The Walking Dead is back and better than ever! After travelling aimlessly through the winter looking for a safe place to roost, the small group of survivors has found temporary safety within the grounds of a Georgia State Correctional Facility. Our survivors are hungry, tired and running out of ammunition. Not to mention Lori looks close to having Shane’s err..Rick’s baby. This might just be the best tv show ever created! Watch the The Walking Dead Season Three premiere titled Seed through the link below:
In the second book of the 299 Days Series, The Collapse, we see the early stages of an economic collapse scenario. In The Collapse, Glen Tate captures some of the unpredictable nature of real life. Events seldom go as planned and they certainly don’t for Grant Matson, who has gone to great lengths to prepare for the safety of his family in the hard times ahead. With so many factors beyond his control, preparation for every situation just isn’t possible. People will make poor decisions, especially when they are blinded by their belief that everything will return to normal, otherwise known as the “normalcy bias”. This is when people just can’t accept that their situation has changed drastically. Often they will disregard or even ignore evidence from their environment that indicates that the new situation is different and indeed dangerous. Grant’s wife Lisa embodies the concept of normalcy bias perfectly. Living her entire life under the shelter of normal, civilized conditions, Lisa is unable to see that the rules have changed with the apparent lack of police and emergency response. It becomes clear after reading this book that normalcy bias is already a widespread phenomenon. How many people do you know that would ignore a collapse situation until it was no longer possible? Oh wait, that would include almost everybody, wouldn’t it?…Most people today carry on with “life as usual”, ignoring every indication that we are indeed on the precipice of some economic calamity. If such a collapse did occur, we are talking a major shift in thinking. …[start of rant…as small, personal example of how self-sufficiency goes so much against the grain, recently with the new addition of 12 hens to the family, I had someone ask me “…you ever hear of a grocery store?”, in a very sarcastic way. For a while, I actually considered this comment, even to the point where I doubted my own efforts. However, after some consideration, I realized that it was this other person that was indeed deluded…The idea that things just come from “somewhere else” with no thought of what this “somewhere else” is all about could just be part of the problem with the modern world. Collapse illustrates what happens when that “somewhere else” becomes “right here, right now”. “The buck stops here” or maybe it always did, except for the thin veil of modern society. Maybe our modern culture was constructed to keep this cold, hard reality at bay. Anyway, I digress. Rant complete]… Without going into too much detail to spoil the book, Lisa is in for a wakeup call. 299 Days: The Collapse does make some political commentary, but I think it goes beyond the traditional right/left political paradigms. I have yet to hear a good argument against the benefits of personal responsibility. So far I am very impressed with the 299 Days Series! The Collapse is a great story with an excellent message, useful information and realistic, likeable characters. I’m really looking forward to the release of the next books in the series!
I just had the chance to watch the last few episodes of the Revolution tv series that have been sitting on the DVR for a while. A number of people have left comments on how they have been disappointed in the show for a variety of reasons. Some complain that the characters are too well-groomed and that the acting is sub par. While I agree with some of the criticism, I still enjoyed the episodes. Maybe my expectations for realism in fiction are low. In terms of tone, Revolution is much less ominous than The Walking Dead. In fact, many of the settings are bright and sunlit, as if speculating on how nature might take things back, though there is no mention of melted down nuclear reactors or other industrial processes left unattended. The Walking Dead has a gloomy end of the world feeling that is completely lacking in Revolution. Clearly Revolution is written more for a mainstream audience and may not appeal to the more traditional post apocalyptic and horror fiction fans. If nothing else, maybe it will make some people out there question their total dependence on electricity. I’ll continue to watch the series for its moderate entertainment value, not for its acting or realism.
Wool Omnibus Edition, a collection of the first five books in the Wool Series, written by Hugh Howey, is a truly impressive post apocalyptic science fiction saga.
The Wool Series vividly describes the detailed inner workings of a society that has been living in a massive underground survival shelter called a “silo” for hundreds of years. Every conceivable detail has been considered in the construction of this fictional underground civilization that was created to sustain human life after some unfathomable cataclysmic event.
Intricate human relationships develop within the massive 140 floor underground silo that is mostly self-sufficient as though it were some deep space colony. Indeed, the surface of the Earth has been made so inhospitable that it might as well be another planet. The detail and consideration that went into this silo is almost unimaginable. Even the physical features of the silo were designed deliberately to impede communication and cooperation among the residents. The truth is deliberately concealed from the general population as if it was a virus that would destroy the fragile remnants of civilization. So much thought, planning and effort has been made to keep the truth hidden from the general population, supposedly for their own good.
Like other great science fiction, Wool explores the idea of how a new discovery might impact the delicately constructed framework of human reality. Hugh Howey deserves a great deal of credit for the thought and imagination that he poured into the incredibly intelligent story that is destined to become a science fiction classic. Remarkable in its breadth and scope, it is certain that Wool will leave a lasting impression in your mind.
Commentary: This is going to be a great show! Most of the story takes place 15 years after some unknown event has disabled everything electronic. The event that caused the blackout seems to involve some type of man-made conspiracy. The Pilot episode has a good mixture of action and character/plot development. This might be our new favorite tv show! (after The Walking Dead, that is 🙂 Thank you NBC for releasing this show early! We can’t wait for more episodes!
On the Beach, written by Nevil Shute and published in 1957 is a somber post apocalyptic novel that follows survivors in Australia after a nuclear war and subsequent radioactive fallout has contaminated most of the world.
Much of the story revolves around an American nuclear submarine, the last of the US Navy, docked in Melbourne and under the command of Captain Dwight Towers. The post apocalyptic world has been contaminated with high levels of radiation stemming from the use of cobalt bombs by the Russian and Chinese military forces.
This story is character driven, focusing on the struggle for people to maintain some sense of purpose in spite of their doom. It was slightly disappointing that most of the people in On the Beach basically give up and passively accept death. Why didn’t they attempt to create a shelter in which some people could survive until the levels of radioactivity decreased? (scientists mention several times that the radioactive cobalt has a 5-10 year half-life)
Released at the height of the Cold War, On the Beach has elements of a warning or cautionary tale and is clearly written with some political intentions in mind. While On the Beach is a well written novel that explores some important ideas worthy of consideration, it is slow-paced and uneventful at times. If you are looking for excitement and entertainment you may want to look at some other reading options.
Collapse, written by Richard Stephenson, is a highly entertaining apocalyptic action/adventure novel that follows the fall of the United States some fifteen years into the future. A series of catastrophic natural disasters, an ongoing war with a rising power in the Middle East and multiple terrorist attacks forces the US to the brink of destruction. Collapse is a unique mixture of geopolitical intrigue, advanced technology and nature’s destructive forces. Taking place fifteen years into the future, this story contains a heavy dose of a science fiction. Science fiction fans will be particularly delighted with the frequent references to Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you are looking for a very realistic apocalyptic scenario, Collapse might not be for you for a couple of reasons. First, while the idea of a rising Middle Eastern power is not hard to imagine, it seems unlikely that such a power would be on the verge of world domination any time soon. Additionally, in terms of realism, it is hard to imagine so many catastrophes happening in such a short time span. To those of you that don’t get too hung up on realism (which I suspect is the vast majority, considering the popularity of zombie apocalypse fiction) I would highly recommend this book. Collapse is a thoroughly entertaining, engaging and compelling action driven story that is told through a number of fascinating, well-developed and likable characters.
The Second Mass reaches Charleston, South Carolina, the new capital of the post apocalyptic United States. While the weary travellers are delighted to find many modern conveniences still available, they are somewhat disheartened when they realize that the fight against the aliens is on hold as they rebuild their ranks. The new president is a former college history professor who intends to keep the power with the people and away from the military leaders. This is a good episode. Watch it here through the Falling Skies web site or through Amazon at the link below:
The Postman is an insightful and inspiring story of a man in his quest to protect the flickering flame of civilization from the imposing dark ages of a post apocalyptic world.
As Gordon Krantz makes his way across the apocalyptic wasteland, barely surviving among the ruins of civilization, he stumbles upon an old United States Postal vehicle that forever changes the direction of his life.
What starts out as a lie to simply gain shelter and food becomes an idea that ignites a revolution. This is a story more about ideas that any particular ideology. In fact, David Brin often presents ideology as being part of the reason for civilization’s demise. For instance, the term “survivalist” becomes derogatory as some radical elements of the community have embraced the fall of civilization as an opportunity to subdue, pillage and conquer. Don’t fret preppers: The Postman was written in 1985, before the more recent, positive culture of self-sufficiency and permaculture which has become more widespread in recent years spreading through good people like Jack Spirko at The Survival Podcast.
The power of ideas should not be underestimated. While it is easy to focus on the more negative examples of crooked idealism gone astray such as the case with hitler and the nazis (disrespect intended), Brin proposes that ideas can have an equally positive effect as he presents the United States as a successful society structured upon ideas that actually lead to a decrease in human suffering. Civilization is presented as an idea or a collection of ideas rather than a physical manifestation.
The Postman is a substantial work of fiction that will provide you with considerable grist for the mill of contemplation, if you are so inclined. Alternatively, if you are simply seeking a great story with likable characters, you will not be disappointed.
And if you want to listen to the audiobook follow the link below:
With a number of new apocalyptic television series coming out this year, including NBC’s Revolution, I thought I would run a poll to get a general consensus of what people think is the best apocalyptic television show. This poll includes some of the better known past and present apocalyptic tv shows. Please vote below. If you don’t see your favorite show listed, please write it in a comment. Thanks for participating!
The unpredictability of human actions turns out to be an advantage when dealing with purely logical aliens. The human emotional wildcard always seems to spoil wicked plans, at least that is the case in the latest episode of Falling Skies, Molon Labe. The human resistance against the alien invasion is able to capture one of the so-called “masters” that seem to be at the top of the alien hierarchy. Unfortunately, the aliens have some new tricks up their sleeves as they are willing to go to great lengths to save their leader. This is the best episode yet. They scaled back on the drama and went full throttle with the action. In fact, the action/battle scenes are very well done and are nearly as good as scenes from a blockbuster movie. Watch this episode through TNT’s website here or you can get on Amazon through the link below:
A famous actress meets a star college football quarterback, they fall in love and adopt a nine-year old girl…the only problem is that the world has ended, a devastating virus has killed 99% of the human population, some portion of the population has become bloodthirsty zombies and most of those that are immune are ruled by psychopathic lunatics. After the Virus by Meghan Ciana Doidge is not your typical love story. In fact, it ranks up there with some of the more violent and gruesome post apocalyptic fiction. The female protagonist is seriously bad ass and is fueled by pent-up anger after suffering a lifetime of abuse. The female perspective provides a uniquely fascinating glimpse into the post apocalypse. The author envisions an evil, twisted world in which surviving women are held captive to be used as “baby factories” to repopulate the earth. Though some of the choices made by characters in the story are questionable, After the Virus is a uniquely entertaining and action packed post apocalyptic adventure. It is well worth picking up on Kindle for $2.99 . Get it through the link below:
Hostile aliens now control the planet as Falling Skies enters its second season. TNT has created an enjoyable apocalyptic tv show that follows a large group of refugee survivors as they struggle against their alien invaders. While their intentions are not perfectly clear yet, the aliens of Falling Skies have killed almost all of the adult human population and have made the children into their slaves using some type of parasitic lizard. One of the interesting aspects to this series is that the alien invaders do not consist of one particular type of alien. It seems that there is some type of hierarchy of alien beings that are led by creatures that are similar in appearance to “the greys” that have become the typical portrayal of aliens in our modern civilization. Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), is a former college history professor who lost his wife in the invasion and struggles to raise his 3 children alone in the post apocalyptic landscape while providing some historical perspective and guiding the survivors in their struggle. Falling Skies has plenty of action and while some of the acting is a little overly dramatic, it is your best bet for alien invasion apocalypse and science fiction television this summer.
If you need to catch up on the series, The complete first season is available on DVD through the link below:
Over the years, Stephen King has created a number of fascinating apocalyptic tales. Indeed, most of his stories lead to the end of the world for somebody. It is as though he has some unworldly insight into the apocalyptic realm. Though the specific circumstances may change, his novels frequently share in his apocalyptic vision. For example, Randall Flagg, a character that appears in many of Stephen King’s stories, has a mysterious involvement in the apocalypse. While Randall Flagg is not a specific character in Cell, Stephen King once again shares his unique vision of the end of modern civilization through one of mankind’s most prized possessions, the cell phone. An event that comes to be known as “the pulse” somehow wipes clean the minds of those using a cell phone and transforms them into a type of telepathic zombie that is intent on eliminating those that have been left unchanged. The zombies in Cell share the viciousness of your typical zombie but are able to communicate telepathically and seem to be developing a common agenda. Cell is certainly an enjoyable read and will be quite satisfying for those of you that share in this strange apocalyptic preoccupation.
Also available in audio on Audible through the link below:
A business trip to Moscow goes from bad to worse for two friends that get caught in the middle of an alien invasion. First, all of the electronic devices are disabled by a massive microwave pulse from space. Then the aliens start floating down to Earth, at times they glow orange, but they are mostly invisible to the human eye. These aliens are not interested in communication, they simply want to eliminate humans from the planet so that they can harvest the Earth’s resources. This is a decent adventure story. Some of the special effects are interesting, for example, when we get to see the alien’s perspective. It has a decent amount of action. Due to its larger budget, it is slightly better than a SyFy prime time apocalypse movie, but the acting and plot is mediocre at best. Don’t expect The Darkest Hour to blow your mind, but it will serve as entertainment if you have a couple of hours to kill and nothing good is on tv.