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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.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Loose ends and other ramblings

First bit of business here. I need to write about Gone by Micheal Grant. This is another of the interminable 'all the adults have died/vanished and the children have to fend for themselves' type book. The plot line was done much better in books like Empty World by John Christopher or even The Girl Who Owned A City by O. T. Nelson (even though I didn't care for the book much). This book takes a slightly new variation of that theme with the use of a giant bubble or force field or some such thing. Placed there by Alien Space Bats as far as I can figure out. I'm not giving anything away either because the author includes a handy map on the inside cover that gives all the details of 'The FAYZ' (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) and conveniently mentions that the 'zone' has a diameter of 20 miles and is centered on the power plant. Now I for one didn't read the opening teaser from the inside flap:

'The Little girl had the power. She had the power Sam had, or at least something like it.
The power he had used in panic to create an impossible light.
The power he had used and almost killed someone with.
The power he had just used again, dooming the very person he was trying so hard to save.
He was not the only one. He was not the only freak. There was -or had been- one other.
Somehow that realisation was not comforting.'

I of course like to just dive into a good post-apocalyptic book with almost no warning of what lurks within its covers. I didn't read the the inside tease until I was finished with the book and I only looked at the two maps when I was well past the middle of the book.

The only warnings I gave to myself about what was about to unfold was the blurb on the back...

In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.
Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...

and the video preview from the youtubes (since when did books begin to get their own trailer?) and the review from VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates ... I guess whoever they are): 'If Stephen King had written Lord of the Flies, it might have a little like this'.

What I'm getting at is that everything I read or had looked into gave me the impression I was in for a fantastic PA experience. Well I was wrong. I did enjoy the book a great deal. But it wasn't apocalyptic. The first couple chapters give you the impression the event in the book is an earth shattering one. There is a bit of mayhem when the kids discover the adults have all vanished but most of that is the typical 'lets pig out on junk food and drink some beers' type of shenanigans. The bully begins to flex his muscles with no fear of an adult stopping him. The guy even gets a nifty name 'Orc'. Him and a bunch of other ne'er-do-wells take control of the town and demand tribute. And because bullies are notoriously stupid they don't plan ahead and the town is retaken by a group of even stronger and much more vicious bullies from The Coates Academy.

This book is quite a lot like Lord of the Flies, except they were sealed in a bubble and not on an island. Even the bubble scenario has been done quite a bit. Firstly in the book Spin by Robert Charles Wilson the entire Earth is sealed in a bubble. In the bubble time passes very quickly and at the normal rate for the rest of the universe. Secondly it is nearly a carbon copy of the scenario in the comic book Girls by Jonathan and Joshua Luna .... well just the dome bit and not 14 and over going 'poof' and the powers and what not. Other than that it's exactly the same. Also a bit of breaking news here. Apparently Stephen King has a new novel that will be released soon called 'Under the Dome' or 'The Cannibals' depending on the sites you are reading. He said it's deals with the same sort of material as The Stand but more allegorical. Anyhow this is the first sentence from the synopsis 'On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field.' So it looks as though Mr. King is jumping on the bandwagon. I don't care if he did write the original manuscript in 1980- I am still calling him a bandwagon jumper. I figure he thinks he may just as well get it out there while the getting is good. has a handy excerpt of it. I won't be reading it though because of the whole me preferring paper deal.

Don't get me wrong though ... Hunger (Gone II) is out and on my list to read. Can't wait.

Look for posting of:
The Plague Trilogy by Jean Ure
Dark December by Alfred Coppel
Cataclysm by Don Pendelton
What Naill Saw by Brian Cullen
The Postman by David Brin
The Vanished by John Peel
Why Do Birds by Damon Knight
Twilight World by Poul Anderson

** yes I've been a bit lazy in posting. I'll get to work soon and whatnot **

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