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The Monster Librarian Presents:
Reviews of Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Horror Fiction
The world is ending...again. These are horror tales that describe the end of the world as we know it or are set in a future where society has broken down due to disease, ecological destruction, zombies or some other monster/monsters.
Day One by Nate Kenyon*New Review
Thomas Dunne Books, 2013
Available: Hardcover, Kindle edition
It's the end of the world as we know it--in high tech style. Nate Kenyon had already carved out a solid niche for himself in the horror genre with such quality novels as Bloodstone, The Reach, Sparrow Rock, and Diablo. Now he tackles the world of thrillers and hits a home run with his first swing. Day One is a techno-apocalyptic-cyber thriller that is more frightening than anything he has previously penned. If a comparison is necessary, think Michael Crichton mixed with Tom Clancy as told by Stephen King. Yet Day One is all Kenyon's voice, and his strongest writing to date. His narrative sings throughout, with a deft hand for action, description, and characterization, all kept at a tense pace .
John Hawke isn't having a smooth go of things lately. He's a former hacker turned technology reporter, disgraced when he leaked sensitive documents which nearly led to jail time. He and his pregnant wife are on the outs, his young son is having issues, and the neighbor in their small apartment is a ticking time bomb of a psychological mess. When John is called to take on another freelance story, he jumps at the chance.
James Weller is a guru of the Steve Jobs/Bill Gates mold, but with a side to his personality that may harbor something much darker. He appears to wish to give Hawke the scoop of the century, something that has to deal with stolen technology from Eclipse, Weller's former company. Or is it something entirely else?
Soon after the interview, technology becomes to run amok, from the comical (coffee machine and copier) to the horrific (crashing copters and cars which run their drivers to grisly deaths). Hawke exits the building to find the world he knew to be gone. The streets are overrun with crashed vehicles, fires, police who appear to have a deadly agenda, and survivors who are fading out of existence through often grisly means.
Hawke leads a small group of survivors on a mission to find Weller and the secret to surviving the apparent end of society by some type of artificial intelligence -- or is it from the hacker group Anonymous, with which Hawke was once associated? Foremost in Hawke's mind is getting back home and saving his family, but getting out of New York City is tough enough. When all travel routes are destroyed or guarded by deadly surveillance, just staying alive becomes the priority.
Whereas other techno-novels can get bogged down in science/computer speak, Kenyon somehow straddles the line of cutting-edge science and thriller-paced action. The duo of Hawke and Weller is electric, as they attempt to both survive and shut down the system which seems hell-bent on destroying the world -- at least for humans.
Day One is a fine entry into the thriller genre and hopefully, the first of many by Kenyon. Highly recommended.
Review by Dave Simms
Money For Nothing By Christopher Bair
Neuwerld Studios, 2012
Available: Hardcover, eBook(Kindle)
Money For Nothing is a science-fiction action thriller that is set in post apocalyptic, 22nd century earth. In the late 21st century, corporations and governments gobbled up the planet's resources as fast as they could, the culmination of humankind's collective greed and selfishness, leaving the population to squabble for the scraps. This was followed by numerous catastrophes. Known as the Great Tribulation, hell was unleashed on earth. Fantastical hordes of inhuman creatures emerged, and established civilizations. War covered the globe. The world was reduced to smoldering rubble.
The only way to survive is to turn mercenary, and run discreet missions for the faceless corporations. The rewards can lead to fabulous payoffs...if you live. Alec Laurence is the leader of a small mercenary group and has been at it for twenty years. He has been lucky so far, but a near-fatal mistake tells him it is time to retire. His crew is made up of a gunman, Jake; a loud-mouthed driver, Beetle; and the calculating dark elf ninja, Eizo. This is their story.
I liked this story. It was a fast read, and kept me turning the pages long after I should have retired for the night. The action sequences were very well-detailed, and flowed extremely well. The author wove the past into the present well and kept it from dragging down the flow. The voices of the characters were distinct and the dialogue felt really good. My only criticism is that the plot sometimes lost me, as the complexities got too much for me to sort out. All in all, this was a fun read! I have not read this author's work in the past. Recommended for adult readers.
Contains: Sexual Situations, Adult Language, Violence
Reviewed by Aaron Fletcher
Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles
Atria Books. 2011
Available: New hardcover, audiobook, and Kindle ebook
A couple of years ago, James Wesley Rawles hit the bookshelves with a novel that excited survivalists and action readers across the country. With all the big concept thrillers to hit the market regarding glamorous villains and "24" type conspiracies, Patriots displayed a somber reality that was all too real. Who needs Bond movie adversaries when the American system can assassinate itself?
Survivors follows that dire, claustrophobic tale on a much larger scale. How does it happen? Not through bombs, biowarfare, sleeper cells, or invasions; instead, the stock market collapses, hyperinflation kills commerce, and the power grids fail.The era of "The Crunch" has begun, as Rawles has predicted in his writings. Those who have the strong survivalist training and skills have the greatest chance to come out on top - or at least live.
The cast list for this novel includes two military characters;an army officer in Afghanistan who struggles to return home to his family when all air traffic has been halted, and an Air Force pilot aiming to save his daughter caught in riots a thousand miles away. In addition, three orphans must learn to live on the road, without the crutches of modern life.
The bad guys? Again, no surprises here. Rawles plays it straight up to reality. A provisional government wants to start up again but in a militarized, freedom-choking manner, while an organized gang seeks to set up an army of criminals to take over
Survivalist fiction has a specialized audience who will devour this book. Thriller fans of high concept, high stakes writing will also go for this novel. As in many militaristic books, characterization is a weak point, Patriots read much better with its small setting, which allowed Rawles to concentrate on just a few things. Still, it's an exciting ride that can and should scare anyone living in this country.
Review by Dave Simms
by Tim Curran
Severed Press 2010
Available New Paperback
It is every person’s worst nightmare—nuclear war—and it’s happened. Whole cities have been completely wiped off the map. Those that are left standing are quickly becoming graveyards. What’s left of the government has instituted martial law. Corpse wagons make regular pick-ups of the dead. Radiation sickness and diseases like cholera and typhus are running rampant through what’s left of the population. Rick Nash’s wife Shelly has just died of cholera. He wants to bury her properly but that’s illegal. After weeks of barely surviving, Nash is in despair and decides to commit suicide. He is stopped by a presence that he refers to as The Shape.
Nash is unceremoniously drafted by the Army to help in the disposal of diseased bodies. He meets a young man called Specs, and after multiple disagreements with the group’s leader, they revolt and head to Cleveland. There they meet Sean, a former hit man for a biker gang out of New Jersey. Sean has been hunting Trogs, people affected by radiation sickness who live in the bombed out cellars and sewers of the city and have resorted to cannibalism. In Cleveland Rick and Specs also learn about the Hatchet Clans and the Children, and have a harrowing run-in with mutated rats. They soon meet another survivor, a young woman named Janie. Rick tells Specs, Sean, and Janie about The Shape and its need for a sacrifice. After attempting to satisfy it unsuccessfully, Specs gets sick and asks to be given over to The Shape. When it finally makes an appearance they are horrified by what they see. The Shape is a living nuclear reactor that destroys its living sacrifices on a cellular level.
Rick realizes The Shape is guiding them and on some level protecting them. The group must make regular sacrifices on the night of the full moon to keep The Shape from turning on them. Along their travels west, for that is where The Shape is guiding them, they are attacked by the Children. The same radiation that killed the adults somehow turned children under the age of ten into walking nuclear waste- if they touch you, you’re dead. The group survives two different attacks by the Hatchet Clans, large groups of people believed to be infected by a fungus who kill everything in their path. During these months on the road Rick has begun having nightmares of a Medusa-like creature bent on the survivors’ destruction. He comes to the realization that all of the places they have been to and the friends they have lost have served a purpose, although he’s not completely sure what that purpose is…..until they stop in Des Moines and meet Price.
Price is a microbiologist who worked for the U.S. Army in a biological lab with Level 4 microbes—the deadliest on the planet. Price explains that not only have people and animals been mutated in some way by the radiological fallout, but germs have too. Price himself witnessed the “birth” of Ebola-X, a deadly super-virus with a 99% infection rate and a 100% mortality rate, which turns its victims into a liquefying mass of toxic waste. This terrifies Rick, and he thinks this is the connection with his nightmares and possibly The Shape, especially after Price tells him about a bioweapons lab in Nebraska. Is this what The Shape has been driving him to? And for what purpose? Tim Curran has managed to scare the hell out of me with Biohazard and there isn’t a zombie in sight. When I was fourteen years old I watched the TV movie The Day After and that scarred me for life. I feared nuclear war because it was a real possibility. Tim Curran has brought all of those fears right back and punched me in the gut with them. The words he uses to describe all that the survivors encounter along their drive west paint an extremely frightening picture from the collapse of civilization as we know it to its final destruction at the hands of a superbug. The end is terrifying and explosive and left me reeling. Biohazard is a very dark look at the aftermath of nuclear war and there is no silver lining. It’s raw and visceral and not for the faint of heart. It will reach into your gut and squeeze as hard as it can, and even when it’s over you will be left feeling queasy. Highly recommended.
Contains: violence and gore, adult language, and disturbing sexual images
Reviewed by: Colleen Wanglund
Jade by Gene O'Neill
Bad Moon Books,2010
Last September, I reviewed O'Neill's award winning collection Taste of Tenderloin. I jumped on Jade because of the strength of that book. Jade is a rare case where when I closed the book I wanted another 100 pages. This is a charming post-apocalyptic story. Yes, you read that right. O'Neill is a talented story teller through and through and this story, set in the ruins that had once been San Diego, is emotionally gripping from the first page to the last.
Since I lived in San Diego for several years, mere blocks away from one of the settings of the book, I enjoyed this book deeply. This is the story of a slightly deformed child of a post-collapse woman, named Jade. Jade was adopted by a woman who makes a living as a psychic for hire. Jade discovers she too has a talent, for communicating with and easing the stress of animals. On a personal level, some of the ways she communicates with animals I found did not work for me, since I don't view non-human animals as slaves for humans and suspect Jade might not either. Most horror fans would not feel that way, but it was my only small problem with the book. The book also looks nice. It is a limited edition with beautiful black and white illustrations.
Libraries should follow Gene O'Neill. He is a bold new voice in horror with the ability to perfectly blend the light and the darkness of horror fiction seamlessly.
Review by David Agranoff
The Bridge by John Skipp and Craig Spector a
This recently re-issued horror classic
is most easily described as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring polluted by
George Romero's The Crazies. The Bridge is right up there with the
eco-horror-science fiction classic The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner and
the more recent Demons by John Shirley in the manner in which it combines
the reality of pollution and environmental destruction with downright scary
horror. At the time The Bridge was written, John Skipp and Craig Spector
were the ultimate splatterpunk writing team, and wrote the most extreme horror
novels to grace the New York times bestseller list in the 1980's. In addition,
they wrote set reports for Fangoria, a novelization for the movie "Fright
Night", and a sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street (the fifth film).The
team long ago split, and both authors are doing excellent work independently of
The Bridge is set in Paradise, Pennsylvania, a small town near a nuclear reactor. For years a a small salvage company has used the the same bridge to dump unwanted waste into the river that flows by the city. One nigh,t a barrel cracks open in the river, setting off a chain of events. At times the novel follows the news crew trying to follow the story, the family responsible for the waste, the CEO of the company who created it, the crew running 911, and the nuclear reactor. Terror creeps across the town and every single page is entertaining.
The Bridge is an amazing example of horror. There is little doubt that this novel is Skipp and Spector's masterpiece. Less dated than The Scream or Light at the End, both excellent novels of their era, The Bridge elevates splatterpunk to the lofty arena of literary horror. Although this writing duo is responsible for other fine works of horror, this one is head and shoulders above the rest. It is one of the best horror novels of the 1990's.
What makes The Bridge such an essential horror novel? First, Skipp and Spector shred the rules of the genre set up to guide young writers. They have the skills to get away with violating the rules. They create lots of characters and shift point of view all over the place, often using this technique with razor sharp punchlines that end chapters or transition the action from one location to another. They speak directly to the reader often in this novel and some times just slightly break down the fourth wall. Some readers might find this preachy but considering the topic of the novel that doesn't bother me. It excited me that the authors were boldly telling it like it is.
Another aspect that sets The Bridge apart is the obvious heavy lifting Skipp and Spector did in research. This novel came out in 1991, Al Gore had not created the internet. This book has detailed information on toxic waste, pollution, the operation of 911, Hazmat clean-up, on and on. It breathes realism into this novel.
The characters are rich, their motivations believable and the horror climbs a ladder of suspense. As British petroleum creates the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history (40 days in at the time of this writing) The Bridge could not be more relevant for reissue. This is more than just another horror novel: it is an entertaining thrill ride that happens also to be a warning with incredible foresight.
The Bridge is a mass market paperback, and I am afraid that libraries avoid these books. A trade paperback or pretty looking hardcover might do a better job of conveying the importance of this novel, but it should be in every collection. It's that good.
Contains violence, sexuality, drug use and adult themes.
Review by David Agranoff
Doc Good's Traveling Show by Gene O'Neill
Bad Moon Books, 2009
Available: New and Used
This futuristic, post-apocalyptic short story by Gene O'Neill tells the
tale of the two Freemen brothers, who are hoping to make a life for themselves
beyond the Great Central Desert of Cal Wild by joining Doc Good's traveling
circus. Drake and his mute brother Littlejoe audition their special talents for
Doc Good at the San Fran Ruins and are promptly hired to join Good's troupe. As
time passes, the two brothers mature, fall in love, and experience heart
O'Neill does not go into great detail about what caused "the Collapse". However, enough information is provided for the reader to glean that this future world has drastically changed from today, and is comprised of very distinct class structures, engineering wonders, and much more draconian forms of punishment for lawbreakers, as Drake and Littlejoe discover.
A wide range of readers of any age will enjoy Doc Good's Traveling Show. However, those who have a taste for science fiction will appreciate this short tale more than strictly horror buffs.
Review by Kelly Fann
A Catch in Time by Dalia Roddy
Medallion Press, 2010
Available: Preorder (April 1st)
Two worldwide blackouts, occurring just days apart from each other, change humanity forever. The immediate changes are a huge drop in the world’s population, resulting from mass casualties, and the utter chaos that results from an almost complete collapse of civilization. During those blackouts, something happened, though; knowledge was passed on, but most people don’t remember. A handful of people do remember and struggle with that knowledge and with trying to get others to understand. Others became mentally unstable after the blackouts.
A small group of people band together to try and survive in the new chaos: Eli and Josiah; Laura, Kate, and Catherine; and John Thomas and Lucas. They all follow their instincts and leave California together, becoming almost a family. Mack, Conrad, and Ali also decide to travel together in the name of survival; but something is not right with Mack. Conrad and Ali soon find out what that something is and abandon Mack to his own devices.
Six years after the blackouts, what’s left of humanity has adapted to the new circumstances. Societies are now centered on religion, and there are many religious sects dividing up everything, even former countries. Mutations to animals, plant life, and the babies being born since the blackouts have led to the widespread belief that humanity is being punished by God. A leading sect in that belief is The Brotherhood, which actually executes people they believe to be Shaitan, or the evil ones. Religious leaders are playing on peoples’ fear and paranoia. Is there anyone who knows what really happened? More importantly, can anything be done to stop the seeming reversal of civilization and life?
Dalia Roddy weaves a fantastic story that, at its core, asks the questions people have always had about life: Why are we here? How are we here? Is there life after death? What is the meaning of life? I really felt for these characters and what they were going through. Ms. Roddy describes a frightening world that exists after the blackouts. I thoroughly enjoyed A Catch in Time, although I would have liked to have seen more about The Brotherhood and what they had done to become so prominent a group. What made them so powerful and threatening? I got the sense that they were modeled on the Nazis of WWII, but I felt Ms. Roddy stopped short of more in-depth descriptions of the group and their activities. I also wondered how an important character in the story arrived at his position when we meet up with him again. Overall, though, I did enjoy the story. I would recommend it to anyone.
Contains: Mild use of language; mild gore
Review by Colleen Wanglund
Empty World by John Christopher
Penguin Young Readers, 1978
First published in 1977, Empty World was written by Samuel Youd, using the pen name John Christopher. I first read this book, near as I can recall, in 1983 or thereabouts. It was just after I had finished off reading the comic version of his Tripods trilogy that had been serialized in Boy’s Life magazine. Empty World was the first “real” book I read with a post-apocalyptic theme. As such, it will always have a place in my heart.
Neil Miller is a young lad living in England. His parents having recently been killed in a car accident, he is living with his grandparents. As the story unfolds, we learn there is a new plague rising up in India. It starts out fatally affecting the elderly and soon starts working down the age range. As it sweeps the globe, this disease is killing off all but the young. Essentially, it ages the body very quickly, so that a person in their late teens dies of “old age” in a matter of days.
Neil’s grandparents soon succumb to the virus, along with everyone else around Neil. Running low on food, Neil eventually decides to leave and look for other survivors. Along the way, he meets Clive, who has become mentally unhinged due to the stress of the pandemic, as well as two young girls.
This book fits very well into the "cozy catastrophe" category of post-apocalyptic fiction. These are stories where all but a handful of humanity has perished and the survivors set about creating a new society. Although it was written for young adults, I found it just as enjoyable when I reread it a few months ago. It holds up pretty well for being over thirty years old.
No blazing gun battles, no hot women in need of rescuing (and their subsequent thanks given to the hero). Just one young man, scared and mostly alone, making his way across an abandoned English countryside.
Very well done.
Review by Jim Cobb check out Jim's other reviews at SurvivalWeekly.com
The Day Before by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow
Bad Moon Books, 2009
The Day Before is the second collaboration between
two of my favorite authors, John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow. Alone, they write
the kind of books that deserve protective gear and would give Tipper Gore a
reason to call for congressional hearings. Their first book together, Jake's
Wake, was based on Skipp's idea, and was penned by Skipp as a screenplay
before Cody added his half of the ingredients. The Day Before represents
the first Skipp and Goodfellow book that was spitballed by the team.
Post-apocalyptic fiction is my favorite horror sub-genre, so to say I was
excited to read it is an understatement.
The story begins six months after warheads have rained down upon America. Hollywood elites who were vacationing off the coast of Southern California on Catalina Island, along with their staff and personal trainers at the time of the attacks, are riding out the apocalypse in peace until they are raided by the Navy for food and supplies. Things look bleak for our narrator, writer-director Peter Kornberg, who is on the island working on his comeback script. He is ready to waste away when a submarine shows up, captained by producer Julian Harvey. Harvey is the producer who fired Kornberg, but now he is here with a crew and an offer, for Kornberg to write and direct the last film of the human race as the world dies around them. In the crater that was once Los Angeles, Kornberg struggles like a post-nuclear Coppola to finish his "apocalypse now". His crew has to fight off biker gangs, his leading actors are so filled with radiation their hair is coming out, and still he is getting stupid notes from his producer.
The Day Before is one-third Road Warrior, with the other two-thirds being like Doctor Strangelove and Tropic Thunder. A short but fantastic satire of all things LA, its biggest shortcoming is its short length. The Day Before is a quick read told in short, snappy chapters, and balances dark and comic tones throughout. The tone varies from silly and hilarious to poignant.
This novella gives the middle finger to Hollywood, and I am not sure it will help Skipp get in Hollywood's good graces, but I would be first in line to see a film of this. For fans of cheap Italian end-of-the-world movies where a few nuclear warheads are all that stands between civilization and roving mohawked cannibal gangs in spiked muscle cars, you have found your novel.
Libraries need this book for the simple reason that this is the kind of cult bizarro novel that will one day be considered a classic crossover of humor and horror.
Review by David Agranoff
The Damned by William Ollie
Published by Morningstar Press, 2008
Available: New and used
Seven weeks after an altercation during rush hour traffic, Scott Freeman wakes up in a world he doesn't recognize. The sky is a constant grey, corpses are rotting in the street, and he seems to be the only person left alive. That is until he sees a group of bikers roasting a woman, is rescued by an ex-circus midget, and teams up with a beautiful survivor of what seems to be The Rapture. Now all Scott wants to do is find out if his wife is still alive, while avoiding the crazed bikers and their leader, Dub, who wants to create a new government in his own image.
With The Damned, William Ollie has written one hell of a debut novel. Fascinating characters abound in a beautifully (or horrifically) detailed, post-apocalyptic world. There are two intermingling stories: that of Scott Freeman, who must avoid and conquer many obstacles on his journey home, and that of Dub, the gang leader who hopes to his own twisted type of order. Ollie has a clean style which he uses to describe a frightening world, filled with richly detailed personalities. Although Scott Freeman is the hero of the story, he can sometimes be arrogant, while some of the vicious bikers, on occasion, garner sympathy. The action is almost non-stop, with hardly a moment to catch your breath before the next violent attack or harrowing escape.
I look forward to William Ollie's next book and highly recommend this novel for any collection.
Contains: Strong violence, gore, cannibalism, and language.
Review by Erik Smith
Armageddon’s Children by Terry Brooks
Del Rey, 2007
Armageddon’s Children is the first book of a trilogy dealing with the cataclysmic events that created the fantasy world of Shannara. The story takes place in our near future, a bleak and dismal time. War and pollution have destroyed the environment, creating a world that is no longer hospitable to men. To make things worse, demons are scouring the world, looking to exterminate the human race. The remaining humans have moved into sports arenas, thinking the high walls will shut out the dangers plaguing the rest of the world. Children are surviving on the streets in gangs, calling themselves tribes. Meanwhile, the Knights of the Word, magic wielders trying to save the human race, are fighting the demons to protect the few survivors. Armageddon’s Children is a true pleasure to read from the first page to the last. The characters are captivating in a way that makes the reader really care about what happens to them, the action is non-stop, and the story itself flows from scene to scene in a way that makes it hard to put down. Reader’s advisory note: Armageddon’s Children is a good choice for Terry Brooks fans, and also for those readers with a penchant for fantasy tales and apocalyptic stories. Recommended for public libraries’ horror or fantasy collections, and high school library media centers.
Review by Bret Jordan
Jesus Freaks by Andre Duza
Deadite Press, 2006
The world begins to crumble when a plane crashes in a wooded area and the dead begin to rise out of their graves and walk the earth, the first of many signs that the end of the world is near and that Jesus has returned to earth. Or is it Jesus? A second man professing to be the Son of God also appears in the world and the two seem to be at odds with one another. Detective Phillip “Kane” Makane doesn’t believe that either of the men is Jesus, but finding the evidence will be more difficult and stranger than he could ever have imagined. Jesus Freaks is an interesting apocalyptic tale told in a uniquely stylish fashion; with hand-written diaries, illustrations, and movie script-like segments. The story is perhaps the most unique zombie tale on the market today. Though zombies are a major part of the story, the mystery of the two Jesus’ weighs in almost as strongly, and the odd entity that jumps from body to body in much of this story could almost count as a third aspect of horror for this tale. This story starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up. Recommended for the adult horror section of a library, particularly a library building a zombie or apocalyptic collection.
Contains: Violence, Gore, Rape, Necrophilia
Review by Bret Jordan
Skimming the Gumbo Nuclear by M.F. Korn
Eraserhead Press, 2001
Available: New and Used
Skimming the Gumbo Nuclear, set in New Orleans, is what could best be described as a localized apocalyptic tale. In this tale, pollution from various industrial sources, refineries and a nuclear power plant has mutated both local wildlife and some of the surrounding population, creating a new breed of deadly eels and a group of cannibalistic zombies. Ricky Harrison, a college student who comes upon the deadly eels, starts to fall to pieces, seeking solace in drink. As the eels and other mutations proliferate, Ricky crosses paths with Kendra Hoerst, a graduate student in biology who Has discovered that the eels represent greater danger than anyone has imagined. Together, they try to survive the increasing chaos in New Orleans and southern Louisiana, now overrun with vicious escaped convicts, zombies, and mutant eels. M.F. Korn has a good imagination and has come up with an interesting premise in this tale of the world gone to hell. He creates vivid scenes that exhibit an insider’s knowledge of the story’s setting, and draws effective portraits of many of the secondary characters. However, the overall execution of the story is flawed. The story doesn’t really take off until a third of a way through the book, although when the action takes off it is nonstop. However, his verbosity and use of language distract from the impact of events and may confuse readers, motivations of the main characters often seem unclear, and the overall story does not flow well. However, those with the patience to get beyond these flaws may be rewarded in the second half of the book, which pulls no punches in its violence, gore, and shock. Contains violence, gore, and rape(including the rape of a nun).
Alfred A. Knopf, 2006
Available: New and Used
The Road centers on a man and his son as they travel a road across a desolate wasteland. Their goal is to reach the coast in the hopes of finding a warmer climate and a better life. They journey through a cold twilight world covered in ash where virtually every animal is extinct and the structures of humanity are deteriorating shells. The travelers look madness in the eye when they run into others who are teetering on the brink, and witness atrocities that are almost unimaginable as they face starvation and sickness at every turn. The Road is by far the bleakest post-apocalyptic novel that I have ever read. The man and boy are in a hopeless struggle to survive each day, a struggle that they seem bound to lose, and along with them the rest of the planet. The Road is a very powerful book with a wonderful, heart-touching and desperate story. This book seems to be written to be read in short increments. Although there are no chapters, there is at least one break point on each page. The dialogue is bland, yet powerful. Not much is said in words, but so much is said between the words of this book. The Road is almost a must for any library, public or private, that has an apocalyptic section. Review by Bret Jordan
Contains: Violence, gore.
The Bridge by
John Skipp and Craig Spector
Spectra, September, 1991
The Bridge is a well-written tale of apocalyptic eco-horror. It tells of a new vile entity which has been spawned from toxic waste dumped off of a local bridge, that seeks to end the world. It is a lengthy tale of 397 pages, but the story captivates the reader. There are plenty of interesting characters introduced through out the story and most die in horrifying way. I would consider The Bridge part of the core of a section of apocalyptic horror, however the book is currently only available used. One of the neat and fun features of the book is an appendix that includes various environmental friendly tips, tricks and resources. Contains: Violence
Skeletons by Al Sarrantonio
Batam Books, 1992
Skeletons is one of those books that might have ended up in the Zombie category but belongs here at the End of the World. In Skeletons, the Earth has fallen into the path of a galactic plane of space dust, this space dust causes skeletons of the dead both long past and recent to rise and kill the living. This book is different than the usual zombie attack book, because the skeletons don't just wipe out the living, they fight amongst themselves. Great leaders and warriors from the past such as Abe Lincoln, General Lee, Grant, and Khan return in skeletal form and fight amongst each other. Mean while the remaining pockets of humanity are left trying to survive in this new world overrun by the skeletons. This is a very imaginative story that makes a great read, the story flows well and Sarrantonio does a stellar job of flushing out his characters including the skeleton of Abe Lincoln. Recommended Contains: Violence
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