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:
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!
For those of you that enjoy a good Youtube video you might want to take a look at this one. It features a variety of scenes from a number of apocalyptic movies including Terminator 2, Signs, The Day After, Resident Evil, War of the Worlds and a lot more. Journey to the Plains by Shels is played in the background which is a pretty cool song! Watch the video below:
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.
Hunter After the Fall, by John Phillip Backus, is a captivating post-apocalyptic adventure that takes place 15 years after an all out worldwide nuclear war has devastated the planet and killed the majority of its human inhabitants. After surviving the war and subsequent nuclear winter, Hunter, a former special forces operative, has made a home for himself in a long abandoned gold mine nestled into the side of a mountain. The rich detail in which Backus describes Hunter’s rocky mountain home creates the sense that Hunter is truly returning to being one with nature. Hunter’s lifestyle is similar to those that lived throughout North America for thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers. Much like the wolves and bears that roam the area, Hunter is deeply connected to the mountain wilderness. He is able to sustain himself from the abundant resources that the rocky mountain ecosystem provides. Hunter is content with his life until the arrival of Elise, who is the daughter of Hunter’s former commanding officer. Elise is sent by her father to find Hunter and to seek his help in the defence of their community of New Eden, which is in danger of being overtaken by an army of bloodthirsty invaders. In an effort to repay his former commanding officer for saving his life in action, before the nuclear war , Hunter is quick to offer his assistance. The story follows the many adventures of Hunter and his counterpart, the strong and beautiful Elise, as they fight to save New Eden. In Hunter, the first book in his After the Fall series, Backus combines a unique blend of Native American shamanism and post-apocalyptic action that makes for a very thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining story.
The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 7, Pretty Much Dead Already. “The Barn is full of walkers”. Now that everyone knows that the barn is full of walkers, a choice must be made: Do the survivors live in denial and pretend that they are safe within the confines of the farm and ignore the fact that there is a barn full of bloodthirsty zombies living in their midst? Or do they blow open the barn doors and accept the ugly reality of their situation? An interesting choice, perhaps reminiscent of the choice we all are facing with the world as it is today. By the end of this episode, the choice is clear, although it is far from a unanimous decision.
The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 6, Secrets explores the dynamics between a number of characters in this group of survivors in the post-apocalyptic, zombie infested world. Human relationships sure do get complicated, especially when secrets are kept and this show holds nothing back. Shane sets the tone for this show when he reminds Dale that the world is no longer a place to make casual threats when he says “…if I would shoot my best friend, imagine what I would do to someone that I don’t even like…” Tailgaters beware: if civilization ever deteriorates to this point, we all better be careful with our words and actions.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a dark story about a man and his son on a quest for safety and hope in a post apocalyptic world.
The cause of the disaster remains a mystery throughout the book and there are only some brief, non-specific references to the event itself. Whatever the cause, much of the world is set on fire and the smoke and debris blocks out the sunlight causing everything to die.
Having watched the movie prior to reading the book, I was surprised to see how closely the movie follows the story. The darkness in The Road is vivid and relentless. In fact, the smothering effect of their environment is much more impressive than the raider-cannibals that are a constant threat. The Road is based entirely on the struggle of the man and his son. While they are physically striving to get “south” to a safer,warmer place, mentally and emotionally they are trying to keep “the fire” of goodness and hope alive. Unlike many of its counterparts in the genre, The Road is a very well written novel and has a great deal of depth and substance. It is clear that The Road surpasses most of the other books that I have listed here in terms of its literary merit but I also found it to be a little more bleak and less inspiring than some of the other books that I have read recently. Perhaps some of what draws me to this type of fiction is a fascination with the human will to survive and our ability to adapt to and prepare for difficult situations. The dark, lifeless world that Cormac McCarthy creates in The Road leaves one wondering if survival would be a good option which is perhaps his driving point.
Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse, written by James Wesley Rawles tells a story about a group of people struggling to survive a drastic collapse in the financial system which leads to the worst depression in history. JWR is certainly one of the pioneers in economic collapse fiction and is perhaps one of the best known “preppers” in America. In some ways, Patriots is used by James Wesley Rawles as a pulpit where he is able to express his views on issues such as gun control and organized militias. However, if you can get past the long legal/political rants throughout the book, there is a good deal of useful information. In fact one of the criticisms about the book is that the characters are constantly going into great detail about the weapons and equipment that they use. If you approach this book with the intent to learn something about how to prepare for a disaster, you will get more out of it than if you are looking for a work of fine fiction. The characters in Patriots are developed on a very shallow level and lack any depth whatsoever. I would recommend this book only to those that are looking for information on ways that they could prepare for a disaster. The lack of character depth and the extensive politcal ranting left me less than satisfied in terms of entertainment value and fictional merit.
The Passage is an ambitious apocalyptic novel written by Justin Cronin that begins in the near future and spans almost one hundred years into the future. It is similar to Stephen King’s The Stand in that a virus that is being engineered in a secret government lab is released into the world. The government is working with a newly discovered virus trying to create “super soldiers”. This virus is unique in a number of different ways and takes on a life of its own through the death row inmates that are used as “guinea pigs” in the experiments. Obviously, the plan to create these “super soldiers” goes awry and the virus actually turns the victims into powerful, vampire like creatures that feed on the blood of other humans and animals. These vampire like creatures are responsible for both the spread of the virus and the destruction of the human population. The Passage is a haunting story that definitely left an impression in my mind. It is difficult to forget the armored steel passenger trains that are built during the crisis to transport survivors to safety. The Passage is a long story that is well worth the time. While some of the creations in The Passage are not new, Justin Cronin’s depiction of vampires versus survivors in a post apocalyptic world is entirely unique and satisfying.
Rick Grimes loses loses some blood in this episode called “Bloodletting” as some new characters are introduced and previous characters are developed. “Bloodletting” has a little less action than normal but I guess the more that you “know” the characters, it’s more exciting when they are getting chased by man eating zombies!
One is an interesting post-apocalyptic novel written by Conrad Williams and released in 2009. The cause of the disaster in One remains a mystery although its effects are devastating and kill most of the people on earth. The main character, Richard Jane, is a deep sea diver that works on oil rigs and happens to be deep under water when the incident occurs. Presumably, the mass of water above him shields him from the devastation. The story follows Richard in his search for his five year old son that was living in London at the time of the disaster. The world that Richard finds is a desolate, dreary place that has become overridden with zombie type creatures that are “stealing” female survivors for some mysterious, horrifying reason. One has an “extraterrestrial” feel to it. It leaves you wondering if the entire incident was some type of an alien attack and that the aliens are intent on reproducing and populating the earth. This was a dark tale of survival. It reminds me of a dream where you decide to fight against what is trying to “get you” even though you know you are going to die. One offers little in the way of practical tips for preparation for disaster but it does provide an interesting and entertaining perspective on the apocalypse.