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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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Autumn (finished)

Well ... I'm about twenty-five minutes from the end of the movie. I had to stop the viewin' because my lovely wife wanted to watch her stories (as is her wont). So far one word sums it up: yawn. Don't get me wrong there's a good twenty-five minutes left and those are zombie-filled horror-movie minutes. Everyone knows those are like NFL minutes. Anything may happen. I for one hope it does.

More updates as events warrant.


About those last twenty-five minutes... they were sorta like NFL minutes in that they seemed to be endless. The movie never got better. It did have the obligatory 'zombie tears the human apart' scene near the end (as all good Romero homages aught) but that wasn't enough to redeem it in my eyes.

So it all begins with a vicious plague that kills 99% of the people on earth. So far I'm in, in a giant way. The scene when the kids in class all start spouting blood from all their face holes and then snuff was particularly jolting. The kids die horribly in front of their teacher who turns out to be one of the 1% who live. Later the survivors begin to find each other. For some reason they do nothing with all the corpses. They don't bury them, burn them, move them out of sight or anything. They just leave them to rot in the street and wonder if they might be at risk for cholera or typhus. Bit later the corpses begin to blink and twitch and some stand and begin to shuffle around. The author, David Moody, decided to go with slow moving undead. They begin to move faster but they do it veeeerrrrrry slowly. I waited for the payoff at the but I was disappointed.

My opinion here is that since David Moody released the first book in the Autumn Series for free, he didn't put much content in it hoping that people would return for the second part. A bit like the give you the razor sell you the blades that Gillette does. The movie would have probably been better if Autumn would have been half the movie and Autumn: The City would be the other half. The way it is now I not only will probably not only not watch any Autumn sequels I bet I won't read Autumn (or the sequels) either. Just too many good books to read and movies to take in.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Musical Interlude The Ninth

Atom bomb, TNT
New disease, poor city

Finished 'Wolf and Iron'

OK. I changed my mind. The first go 'round went poorly. I divorced the book on page 288. I did it because of the wolf. I just got bogged down with the wolf. For some reason this time around I didn't notice the wolf so much. I viewed it as more a secondary character.

Although I didn't have the same problems I had when I first read it, other problems did rear their collective heads. There was pretty much no violence (well pretty much none that was directed at Jeebee). I kept expecting Jeebee to get into a fight of some type with neighbors. A bit of back story is needed here I think. Further back in the book Jeebee meets up with Paul and his crew who pilot an armored Conestoga Wagon. Jeebee rides with and learns the bulk of his survival skills from them. He takes his leave to continue 'The Quest' for his older brother and a safe place to store his massive cranial knowledge. When he does the final thought Paul leaves Jeebee with is to be careful on the hunt for food. He says whatever you do, DO NOT kill any farmer's cattle. Seems they tend to get a bit pissed off when people russell their live stock. Later on Jeebee finds a burnt out ranch (where he finds books about wolves). He goes up into the hills and finds a cave. He widens it and makes a home of it. Not too long after he gets hungry and goes strait for ... cows. I kept expecting for a neighboring rancher to eventually move in and lay claim to any surviving livestock as well as any salvage from the ranch proper. I bet they would have done this because they were close friends. NEVER HAPPENED! Jeebee just goes on killing a cow a day and nothing happens. He survives two bear attacks but never is given a chance to test his metal against an invading pissed off horde who want to string him up. I bet the story would been have more entertaining had Mr. Dickson taken that route.

Also the ending just sucked ass. Normally I can see the ending looming and prepare myself for it. Like in Blindness. I saw that ending roaring at me like a locomotive. The deal with Blindness is that the ending made a lot of sense. The ending to Wolf and Iron was ... well just lame and disappointing.

Wolf and Iron is the definition of the 'cosy catastrophe' genera. If for some reason you plugged that term into google and even more improbably have read this entire post, just trust me here: the plot of Wolf and Iron is a prototypical cosy catastrophe.

Bit of a side step here. This book comes from a short story called 'In Iron Years'. I mistakenly assumed that it was 'The Stand' to 'The Stand Uncut'. I was wrong so wrong. It was 'Night Surf' to 'The Stand Uncut'. Look into it, you'll see what I mean.

What annoys me most here is that Harry Frank Ph.D. wasn't mad about a wolf being portrayed as having dog-like characteristics. He was angry that the picture on the font of the book was of a wolf yet the animal inside was more a German Shepard type dog. I wish someone had instead pointed out that a .30-06 looks nothing like an AK-47. Imagine the book that may have resulted.

So to sum it up: you are correct ft_ball_fn from the PA Media Forums, it's a great book. I did in fact get sucked into it and perhaps read it too much. All this sort of makes me want to get Purple Cloud by M. P. Shiel out and give it another go too.

Post Apocalyptic Tinker Toys

Today's sub job took me to a local Head Start. It was super-fun. The little ones are way more fun than douchey junior high schoolers . The best thing today happened during free play time (read 'all day'). The kids were introduced to Tinker Toys at the beginning of the day. Many of the girls started building people and houses and the boys (to no ones surprise at all whatsoever) built guns and proceeded to have an epic gun battle. Then one little guy built a battle tank and kicked it up a notch. I would have posted audio of the wicked-sweet sound effects the little dude was giving the cannons but student confidentiality precludes it. Best I could do was take a quick snapshot with my shitty cell phone camera.

Anyhow I give you the Tinker Toy Battle Tank:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Musical Interlude The Eighth

All the nobody people and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wolf and Iron by Gordon R. Dickson

As is my wont, I sometimes will Google 'apocalyptic fiction' to see if it has discovered my blog. So far I've been disappointed. I always get left out. Today when I looked I decided to look at the wikipedia link that is at the top of the page. Nothing new there. I looked at the bottom of the page at the external links part. Just for the hell of it I looked the Post Apocalyptic Media link. I registered so I'd be able to read the forums. I get some good recommendations from PA forums. I was reading some of the posts when I stumbled on one that linked back here. A comment below the first took issue with this blog because I couldn't force myself to finish 'Wolf and Iron' by Gordon R. Dickson.

I did enjoy the basic premise of the story. World goes to shit because of economic collapse. For a while it looked as though it may actually come to pass. I had no problem with the main stem of the plot line. My problem was the wolf. I made the egregious error of reading the foreword. In this section a Harry Frank relates how this book is an expanded version of a much older (and shorter) story. He also explains his offense to the portrayal of the wolf in the original story. Harry is a wolf behavior specialist and he thinks that the wolf and the domestic dog are being conflated.

Mr. Dickson decides to revisit the short story and update it with advice/suggestions from the wolf specialist. So to be more specific I had trouble getting through all the text book type details of wolf behavior. The book should have another author listed. I feel that the chair of the psychology department at The University of Michigan, Harry Frank, Ph. D should share cover credit.

Some critics have lambasted Stephen King and claimed he had 'diarrhea of the word processor' when he reworked The Stand. Trust me, King has nothing on Dickson. He managed to turn a short story that is just a scosh under 34 pages into a rather daunting novel of 468. Too much wolf information. Way too much. I had to hit the eject button on it.

Also when I read I prefer to do it for pleasure. I do enough reading to learn in school and with my master's research an' things an' stuff an' junk.

I still have the book and now is a good time to give it a second go. Good news/bad news: I can read this for a break from my thesis and at sub-jobs without being sucked into it too badly. Might be quite awhile before I finish it though.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Not This August

Things are heating up for characters of my most recent read. Seems when China and Russia won WWIII they divided the United States nearly in half. As the book now stands it may turn into an outright PA book and shy away from pure dystopian. Events occurring in the final moments before the US surrendered has made this a very likely situation. All the scientist made off with the enriched uranium and plutonium. They were told to hide it away and conduct a 'scorched earth guerrilla war' and use their suitcase nukes to make the 'Reds' feel the sting. So if the book continues in the same vein as it has been, an explosive conclusion may be in the offing.

And in other news: I just had my six month dental cleaning last week and when the dentist was poking around he thought I should have a couple of elderly fillings replaced. My mouth is still numb as I type this, but (as I told my dentist) 'if the world comes to screeching end I won't have to worry about figuring out how pull my own teeth' (like the protagonist of Night Work). I'm good in that respect for another six months.

Further updates as events warrant.


The book never did take the mythical turn away from a purely dystopian novel and become apocalyptic. It was a fantastic read and served well as a diversion at sub-jobs but is just not deserving of a place on the list.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Strange/Random Sub-Job

Today I am at a local high school with a higher than normal Russian Orthodox population. Makes reading 'Not This August' an unusual experience.

Also have not figured out if the book is PA or dystopian. I'm leaning towards dystopian though.

Further updates as events warrant.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Musical Interlude The Seventh

"Hey I've been havin' the same old dreams,But mine was a little different don't you see.I dreamt that the only person left after the war was me.I didn't see you around."

Hey they can't all be loud screamin' punk now can they?