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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.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Apocalyptic Fiction Genre?

Since I spend so much time reading PA fiction, I sometimes think about types that might be fun to write. You get the end of the world as told through many different lenses quite a bit. Women's eyes, men's eyes, the perspective of old people and young. Sometimes the end causes people to sink into a more primal bestial state and other times the end brings out great things in humanity.

Two genres that I hadn't noticed being explored were the following:

- Man's end as seen through the eyes of his pets (cat, dog, whatever)
- Man's end as seen from inside himself, the battle that would happen as the immune system mounted an assault as it attempted to repel the invaders in the form of lethal
bacteria or virus.

The first one has been done already. I found myself thinking that he topic would be an interesting angle if I ever decide to take a swing at my own PA book since it hadn't been done before. Imagine my surprise when I found Wolf of Shadows by Whitley Strieber. It is pretty much that. The end of the world as seen through the eyes of a dog. Not an exact match but close. Soon after I discovered The Last Dog on Earth by Daniel Ehrenhaft. In this book people don't die but their best friends, dogs, all get a disease called Psychotic Outbreak Syndrome. It makes them all go nuts. Anyhow I figure that genera actually has been covered a bit.

The other one a killing pandemic as seen from inside a human has yet to be written. The closest I have seen so far is the movie Osmosis Jones. When Frank begins to flatline, there are some pretty intense moments. But for the most part that truly is a untapped genera in PA.

I thought I would post this ramble here because of the recent spate of high profile deaths. I was a bit surprised to hear of Farrah Fawcett's passing but Micheal Jackson really stunned me. Just sayin. This song has always been my favorite:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Riddley Walker

I have had this book on the shelf for quite some time now. I have wrote in an earlier entry about other books that I thought might be similar to Riddley Walker. These books had a bit of invented dialect and creative licence taken with spelling. No book is like Riddley -- not Emergence, not The Copper Elephant. Riddley is in a class all it's own.

I had the good fortune to have read it completely for my own enjoyment and not for any type of reading assignment. I feel just the slightest bit bad for the person who read the book before I did. That poor unfortunate had the misfortune of having that book assigned to them for a class of some sort. I thank them for the margin notes -- they did come in a bit handy but I was still pretty lost. I had no idea what Arga Warga, the Punch Show or what Eusa was. A lot of it I began to pick up and others I was able to figure out from the context. Still it was a pretty difficult read. (Side note here... I am currently pursuing a Master of Science degree with a reading specialty. I want to help kids read blah blah blah... anyhow this book gave me the closest analogue to a student who can read a bit but not fluently. If any adults want to remind themselves of that feeling read Riddley.)

I caved about 3/4 of the way through the book and googled arga warga. I found out it meant 'a bad thing' (duh) and kept reading the annotated version. I very much regretted it. I ruined the ending for myself. Many of the questions I had were answered in that last quarter of the book. SO pissed at myself for ruining the book.

This book is apocalyptic a bit. Sort of like A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller and Vault of the Ages by Poul Anderson are apocalyptic. Sure the world has been mostly destroyed by a nuclear holocaust but it happened in the distant past. When I read a book about the end of the world I'd like for the event to unfold in the present tense and follow the characters as they cope and survive or die. Riddley was a great book even if the world ending event happened so far in the past that the characters in the book had forgotten about what had even happened. I'm glad I read it.

If you attempt to read it I recommend not giving in to temptation and reading the book without help from the interwebs. Just my advice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

When the Wind Blows

Ok. Wow ... I let the blog sit idle for a bit and the next thing I know evryone wants to read it. Let me asure everyone that just because I haven't been updating doesn't mean that I have stopped reading. I read WAY TOO MUCH. I have what's called 'lack of follow through'. A bit of trouble finishing what I start or in keeping comitments. I wrote way back when I started this blog that it would be updated fairly regularly. Time to do that.

The first graphic novel (one of the first? first? oh well...) is the focus of this post. I remember seeing it in the library when I was just a wee lad. It was in the 'grown up' section of the library and hence off limits to me. I remember that I thought it looked nifty though. Back then I wasn't interested in watching the world self-destruct and didn't think of it for years. I recently (recently... whatever... years then) saw on and wanted to read it then forgot about it again. I remember it again ... what a month ago? Something like that. Anyhow finally got a copy of When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs. Glad I finally got around to reading it.

I have written a bit on this blog about how many authors pull the punch and don't deliver the gut wrenchingly bleak ending their book has been leading up to. Briggs pulls no punches here. It's every bit as bleak as Level 7 but told in an upbeat 'it'll be just fine' tone.

The novel starts as our male protagonist (Jim) is reading the paper and learning of the worsening state of affairs in the world. He's not worried - the Government will take care of things. He goes home and tells his wife Hilda what he has learned. She agrees with him the Government will take care of things.

They don't.

Briggs uses a pretty clever device as he draws this book. The colors at the start are bold and bright. As the book get further it fades until it's almost white at the end. Humanity being washed away perhaps? Bleak novel... they don't get much bleaker.

When I started this blog I used to write the part that stood out for me in books. I should do that again. In When the Wind Blows it was the potato sacks. I can still see them.

Also like There Will Come Soft Rains this has been animated. It's well done too. Give it a look.