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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, December 20, 2010

Anticlimactic In Comparison, Ain't It?

Well five weeks in. Needs some touch up. Feels just a little small now though.

Ah well ... there's always my right arm right?

It was my idea first.

Well maybe.

Ladies and gentlemen I present an Ebola Tattoo that is far more righteous (and quite a bit more ballsy, expensive, uncoverable, painful, attention-grabbing ... ect.) than mine.

It's a damn shame he chose a star for his wrist. I'd've gone for a fallout symbol, perhaps a skull. Ehhh, no accounting for taste is there?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Die2nite, you are a cruel, cruel mistress

So. Show of hands here folks. How many have wondered where I've gone? Why I dropped out of sight all the sudden? I guess I could give all sorts of paltry and untruthful reasons. It wasn't because I've been expending large amounts of energy at my job (although I have; I recently landed a long term sub-gig at a local preschool working with nonverbal, autistic youngsters). It wasn't because I suddenly started reading a whole bunch (well, because I simply haven't). Finally, it's not because I been sucked into any sort of show on the TV Box and have been unable to extricate myself from it (because the TV Box just isn't my thing, I do enjoy watching it whilst I spend time with my lovely wife though).

The fault rests on the shoulders of Megaton and Talenos. Megaton gave my e-mail to the developers of die2nite, but it was Talenos who rode in with an invite code when I didn't jump in soon enough.

I've spent the last three weeks or so (probably longer) completely and thoroughly addicted to scavenging in the wasteland, fending off zombies while scavenging and building defenses in town with the items I've wrested from the clammy grip of the shambling siafu.

It hasn't all been glory and roses for me either. Bad stuff happens, but death is not the end. And every once in a while the leader The Walkers of the Wasteland (my coalition) writes a very nice piece of flash fiction about our trials and posts it in the 'World Forums'. What follows is one such:


Thorgrimm scanned the horizon one final time.

"Where the hell are you two?" he muttered to himself, worry gnawing at his soul.

He looked once again at the timepiece he used, and knew all was lost.

The hot coal in the pit of his gut told him what he had to do, for the good of the town he had to sacrifice Fear and Tinted Grey.

"I failed you two. I should have told you not to venture out to that location. Hopefully, in our next lives you can forgive my inept leadership."

He gave one last furtive glance out over the wastelands, closed the gates, turned and walked back to his tent. Not a word escaping his grim visage.

***

Once the attack had subsided Thor knew what he had to do. He was not going to let his friends wander around as one of the restless dead.

Thorgrimm headed for the bank where he withdrew three batteries to equip his batt gun. Not a person said a word. They knew what was being done, and secretly they hoped that if they died someone would care enough about them to end their undead lives.

He arrived at the gate, paused, and opened them and proceeded out into the wastes. Almost immediately he saw a zack shambling his way.

Without looking in the direction of the thing he raised his weapon and put a battery into the walking corpse's skull.

He opened the chamber of the weapon, inserted a fresh batt and began to walk west, towards where he knew his friends were located.

There were only two zacks located in the general direction and the gaunt looking man headed west without giving the shambling dead another glance.

When Thor arrived in the area that Fear and Tinted Grey had died he saw them almost immediately. Whether it was karma or not, they seemed to notice him too.

His heart was breaking as he noticed the strips of flesh that was missing from the bodies of his friends. Seeing them in this condition wrenched his heart in two.

He waited for them to get closer before firing. Fear arrived first, due to the fact his legs were not missing as much flesh as Tinted's were.

"I'm sorry my friend. Maybe in our next life I will be a bit wiser and anticipate things just a bit better." The thing just groaned and shambled forward.

Suddenly the pistol shot upward and lined up with Fear's forehead. There was only a moment's hesitation before Thor pulled the trigger, putting Fear to rest for the final time.

He popped open the chamber and inserted a new batt as he waited for Tinted Grey to shamble forward.

"Tinted, you could always put a smile on the faces of the team, no matter how bad we felt. I'm sorry I failed you." With that the pistol shot up and fired, ending Tinted Grey's membership in the family of the undead.

Thor did an about face and began to head back to the town, gathering up resources on his way back. The process of survival continued.


As a review, I'd say this game is not really a 'massively online role playing' one such as WOW. It does drop you in town with 39 other people. Some of these are folks like myself, been at the game long enough to know the ins and outs. Others are dropping into their first town in their first life. They haven't the slightest clue what's going on and either get stuck in the desert or build something stupidly and get shunned. It's a learning curve. My first couple of towns I had no clue what I was doing and didn't last the night. But as I got better I picked up a couple of hard and fast rules that will help you survive (my record is 10 days).

Rule the First: Build a tent. Never build a hovel, unless you have permission from the town. You don't need one anyway. Hovel builders are selfish players. You will be shunned. Ask in the forums before you take this action.

This brings me to the next rule:

Rule the Second: After you have built your tent, opened your Citizen's Welcome Pack along with the doggy bag, collect your water. Then read the town forum. Post in them. Say hi. Make friends with your fellow townspeople. The forum is where you ask about hovels, taking items from the bank and general advice. Most importantly, the forum is the town's radio. It is where you call for help if you get stuck in the desert.

This brings me to the next rule:

Rule the Third: Keep track of your Action Points. When roaming through the wastes make sure you have two AP for every one movement in the desert. It needs to be a two way trip. Make sure you know where the Point Of No Return is and don't cross it. Keep an eye on the map so you are sure.

That brings me to the last rule:

Rule the Last: On you first day use your original AP and go three zones out. Search there and remain until your rucksack is filled. Return to the town and give everything to the bank. After the first day NEVER leave town without a plan and a group of people. On day two it can be just you and another citizen. After day two however groups of four or five become necessary.

Now some helpful hints: 1: Drink your water ration before you eat (and if at all possible reserve your food for an emergency). If you go the other way you'll dehydrate and die. 2: Build a Workshop in your town. Do this first, trust me. 3: If you are ever unsure about what to do or not to do, ask on the town forum. They are normally a nice bunch.

Interested in playing? If so me a favor and use this code: http://www.die2nite.com?ref=fear

If I see you around I'll give a shout out and an invite to The Association.

Thank you and good luck out there.

Plague Zone by Jeff Carlson

The land transformed. Gas stations and truck lots appeared first. Warehouses. A car dealership. A quarry. There were homes, too, and freeway billboards and an endless row of great metal trusses supporting electrical lines. Everything looked as if it had been lifted and thrown. The buildings sagged. Even the freeway buckled and split. Ash covered the world, robbing it of any color.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ebola Tattoo Week One

So the wrist tattoo was an ok idea. White ink doesn't show up all that well so it'll be difficult to see (that's just fine as since I begin a long term sub gig monday, preschool). Most of the (awful) initial scab fell off today.

It looks ok so far. I'll have to wait until it heals even more (two weeks?)to be able to tell if it needs any touch up. I'm thinking it will though.

More updates as events warrant.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Musical Interlude The Nineteenth

the lights have gone out before
we thought they would
and our friends have left us where we once stood
together, through dark nights and trials, it's true
we must face our fates alone

the summer it burns and the winter it freezes
in our hands we hold everything we believe in
we survive, we have everything we need
and there's nowhere left to go

the hope is the past, it's not ours to own
the ghosts of our past, in shackles they moan
forever, in darkness, broken-hearted, true
they must face their fates alone

scavengers pick the bones of the world
the righteous reduced to beggars and cursed
and never, in trial or verse, will they learn
they must face thier fates alone

Friday, November 19, 2010

Die2nite

This game is currently in beta testing and is only playable by invitation. Premise is you are a member of a town of 40 people. During the day you scavenge and build your town. Every night at 22:30 (or so) the zombie horde lurking outside attack.

So far I'm enjoying it. The only problem is that you start the game with 6 action points. If you get water and food that will give 12 more. You can use 18 action points in about 5 minutes. If you're outside the gates when that happens you're meat. Don't let it happen. The game looks very interesting but if you explore too much it's the end of you.

Got your interest peeked? Want an invite? I got four.

HG5JUYUZ (used)
3HW1VCEB (used)
CGS5SL14 (used)
AYZ5Q9TN (used)

Sponsor: Fear


First come first served. Just let me know in the comments so I change their status. And remember KEEP TRACK OF YOUR AP!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Musical Interlude The Eighteenth

'Too bad they couldn't see this lethal energy
And now the final scene, a global darkening'



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Of Bug Out Bags and Hatchet by Gary Paulson

My post about Hatchet the other day made me hunger to re-read Hatchet. Not only is it a damn fine book, the bag Brian finds in the plane in Chapter 19 is a pretty good example of the basic equipment you'd need for a Bug Out Bag. Or at least I think so anyway.

'Treasure.

Unbelievable riches. He could not believe the contents of the survival pack.

The night before he was so numb with exhaustion he couldn't do anything but sleep. All day in the water had tired him so much that, in the end, he had fallen asleep sitting against his shelter wall, oblivious to even the mosquitoes, to the night, to anything. But with false grey dawn he had awakened, instantly and begun to dig in the pack - to find amazing wonderful things.

There was a sleeping bag - which he hung to dry over his shelter roof on the outside - and foam sleeping pad. An aluminum cookset with four little pots and two frying pans; it actually had a fork and knife and spoon. A waterproof container with matches and two small butane lighters. A sheath knife with a compass in the handle. As if a compass would help him, he thought, smiling. A first-aid kit with bandages and tubes of antiseptic paste and small scissors. A cap with CESSNA across the front in large letters. Why a cap? he wondered. It was adjustable and he put it on immediately. A fishing kit with four coils of line, a dozen small lures, and hook and sinkers.

Incredible wealth. It was like all the holidays in the world, all the birthdays there were. He sat in the sun by the doorway where he had dropped the night before and pulled the presents - as he thought of them - out one at a time to examine them, turn them in the light, touch them and feel them with his hands and eyes.

Something that at first puzzled him. He pulled out what seemed to be the broken-off bulky stock of a rifle and he was going to but it aside, thinking it might be for something else in the pack, when he shook it and it rattled. After working at it a moment he found the butt of the stock came off and inside there was a barrel and magazine and action assembly, with a clip and a full box of fifty shells. It was a .22 survival rifle - he had seen one once in the sporting goods store where he went for bike parts - and the barrel screwed onto the stock. He had never owned a rifle, never fired one, but he had seen them on television, of course, and after a few moments figured out how to but it together by screwing the action onto the stock, how to load it and put the full clip of bullets into the action.

....

And then finally - the food.

It was all freeze-dried and in such quantity that he though, With this I could live forever. Package after package he took out, beef dinner with potatoes, cheese and noodle dinners, chicken dinners, egg and potato breakfasts, fruit mixes, drink mixes, dessert mixes, more dinners and breakfasts than he could count easily, dozens and dozens of them all packed in waterproof bags, all in perfect shape and when he had them laid against the wall in stacks he couldn't stand it and went through them again.'


So that looks to me like a nice basic Bug Out Bag. I think the sleeping bag and the food would be the most bulky items. I bet you could find a lightweight down type sleeping bag and if all the food was dehydrated it would be doable. Just my thoughts as I read the ending again is all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Plague War by Jeff Carlson

Ruth, Cam and Newcomb were miles beyond any hint of green. The plague had been catastrophic in this place. Even the weeds and hardy sagebrush were dead. All that stood were a few stubs of windswept roots. Several times they'd seen the desiccated remains of grass and wildflowers laid on the ground like stains, brittle and black. In the heat, the insects had been destroyed, which in turn condemned the reptiles and the vegetation. Lacking any balance whatsoever, the biosphere had tipped. The earth baked into powder and superheated the air.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Apocalypse Now Burger

'Each apocalyptic patty draws its strength from four cuts of meat: beef brisket, beef shortrib, pork belly and bacon ends.'


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Plague Year by Jeff Carlson

Ruth gazed all around, gripped by dark wonder.

The frozen traffic here surged only one way - west, toward the freeway, every car nosing into the next. They came up onto sidewalks. They diverted through parking lots and hedges and fences. They were full of stick shapes, and the crowded street itself had become the grave of hundreds, color-fast rags on yellowing bone, screaming jaws and eroded fingers, the skeletons of dogs and birds scattered among the human remains like strange half-grown monsters.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Hunger Games, Battle Royale and Deus Ex Machina

Once more it's excuse time. I know, I know been forever since an update. I have good reasons for this. The best is that I tackled The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and that simply fired my thirst for more in a similar vein. So I started reading my Battle Royale manga series. I just finished it last night. I had really intended to do a retrospective of all three 'Hunger Games' books but as soon as I got just a couple chapters into Battle Royale I knew I had to do a comparison. So of course any update needed to wait until I had completed a three-part series and a fifteen part series. Long time in other words.

The other is that I've started back subbing. This year I've made a deal with myself that is different that last year's. Last year a rotten day with the lil' bastards equaled a day for me. No work just day drinking. This year's deal is different. A rotten day equals jeans and a t-shirt the next day and also that check is set aside for airfare and happy-fun-Hawaii time. An extraordinarily rotten day (only one so far) gets the same treatment but the check is cashed and not deposited. I'll be spending every penny of it on beers and Mai Tais on the beach if at all possible. I've been living seven and a half hours of hell everyday so I can have nine days in paradise. A decent trade I think.

So yeah, not much time to read or create new and fantastic posts. But plenty of time to punish my liver. You can see the dilemma right?

Alright. Now on to the show. From here on there will be spoilers. Big ones. Don't read the post any further if you've not read the complete Hunger Games trilogy, Battle Royale, Watership Down by Richard Adams, Hatchet by Gary Paulson, Death Got No Mercy by Al Ewing and Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Seriously, stop now.

When I picked up The Hunger Games I knew what I was in for. I'd heard about the series from other people. Also being a substitute teacher I've seen 'the kids' carrying these books like they carried Twilight or Harry Potter. I knew it was gold. I got the second one from http://www.paperbackswap.com/ (if you feel up to joining tell them I sent you when they ask 'Fear-Death-By-Water') I got The Hunger Games from the library sale in St. Helens Oregon just before I brewed the Dinty Moore (Wasteland) Stout. I had to wait still though. I mean I love reading post apocalyptic books but if I can get someone to send it to me for free? Hell no, I'm not going to pay for it. I had to wait a little while for the book but I'm a patient sort. Then came the glorious day when I got the e-mail telling me it was on the way. I took on the Hunger Games series like I took on Harry Potter. All at once.

The books are in a distant future type setting after some sort of global cataclysm. What remains of the United States is divided into 13 districts (like The Original Colonies?) then is regrouped and coalesces around 'The Capital' and finally lead by a dictator. Perhaps a benevolent one at the start. All is pretty good until there is an uprising and civil war. The Capital is victorious at the end and as punishment completely obliterates the 13th District and sets up a lottery system. The 'winner' of the lottery (one boy and one girl ... also a Shirley Jackson ripoff? ) are sent to an arena and are forced to fight to the death. The killing cannot stop until there is only a single child remaining.

The book follows Katniss. On the day of the drawing it's expected that it will be her who gets chosen. But it's not it's her little sister instead. Even though it's her first time at the lottery, even though she has her name in only once, it's still her. Katniss utilizes a little used play. She takes her little sister's place. The male who's chosen turns out to Peeta who Katniss had pretty much ignored but who had a giant crush on her pretty much forever. So he knows that to survive he'll have to kill her or he could be magnanimous and allow her to kill him. Either way he knows he'll never see her again.

That's the basic set up. 12 districts and two kids from each. 24 kids enter one kid leaves. Thunderdome to power of four and a half. But filmed and broadcast to the entire population. For entertainment. It's a lot like a mix of both Steven King's The Long Walk and The Running Man. As the book plays out you can feel the ultimate climax coming. Katniss and Peeta both going to be forced to do battle. It's also clear that Katniss will be victorious. The only question remaining is how graphic, bloody and violent will it be?

Then it happens: Collins cheats. Just like Gary Paulson did in Hatchet: Brian finds the radio transponder in the plane crash and gets rescued just before winter sets in. Just like Richard Adams did in Watership Down: After Hazel is grievously wounded in a cat attack Adams writes himself into the story to rescue the stricken rabbit. Adams is not the only author to ever use the 'write myself in the story' tactic. Stephen King does it for eye-rolling length in The Dark Tower series and even Al Ewing gives it a shot in Death Got No Mercy (although I'll give him a pass on all of chapter 18, but only because Cade was on serious drugs). Even Susan Beth Pfeffer in Life As We Knew It. When Miranda goes on her death march to town so her mom won't have to look at her withered corpse, she finds that food is being distributed. She is saved from starvation at the very last moment when she notices a brightly colored piece of paper. The difference the separates the previous books? All those books are great in spite of the trickery.

Sure, you can give all these cheats big fancy names like deus ex machina and say it's a solid and viable literary device and that even the Greeks used it to get out of tight jams in their plays. But for me? It just derails the whole book when used with too heavy a hand. Collins cheated by having President Snow proclaim (when there was still something like seven players remaining) if two tributes from the same district survived at the end both lived. I wanted to jump up and shout 'HE DIDN'T GET OUT OF THE COCKADOODIE CAR!' Right then I knew I'd been robbed of any sort of heart wrenching climax.

As more characters die it drops down to just three. After a brutal death it's just two. Of course it's Katnis and Peeta. This is the part the whole book has lead up to. But it's taken from me either because Collins is a wuss or because the publisher had a weak stomach. Either way it was a giant let down.

I continued to read the rest of the series but it just continued on in much the same way. I had thought that the real ending would be a showdown between President Snow and Katnis. I felt it all building, coming at me like a wave. But at the end the showdown was anticlimactic. Remember the day you lit the big firecracker? You touched the match to the fuse and then stepped back. The fuse smoked and sparked and went pretty fast. Then it slowed down. Seemed to stop. But you knew that it would still have that giant payoff. So you waited. And waited. When the fuse hit the firework you expected ... no demanded the explosion. What you got instead was more akin to an overgrown sparkler. A roman candle at best. Remember your disappointment so keen it almost felt like betrayal? That's the feeling I got from The Hunger Games Trilogy. After a year of waiting just a big fizzle and a giant nothing.

Around the same time I was hearing about The Hunger Games, I was also hearing some chatter about a book called 'Battle Royale'. Talk was it's pretty similar. After I finished The Hunger Games my appetite had been whetted and so I dove in. Let me tell up front here. Everything you wanted from The Hunger Games happens in Battle Royale. Koushun Takami pulls no punches.

This novel pits an entire class of ninth graders against each other. 48 total students. The rules are simple. You are fitted with an explosive collar and sent to an island. Any attempt to leave the island and the collar detonates. Try to remove the collar and it detonates. Enter (or fail to evacuate) a danger zone and the collar detonates. Here's the real kicker: failure to have a single student death in a 24 hour period and the collars all detonate simultaneously.

So those are the rules. The class is a random group (or are they?) who are drugged and taken to an island. The island is fitted with cameras and satellite observation. When they get there the students are all issued a duffel bag containing food, water, a randomly assigned weapon (from a fork all the way to an AK-47) and other items of interest. Then they are sent to kill to the last person.

Some differences between the two book are that the Head of School is the 'bad guy' and that there are more children. It's also worse because many are dating each other and have been together since they began school. Many are best friends in other words.

It's the differences that make the book better than the The Hunger Games however. The ending is extremely satisfying. It ends just how you want it to. There are no tricks. No fancy camera work. The author makes you care about many different characters and isn't afraid to kill them off in gruesome ways.

Also it made more sense too. The whole event was broadcast in The Hunger Games and the whole time I was watching it I kept wondering why the rest of the world wasn't outraged by it. Live video of children killing each other? Bets placed on it? I was wondering where the rest of the planet was. That question is answered in Battle Royale.

In Battle Royale there were plenty shocks and lots of carnage, but unlike The Hunger Games not once did I pull back and think 'how the hell is that possible?' There was a fascinating dichotomy playing out in The Hunger Games. On the one hand the residents of the districts were eking out a just-above-starvation lifestyle while the residents in the Capital had glass roads and Star Trek style food simulators. They could genetically modify insects into weapons. They even had cloaking devices for their hovercraft. Magic in other words. Some of it was so outlandish and strange that it interrupted my suspension of disbelief. The final offensive against The Capital at the end of Mockingjay was frankly unbelievable, headshakingly out-of-control. Battle Royale did none of that.

That's it folks. If you were disappointed and/or bored with The Hunger Games give Battle Royale a go. Seriously, if you've read The Hunger Games you owe it to yourself. It's an undiscovered gem.

Monday, November 1, 2010

An apcalyptic birthday/christmas list

It's that time of year again. I get a year older and relatives begin to hint about suggestions as to what I might enjoy seeing wrapped in pretty paper. There are a couple things that would make The Bookshelves Of Doom just a little bit sparklier. So here goes (I'll even make it simple and clickable):

Books:

The Killing Moon by Rod Glenn
Canterbury 2100: Pilgrimages in a New World
LAST by Mike Rouse-Deane
End of Days: An Apocalyptic Anthology
End of Days 2: An Apocalyptic Anthology
Survivors by Terry Nation
Wet Work - The Definitive Edition by Philip Nutman, Douglas, E. Winter
Noise by Darin Bradley
The Walk by Lee Goldberg
Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
The High King of Montival (Change, Bk 4) by S. M. Stirling

Movies

The Road
The Book of Eli
Battle Royale

Comics

Stephen King's The Stand Vol. 1: Captain Trips
Stephen King's The Stand Vol. 2: American Nightmares

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

File this under "Random Nattering" ...

because it's my Halloween playlist.

1. Misfits - Halloween



2. Donavan - Season of the witch



3. Matthew Sweet - Devil with the green eyes



4. Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Zombie creeping flesh



5. Wenesdayday 13 - The Ghost Of Vincent Price



6. Groovie Ghoulies -(She's My) Vampire Girl



7. G.B.H.- Lycanthropy



8. Demented Are Go! - Zombie Stalk



9. 45 Grave - Partytime



10. Godless Wicked Creeps - Vamps



11. Samhain-November's Fire



12. Bloodrock D.O.A.



13. Groovie Ghoulies - Graveyard Girlfriend



14. Alien Sex Fiend-R.I.P.



15. Chixdiggit! - Chupacabras





16. The Damned - Thanks For The Night



17.Type O Negative - Everyone I Love Is Dead



18. Wednesday 13 - Haddonfield

Friday, October 15, 2010

Musical Interlude The Seventeenth

'And free my lil weezy
And lets just get right
Young Money, Cash Money in the building
Lets go the World ends tonight'





Hip Hop. Again. Don't worry this doesn't mean I've found a new love for Jay Sean. It just happened to be on The Twenty on XM as went to work this morning when I swtiched from Wastelander. Heard about half the song then moved to Howard. Was where I was going in the first place. But felt it had a certain panache. You'll see what I mean.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

"But mockingjays were never a weapon," said Madge. "They're just songbirds. Right?"

"Yeah, I guess so," I said. But it's not true. A mockingbird is just a songbird. A mockingjay is a creature the Capital never intended to exist. They hadn't counted on the highly controlled jabberjay having the brains to adapt to the wild, to pass on its genetic code, to thrive in a new form. They hadn't anticipated its will to live.




The Apocalyptic Subbing Gig

I knew it was going to be a fantastic day when I walked into the classroom this morning and was greeted by this:
It was sitting there on the desk. With a bookmark in it. At chapter 5. I read the plan for the day. After the first class (if there was time) I was to read them chapter 5 aloud ... or have another student read it. This teacher is reading The Last Book In The Universe as the whole class book. She even has study questions she wrote.

I guess it had to happen eventually. A teacher who is into dystopian lit as much as me. I'm thinking about giving these questions the 'There Will Come Soft Rains' treatment but I may hold off till she's done. See'ns as that post gets more hits than any other post does. That's right I'm on to you guys. I just hope your teacher isn't.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

An Apocalyptic Primer

These are books that (in my opinion alone) are the best examples of the genera. This list is meant to give suggestions for books to read or purchase. It's not intended to be an exhaustive list. However should you want one look here. As to a definition of 'apocalyptic fiction'. I'll use Megaton's from The Post-Apocalyptic Forums: Post-Apocalyptic: Nuclear War, Pandemic, Economic Collapse, Natural Disaster, Alien Invasion, Machine Revolution, Global Warming, Cosmic Rays, Zombie Apocalypse, Astronomical Impact, Animal Revolt, Science Gone Wrong, or any combination of these. I'll try to include an example from each. Again my (admittedly) drunken opinion.

#1 The Stand by Stephen King

I'll start with the first apocalyptic book I read. Stephen King's The Stand. I've noticed that most people when listing their favorite book will normally put the first one they read at the top of the list. The Stand is both the first PA book I read and also my favorite. Also I am surprised to find out from time-to-time that there are apocalypse geeks who haven't heard of nor read The Stand. If this is you don't worry I won't spoil it. The basic premise of the book is a military project to engineer biological weapons has a breech. Its name was Project Blue. As the virus spread it was known by other names. The most common one being 'Captain Trips'. The disease was almost uniformly fatal. Only .06% of humanity survived.

After everyone who is going to get sick dies. The basic conflict of the book is one of Good vs Evil. The survivors all gravitate to either Randall Flagg (Evil) or to Mother Abigail (Good). While The Stand is my favorite book, I consider the portions when the survivors are regrouping and the denouement as my favorite parts.

Also the book has a couple of nifty little Easter eggs scattered around for the careful reader to discover. Most notable of these is Christine.

Remember this book is here because it is the first apocalyptic book I read. I understand I could have gone with several different choices for pandemic. Amongst these are Jack London's The Scarlet Plague and George R. Stewart's Earth Abides.


#2 The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeir


The next book you really need to look into is The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeir. The nugget that started this novel began with African tribal beliefs. Basically that humans can be divided into three groups: Those still alive on earth, the recently departed (remembered) (sasha), and the dead (forgotten) (zamani). When people die they are sasha while people are still alive who remember them. When the last person remembering them dies, they go to the zamani and are then recalled by name only.

Kevin envisions sasha as being a city. A very large city that is being added to constantly. As people die new rooms are added to apartment buildings and new houses get built. Residents of the city stay as long as there are people living on earth that still remember them well; their faces, their personalities, the actual sound of their voices. When all of the people who remember them live in the city, they vanish along with all their belongings, house and stuff.

The main action of the story centers an a massive populating of the city. Descriptions of entire new neighborhoods appearing overnight. This population explosion is followed quickly on its heels by a depopulation.

It's a quick and rather strange read.


#3 Vault of the Ages by Poul Anderson

This is the first 'far future' apocalypse book I read and also the first one that dealt with ancient artifacts left behind by 'before time' people. In this book the world ends in nuclear fire. It follows the whole 'Treasure of the Ancients' theme that runs in PA works like Jack Mcdevitt's Eternity Road (which reads like a sequel to The Stand), Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz and to a lesser degree in The Pelbar Cycle by Paul O.Williams.

This book centers on a farmer (who is somewhat intelligent) stumbling on a time capsule containing relics of the past. These relics are books and diagrams as well as scale models of fantastic machines that just might be able to send the society on a path back to its former greatness.



#4 Fire by Alan Rodgers

This is a fairly strange book in which everyone comes back to life and no one dies. Also everything as well. Fossils in the museum, cuts of meat in the grocery store, and all people in the all the cemeteries. Everything.

It all starts at a laboratory with a scientist who creates a bacteria that reanimates ancient life. The point to doing this is so science can study extinct creatures like trilobites. The only problem is that once the animal has been resurrected it is impossible to kill. The entire organism needs to be reduced to carbon. Fire, in other words, will permanently kill the reanimated creature. But nothing kills the bacteria.

Selling point is that it takes the book of Revelation and makes it plausible. In other words, if an ancient prophet saw the events in the book he/she might write the book of Revelation to explain it.

#5 Year Zero by Jeff Long

The general premise Year Zero is that a very nasty, super contagious, and uniformly fatal plague is unleashed. It spreads from the tiny island of Corfu in Greece and eventually spreads all across the globe and the last bastion for humanity turns out to be Los Alamos. It starts because Niko, the collector, liked to find artifacts and the best of these in his opinion were sealed vials. He broke them open a give the ol' sniffer sniff to the rarefied air of millennia past. But inside of a very intricate puzzle lies four vials filled with a nasty virus. It is invisible and as it kills you it erases you; both you and your memories.

The book this most reminded me of was The Dying by Leslie Horvitz. Mainly just the relentless onslaught of the virus and descriptions of deserted cities. I haven't read The Dying in a good long time but as I read it I kept thinking about how it reminded me of that book. Loves the part where the scientists were tracking the progress of the virus with satellites. Corpse gas being let off by deaths in the billions was a fantastic visual.

#6 Dark Advent by Brian Hodge

I have heard Swan Song equated with The Stand far too many times. It's simply wrong. Those two books are not really very similar. Even the basic conflicts of those two books are vastly different. The Stand is clearly Good (Mother Abigail) versus Evil (Randal Flagg) and in Swan Song it Life (Sue Wanda) Versus Death (The Man With The Scarlet Eye).

That being said Dark Advent is pretty much dead on The Stand. Has the vastly fatal diseases. Has the Good verses Evil conflict. Has characters meeting through dreams. Also a final battle at the end.

The one big difference? Way more violent and follows the evil character more. In other words less Boulder and more Vegas in a 'Stand' sense.

#7 Ice! by Arnold Federbush

This is a story of a new Ice Age. It features a climatologist as the main character. He's a book smart sort and gets help from another scientist who specialises in Arctic Peoples and customs. The story is told from the climatologist's perspective but it's the Arctic expert who steals the show. It's very similar to the movie The Day After Tomorrow. It has the same basic setting the same basic plot. It also features climate experts. The ending however is quite different. Well worth the time you'll spend reading it.

#8 What Niall Saw by Brian Cullen

This book is one of the bleakest (most bleak?) books I've read in a good long time. It's offered as the journal of boy who is seven years and seven days old as the book starts. He gets right into the meat of the story as well. The whole family is under the stairs with their dog (a wolfhound my personal favorite dog breed) because the bombs have fallen. Over the course of the story there are more bomb detonations which Niall describes as 'shakes'. Little by little his situation worsens. They deal with hunger (them and the dog), cabin fever from being sequestered in the closet under the stairs for weeks on end, and roaming scavengers looking for food. About 3/4 of the way into the book they make their escape. The ending stayed with me a very long time. It ranks with When the Wind Blows, Level 7, and On the Beach in terms of downer endings. If you haven't read it yet find it and do so.

#9 Barrett, Neal Jr. Through Darkest America

I don't know what caused the end in this book. I do know however that it centers on a very special type of ranch. In this brave new world they have thought of some pretty interesting plans to outwit hunger. And also forged some new and interesting social classes. Cannibal Cowboys? Gives a whole new meaning to cattle drive and rodeo. It'll take a strong stomach to make it through this one. Also a sequel that picks up the action right where this book ends and ties up all the loose ends.

#10 Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay

I'd have not even found this one of not for my mother-in-law. She's a teacher too. Or was before she retired. Anyhow one day she told me about this book she used to use when she taught an archeology unit. The point of the specific lesson was how sometimes professional archaeologists have to take a guess about the purpose and function of some of the things they find. How sometimes they can be wrong. Perhaps mostly wrong and never even knowing.

The deal with Motel of the Mysteries is that it's in the future. The world as we know it now ended because it got buried in its own trash. A future archaeologist stumbles upon a vast complex that has been untouched since the time of the great cataclysm. The descriptions of the items paired with the uses of them is pretty fantastic. The 'Alter of Worship' (to me anyhow) is the best one. But trust me they are all really great in their own right.


#11 Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This is the story of Miranda. She's an ordinary high school girl. Like many girls she keeps a journal. This book reads as her journal. All is great with her world until an asteroid is predicted to hit the moon. She is not worried about it though. In fact she is, at first, irritated by it. Her teachers use the looming disaster as an excuse to pile on the homework with not one, not two, but three essays about the moon.

May 18th... it happens. The moon is hit. Miranda and her family are outside reveling in the street in a party-like atmosphere. All is fun and games. The asteroid hits the moon so hard that its orbit moves much closer to the Earth. When the partiers notice this panic sets in. Now we all know the moon's gravity is what causes tides. So the first sign that all is not right is when coastal areas get flooded. After the flooding there are massive storms and earthquakes. Just when you think they can finally settle in for simple survival, volcanoes begin erupting bringing on an ice age.

#12 Skeletons by Al Sarrantonio

I think this book is best described as being a zombie novel. In a move that is reminiscent of 'Night of the Comet' and also 'Maximum Overdrive' the earth is bathed in strange space radiation. The effect is that everyone who's dead gets up. They're all animated skeletons with shimmering/ghostly flesh. Like all living dead they hate the living and immediately turn and kill.

Due to the space radiation the skin of the newly dead sluffs off and the skeleton rises. They can be be dispatched in the traditional way; a good blow to the head that shatters the skull will do it. A glowing high light of this work is Abraham Lincoln's vengeance against John Wilkes Booth.

#13 Plague Year by Jeff Carlson

Anyone else read Prey by Micheal Creighton and feel cheated? He set up a pretty good apocalyptic scenario there. Nanotech goes out of control and starts to turn on people. But Creighton turns out to be a giant wuss and pulls back from world annihilation.

This is not the case in Plague Year. It opens at a run and doesn't slow down. Nanotech has indeed been released. It's self-replicating and flesh eating. The creators have put in a kill switch that is activated at ten thousand feet. So the world is reduced to a series of high altitude islands. Features one of the best PA first lines ever. 'They ate Jorgensen first.'

And also you're in luck. It's a finished trilogy so no waiting.


#14 Dies The Fire by S. M. Stirling

Gasoline has been rendered useless. So has gunpowder and everything else. Even steam power is hampered. The only choice? Rip the leaf springs from the car and forge swords. Make some chain mail. Get medieval on their ass. That's how things work in The Emberverse. Are you Wiccan or a member of the SCA? You'll do just fine.

So anyhow if you want a modern day dark ages go for Dies The Fire. If you ignore the heavy Wiccan references you'll find a pretty great book. And if you're so inclined you can continue and read the whole (quite large) series. Also if you happen to be from the Pacific Northwest of The United States, you'll enjoy it more as it's set there (here). Gervais, Oregon with a castle? Sign me up!


#15 It’s Only Temporary by Eric Shapira

It’s Only Temporary is one of those rare fantastic books. It is just beyond words. The deal is that a giant asteroid is going to strike the Earth just off the coast of New Zealand. It’s going to hit so hard that it will kill everyone. There are some scientists who think that .00001 or .00002 of the human race will survive. The governments of the world knew about the asteroid for years but chose to keep the knowledge from everyone until there was only six weeks left. Some people keep working, some commit suicide. Everyone deals with the knowledge that the world will end in their own way.

The story reads as a journal of sorts told from Sean’s point of view. He chooses to spend the last six weeks of his life watching television, smoking pot, spanking the monkey almost constantly and also hanging out with his parents. On the final day though he decides to go looking for his girlfriend. So he says his final tearful goodbye to his mom and dad and sets out through a world that has no tomorrow, second thoughts, regrets or punishment.

This is by far one of the best books I’ve read … ever. Some trivia about the book. If you preordered it the book came autographed and with a bonus chapter called ‘Speaking of Butler’. I chose wisely and preordered. Well worth it. And the cover -- the asteroid/skull cover thing is pretty goddamn righteous too.

Lastly. The Afterblight Chronicles. A Series.

I'd be remise if I went without mentioning these books. I don't normally go in for series but on this one case I have to make an exeception. These books are GOLD. All of them. I'll open the cover start reading and before I know it half the night and the book are simultaniously gone.

From the publisher:


'The Blight arose from nowhere. It swept across the bickering nations like the End of Times and spared only those with a single fortuitous blood type. As the numbers thinned and societies crumbled, the survivors picked their way between silent streets and looked out on the squalid new order... and reconsidered their good fortune.'

Saturday, October 2, 2010

One by Conrad Williams

'Sometimes Jane looked in a direction where there were no people, no buildings, and it was like viewing a moonscape. The end of the world was desolate and grey. You couldn't see the coast of France. He thought maybe the rest of the world had dissolved into the oceans.'

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Robot Uprising Is On!

I, for one, would like to be the first to give praise to our new robot overlords.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dinty Moore Stout for you Wastelanders

Whether you're an urban scavenger or desert dweller, everyone remembers the taste of the perfect food to ride out an apocalypse. Like it's namesake, this stout is both difficult to find and even harder to make. It's well worth the time you'll spend to do so, however.

Now, with this simple step-by-step recipe you too will be able to drink the stout that truly eats like a meal. Enjoy.

Grain Bill
22 pounds 2 row
2 pounds spelt
1 pound amaranth
1 pound quinoa
1¼ pounds wheat berries
1¼ pounds rye berries
1½ pounds old fashioned oatmeal
1 pound flaked barley
2 pounds roasted barley
1½ pounds Chrystal 150º
1 pound Black Patent Malt
2 pounds carapils
1½ pounds victory malt

Other Ingredients
2 Cups molasses
¾ pound of Rocket Java

Hops
6½ Oz. Chinook

Yeast
White Labs American Ale Yeast Blend WL060

Step by step:

Coarsely crush all grains. For the smaller grains (amaranth and quinoa) you'll need to employ a food processor.

Heat 10 gallons of water to 130º. Mash in. Stabilise at 120º. Hold for ten minutes. Raise to 155º and hold for 70 minutes. Raise to 165º and mash out. First running should take about an hour to complete, be patient. Sparge to collect 15 gallons of runoff.

Bring to a boil. Allow the boil to continue until you have reduced the total volume to 13 gallons (may take awhile depending in how hot your burner gets.) You are aiming for a total end-boil volume of no more than 10 gallons of wort to reach your target gravity. Add the two cups of molasses at anytime during the boil. Use caution to avoid scorching it on the bottom of your boil kettle.

Hopping Schedule: 90 minute boil.

1 oz. Chinook after initial 10 minute boil
1½ oz Chinook at 45 minutes
1 oz Chinook at 60 minutes
1 oz Chinook 75 minutes
1 oz Chinook at 85 minutes

¾ pound Rocket Java (beans broken in half. A frying pan and Ziploc bag work well.) at flame out

Cover and rest for 10 minutes. Chill and ferment. Primary ferment one week. Secondary for two weeks (Dry hop with ½ oz. Chinook per five gallons). Bottle/keg as normal.


og 1.090
fg 1.028
ABV 9%


Yes, my fellow wanderers this is an incredibly labor intensive beer but once you've made/found it; you'll know it was worth the trouble.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Musical Interlude The Sixteenth

I'm walking in the mini mart there's food on the floor
There's carts everywhere, there's blood on the door
I just want to buy some snacks and get back home
But these ghouls are trying to eat my bones




Zombies again. I know. There just seems to be a giant proliferation of songs of the dead these days. But you do have to admit it is a catchy little ditty.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Passage winner is ...

Me, "Hey, Millie! Pick a number between one and four."

Millie, "No!"

Me, "C'mon, pick a number!"

Millie, "What?!?"

Me, "Between one and four!"

Millie, (pause) "three"

So for those of you playing the home game 'Jim' from survival weekly is the winner. I'll contact you through your blog so you came claim your fantastic prize. Thanks to all who entered.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Musical Interlude The Fifteenth

'Can’t you see what this world’s become?
When the dead feast off the living, yeah.
And we’re about to join the fun.'





This one's for you Kate.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tycus

'The comet that was earlier thought to be harmless is now on on a collision course with the moon. There is a distinct possibility that the fragments could come crashing to Earth and cause serious damage. Specialists from NASA and JPL in Pasadena are advising all emergency and governmental agencies to have evacuation plans in place for some urban and low-lying areas in the United States. Right now, coastal communities and large cities are at the greatest risk. There is no need to panic. Please stay tuned to this station for more late breaking news and information.'

- News report just before tshtf

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Last Mimzy

'I don't understand. What do you mean?'

'Wrrraurrarr'

'But I don't want the world to end. Ever. I love the world.'

'Waur'

'I don't want it to die.'

'Waurrarrr'

'I know.'

'Waurrurr'

'I know. With all my heart. I love you so much'



-conversation between Emma Wilder and The Mimzy

Post-Apocalyptic Andy Rooney

'Who's the guy in your group who attaches all the spikes to your football pads? He must come in pretty handy.'
That guy most likely is Chris from Dirty and Distressed. Jussayin.







UDATE: I got the 'distressed' shirt in the mail. These pictures will have to do until I get the other off the digital camera.


















Thursday, September 2, 2010

Here's to you Mr. 3000th Visitor

Another giveaway. Comment to be considered for a chance to be sent a copy of The Passage by Justin Cronin.

No rabbits were harmed during the writing of this post.

My liver however is a different story. Good luck.

update:

son's 'a bitches! forgot an end/drawing date. lets say september 15 shall we?

Oh yeah! World wide shipping. Don't be shy.

Boredom = Bracelet

As it happens over and over with me, when I get bored I start a new project. This blog and my twitter account are perfect examples. I get bored things happen. Anyhow a shirt that I bought from Dirty and Distressed is due to show up anytime. This is not a shirt you can wear with just any piece of clothing. To that end I've spent the last weekend washing and rewashing an old pair of Levi's. Also to go along with this whole thing I re-purposed an old corduroy jacket, a worn out pair of khakis and an old belt to make a bracelet to complete the whole look.

This is the bracelet:












I'll get a picture of the shirt later.

And yes my wife thinks it's terrible and that I'm a dork. Whatever.

Monday, August 30, 2010

You've all seen this right ?

Well just in case:

The Best Of Both Worlds


Today I was buying my bother-in-law's birthday present (a 22 oz. bottle of Hopportunity Knocks IPA and a bottle of Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Frits and Ken Ale) when I saw it. The perfect blending of my two most favorite things.

10 Barrels Brewing in Bend Oregon has rolled out an Apocalypse IPA. The only problem? I need to wait to enjoy it until I am with such a person as can truly appreciate both parts. India Pale Ale. And the apocalypse. So I'll keep it on hand and send it to Hawaii. Then I'll share.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Musical Stylings of Wastelander. Wardrive on CD. \m/ >< \m/

I guess it had to happen eventually. Every couple months or so I go to Google and type in 'Apocalyptic Music'. I spend some time looking around for music I've not heard of before. I listen to the song and if it grows on me I take a quote that distills the song its essence. I post the quote and the video. The song then becomes a 'Musical Interlude'. The last musical interlude was a song by Wastelander. I noticed Wastelander on another blog. I listened to an entirely random song on Youtube. It was pretty goddamn sweet. So I did the normal.

Then I listened to another song. It was even more badass than the first. I found their M'Space. I read what the influences of the band were. What the idea behind what the band was and whatnot. Here it is:

" Enter the Wasteland.

A fever dream made flesh. Apocalyptic visions from a paranoid prophet of doom long since driven insane by his own obsessions. Grinding rhythmic sonicscapes, seething with energy and despair. Casual observations from the edge of the cataclysmic abyss at the end of our time. Amongst the death of our planet, atrophying in this vapid culture, and from the voids of the mind.

THE POST-APOCALYPSE COMETH AND THE TIME IS NOW!!! Lansing, Michigan. The Infernal City. A blastscape of banality on the edge of despair. A city under siege by malaise and apathy, and filled with sheer emptiness. Boredom so crushingly harsh that it grinds the spirit down to the bone, leaving a numbed shell. Located in the lowest ranked state in the nation, it has quickly become everyone's favorite place to flee. All that remain are the desperate, the stubborn, and battle hardened individuals with wills of steel, existing on chaos, substances, and introverted mindscapes.

It is within this 21st century wasteland that two survivors rose from the ashes of their fallen bands XAPHAN ( Summon ) and MATT WAR ( Harbinger ) to distill the surrounding desolation to it's most visceral, sonic form. Unfazed by a lack of willing and/or skilled musicians, the uncompromising duo accompanied by a drum machine, systematically recorded five songs of blacknroll fury and unleashed the 2007 DEMO upon the unsuspecting masses. The debut album Wardrive was paroled Summer 2008, amidst a flurry of excitement and revolving drummers. In Summer 2009 Wastelander will join forces with Abigail to expunge the infernal split "Nuke and Puke". More surprises to come.

The stage is now set for WASTELANDER to run wild on Infernal City and lands beyond. Spreading like a doomsday virus, and trekking the terminal zones to bring you scavengers rocking road-warrior black metal. Overcoming the odds, enflaming the unbelievers, and forever ruling Bartertown, WASTELANDER WILL DEFY!!!"


Needless to say I was hooked. Now the album Wardrive is not the simplest thing in the world to come by. There are a few people selling it on Ebay. I bought the cheapest one offered. It showed up in my mail box sometime last week. I had been punishing my liver but that didn't stop me from sitting in my driveway, drinking a beer and listening to it at a high volume. The CD was pure gold front to back. Also this is my first 'Music' entry in my PA Library. That's right The Bookshelves of Doom now has a soundtrack. It's the only album I've found that is pure apocalypse.

Also since I've not found the lyrics anywhere else, I'd thought it'd be swell and neato to post them here. Enjoy.

INTRO

WARDRIVE

The battle is over
The war's just begun
An endless procession
The worst still to come

All systems go
At the start of the show
Deadly reactor
And its ready to blow
We bring the Wardrive
Full metal force
Hellbent to redline
With a boot to the floor
Head on collision
Demolition and rock
Over the limit
But unable to stop
Driven by wounds
Impervious high
Wardrive

Anomalous breakdown
Can't hold them back
Razor aggression
Full scale attack
Engorging the racing
The lust to combust
Harder than die hard
Nuclear rush

DAYS OF HELL

Nothing left but violence
And nowhere to go but down
Infernal city silence
Settles down like a burial shroud
Hotwire the hardwire
Overclocked to the point of distress
Burning up and burning out
Bound to take it over the edge

Eruption of the morning light
blasting like a funeral bell
Too much is never enough
The nights of fury the days of hell

Now it's time for mayhem
I do what I please
Systematically shellshocked
I've got the disease
On the brink of disaster faster
Than a bullet bursting into the brain
Self destruct totally fucked
As another day goes down the drain

DESSERT LAW

Just one resolution
Just one final creed
Nightriders of destruction
Fulfill their primal need
This land is ruled by thieves
This land is ruled by power
Old laws do not exist
Resist and be devoured

The law of the desert land
Beneath the setting sun
The plunder from
A dead man's hand
There will be no time to run

Abandoned highways fallen to decay
Nomadic maniacs
We're hunting for our prey
Killer instinct calculating mind
Run with the pack
Or we'll leave you far behind
Nowhere to hide
From the rolling thunder force
Crushed beneath by wheels of steel
12000 pound scrap metal machine
Your mangled corpse will make my meal


MINDSWEEPER

Not another living soul
For miles and miles around
Isolation takes its toll so all alone
Dehydrated worn
And tired senses dulled
Delirium starts to unfold
Consuming you

Sensory deprivation
Mental suffixation
Feel no longer whole
Can't maintain control

Serene oasis in the distance
Hallucinations of fatigue
Loved ones calling me
From within their shallow graves
Their voices echo in my mind

I am the Wastelander
The master of my fate
No man shall stand before me
Mine to dominate


KNEE DEEP IN THE DEAD

What do you say to a dying man
Words seem to disappear
A life before you
At the languished end
Expiration is so near
Consuming impulse swarms across
The cells burning from inside out
This march to death
Cannot be stopped
No hope of any redoubt

Pill grim and skeleton bare
Fallout blows the plague is spread
Bodies farther than the eye can see
Knee deep in the dead
No way to stop the onslaught
No comfort in this massacre
Biological tragedy
Knee deep in the fucking dead

Chemo scarred fragile and weak
Fluids pouring out by the score
Devastation the outlook is bleak
A shattered species covered in sores
Where is the savior
When comes the relief
Unebbing tide of human lives
Medication not nearly enough
To stem the tide of deadly disease

BAPTIZED IN ASHES


Tonight the city burns
Shockwaves and firestorms
Ripping through your flesh in torment
Not a fraction of life remains
Cast into a sea of flame
A crater where the kingdom fell
Armageddon at last is here
Break out the guns and beer
As we drink to man's demise

Bombs fall death calls
Population all reduced to nothing
Last blast critical mass
All alone in the land of the dead
Bombs fall death calls
Population all reduced to nothing
Last blast critical mass
All alone in the land of the dead

You looked so disgraced
With a face full of nuclear waste
Bet you wish that
You never crossed me now
Wont ever be destroyed
Rising up from the inner void
Born again from the depths of despair


FROST STORM

It comes for me a lifeless front
White hazed hell upon the hills
And through the mist an icy fist
Shattering my senses
Plowing through defenses
On every horizon
Chrystal walls are closing in
Blistering the atmosphere
Engulfing all you see
Flash frozen to a bitter degree
Frost Storm

Subzero hammer
Pounding through the frozen wastes
Brutal avalanche burying decay
The roar of a thousand angry gods
As cold scorch winds descend on you

Every single second
tears the breath away
Rapid elemental shift
Falling fahrenheit the air grows thin
Blood frozen before it's bled
Frostbitten and left for dead
Steamrolling like a tidal wave
Bulldozer from the north
Tempest howls out the arctic assault
Drowning out the light
Obscured by winter blight
Frost storm

FINAL BATTLE

Stand or fall
One last battle to save them all
Lock and load
Gaining ground as the bombs explode
Merchants of death
Dealing death till there's nobody left
Can't take much more
The final combat the final war

Get ready here it comes
Brighter than a thousand suns
The end coming that was foretold
Since the dawn of time
Doomed situation
Last stand of civilization
It's all over can't you see
On the way to world war three

Virulent dread
Breeding destruction
Cannot face the storm
Final combat


Wastelander

Enter the wastelands
That stretch before your eyes
A barren image of defeat
Chared crumbling wreckage
That reaches to the skies
Annihilation is complete

Ready your weapons
So few are left alive
So fight to live or join the dead
The right to kill
And the struggle to survive
The sky is black the blood is red

Never seen such devastation
Never felt so alone
On this dead empty world
Of broken flesh and stone
Suspended disbelief
The land stripped bare
Anguished cries ring hollow
In the poisoned air

Never seen such devastation
Never felt so alone
Wasteland warriors
Come claim your toxic home
Never seen such devastation
Never felt so alone
Wasteland warriors
Sits on his ruined throne

Renegade hunters
And mutants of the wild
All competing for your life
Creeping cancers and radiation burns
Over a million ways to die
Only the strongest
Stand triumphant to the odds
Bodies dropping to the sand
Heat singed holy books
And long forgotten gods
Are just the refuge of the damned

Wastelander will defy
The will of iron never dies

OUTRO

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Passage by Justin Cronin

I know. This book was pretty vastly hyped. At least hyped in the circles I travel in. Fine sure. Whatever. So it's mostly just The Post-Apocalyptic Forums and the Apocalypse Whenever group at Goodreads.com and the Post-Apocalyptic Community. The point being that amongst those rather vocal groups for the longest time it was all The Passage all the time. How great it was. That the movie rights had been purchased after an intense bidding war even before the book had even been released. Even Time Magazine succumbed to a bout of bandwagon jumping as it proclaimed The Passage to be the sixth best PA of all time (right between The Drowned World by G J Ballard and World War Z by Max Brooks). This was written the very day the book hit the shelves mind you. Soon after that many of my 'tweeps' began to write what could only be called 140 character love letters to Cronin. The final straw was that Megaton decided to 'book-club' it. So that being the case I was forced to begin reading it before most of it became ruined for me.

As some more observant readers may know I recently finished up my master's degree. My wife's grandmother who thinks I'm a pretty awesome guy gave me something like 30 bucks. Yes now I'm certain of it. Thirty dollars. I spent a portion of that money to get The Passage. There was a couple other books I wanted to get to before I read The Passage but not wanting it spoiled and because I grew tired of skipping over post in various places that mentioned the book in any way. So I finally knuckled under and did it.

This post will be spoiler free don't worry. I wont be 'that guy'. Without giving too much away I'll simply say this book is broken into two distinct but unequal part. The first part deals with the gathering of some individuals. It also deals with the background of the virus itself. The second part is much longer. In a move that made my head spin Cronin moved the narrative into the future. It deals with how the people live a hundred years after the release of the virus.

I read many descriptions of this book that opined it was similar to The Stand by Stephen King. Trust me the only thing that was similar was everyone dieing. That is it. I'd say it had something in common with 'Salem's Lot but no. The vampires in that book only took over that one town and then got their asses handed to them at the end. The book altogether reminded me most of 'The Road by Cormac McCarthy'. Not the material of the book but the style of the writing itself. Rich eloquent writing. It wasn't quite on the level of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery but is was better and of higher vocabulary than most of my normal fare offers.

The opening of the book; the first part was unlike anything I have read. But the second much longer part reminded me most of the 'Emberverse' series by S.M. Stirling. Not that it had anything to do with electricity being lost or anything. It was the medieval feeling of it. Living behind walls and knives and crossbows being your main weapons. It all lent the feel of the Emberverse.

I'm not going to mention the exact part where this happens but if you've read both Watership Down by Richard Adams and The Passage you'll know what I'm talking about. If you've only read The Passage you'll recognise this: In Watership Down the rabbits find a warren that doesn't have a chief rabbit. But since Cowslip is the first rabbit from the warren they meet it's called 'Cowslips Warren'. The warren is weird. The rabbits are all happy and well fed. Hazel's group is a little ill-at-ease because they don't see predators. They let their guard down when they see all the fantastic food that is available in Cowslips Warren. The warren looses its luster when they discover that the nearby farmer has been shooting foxes and any other predators that come near and also supplying them with the great food. But he also (every now and then) will snare a rabbit for the stew pot. The rabbits of the warren have chose safety and good food over personal liberty and free will. When the Hazel and the rest discover this they make plan to leave. Other rabbits join them.

Also later a train saves the band of rabbits from General Woundwort.

Final thought: I enjoyed this book. Though not as much as all the hype let me believe I would. In my mind I've got a pretty solid top ten:

The Stand by Stephen King
It's Only Temporary by Eric Shapiro
Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
Empty World by John Christopher
Some Will Not Die by Algis Budrys
Blood Crazy by Simon Clark
Dark Advent by Brian Hodge
Eternity Road by Jack McDevitt

With honorable mentions for:
Fire by Alan Rodgers
and Blakely’s Ark by Ian MacMillan

I wouldn't replace any of the top ten but I think I'd place The Passage in place of Blakely's Ark. I'd recommend it friends and family and all don't get me wrong. But you do have to remember I've read more PA than anyone I know.