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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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Dome In The Forest

The Dome = The City of Evil (sorry about all the adverts best I could find)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Musical Interlude The Second

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Did I speak too soon?!?

Looks like I may have spoken a bit prematurely. The scientists in the Dome may in fact equal the scientist under glass in Thundarr. More updates as events warrant.

Finished Reading The Ends Of The Circle

It took me a bit to really put my finger on what memory this series of books calls to mind. I think I finally did about half way through this book. I started thinking it sort of a cross between Thundarr the Barbarian and The Dark Tower Series. That wasn't quite right though and towards the end I changed my mind. The series is more of a mix of Thundarr the Barbarian (pt. 2 pt. 3) and Kung Fu. I left The Dark Tower Series out of the mix because TDT isn't apocalyptic. I may or may not write about my reasons for this ... they are many and varied.

The second book in The Pelbar Cycle, The Ends Of The Circle is a book I had read before. I don't remember anything about it from my first reading. I'm thinking that perhaps I may have started and then noticed it was the second book in a series of which I had but that one book and so put it aside.

This book was primarily about two characters. Ahroe a guardsman (ironic in a matriarchal society) and her husband Stel , a stone cutter/wood worker. Stel marries into the Dahmen family. They find him too rebellious, he finds them far too strict. Stel decides that he'll work under any yoke they place on him with a smile. When the Dahmen can't make him knuckle under they attempt killing him. The failure is the straw that breaks the camels back and Stel flees after making The Dahmen think he killed himself. Ahroe is shocked and shamed to discover that he faked death and precedes to track him.

All that in the first two chapters! Wow. As the book continues Ahroe is pretty reminiscent of Neo in the first Matrix where he fights Morpheus. She has quite a bit of technique down from 'book learnin' bit, however when she gets into real trouble she's just plain outmatched.

It's Stel that makes me think of Kwai Chang Caine. He as well is a seemingly weak protagonist. Stel shows his true colors when he is challenged. Gentleness and kindness only get you so far. In the world of the far future (and substitute teachers) it still holds that nice guys finish last.

This book being more focused on journey (this time just as far away as he, Stel, can get) has more descriptions of the ruins of our modern society, called The Ancients. Since they found more 'ancient relics' it started making me think of The Dark Tower Series, but the way Stel and Ahroe describe the items they find made me supplant that theory and replace it with the world of Thundarr the Barbarian. The difference is there is no Magic and Super-Science and also no ancient scientists locked in a bottle for two thousand years.

Total off topic here: I found a book a bit more than a year ago called Thundar Man of Two Worlds. I may read it after I finish the Pelbar Cycle and discover if has more than just the title in common.

Alright. Final thought and one SPOILER LINK, The Ends Of The Circle was a great read. I liked The Ozars and their God the best. Fantastic post apocalyptic fiction.

I've started The Dome in the Forest. Stel and Ahroe make a brief appearance but it looks like Celeste and Tristal are going to be the main characters in this volume.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ends Of The Circle

"Do you know how immense this country is, and how empty? It is my world, and I am comfortable in it, but it is not yours."

- Hagen the Shumai

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finished Reading 'The Breaking Of Northwall'

I frigging enjoyed reading this filthy book you fish-suckers! I'd friggin read it too if I were you. I'm a frigging pig-snout for having left this gem on the bookshelves of doom so long. Alright enough of that. I don't know exactly what Paul has against cursing ... perhaps it's just a 'more refined' sort of telling a person off. For whatever reason it was comedy gold. Kids looking at me today as I read and chuckled over the Tantal. Those filthy swamp donkeys have better cursing than the Brits.

All in all this book reminded me a bit of The Magician Series by Raymond Fiest. Not the magic part but the traveling and the fighting bits. The Breaking Of Northwall is not the type of post-apocalyptic book I normally like. I enjoy reading about the event itself and not so much the far reaching after effects. This still was unput-downable.

Bit of irony/serendipity when I read a portion of the book. At one point our hero Jestak is making his triumphant return to Northwall when his lady friend falls in a hole. When he follows her, they discover they are in a classroom/sepulchre. Jestak describes the teacher's desk, and guess what?!? It's the same as the desk I was behind. He describes the student desks and guess what?!? They are the same as the ones the students were using. Then he describes a metal object with bits of wood and black powder inside. I glance to my left what do I see?!? A pencil sharpener. I'm thinking CRAP if a nuke hits now it could be me Jestak finds skeletonized and powdery on the desk.

Pretty good book ... I'm just into The Ends Of The Circle now. It takes place 'two falls' after the events of The Breaking Of Northwall and stars different people. Jastak and the events of 'Northwall' have been mentioned in passing. I don't know if the old cast will make much of a showing or if it will be entirely new.

More updates as events warrant.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bar None by Tim Lebbon: Heavy on fine ales; light on PA

Tim Lebbon in Bar None refers to beer being more enjoyable or accessible than wine because there are no such things as beer snobs. I loled out loud when I read that. Mr Lebbon you might be a great author but if you were to make my acquaintance you would quickly change your mind. Beer snobs do exist especially here in Beertopia. Also I figure that if you can write a book mostly about beers but that is masquerading as Post-Apocalyptic, I can do the same with my post today. I hope no one minds much.

First some Man-Laws for beer. Two things here before I continue. Thing the first: I agree with the majority of these rules ... but not all of them. Thing the second: these are stolen from issue 13 of Beer Magazine. I don't feel at all bad about it though since they in turn stole a goodish amount of their laws from the fine fellas at Modern Drunkard Magazine. So here goes; with my obligatory comments to follow.

1) A proper 'cheers' requires an immediate sip (or gulp) from all involved parties. It doesn't requires eye contact for groups over three, which creates an awkward scene.

2) Thou shalt not talk down to the person next to you drinking something you don't like.

3) When given the choice, one must always drink out of glass.

4) Memorize one great toast, and use it on special occasions.

5) One cannot complain about the brand or style of beer another brings, however temperature complaints are acceptable.

6) It is socially acceptable to offer a taste of your beer; it is not acceptable to to spin the glass so you don't sip from the same side. Potential lipstick marks make for an exception.

7) Buying a strange woman a beer is allowed; buying all her beers is not.

8) You don't have to figure out what beer goes with you dinner. Beer goes with anything.

9) Beer before liquor never sicker; liquor before beer you're in the clear (I prefer 'never fear' oh well).

10) If you think you might be slurring a little, then you are slurring a lot. If you think you are slurring a lot, then you are no longer speaking English.

11) Once you open a beer you must finish it, even if it's a Steel Reserve.

12) You must be able to open any beer without a bottle opener. No exceptions.

13) You must try to funnel a beer, do a keg stand, or shotgun a beer at least once in your life.

14) You have to have played at least five different drinking games and won, or at least been on a winning team in all of them.

15) When bringing beer to a house or a party as a gift, warm beer -- no matter what brand -- is unacceptable.

16) Mark your beer when drinking in a large crowd to prevent confusion, or better yet, never put your beer down in this case until finished.

17) When drinking a pitcher of beer with friends, the last pour should always be divided equally among all -- but the person who poured gets the first full pint of the new pitcher. This is void if you are pouring and no one is looking.

18) Putting your fist through anything is not an acceptable form of drunken entertainment.

19) If there is any confusion, the fuller beer is always yours.

20) When in any country, your first beer selection should be from that country and local if possible.

21) Beer goggles are a privilege not a right. Do not abuse the privilege.

22) Naked photo hunt is a social acceptable game after 10 p. m. in some places.

23) If you owe someone $20 or less, payment in beer is acceptable.

24) When you're a guest in another person's home, the last beer in the fridge is off limits unless offered to you by the host.

25) Conversations at a urinal are acceptable, as long as there is no eye contact.

26) Beer is an acceptable replacement for 'I'm sorry.'

27) Men play horseshoes - learn the toss.

28) You cannot own a shirt that mixes Hawaiian flowers and beer bottles.

29) Beer shouldn't ever go through a straw -- unless it's attached to a helmet on your head.

30) Beer does not go well with cereal.

31) There is no figuring out how much one owes when out with friends. The formula is simple: Total owed divided by the number of people in your party. If you didn't eat or drink enough ... you didn't eat or drink enough.

32) Never insult another man's homebrew! No matter what your opinion, the correct response to the question "What do you think?" is "Not bad."

Ok now on to the comments portion of today's program. (Thou shalt not talk down to the person next to you drinking something you don't like.) ... words aren't required to cut to the bone. A look will do fine. (...temperature complaints are acceptable.) If a beer cannot be consumed at cellar temp. -- at coolest -- and room temp at warmest IT IS NOT WORTH CONSUMING!! See also rule 11. Also apropos of rule 5 I completely disagree with rule 15. If a guest brought me cold beer I would be certain the beer was terrible. Cellar temp please. As for rule 32 the only 'bad comments' I get are that brewing 10 gallons at a time are just not enough. This concludes the comment portion of the program. I hope that I have cemented my position as a beer snob. Trust me, I wouldn't drink fizzy yellow beer if it was free. Hell not even if I was being paid to drink it.

Now on to bit of discussion about the book Bar None. The cause of 'The End' was every nasty disease known to man spontaneously erupting from all places on Earth, simultaneously. It is billed as a 'road book.' Not too sure what that means exactly. It's a book in which a part of the plot was about 'The Journey'. I've discussed this PA plot device several times. The Journey in Bar None was to another bar (Why did the drunkard cross the road? To get to the other bar... Bud-ump-da). I have to give Lebbon credit though, I can completely see myself holing up in a mansion and raiding the cellar. I bet if I found a place with a cavernous basement filled with many beers, I would dig in like a tick as well. Only way to get me to unass the couch would be for the cellar to run dry. At that point I could only hope that some benevolent stranger would come along with directions to a new and much better supply.

I had expected there to be a bit more mayhem involved in the trip to Bar None, and Tim Lebbon is not afraid of copious bloodshed. The last book I read of his was 'The Nature Of Balance' everyone dies because they can't wake up from the falling dream and get pulped in their sleep. As I made my way into Bar None I was a bit surprised by the near-lack of chaos as our band of heroes made their way to the bar. I guess I shouldn't have been because the world had come to an end months before. Enough time had passed for all the diseases to burn themselves out and for the majority of the stench of rotting corpses to fade.

This book reminded me most of The Portent by James Herbert in which the Earth gets sick of humans and shakes us off like a dog with a bad case of fleas. And also The Bridge by John Skipp and Craig Spector in which the Earth gets tired of the pollution and snuffs us all.

Bar None was a great read. I went through it pretty fast, in almost a single day. It made an otherwise boring day subbing much more interesting. Also made me thirsty. Every chapter was named for a beer. The only one I'd heard of was Monty Pythons Holy ale. Funny thing was I've never had it for the same reason as in Bar None, I thought a novelty beer would be ass. After read Tim Lebbon's review of it I may just change my mind and have it.

Final thought ... even thought this book is perhaps 2/3 beer review, the apocalyptic aspect made it a damn fine read as well.

And Now A Musical Interlude ...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Pesthouse by Jim Crace

The Pesthouse was a fairly good book. It was a book that (much like The Road) the end is from an unknown source. I think it might have been just general collapse of the same measure as what happened in Wolf and Iron. The action of The Pesthouse takes place so far after the fact that no one remembers or even thinks about what happened.

What is revealed about this world can be summed up in one word ... reversion. Society has gone back to the world as I imagine it would be experienced in perhaps the early 1800s. People don't know where illness comes from and have all manner of home remedies. Also the North American continent is no longer able to comfortably support people. Americans don't think of themselves as Americans just members of the town where they live.

The bulk of the book is spent travelling to the coast. They are attempting to make it to the coast so they can all back to England. On the way they find/describe/run across all manner of the detritus of the Golden Age of America (my phrase). The descriptions of some of this is so it is impossible to figure out what is being described. Other item are pretty simple to figure out because of the location they are seen.

The whole time I read the book I was wondering why they were on the journey in the first place. I mean sure some sort of a disaster had happened but the land wasn't dead. They could still fish for birds in the air and eat fruits. They could still raise crops and animals for food. To me it was just as if life had gone to a simpler time. The people in the book just couldn't accept life as it was.

On the entire journey to the coast they beset upon by villains and it leads the reader to think if they are avoiding the same sort of treatment by evacuating the country or if they are simply jumping from the frying pan and into the fire.

The book most reminded me of Blakely's Ark by Ian Macmillian. They are both books where diseases are the central focus and only the rudiments of science are known. Blakely's Ark is a bit hard to find but worth it.