My photo
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, March 13, 2013

Vardan Partamyan The After/Life

The After/LifeThe theme of this book is one that very familiar to me and if you read apocalyptic fiction in any sort of regular fashion it will be immediately recognizable to you as well. Raven is a small boy and is aware that the news has been filled with an ever increasing volume of news stories that are very alarming to his parents and that they are worried and becoming more worried with each passing day. But he is not worried. Raven makes light of the whole thing with humor and intimation of the panicky voices he hears. Then one day at school the television gives the alert signal and the bombs drop.

After that the vast majority of the book takes place inside a vast and well apportioned nuclear bunker. This follows well known (and loved) PA themes that you'd find in books like Wool by Hugh Howey and The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau and to a lesser extent What Niall Saw by Brian Cullen. It the placement of the bunker that made the story so different. It's the setting itself that I connected with.

When the bomb dropped Raven was at school. The bunker he was hustled into was hidden beneath the school. How the school came to have a giant state of the art bunker complete with a vast garden, a large armory, a barnyard full animals, as well as all the food needed to feed the residents of the bunker is not really explored. Raven does mention his surprise at its existence but he doesn't know either.

The interesting thing about the bunker being under a school is that all the adults were either teachers or were the administrative staff. So as the fledgling society begins to coalesce it chooses its leadership on those lines. The leader is known as The Principal, Teachers take on teaching duties as well as a political position. As children grow up in the School and graduate they take a test. If they score well enough they are trained as Teachers. If they don't score well they take other jobs that need to be done in the School grounds (the bunker).

Things go fairly well until Raven hears a radio signal. He tells his girlfriend and she goes apeshit. Soon after that there is an uprising, a new Principal takes the helm, and soon things spiral out of control. In the back of his mind Raven is wondering if the world outside is really as bad everyone thinks or if he's been trapped and locked away for no good reason.  

All in all a great book. Read very quickly and I wanted more. Here's hoping the you write the sequel Verdan ... and if so I stand ready to read and review it. Cheers.

Final thought: The giant radioactive squid monster was fantastic ... loved that part.

1 comment:

Vardan Partamyan said...

Thanks Tim! It's a pleasure to hear you enjoyed the book!