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The idea behind this blog is to share my opinions about Post-Apocalyptic Literature, Films and Ephemera as well as my random nattering on a regular basis.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Go-Go Girls Of The Apocalypse

Most apocalyptic books follow the same basic traditions and prototypes. You can always count on certain plot elements and themes occurring. Most times you can bet on the survivors resorting to cannibalism. Cannibalism met with different reaction in the various books. In the Change World series (or The Emberverse series as we seem to be required to call it now) cannibals, or Eaters, are killed on sight while they are, ironically, glossed over in other books. Most notably in World War Z by Max Brooks.

Another plot element is the journey. In nearly every PA book one character is on a quest. Sometimes the quest is to find a specific thing. Rudy in the The Emberverse series is questing for the Sword of the Lady, Chaka Endine searches for Haven and the lost secrets of the Roadmakers in Eternity Road and in Mister Touch by Malcolm Bosse the survivors are simply in search of safety and air they can breath easier.

Most times however the quest is for a person. A son, a daughter, a wife, someone you got separated from when the world went to hell. This is the case in Go-Go Girls Of The Apocalypse by Victor Gischler. Mortimer Tate sees the looming apocalypse and acts accordingly. He gathers up a bunch of survival gear, food, alcohol, guns and of course porn then heads for the hills as everything goes nuts. First a flu pandemic that almost ends it for the world. After a near brush with death the San AndrĂ©a’s Fault activates and destroys most of the West Coast of the United States. FEMA takes over. Soon after the stock market collapses and a terrorist strike in Washington DC kills most of the members of the House and Senate. After that the world goes at it.

Mortimer hunkers in his cave for nine years. When he ventures out he is taken prisoner and after a bit of trouble is rescued by a person who soon becomes his best friend. Mortimer falls into classic PA stereotype and decides to journey to Spring City, Tennessee to find his wife. He finds that she is a stripper at Joey Armageddon’s Sassy A-Go-Go. But she is such a great stripper she has been sent to the main Joey Armageddon’s at Chattanooga. The place is like a fortress and sits on top of Lookout Mountain. After meeting Joey himself Mortimer finds out his wife has been kidnapped and is being held in ‘The Forbidden City of Atlanta.’ So the journey continues.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book is how it wove real places into the description (well I guess most PA books do). Most books don’t have real products and the back story about why they still around. I found the Jack Daniel’s label fascinating. A tiny microcosm of the book:

“Hey!” Bill held up his tumbler, swirled the amber liquid. “What’s this stuff?”
The waitress looked at him like maybe it was a trick question. “Jack Daniel’s.”
“I know. I mean who makes it? It practically tastes like the real thing.”
“It is the real thing,” she said. “The distillery never closed. You can read about it here.” She turned the bottle around so the back label faced Bill.
“I’ll be damned,” Bill said. “They still make the stuff.” He squinted at the label’s fine print.
“Read it,” Mortimer said.

Jack Daniel’s: The Tradition Survives

Much blood has been spilled to preserve the smooth-sipping Tennessee whisky you’ve enjoyed through good times and bad. Governments rise and fall, but the recipe for your favorite adult beverage has remained unchanged even as the world as we know it has been through the wringer. You can count on our seasoned and indestructible distillers to continue bringing you the finest whiskey in what’s left of the known world.

A mere three months after the Fall, humanity quickly discovered it did not want to endure the end of all civilization sober, so raiding parties at the Jack Daniel’s distillery were frequent and disruptive. The owners soon gathered the remaining distillery employees into fighting militias known as the Jack Squad. With the help of some intrepid local NRA enthusiasts, Fort Lynchburg was built and defended. The fort almost fell to a band of wild Civil War reenactors who had replaced their muzzle-loaders with army-surplus M1 rifles. At last, General Ira “Stonewall” Weinstein surrendered his sword before being hung from a Kentucky Fried Chicken sign, where his bones still hang today as a reminder for those who’d fuck with producers of the finest, smoothest liquor ever made by true Americans.

So challenges come and go, but Jack Daniel’s pledges to keep using only the best, purest ingredients available. Unlike those responsible for the short-lived resurgence of Sam Adam’s beer, Jack Daniel’s promises to use pure spring water, free of radioactive or other toxic materials.

So whether you’re fleeing violent rape gangs, remembering those lost loved ones, or daydreaming of a future where wild dogs no longer roam the streets, we hope you’ll keep making Jack Daniel’s your preferred beverage.

I have to mention one thing here. Also careful I am going to ruin a portion of the ending. I recently finished reading A For Anything by Damon Knight. The two books basically have nothing in common. In A for Anything the world ends because of a device called the ‘Gismo’. As the title implies if one possesses a Gismo they can make anything they want. The only problem is that a Gismo won’t do the jobs everyday people did so they could make money to buy things.

But the Gizmo also makes people. These people are not considered human and are duplicated and then destroyed when they are no longer needed. Society is run mostly through slave labor to the tune of about 300 slaves to 1 not slave. The final undoing of the society in A for Anything is a slave uprising. In Go-Go Girls Of The Apocalypse electricity to run comfort items is provided by indentured servants, hundreds of them. The fledgling society lives on the sweat of slaves. It could only be a matter of time before the slaves figured out they outnumbered their masters and a portion of the final ending is a slave revolt. While I do recommend Go-Go Girls as a solid PA read I can only recommend A for Anything as on alright Sci-Fi book.

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