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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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Free Apocalyptic Books (twenty-three)

Same drill. These are free but for an undetermined length of time. Get them now in other words.

 -Also, I'm back. I'll try to update more often.

1. Code Breakers: Alpha by Colin F. Barnes

2. After the Winter by Mark R. Healy

3. Glimmer of Hope (Land of Tomorrow Book 1) by Ryan King

4. Dollywagglers by Frances Kay    

5. The Variant Effect by G. Wells Taylor   

6. The Last City of America by Matthew Tysz 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies

World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic MoviesA couple months ago I got an e-mail from David Moore asking me if I would be interested in reviewing his soon-to-be-released book World Gone Wild.  We exchanged a couple of e-mails, geeked out about movies a little, and then I forgot all about the book.

It arrived in the mail Monday afternoon. It's a large, heavy, hardbound book. Clearly this book is meant to be displayed prominently and lovingly on a coffee table. The font used for the title immediately called to mind the knock-off straight-to-videos that once populated the video store down the street from my house when I was a teenager. 

When I opened the cover I was met with a poster-sized two page inner cover. I knew I was in for something truly remarkable.  I flipped through it and looked for titles that I expected to find. I enjoyed the writing style Moore used in the reviews for the movies. And yes ... this isn't a simple listing of different movies but, rather, he actually watched all of them.
 A careful reader will instantly know what he thought of the movie. Most reviews are short and to the point. Each gives a short synopsis of the film and ends with his opinion about it's watchability, and sometimes other movies like it you might enjoy.

One small item that I really enjoyed; Moore invented a rating scale. So if you are in a hurry or think that the review might be a little spoilery (and some of them are very spoilery), the icon accompanying the title will let you know if it's a must watch ("The Bomb") or if you'll be in for a video rodeo as you attempt to keep your seat and continue watching ("Toxic").

I was interested in seeing how movies that I had in my top ten fared in his system. Here's how it matches up:

1. The Quiet Earth (Safe Zone)
2. Mad Max (all of them but Beyond Thunderdome in particular) (The Bomb)
3. Miracle Mile (The Bomb)
4. Last Night (The Bomb)
5. The Day After (The Bomb)
6. 12 Monkeys  (Safe Zone)
7.  Ever Since The World Ended (Safe Zone)
8. A Boy and His Dog (The Bomb)
9 Carriers (Go At Your Own Risk)
10. Hardware (The Bomb)

And a look at the other end of my spectrum .... the unwatchable or those that I nearly lost the Video Rodeo to:

Autumn (Toxic)
Def-Con 4 (Toxic)
Epidemic (Not Reviewed) 
The Happening (Gold For Some, Useless To Others)
The Sacrifice (Gold For Some, Useless To Others)

It looks to me as though we mostly line up. With that in mind I'll trust his reviews and rating system as I hunt down movies that I'd never heard of. It is of note that he did leave a couple movies out, he either forgot to include them or hadn't watched them yet. Most notibly (for me) is the exclusion of The Last Mimzy. This film plays out like a children's version of 12 Monkeys where a ruined future sends stuffs back to the past in an attempt to fix itself.

The book has several other features though besides just movie reviews. There are many quality interviews with actors and directors of some of my most favorite PA movies. Some of these interviews even contain Easter Eggs for upcoming titles such as Mad Max Fury Road. The end of the book features a listing of all the movies reviewed (800+), as well the movies placed into individual and very handy Sub Genres. Among these are: Aliens, Creatures, etc.,  Animated, Astronauts Return, Bomb Shelters, Comedies, Mad Max Riffs, Last People on Earth, Nuclear, OK For the Kids, Biggest Most Badass Trucks, and on and on ...

Lastly, when I first got the e-mail for Moore I thought about the website It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Max World. I was mistaken. It's far superior to that site. My highest recommendation. Order it here through the publisher, Schiffer Publishing.  You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Key Vest for Wasteland Weekend

I started with five gallon bucket half filled with all the miscut key my friend Deathrattle could scavenge for me on his truck route (he drives for a smaller chain of hardware stores). I sat them out in the weather over the fall and winter to age and when that didn't work I soaked them in vinegar to really get the shine off.
All that remained was to scavenge a roll of thin gauge mild wire from my aunt and uncle.

I started drilling a small hole in the tip of each key with a drill press:

When I had a goodly amount of them drilled I wove the mild steel wire through the top of one key and then through the small hole I had drilled:

 Once I had enough keys to make one pass around my torso I wove wire through the top the same way:

I figure another seven of these and the shoulder parts and my vest will be done. And my fingers will be very blistered. See you in the Wastes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Snowfall by Mitchell Smith

'But it's so sad,' Catina said.

'What, Trade-Honey?' Jack said, and turned to kiss her.

'Don't you see, Jack? It means the Garden people are sliding down. It means we're all still sliding down, not coming up to Warm-time ways.'

'Didn't you know this?' Jack settled back into his furs. 'I thought you knew that. When I was in Map-Missouri, the people there talked about a man who tried to make black gun-powder lifetimes ago. But it only hissed and made smoke. When he kept trying, it finally made one of the big old bangs and killed him. After that, everyone felt it was too uncertain to try in cold country - and bad luck besides.'

'It's just so sad! We're not stupid, Jack. Garden Mary's not stupid. Why are we all still sliding down?'

'Don't know .... Nobody has that many Copybooks - really and very few How-To-Dos. Mostly bad-people stories and complaining stories, and love stories.' He blew a puff of frosty breath up in the air, apparently to watch it, silver, in the moonlight.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

'Arctic Vortex' or Frost Storm?

I'd rather the news called it a 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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Reapers are The Angels by Alden Bell

'And the horde, in the blackout of the city night, illuminated only by the headlights of the car, everywhere descending and roiling against one another like maggots in the belly of a dead cat, the grimmest and most degenerate manifestation of this blighted humanity on this blighted earth - beasts of our lost pasts, spilling out of whatever hell we have made for them like the army of the damned, choked and gagging and rotted and crusty and eminently pathetic, yes, brutally, conspicuously, outrageously pathetic.'

Saturday, January 4, 2014

When Gods Fail by Nelson Lowhim

I've loved the apocalypse in books, movies, and television shows since I was a sixth grader and my uncle loaned me The Stand.. I always understood from the beginning that the old world as well as the laws and social norms of that world had died along with all the people. Any means of stopping bad people doing what they wanted had also gone away. Instead of The Golden Rule (he who has the most gold makes the rules) it's the rule of strength, he who has the most strength makes the rules.

I might have mentioned before, but just in case I haven't mentioned it, some of the the biggest problems I have had with the show Revolution are that it appears that the apocalypse happened inside a Gap store and (worst of all) that when the good guys get the drop on the bad guys they either monologue and allow the bad guys to regain the advantage or (again worst of all) let them live. The point is that for whatever reason they have not come to grips with the concept of the rules of the old world dieing with the majority of the people.

This is not the case in the book When Gods Fail.

This book is set in the Pacific Northwest. In Portland, Oregon to be exact. As it opens our hero Tom is an avid spelunker and had been doing his thing when what he thought was an earthquake happened. Stalactites fell and then the whole thing caved in. Good thing for him he had some emergency rations and that the cave had a nice lil' stream so he makes out alright.

He spends a few weeks digging himself out and emerges into a much changed and devastated landscape. The only analogue to the situation he can think of is a forest fire. So thinking the fire has caused the destruction he sets out to find a phone so he can call his wife. What he finds is a cargo container that has been converted into a bugout shelter by a couple of survivalists.

He introduces himself and goes through the social niceties and behaves as though it was just a fire;  a localized event. They fill him in on what exactly has happened, a full-scale nuke war. He thinks they seem like nice enough guys and he enjoys the company. When he realizes they are running low on water he even led them back to the cave he had been trapped in so they could replenish their stock.

However, when they get what water they want, they turn on him and shoot him. They leave him for dead and head back to the cargo container.

Our hero, Tom has learned a valuable lesson.When he meets new people he takes no chances; he kills. When the other poeple have him cornered he waits and watchs. When an opening presents itself he acts decisively and with no mercy.

The change in his character comes so quickly it's a little offputting, but I enjoyed not thinking about how foolish he was being to allow an enemy escape to fight another day.

The other part I didn't enjoy so much was that it was short and the first part of normal sized book ... it ended too quickly. It was a great and fun read, I recommend it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A sad day in the world of apocalyptic fiction

One of my favorite authors, Susan Beth Pfeffer of Moon Saga fame, has decided to hang up her pen for good. I'll miss you ma'am. I will always wonder what Miranda's children would make of the journal she kept when they inevitably find it.  Safe travels friend.