Leaning heavily towards the science fiction end of the spectrum, Oblivion is one of the best post apocalyptic movies that I’ve seen so far in 2013. Without giving too much away, Oblivion is a post apocalyptic movie with some extraterrestrial involvement. Not aliens exactly, but perhaps an advanced alien technology. The flooded out ruins of New York City, with the Empire State Building at ground level, will remain embedded in my mind for some time. If you are looking for a movie to go to this weekend, Oblivion is worth checking out. Watch the trailer below:
Being a huge fan of the original Red Dawn, released in 1984, I was excited to watch the latest incarnation of this fictional World War 3 invasion of America. Let’s just take it as a given that the logistics of such an invasion make it practically impossible. With that said, the idea of a small group of regular people engaging in guerrilla warfare tactics on familiar turf has a certain appeal to the John Rambo kid within all of us! Obviously, with the Cold War era behind us, the threat of such an invasion is even more unlikely. Not to mention, why would anyone bother to invade a country physically when they already own it economically? Though the invaders are North Korean, the implication is that they have the full support of China. With practical matters out-of-the-way, the recycled story of resistance against a superior enemy is enjoyable. Though it has its share of superficial relationships and some teenage “corny” moments, Red Dawn is packed solid with action and the scenery is much more enjoyable in high-definition compared to watching it on the giant old 200 lb 24 inch tv on the videocassette recorder! Part of the enjoyment in this remake is nostalgia, I suppose, but as long as your expectations aren’t too high and you are able to accept an unrealistic plot, Red Dawn is a fun diversion.
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.
Rick and The Governor sit down to talk in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 titled Arrow on the Doorpost. Talk is cheap though and a war seems inevitable. True to reality, some of the last humans alive aim to kill each other over some relatively insignificant disputes. This episode has a lot of posturing but I loved the eye in the sky camera views! If you missed this episode watch it through the link below.
Click Here to watch a preview of The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 14
Rick comes full circle in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 12 when he returns to his home town to find Morgan, from the first episode, who was the first living person that he encountered when he woke up from his coma to find the zombie apocalypse. Morgan isn’t the same though. After he witnessed his undead wife kill his son he has become a little “unstable”. He does have a nice stash of weapons though, which may come in handy in defending the prison against the governor. This episode titled Clear features a brilliant new zombie “diversion”. If you missed this episode watch it through the link below.
Carl suggests to his father that it might be time for him to step down as their group leader in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 11 titled I Ain’t a Judas. Rick might be coming around though, as his hallucinations seem to be subsiding thanks to the supply of Haldol that Hershel found in the prison infirmary (just kidding, about the Haldol part 🙂 ) Andrea struggles with her loyalties to both Woodbury and her old friends and at least temporarily makes her choice near the end of the episode. A semblance of cooperation returns to the prison survivors as Beth (Maggie’s sister) starts singing a haunting rendition of Tom Waits’ song Hold On that echos through in the prison corridors. I’m a big fan of musical endings and this is a good one, reminiscent of the Bob Dylan’s Tomorrow is a Long Time at the end of the first season as the CDC building burns. Incidentally, a Soundtrack for The Walking Dead is available now for pre-order through this link and also on itunes. If you missed this episode, watch it through the link below.
The Governor has a very special delivery for the prison gang in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 10 titled Home. While Rick is chasing down ghosts in the woods, The Governor and his cronies from Newbury plan and execute an attack on the weary survivors holed up at the prison. Rick and the crew are out…they are outgunned, outsmarted and just plain tired out. As they say, people are either destroyed or forged by the fire, but isn’t that assuming the fire subsides at some point? Maybe the fire never subsides in the zombie post apocalypse. A sociopath like the Governor is well suited for the zombie apocalypse though we can’t count Rick out just yet. If you missed it, you can watch this episode at Amazon through the link below:
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!
The leadership falters in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 9 the Midseason Premiere titled The Suicide King. Both Rick and The Governor stagger under the burden of their decisions. It appears as though Rick is not fully recovered from his psychotic break when as a haunting image of his dead wife appears only to him near the end of this episode. It’s sure nice to have such a great show back! Leave a comment to share your thoughts on this episode! If you missed it watch it on your computer through the link from Amazon below.
Premiering at the Toronto Film Festival in 2011, The Day is a Canadian independent post apocalyptic film that follows a group of desperate survivors that get caught in a trap set by tribal cannibals. For those of you familiar with The Road, the atmosphere and setting to this story is quite similar. It is set in a bleak and desolate world that has been left barren by some unknown catastrophe. I thought of this movie as taking place in the same world as The Road with a different set of characters in perhaps a different part of the world. Taking this movie for what it is, I enjoyed it. It does have some logic problems though. For example, why does this tribe of cannibals keep coming after a group that has guns. I mean almost all of them are killed as they approach the house in waves but they just keep coming. Why would they risk the lives of so many of their own clan to get just a few people. After 10 years of post apocalypse survival surely they would learn that only practical energy is worth expending or they would have perished already? Considering that this is an independent film without a big Hollywood budget, this film isn’t bad. If you need a break from zombies and want a fix of doom and gloom, The Day might be for you. Beware though, these cannibals aren’t much smarter than zombies.
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.