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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, December 16, 2008

The Thrill Of The Chase; The Glory Of The Capture

The first item of business here needs to be a brief update on what I have been reading and viewing. I got way bogged down in reading a whole passel of books that turned out not to be really apocalyptic... But because I have an issue with not finishing a book and with rare exception (I never finished The Purple Cloud by MP Shiel or Wolf and Iron by Gordon R. Dickson I tried but I just couldn't) I power through them anyway. So the fact is I was too busy reading a series of tedious books that in most cases were only tangentially post apocalyptic and couldn't update my blog. Well.... that and the fact that school was back in session.

The first book I waded through was PA. Sort of. I read The Inevitable Hour by Martyn Boggon and found it to be OK. It was worth reading I guess but be assured that it is one of the books I spoke of that was only slightly PA. Sure, sure nukes went off in cities and millions of people snuffed but... it was more of a murder mystery than what I wanted. I won't spoil anything for people who may enjoy a good sci-fi murder mystery so I will leave it at not really PA but mystery. That said I was expecting a bit more of a book like Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald or even the short story A Death In Real Time by R.S. McEnroe. Both of those works deal with WWIII from a sanitized, clean environment. And of course the war still visits misery on those in the bunker. I completely expected this to happen in The Inevitable Hour. It NEVER happened. So disappointing. Oh well.

The other very disappointing book I had to wade through was Sunstroke by David Kagan. Now this book had some real potential. An unstoppable satalight armed with a massive death ray? Hell yeah! Fantastic setup for world wide destruction when the thing goes nuts and starts frying the local population. Got even better when Russia got wind of it and threatens to turn The United States to a sheet of glass. But alas David appears to lack the balls to pull it off and our hero narrowly averts global catastrophe. I read a review that said Stephen Segal would be the perfect actor to play Mike Doheny. I would have to agree with this assessment. That douche would be perfect to act in this movie that would have to be a strait to DVD.

Also between books I reread World War Z. I stick to the more hard line definition of post apocalyptic so I don't normally include zombie books in the canon. World War Z is a great book and everyone needs to read it. The 'Battle of Yonkers' is particularly fantastic. Also you will know if people have read it yet if they snicker about others with Zack as their name.

While I was reading The Inevitable Hour I saw reviews of an older PA book titled Emergence by David R. Palmer. All signs pointed to it being a pretty great read. I looked for it on line but the lowest price for it was 30 bucks. I do enjoy a good post-apocalyptic tale but paying anywhere from $30 at the low end to $85 at the high end for an ordinary older mass market paperback was just too much. So the hunt started. I knew that Emergence had to be found languishing on a self in some small town nearby. The owner of the book entirely unaware of what they had. I am a substitute teacher and one of the very few upsides to this is being in a different small town each day. I combed the book store shelves of each of them. Finally: Sheridan Oregon. I knew that I had hit pay dirt just by the books they had on the shelf with the covers showing. Looking back at me from the shelves of the sci-fi section I saw Black Sun by Robert Leininger and Dark Advent by Brian Hodgeand also Meteorite Track 291 by Gary Paulsen. With those titles shining out at me, I knew was going to find it. The stars it seemed had aligned for me and there it was. Woot. It only took me two months of book-store-combing but there it was and a bargain at a buck and a half.

I think it was well worth the search. Most of the book was written by Candy a 12 year old girl. She survived because she is a member of the next step on the evolutionary ladder for humanity. She is Homo post hominem. The end in this book come from a bio-nuclear war. I was a bit confused about the description of the 'war' on the back cover as well. Have no fear it makes perfect sense as you wade into it. The deal is that a secret cabal of ne'er do wells have engineered a virus and then released it. The virus by itself is completely harmless and spread very quickly to everyone on the whole planet. The 'nuclear' part comes in when the cabal explodes a nuclear weapon in space. The bomb does no damage to anything but it has the effect of triggering the virus into its fatal stage. Turns out the virus is uniformly deadly to every human. The virus acts as a type of garden screen. Humans are caught and snuffed but Homimems survive. This book was well worth the search (I wouldn't say however it was worth 30 dollars -- sorry David). I enjoyed all the references to other books as well as the vivid descriptions. The style of writing was completely unique as well (though I read it was similar to the style of Riddley Walker by Russel Hoban I haven't read Riddley yet but I will soon.) Candy, in order to save space in her journals, writes in Pittman Shorthand. The book of course is not really in shorthand but since it lack subjects in most of the sentences it still conveys the feeling of the style. I was riveted by the whole 'ultralight' sequence. I enjoyed the description of the Giant Redwoods as being 'Brobignagian' those who are more literary will recognise this as being named for Gulliver's second journey and the beings there were giants so Gulliver felt like a Lilliputian -those trees were true giants in other words. It was a well crafted book and I understand it has a sequel called Tracking. I will be looking for that one as well.

So that is what I have been reading. The movie I watched was ' Ever Since the World Ended'. The movie was low budget but very well done. After I watched the movie I just had to reread "World War Z'. The book will soon be made into a movie. If Brad Pitt were to watch Since the World Ended he would be able to make a truly awesome movie. Ever Since the World Ended is told in a series of vignettes as is the book World War Z. A couple things stand out in the movie. First is how they deal with a fellow survivor who they fear because he sets fires. First they banish him and tell him if he ever comes back they'll kill him. One of the more memorable parts of the movie is how they come to grips with the consequence they need to give the guy when he inevitably comes back. The other thing that is pretty fantastic is the conversations with the 'youths'. These are 'twenty somethings' who were very young when the plague struck. These kids have no idea of the world as it was. The way they deal with all the skeletons they find is a bit chilling. A great little film and the fact Adam Savage plays the part of an engineer who helps keep the power on is just icing on the cake. You should watch this film.