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:
We see the demise of another major character in this episode of The Walking Dead called Better Angels. I have to admit I was a bit surprised at how this one turns out. They are about to wind up the season and it looks like some major trouble is on the way. Post-Apocalyptic TV doesn’t get any better than this! Watch it through the link below.
The Last Pilgrims by Michael Bunker is a well constructed, detailed account of a hypothetical post-apocalyptic future. The story follows the development of two apparently ethically opposed groups the Vallenses and the Ghost Militia, as they struggle to survive twenty years after the collapse of modern civilization in a post-apocalyptic Texas. The Vallenses are peaceful farmers while the Ghost Militia is made up of a group of military men that in many ways are descendants of present day special forces. While they share a similar belief in God and a self-sufficient lifestyle, they fundamentally differ in their beliefs on how to survive. The Vallenses are pacifists. The Ghost Militia are soldiers. In many ways, The Last Pilgrims plays out an internal conflict that I am sure many of us share. While we may long for a peaceful, agrarian lifestyle, it is hard to imagine a world in which such a society could exist without pressure from the more violently-inclined portion of humanity. As it turns out, the Ghost Militia and the Vallenses have formed an unspoken alliance in which the Ghost Militia protects the Vallenses from the more hostile, violent elements and in return the Vallenses share their abundant food and resources. In the new Dark Age of mankind, The Vallenses and Ghost Militia are under constant threat from The Kingdom of Aztlan which is ruthless in its quest to expand its territory, influence and resources. War, spies, traitors and assassins…give a warm welcome to Michael Bunker, the new Tom Clancy of post-apocalyptic fiction.
Survivors is a post-apocalyptic BBC television series spanning two seasons from 2008-2010 that follows a group of people struggling to stay alive after a pandemic kills 99% of the human population. I was able to watch the entire series for free when I signed up for a one month trial membership on Amazon Prime. The virus has spared a select few, with little regard to the moral standing of its victims. The main characters, brought together by chance, have diverse backgrounds, ranging from an escaped prisoner to a previously care free heir to a Kuwaiti oil fortune. This small group of survivors struggles to define their moral boundaries in their quest to stay alive. The necessity of violence is constantly in question. Most of the characters are willing to accept that sometimes violence is necessary, at least in the defense of the innocent. On some level, as humans, aren’t we all complicit to the unspeakable acts that have occurred in the defense of the lives of our ancestors? In Survivors, violence is not a forgone conclusion though, as is often the case. Through their hostile encounters with others, it becomes clear that they will need to fight to survive. Survivors is gentler in a number of ways compared to some of the other apocalyptic fiction that I have reviewed. It is “civil” in many aspects. For instance, there are minimal displays of violence. While danger is always present, violence is used sparingly and not gratuitously. The formation of relationships between the characters remains the focus throughout the development of Survivors. I would recommend the Survivors series. While it is not without its flaws, especially in terms of its realism, I found the characters and their relationships to be interesting and story to be very entertaining.
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.
Swan Song by Robert McCammon is a chilling story that takes place following an all out nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union (The book was released in the late 1980’s, near the end of the Cold War). The earth is plunged into a nuclear winter and is a complete wasteland, devoid of plant life. The story is told through a number of unique characters ranging from a New York City “bag lady” to a pro wrestler and changes perspectives frequently as they struggle to survive. Good verses evil is a strong element throughout and the evil is certainly abundant. The bad people in this book are really bad…like Stephen King bad…in fact, one of the characters is the devil himself. Swan Song delves a little more into “supernatural” territory than I like and it is also a little on the long side but it is definitely exciting. While Swan Song wouldn’t be at the top of my list of good apocalyptic fiction, it is certainly worth reading and will provide hours of entertainment.
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.
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.
The Jakarta Pandemic, written by Steven Konkoly, tells a story about a family in a small New England town through the onset and spread of a highly deadly influenza virus. The main character, Alex Fletcher, works for a pharmaceutical company and markets a new anti-viral medication. Alex is one of the few people in his neighborhood that has prepared for such a disaster which makes him a target in the community. The Jakarta Pandemic explores some important ideas such as self-isolation to prevent the spread of disease. While I wouldn’t describe this book as a literary masterpiece, I would recommend it as solid entertainment.