long Emergency. World Made by Hand provides some interesting speculation about life in a post-cheap-oil America where a series of terrorist attacks, subsequent wars and an uncontrolled pandemic brings the world economy to a grinding halt. The story follows Robert Earle through some of his post apocalyptic trials and tribulations in a small northeastern New York town. While Union Grove is not without serious problems it has fared well relative to other regions, perhaps due to its more remote location and its distance from the terrorist attacks. Actually, in some ways it is thriving. With the recent arrival of a resourceful and well-organized religious sect, the town is in the midst of a rebirth of sorts, only as the title implies, this world is made without the benefit of machines. In some ways World Made by Hand explores some topics that aren’t often considered in this type of fiction. For example, with the often brutally shortened lifespans, particularly among the male population, the protagonist Robert sees more than his fair share of “activity” with the ladies shall we say. Though there is a certain religious vein throughout the book, Robert, who is a basically good man, is not necessarily a subscriber to God and acts somewhere on the fringes of Christian morality. For the people left in this world, the abundance of “free love”, pot and alcohol offers them only a small reprieve from their violent and sometimes brutal existence. A certain ingenuity and pioneering spirit flows through the story that this reader found energizing and somehow inspiring. If people can accomplish so much with their bare hands through cooperation, surely we can do even more with all of the machinery and energy at our disposal. World Made by Hand is a good book that should be added to your “must read” post apocalyptic reading list!
Considered to be a science fiction classic, Walter Miller’s A Canticle For Leibowitz, first published in 1960, is one of the best known post apocalyptic novels.
Spanning some 2000 years into the future, its vast sense of scope and depth is mesmerizing. Worthy of dissection in a literature class, the treasures are plentiful in these pages and clearly beyond the scope of this short review.
After a full-scale nuclear war, a small order of Catholic Monks strive to preserve a collection of scientific and historical records for posterity. This small monastery, located in the southwestern United States, struggles for centuries to preserve and protect the remnants of a forgotten age. Initially, the monastery is organized to safeguard scientific records during the violent anti-technology backlash that follows the great “Flame Deluge”.
Later, over the centuries, documents and parts of ancient books are carefully preserved from decay through the passing of time. The story progresses through several eras covering a nearly 2000 year time span.
Often viewed as a cautionary tale, A Canticle for Leibowitz explores the repetitive nature of the rise and fall of civilizations and the inevitable destruction that seems to be the pinnacle of mankind’s technological progress. Obviously, the story is religiously oriented though it does not promote any particular religion. In fact, the bureaucracy of the Catholic Church is often the object of the author’s discourse. Some of the extensive Latin dialogue and references may be considered tedious by some, however, it does add to the grand scope of the book.
While A Canticle for Leibowitz is not light reading, it is brimming with insight, satire and imagination and is certainly a must read for connoisseurs of apocalyptic & post-apocalyptic fiction.
The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse is an enjoyable collection of speculative short stories featuring a fine variety of different apocalyptic scenarios. Zombies, plague, solar flares, collapse, alien invasions, even an ancient apocalypse from the perspective of a long dead medicine man. While each of these stories share an apocalyptic element, they are otherwise quite unique in terms of structure, style and setting.
Reading The Fall was an interesting experience. By viewing the apocalypse from so many different perspectives one sees that the apocalyptic story is indeed as old as death itself. These are tales about death but also offer a glimmer of hope for a potential rebirth.
A few of these apocalyptic short stories are worthy of special mention. These include Hairline Cracks, WWBBCDITZA and The Last Sacrifice. Ryan Graudin’s Hairline Cracks gives us an entirely new angle on the zombie phenomenon, suggesting that a connection remains between the souls of the living and their reanimated corpses. WWBBCDITZA (which stands for What Would A Big Black Cat Do In The Zombie Apocalypse) is a clever story, written by A.M. Supinger, that speculates on the role of a warrior cat amongst the walking dead. Judy Croome’s The Last Sacrifice leaves us wondering just how many times people have been at the edge of the fall of their civilization and wondered what might come after? Ranging from sorrowful to light-hearted,
The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse is a very thoughtful and entertaining collection of stories that will appeal to quite a wide audience.
Written as a prequel to The Last Pilgrims, W1CK is a compelling story that takes place just days before the devastating apocalyptic war that leads to the return of a new Dark Age. Though W1CK started as a short story, Michael Bunker and Chris Awalt have created a thoroughly entertaining and surprisingly thoughtful and contemplative apocalyptic novel.
W1CK begins as Clay Richter, a disenchanted widower, makes his way through the devastation and aftermath left by Hurricane Sandy as he travels to his country home in Ithaca, New York. Unfortunately, Clay, who is hopelessly unprepared for his journey, stumbles upon a decades old plot, set in motion by secret forces in the former Soviet Union, to destroy the United States. This dark apocalyptic conspiracy is depicted through a steady stream of colorful metaphors and dialogue, creating a deeply human story.
In some ways W1CK is a fictional exploration of the very notion of imprisonment. Initially Clay seeks to escape an invisible prison ruled by consumerism. Later, through a series of unfortunate events, he finds himself in an actual prison filled with dangerous sociopaths. Through his imprisonment, Clay has an epiphany of sorts and realizes that he is indeed imprisoned mainly by his own desires. Regardless of ones political or religious views, isn’t it, in fact our desire for safety and comfort that is the very structure of our jail cell? One of the very causes of our suffering is our constant struggle to escape from suffering. (as if spoken by the Buddha himself! 🙂 )
Conspiracy, espionage, survival and understanding in the early days of the apocalypse, W1CK is quite an enjoyable and insightful book that I can easily recommend.
V for Vendetta meets the American Patriot. Isn’t it interesting how the ideas of self-sufficiency and smaller government have indeed become revolutionary in modern times? Wouldn’t many of us be on a POI (person of interest) list In an era where taking responsibility for the well-being of yourself and your family is considered subversive by the powers that be. Glen Tate’s 299 Days series forces a person to question their ever-increasing dependence on a bloated, incompetent and corrupt government. In The Stronghold, the fourth book in the 299 Days series, the faltering economy has the government on the ropes, grasping to power through bribery, propaganda and downright thuggery. The economy has failed on a massive scale. Food, fuel and medical supplies are becoming scarce. The government is handing out electronic ration cards called “FCards” to feed the masses. These “FCards” are funded through the confiscation of funds in bank accounts and 401K’s which people can no longer access. Unfortunately, through desperation, many people, especially in larger urban areas, are happy to get help from the government and eagerly hand over the last of their civil liberties for these rations. In contrast, Pierce Point, while dealing with the same scarcity, is becoming a bastion for common sense cooperation. People are looking for a simpler, practical, common sense approach to community. Don’t misunderstand, Pierce Point isn’t some self-sufficient, Constitutional utopia but Grant Matson, his friends and neighbors are willing to work together in a fair and common sense way that might just make our grandparents proud. The Stronghold presents some compelling possibilities and is an insightful exploration into the all too real possibility of an economic collapse.
To celebrate the start of a new year, we are running a giveaway for a great new compilation of apocalyptic short stories called The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse. This is an excellent short story collection featuring thirteen unique tales of destruction. We are giving away an electronic version of this book. Use the form below to enter the giveaway:
The third book of Glen Tate’s economic collapse series 299 Days called The Community is a fascinating exploration into the nature and function of both large and small groups of people and how they form a society. With the world coming apart at the seams in an inflationary depression, many of the functions of modern government have been returned to the community. This is especially true in the Pierce Point area where Grant, his family, friends and neighbors reclaim the burden of responsibility for maintaining their own well-being. Each level of the community, starting with the family unit, cooperates to address specific concerns like safety and security. Grant Matson, being a politically insightful person, uses both his “team” of civilian gunfighters and his ER Doctor wife as political capital to gain access to the Pierce Point’s inner circle. The Community is formed with the premise of providing safety and security for its residents. In contrast, we watch as the government of Washington State, operating from within a National Guard base, is actually using the collapse as an opportunity to increase their control by dissolving many of the remaining civil liberties. They seek to enhance their power by seizing private operations such as the transport and food production in order to provide basic necessities to a large portion of the population, namely the larger urban centers. Additionally, the government has taken over the savings and retirement accounts of millions of people in order to pay for its new safety net. It is really an interesting contrast, with Grant and his people rallying to become more self-sufficient and the government seeking to actually increase public dependence as a way to maintain control and to increase their power. The Community is a very well-considered and detailed account of how new communities may form and how the powers that be may react to a widespread economic collapse. On another level, The Community really is a common sense exploration into the very nature of human cooperation.
Facing the zombie apocalypse alone, Adrian keeps a diary as a way to cope with the unimaginable horror of his new world. Adrian’s Undead Diary chronicles one man’s struggle to survive in a zombie infested apocalypse and is frankly one of the best zombie stories that I have read.
After barely surviving the first day of the apocalypse, Adrian escapes with his cat Otis to his out of town private school bugout location, where he worked as a night dorm monitor. Yes, that’s right, he takes his cat Otis with him! Point scored for us male cat owners! Cats are awesome, by the way and FU to all of you haters! Once Adrian saves his cat Otis, who he fondly refers to as his “homeboy”, I knew that I was going to enjoy this story.
Adrian’s Undead Diary (AUD) is presented as a series of diary posts at http://adriansundeaddiary.com and is written by Chris Philbrook. The story is available for free through the AUD site which boasts a large and active community. Adrian is a great character. His sense of humor and no-nonsense, quick to act attitude make him one kick ass cool dude in my book.
In addition to telling the story of Adrian’s physical battle for survival, the diary also exposes Adrian’s surprisingly realistic emotional struggle with the end of the world. He suffers from survival guilt and blames himself for his inability to save his long time girlfriend. One of my favorite parts of AUD is when Adrian is seen through the perspective of another character that is mentioned in one of his diary entries. For example, the chapter called Soccer Mom details the experience of the chief of police’s wife during the “first day” and she encounters Adrian in the grocery store. I really enjoy how these stories intersect. Hearing another character describe Adrian as they briefly meet is like an out-of-body experience or something. AUD is currently at the top of my list for awesome zombie apocalypse entertainment and I highly recommend it. In fact, I like AUD so much I bought the hat! :
ps. You can get this hat featuring Adrian in a slightly altered MLB design at http://adriansundeaddiary.com/aud-cap.htm which I think is a great way to support and spread the word about AUD!
Update: A of 10/17/16 AUD is available on a Kindle through the link below:
You’re probably asking yourself, “what do eggs have to do with the 299 Days series…has this guy lost his mind?…maybe he’s been reading too much of the doomer stuff?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Eggs are significant on a number of different levels but on a very basic level, leaving their genetic/reproductive aspects aside, they are simply a nice little package of nutrients and energy. These eggs just happen to be today’s harvest from our 12 hens that are starting to produce now on a regular basis. To me these eggs represent the beginning of a return to a more self-sufficient lifestyle similar to the one that Glen Tate envisions in his 299 Days series. This series presents some important and powerful ideas that I think would be beneficial to the lives of millions of people. Hopefully, through this giveaway for the first 4 books in the 299 Days series, which features a worldwide economic collapse, others will wake up to reality and start to fend for themselves rather than depending on help that may never arrive. Learn more about the 299 Days series @ http://299days.com and check out some of the podcast interviews listed below.
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Glen Tate Interviews:
The Reawakening puts a brand new slant on the zombie apocalypse. Joseph Souza’s mutant monsters, which come to be known as “fuckers” are different from traditional zombies in that they often take on features of the infected animals that bite them. Not only that, in the moments preceding their “reawakening” these creatures have some type of unearthly insight into the true nature of reality. I think that mutant zombie is an appropriate name for these reawakened creatures as it becomes apparent that their origin involves some type of genetic experimentation that has gone horribly wrong. Shortly after Thom and his daughter Dar arrive on a trip to visit Thom’s brother in rural Maine, animals and people begin to act very strangely and become increasingly violent. Apparently this abhorrent behavior is caused by some type of new disease that turns the infected into violent maniacs. Worse than that, the diseased are somehow able to reanimate after death and turn into monsters that are driven to consume human flesh. Under constant threat of attack from these reawakened creatures, Thom, his daughter and a small group of survivors are forced to spend a nightmarish winter barricaded in a fortified cabin that is surrounded by an improvised perimeter wall made up of snow, ice and rotting mutant zombies.
Faced with their own destruction and the insanity of their disgusting new world, the survivors have some “reawakenings” of their own. Like some other post-apocalyptic, kick ass female characters, Thom’s daughter Dar discovers her true purpose through the traumatic, violent events in the early stages of the apocalypse. In the spirit of Stephen King’s Cell ( is something in the water up that way? 🙂 ), Joseph Souza reinvents the traditional zombie and creates an entirely new mutant freak. He deserves a great deal of credit for venturing out in his own direction instead of recycling the standard zombie concept. While it may upset some zombie purists (if there is such a thing?), I think most fans of zombie fiction will find The Reawakening to be a bold, surprisingly refreshing and thoroughly entertaining story.
In honor of the recent release of books 3 and 4 of Glen Tate’s timely new book series 299 Days, I am giving away paperback versions of books 1-4. As if torn from the current headlines, 299 Days places you on the precipice of an economic disaster and then pushes you right over the edge. Enter for your chance to win the first 4 books in this powerful and eerily realistic book series below:
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Glen Tate Interviews:
In Survivors, James Wesley Rawles explores the same economic disaster that occurs in Patriots from a different perspective, mostly through a new cast of characters. While the story covers the first years of “The Crunch” in the southwestern United States, the most interesting and unique part of Survivors is the story of the newly discharged American Army Captain Andrew Laine and his journey back home to New Mexico from Afghanistan. With fuel shortages, violence and chaos reigning, Captain Laine is forced to find his own way back to the United States. He travels through post-shit hits the fan (shtf) Germany, France, England, crosses the atlantic ocean to Belize, then finally goes through Mexico and into the US. Much like he does in Patriots, Rawles provides copious details in his descriptions and, with the steady stream of bible passages, the book seems tailored with a fairly specific reader in mind. While the in-depth, detailed information is useful in terms of gaining knowledge, it makes the reading tedious at times. For example, when a character encounters a new gun, Rawles goes into considerable details on the history, mechanics, durability, range and effectiveness of the weapon, making the internal dialogue and narration slightly monotonous and unrealistic. The conversations in morse code are downright painful to get through. To give credit where credit is due, Rawles has packed a lot of useful prepping information into this book. He provides detailed information on a variety of topics including the possible uses of gold and silver as currency, using morse code via ham radio, weapons, food, fuel and even gives basic instructions on how to make molotov cocktails. If you are able to handle the sometimes “preachy” chapter introductions, a lot can be learned from Survivors. Rawles writes informative, “how-to” books in a fictional format. Unfortunately, the fictional aspect often takes a back seat to his strong religious message and “prepping” information. That being said, I would read Survivors again for its crisis preparation advice and its interesting speculation about world travel after an economic disaster.
For those of you that are interested in learning more about James Wesley Rawles and disaster preparation, visit his blog at http://www.survivalblog.com/ . In case you aren’t familiar with his site, it is actually one of the most popular blogs in the survival/prepping arena and will provide you with a practically endless amount of useful information.
In R.P. Ruggiero’s new apocalyptic novel Brushfire Plague, a highly contagious, lethal new virus is spreading across the world, forcing civilization to its knees. The virus is aptly named the Brushfire Plague after its ability to spread extremely fast and its very high mortality rate.
In Brushfire Plague, there are no bugout locations and there is no safety. The virus attacks indiscriminately and kills fast. This apocalyptic story follows the early stages of a rapidly spreading pandemic and the violent beginnings of civil breakdown in suburban Portland, Oregon. Cooper, a combat veteran, is unable leave his recently buried wife and decides to make a stand at his suburban home. In an attempt to fend off the seemingly never-ending waves of violent incursions, Cooper works to organize his neighbors. With the help of his best friend and neighbor, Dranko, they are able to equip a small neighborhood defensive force.
Right from the beginning of Brushfire Plague, violent threats are met with deadly force. R.P. Ruggiero presents a fight or die type of scenario that I suspect is quite similar to what it would be like in a war zone. With no time for deliberation, one must choose to stand up against those with harmful intent or be at their mercy.
Brushfire Plague really captures the sense of panic and sadness that would undoubtedly accompany such a large-scale disaster. For an added twist, Cooper discovers that the plague may not be a random occurrence and may actually have its origins in a laboratory.
Ruggiero has written a very entertaining apocalyptic novel that presents an entirely possible pandemic scenario through a cast of interesting and likable characters. Bring on the sequel!
There’s still some time left to enter our giveaway to win a free copy of R.P. Ruggiero’s Brushfire Plague, an excellent new apocalyptic book that follows the early stages of a worst case viral pandemic that devastates the population. Please enter the giveaway below:
Brushfire Plague is also available at Amazon through the link below: