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.
The world is on the verge of a new ice age in Jacqueline Druga’s blockbuster apocalyptic thriller Torn. Torn is entertaining apocalyptic novel with a great sense of humor, however some of the events and the fact that these events coincide, lead to the creation of a mostly improbable, unlikely scenario. Reading it is a lot like watching Hollywood blockbuster movie. It is as if the author sat down and came up with a number of different apocalyptic scenarios and worked diligently to cram all of it in to one book. An apocalyptic recipe, if you will: First add in some solar flares, pandemics, a little radiation, pole reversal and a new ice age. Mix thoroughly. Next, randomly garnish with hordes of snakes, swarms of bugs and bird attacks which really adds to the shock value. The story revolves around a small group of friends and acquaintances, among them scientists and reporters, as they begin to understand the gravity of the apocalyptic events that are about to unfold. What begins as a series of unrelated, bizarre phenomena turns out to be the initial events leading to a magnetic pole reversal that will lead to a new ice age brought on by cyclical solar events. Torn actually resembles the movie Armageddon in terms of its structure (discovery, preparation, solution), however, in Torn, there is no happy ending, at least for humankind in general. Scientists exchange ideas on how to prevent and/or alter apocalyptic solar and geological events but to no avail. One cannot fault writers for constantly recycling stories and ideas (mostly everything has been done before hasn’t it?) but fiction is more easily digested when this process is a little less obvious. On the bright side, this apocalyptic novel certainly has a great sense of humor, mostly through character interaction, which is thoroughly enjoyable. Torn is worth reading but might be best suited for those readers that have only a passing interest in apocalyptic fiction and are looking mostly for a little action, adventure and quirky romance.
An asteroid collision has destroyed civilization as we know it, killing 95% of the world’s population in Don Chase’s post apocalyptic novel After the Storm Book One: Menotomy. A group of survivors, at its core lifelong friends, have built an organized cooperative of sorts in the rubble of the Boston suburb, Arlington, Massachusetts (Menotomy). While the Boston area has escaped complete physical destruction due to the location of the asteroid strikes, it has been decimated by the complete collapse of economic, social and civil structure. Additionally, the world has gone into a nuclear winter caused by the massive amount of debris that was released into the atmosphere after the meteor collision. The group of survivors or “clan” as they are referred to in this post apocalyptic novel, has built their headquarters out of an abandoned strip mall. Duncan Mackenzie or “Mack” as he is most often referred, has been reluctantly cast as the leader of this small suburban Boston clan. Mack has more than his fair share of problems in this new world. Of course, food, water, fuel and medical supplies are always in very short supply but a new complication arises as the remnants of the US Army, ruled by a non-elected, ethically challenged government, comes up from their bunkers and tries to reestablish control over the population.
Given such a dire post apocalyptic setting, the characters in After the Storm relate in a refreshingly jovial manner, “busting balls”, as longtime friends are prone to doing. Under extraordinary amounts of stress, we see how close friendships, community support and comradely are essential in the survival and well-being of everyone in this tight-knit group. The development and continuation of meaningful, substantial relationships becomes the source of strength for the entire community. As long as one doesn’t get hung up on some of the minor technical details that could upset some hard-core prepper types, such as the reliance on gasoline without mention of its limited life span, After the Storm is a very enjoyable book. The story is continuously refreshed through the often times hilarious dialogue between regular folks. After the Storm is different from many apocalyptic novels. Instead of focusing on endless scientific and technical details, it primarily focuses on the relationships that would sustain survival. After all, meaningful relationships are what would make survival worthwhile in the first place. It is a point well taken by this reader.
The resistance is drowning in suspicion and fear in the third episode in the new season of TNT’s post apocalyptic tv show Falling Skies. With the constant threat of alien attack and possible traitors in their midst, the new city of Charleston is struggling to maintain some type of hope and order. The human survivors are facing a bleak situation for certain, but they’ve seen worse. If nothing else humans are tough and innovative, especially when backed into a corner. It’s just this sense of human perseverance that is brilliantly captured in Falling Skies that keeps me coming back for more episodes. Perhaps a redeeming quality for humankind: stubbornness, an absolute refusal to give up against all odds. Watch this episode through the TNT website here or on Amazon instant video here .
Matthew Hayes is on a flight to Hollywood to meet with studio executives that are interested in buying his recently completed, highly regarded screenplay when all hell breaks loose. Suddenly, many of the passengers behave as though they are stoned, fascinated by the appearance of their own hands, while others are overcome with a sinister urge to kill. Humans are divided into two categories in Elliot Logan’s apocalyptic horror novel The Last Stonestepper. The first category, the “stonestepper”, as described by the protagonist, Matthew, is one that takes a very cautious approach, searching for rocks to step on to cross a creek. The second category is made up of less cautious people of action, that will run straight through a creek to get to the other side with no concern for getting wet. This is how people are divided in The Last Stonestepper when some type of event alters the consciousness of a significant portion of the population. The speculation is that the event is caused by some type of cutting edge military technology gone awry. Those that are unaffected possess some type of mental resiliency that is lacking in the majority of the population. Those affected by the event are transformed into either cold-blooded killers or drooling, vacant imbeciles that seem lost in some type of pleasant dream world. But this story certainly isn’t advocating for the destruction of the world’s quitters and slackers. In fact, the protagonist happens to be one of these “stonesteppers” that is undergoing a slow transformation, unlike the rest. As he fights for his life, he is slowly drawn into a vivid and pleasant memory of a day at the beach with his girlfriend.
The Last Stonestepper is a very enjoyable book. The frequent appearance of the ominous “man in the pinstriped suit”, that is visible only to the protagonist, is an element reminiscent of characters we’ve seen in Stephen King novels. Many of us writers, readers, dreamers and other “stonesteppers” will likely relate to Matthew’s temptation to retreat from misery and suffering into some fictional realm. Suspenseful and downright scary at times, The Last Stonestepper gives you that heightened awareness of your peripheral vision like great horror should. Elliot Logan has also captured some very human, emotional elements in this apocalyptic horror novel that make it unique in the genre and well worth reading.