Doom is in the air this fall. Wait…wasn’t it in the air last year?…and the year before that?
It seems as though Autumn is the “doom” time of year. Perhaps humans have coexisted with the rise and fall of seasons for so long now that we sense the death and destruction that comes with winter on an almost instinctual level. Isn’t it possible that we transpose this sense of impending doom onto our world view. That is to say, our perception may have a built in doom filter this time of the year.
Going hand in hand with sense of impending doom is our nesting, preparation tendency that seems to come forth in the fall. Our harvest is in and it is time to secure and preserve our resources for the long winter. As much as we’d like to believe that we exist apart from nature, we are clearly “hardwired” to our environment in more ways than we realize.
Of course, this could all be learned behavior, instilled in us from our childhood. How many of us watched our mothers pickling, canning, freezing and preserving the bounty of the summer’s garden? My mother always likened fall preparation to squirrels burying nuts for the winter, hence the term “squirrelling away” in my family.
No doubt, these nesting behaviors have been passed down many generations and it is most likely the reason that we are alive today. It wasn’t that long ago when the seemingly simple task of eating involved a great deal of planning and effort. Dinner wasn’t a simple matter of going to the nearest grocery store or restaurant for our predecessors.
Once again this fall we are hearing the term “October Surprise” all over the mainstream media and through a lot of alternative sources as well. While the term has its roots in the idea that newly released information could influence a US November presidential election, it has taken on a broader meaning in recent years to include all types of devastating scenarios ranging from economic collapse to World War 3.
Not to understate this particularly chaotic and tumultuous time in history, but having witnessed a few periods of doom frenzy, I’m not convinced that this upcoming period is any different. My sense is that a large scale events occur when we least expect them. Then again, who knows? More than likely we will have some time left to enjoy our strange apocalyptic preoccupation. Speaking of which, I have a few guest posts coming up that I’m sure you will enjoy!
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Divide and conquer. An organization of any type is greatly weakened when it is divided. When a group of people, whatever size, does not share a common goal, cohesiveness is lost. Logically, an enemy seeks to further divide such a group by emphasizing differences and minimizing similarities.
Consider the simple concept of divide and conquer when applied to the current situation in the US. With so many so called “leaks” emerging during this presidential election, it seems likely that the public is under the spell of a massive manipulation effort on a scope that has never been seen before in history.
This is truly a “can’t see the forest for the trees” moment in history. While the identity of the attacker is unclear (at least to most of us), it seems obvious that an ongoing effort of some type is underway. A divide and conquer strategy has been implemented. Using the tools of this “networked” age, a steady stream of manipulative information is sent to our smart devices for consumption.
Perhaps this is a strange post for an apocalyptic fiction web site but it occurred to me that the early stages of World War 3 might be a bit more subtle than we anticipated.
Some Walking Dead fans have been slow to warm up to the spin off Fear the Walking Dead that is now approaching the end of its second season. After all, how many countless hours have we logged following Rick and his crew of survivors. I must admit though, approaching the end of Season 2, the show has grown on me.
Initially, I was drawn to the show to discover the details about how the zombie apocalypse started, supposedly in Los Angeles. That aspect was somewhat disappointing since it basically happened the same way everywhere else (one zombie…two zombies…million zombies). We don’t get much in the way of details, except we see how the military attempted to create “safe zones” then was forced to bomb most of the cities in a last ditch effort to stem the tide of zombies.
Fear the Walking Dead (FTWD) has a sort of dreamlike quality that has kept me watching. Though it is hard to pinpoint, the characters seem to float through the scenery as if they are a part of your own zombie apocalypse nightmare.
Taking place mostly in Mexico, Season 2 has unique cultural and religious aspects that create a certain tone and atmosphere that set it apart from its southern US counterpart and main franchise, The Walking Dead. Actually, we find a completely different perspective in Mexico as we see a more religious/biblical interpretation of the zombies. A type of superstitious attitude prevails where the survivors see the zombies as a way for god to cleanse the Earth.
It takes more time to become engrossed in FTWD compared to the original. I remember how I was hooked after I watched the first episode where Rick wakes up from a coma in the hospital to find the zombie apocalypse. The impact of that first episode in the original series was awesome in a way that I think would be impossible to duplicate.
FTWD may have a ways to go before it could come close to replacing the original, but it certainly is a fun show to watch while we are awaiting the main event.
“The Fire is coming! Get to the shelter!” The basement shelter vaguely resembles some places where I have lived but always expands into a much larger and more complex space. Looking through a small window, just above ground level, I can see the fire rolling over land, engulfing everything in its path. More vivid and detailed than the best Hollywood cgi effects, the image is etched into my mind. I can hear someone yelling, telling me to get back from the window but I am transfixed. Just as I begin to wake up to leave this place I begin to consider the implications of ‘radiation’ in some type of ‘mental’ image.
Dreams of the apocalypse have haunted me for as long as I can remember. After a fairly significant hiatus from apocalyptic type fiction (as is reflected in the obvious neglect of this site), I’m back here pondering the significance of my horribly vivid dreamworld. The dreams serve as reminders of some type.
Rationally, who would want to willingly fuel a dark preoccupation with the end of civilization and death with fictional depictions of such? It is as if I am seeking out some meaning in the expressive imaginations of other people.
Certainly, one could argue that the apocalyptic entertainment that I have fed my brain over the years rattles around up there and is occasionally expressed in dreams. But how did I have these types of dreams before I was ever even exposed to the concept?
Collective subconscious, archetypal imprints? I really don’t know. I suppose I’ll just throw it to the internet wasteland, the pyramids of our age that will disappear into thin air leaving no trace for archeologists of the next great civilization. How many different incarnations on Earth alone? Unknowable, at least at my pitiful level of awareness.
Well, it’s been a busy year and I wanted to write a quick post regarding my intention to resume activity on this site. I’ve been preoccupied with a couple of other projects and just ‘staying afloat’, in general, but I am going to make an effort to get caught up on my reading list and reviews. I apologize to those of you that have been waiting for me to review your books and will pick up where I left off.
Fortunately, it’s not the end of the world yet, so we likely have more time to enjoy this twisted apocalyptic preoccupation. From the recent ebola scare to the ‘saber rattling’ that is reminiscent of the Cold War era, we’ve seen plenty of ‘real world’ activity that will continue to fuel a strong demand for apocalypse related fiction. Keep the review requests coming!
Follow the yellow…err…corpse littered railroad tracks to Terminus. Our ragtag group of exhausted survivors carry on down the tracks in the final episodes of Season 4 of The Walking Dead. Is Terminus real? Is it a trap? We get some answers but other questions arise as we follow these apocalyptic hobos. In a dead, haunted world, are the living really the ghosts? It’s going to be a long wait until next October. Check out the Season 4 now:
In The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 12 titled ‘Still’ we are reminded of the terror and hopelessness that is the zombie apocalypse as Daryl and Beth hide in the trunk of a car for days while a herd of zombies passes. Sure, we knew that there were hordes of zombies on the loose but with the prison fences keeping most of them out its easy to forget. You know things are bad when you are safer inside a prison. Anyway, if you’re like me and really enjoy the fictional exploration of a post-apocalyptic world, you’ll love this episode. How about a post-apocalyptic, zombie infested country club with overgrown fairways, ransacked clubhouse and elite members turned zombies hanging from the ceiling! Ha! Entertainment just doesn’t get much better than that. Watch this episode on AMC’s website Here or on Amazon through the link below:
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.
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.
If you had unlimited money and resources to prepare for the zombie apocalypse you might be lucky enough to have a setup like the protagonist does in the apocalyptic book Voyage of the Dead, book one in the Sovereign Spirit Saga, written by David Forsyth. As fortune would have it, Scott Allen, who won hundreds of millions of dollars in a lottery, is on a worldwide cruise on his massive ship with all of his family and friends when the zombie pandemic begins. His resources are formidable: a completely modernized and retrofitted cruise ship with enough weapons and ammo for a small army, a helicopter, amphibious vehicles, a cigarette boat, a seaplane, a ships hold full of cars and trucks (and later an armored personnel carrier), months worth of food and enough fuel to travel half way around the world. On their voyage up to the California from the Mexican coast on an official government mission to rescue a CDC scientist, they encounter many obstacles and develop quite a following of other vessels that join them in their journey, the best of which is a Coast Guard cutter, complete with its own helicopters, specialized equipment and weapons.
In stark contrast to life on the Sovereign Spirit, we get a glimpse of what life is like ashore in the “Interlude in Hell” segments as we follow Carl Stiller as he struggles to survive in post zombie apocalypse Los Angeles. Carl was one of the unlucky ones as he was about to board a plane with his wife when the zombie virus strikes. He is swept up in the chaos surviving only through his own ingenuity and sheer luck.
Voyage of the Dead is a very fun book to read. It’s easy to get caught up in this apocalyptic fantasy like a kid in a candy store. If one had to experience the zombie apocalypse, surviving with the best equipment and resources on a fully contained floating city would surely be the way to do it. Oh, and this book is free on Amazon as of this writing. Check it out and leave a review so other zombie fans will know it’s a good one!
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.
Our ragtag group of survivors aren’t doing well so far in The Walking Dead Season 4. A flu-type virus is wreaking havoc on the prison community, killing off people in droves. Talk about bad luck. Survive over a year into the zombie apocalypse only to die from a bad flu virus. Actually, this is an unfortunate but realistic outcome. In a world without vaccines, a complete absence of health care, poor hygiene and malnutrition, people would be dropping like flies from all types of previously treatable illnesses. Diseases like cholera would once again plague a post apocalyptic North America. At this point, judging purely from the condition and morale of the remaining humans, survival into a fifth season appears doubtful. Those that do survive will be existing merely on animal level. If you are looking for a spark of hope you will need to look elsewhere. The zombies aren’t the only walking dead in the best apocalyptic television series ever made.
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.
Originally written in Spanish by Manel Loureiro, Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End vastly exceeds all expectations that one may have for a zombie apocalypse novel. Apocalypse Z is a harrowing story about a man and his cat Lucullus as they struggle to survive the first months of the zombie apocalypse. This apocalyptic book is flat-out awesome! Apocalypse Z is literally jammed packed with the most terrifying, vividly horrific scenes straight from the end of the world, zombie apocalypse hell. From the larger cities to the Spanish countryside, Spain has become a massive graveyard haunted by the most vicious zombies ever imagined, existing only to tear the living to shreds. The protagonist is a mild-mannered man who lives with his most faithful, loyal companion, Lucullus, the neighborhood tomcat, after he recently lost his wife to a horrible car accident. He is no hero. In fact, he’s a paper pushing lawyer and he’s absolutely scared out of his mind. He might have followed the herd to the slaughter in the so-called “safe zones” if it weren’t for the fact that they didn’t allow pets. Facing incredible odds from the start, he is pushed way beyond his limits. “…a def ear to fear.” Love and loyalty overcome paralyzing fear of hell on Earth. He doesn’t get many breaks and he makes plenty of mistakes. Indeed, he is an unlikely survivor. He is not an ex-special forces commando. He has limited experience with weapons and killing, or re-killing the undead, which is certainly not something that comes easily for him. (***NOTE: if you are a “mall ninja” who thinks you are going to shoot your way through the end of the world this book might not be for you…and by the way you’re an IDIOT…yes you…)
Apocalypse Z is a uniquely human story. In a world overrun by the living dead, humanity is rediscovered. A rarity for the genre, Apocalypse Z evokes real emotional response. It made me so angry that I wanted to grab that Ukrainian ship captain and hang him up from a crane by his balls (don’t worry, he gets what he deserves in the end). It has moments of despair as well as some great laugh out loud moments. A book that creates a visceral response is rare. Perhaps that is what separates a good book from a great book. Even if zombies aren’t your thing, Apocalypse Z is an excellent story and in my opinion is an absolute must read.