Welcome back to the Friday Fiction Feature! I’m Tabatha Hanly (Research Assistant/minion to Dr. Schillace), and this week we’re exploring five versions of the dark, twisted aftermath of the post-apocalyptic world. So maybe you’ll want to curl up with a nice cup of tea and a teddy bear or two to remind you that it’s all okay…for now! mwahahahaha!
(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Today we’ll begin with Metro 2033, not only a great read, but also the reason for this week’s apocalyptic theme (beacuse a freind who is reading it has been constantly informing me that it is such a great book!). In Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky, M. David Drevs (Übersetzer) The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boundaries, they say, lie endless burned-out deserts and the remains of splintered forests. Survivors still remember the past greatness of humankind. But the last remains of civilisation have already become a distant memory, the stuff of myth and legend. More than 20 years have passed since the last plane took off from the
earth. Rusted railways lead into emptiness. The ether is void and the airwaves echo to a soulless howling where previously the frequencies were full of news from Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires. Man has handed over stewardship of the earth to new life-forms.
Mutated by radiation, they are better adapted to the new world. Man’s time is over. A few score thousand survivors live on, not knowing whether they are the only ones left on earth. They live in the Moscow Metro – the biggest air-raid shelter ever built. It is humanity’s last refuge. Stations have become mini-statelets, their people uniting around ideas, religions, water-filters – or the simple need to repulse an enemy incursion. It is a world without a
tomorrow, with no room for dreams, plans, hopes. Feelings have given way to instinct – the most important of which is survival. Survival at any price. VDNKh is the northernmost inhabited station on its line. It was one of the Metro’s best stations and still remains secure. But now a new and terrible threat has appeared. Artyom, a young man living in VDNKh, is given the task of penetrating to the heart of the Metro, to the legendary Polis, to
alert everyone to the awful danger and to get help. He holds the future of his native station in his hands, the whole Metro – and maybe the whole of humanity.
Now that we’ve begun with this chipper novel, let’s continue down the rabbit hole (or rather, metro rails) into more horrifying visions of the end of the world! (Mwahahahahah… okay I’ll stop that now…I promise). Next up is our oldest contribution for the day, The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. In 1951 John Wyndham published his novel The Day of the Triffids to moderate acclaim. Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic, touted by The Times (London) as having “all the reality of a vividly realized nightmare.” Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.
Now we’ll move away from the man-made destruction…and into natural disasters with The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard. In the 21st century, fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the ice-caps to melt and the seas to rise. Global temperatures have climbed, and civilization has retreated to the Arctic and Antarctic circles. London is a city now inundated by a primeval swamp, to which an expedition travels to record the flora and fauna of this new Triassic Age. This early novel by the author of CRASH and EMPIRE OF THE SUN is at once a fast paced narrative, a stunning evocation of a flooded, tropical London of the near future and a speculative
foray into the workings of the unconscious mind.
With Dead City, Joe McKinney brings us another watery apocalypse,
but this time, with Zombies! Texas? Toast. Battered by five cataclysmic hurricanes in three weeks, the Texas Gulf Coast and half of the Lone Star State is reeling from the worst devastation in history. Thousands are dead or dyingbut the worst is only beginning. Amid the wreckage, something unimaginable is happening: a deadly virus has broken out, returning the dead to lifewith an insatiable hunger for human flesh… The Nightmare Begins Within hours, the plague has spread all over Texas. San Antonio police officer Eddie Hudson finds his city overrun by a voracious army of the living dead. Along with a small group of survivors, Eddie must fight off the savage horde in a race to save his family… Hell On Earth There’s no place to run. No place to hide. The zombie horde is growing as the virus runs rampant. Eddie knows he has to find a way to destroy these walking horrors…but he doesn’t know the price he will have to pay…
In what seems to be a fitting sequel to Dead City twenty years later, we bring you The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell. Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free. For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can’t remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.
And last but not least, I present a book I have heard called “the worst book I’ll ever read cover to cover” (no offence) bearing the best title I have seen in quite a while: Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler. Mortimer Tate was a recently divorced insurance salesman when he holed up in a cave on top of a mountain in Tennessee and rode out the end of the world. Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse begins nine years later, when he emerges into a bizarre landscape filled with hollow reminders of an America that no longer exists. The highways are lined with abandoned automobiles; electricity is generated by
indentured servants pedaling stationary bicycles. What little civilization remains revolves around Joey Armageddon’s Sassy A-Go-Go strip clubs, where the beer is cold, the lap dancers are hot, and the bouncers are armed with M16s. Accompanied by his cowboy sidekick Buffalo Bill, the gorgeous stripper Sheila, and the mountain man Ted, Mortimer journeys to the lost city of Atlanta–and a showdown that might determine the fate of humanity.