Tag Archives: Post-apocalism

Hoffman, Paul: The Beating of His Wings (The Left Hand of God III) (2014)

The Beating of His Wings
Cover art by Peter Bergting

The Left Hand of God trilogy has kept me thinking. I fell hard from book one and Hoffman has kept me going all the way through The Beating of His Wings. I have had to take a couple of days to digest the series properly. Hoffman’s essay at the end of The Beating of His Wings added to my thinking cauldron.

There is something devastating about having reality thrown in my face. What really started me thinking was Hoffman’s description of his Catholic school being less than two miles from Oxford. That got me thinking about my trip to New York ages ago. I’m the kind of person that easily gets distracted from staying on the short and narrow. My mom and I wandered off the beaten path a couple of blocks and started encountering the homeless. Just two blocks away from a regular business street people had to live on the street. That started me thinking about other cities where there are so many homeless that they are everywhere. Cities where the level of crime is so high and the police are part of the criminal world. Onward my thinking went to the discoveries made at the Dozier School for Boys or the abuse found to be rampant in Catholic schools and orphanages.

Back to The Beating of His Wings. What Mr. Hoffman does is hold up a mirror to society. Sure he wraps it in post-apocalyptic paper, but he is basically saying: see the world as it really is. I have friends who claim that my view of the world is too dark. After all, they themselves have not seen or experienced the underbelly of society. What my friends do not realize is that the underbelly of society is in fact the part of the ice-berg that is below water and that they live in the tiny part that remains above the water line. Perhaps one needs to experience the darker side of humanity in order to appreciate just how much space it takes. Or maybe we have to take a closer look at ourselves and our own potential for darkness. I have never really had need or my darker side once I was old enough that I realized it was there. Now, though! I might not have the abilities of the trio of Cale, Henry or Kleist, nor the power or influence of the Materazzi or Vipond, but the wells are there.

While reading all three books I have felt kinship with our trio struggling for survival. They are so incredibly damaged but no more damaged than a great many children of today. And why is the world like this? Well, in the world of Hoffman we see the old story of fanaticism and greed or corruption and power-hunger. On the side-lines are all of the victims of these four drugs, victims whose only concern is survival by any means. And who among us would be able to stay true to our morals and standards once our lives or the lives of our loved ones were on the line?

I sometimes wish the world was different, but perhaps it is as Idris Pukke says to Thomas Cale:

In the paradise that you’ve decided to believe in as your ultimate goal everything comes to you without much trouble and the turkeys fly around ready-roasted – but what would become of people even much less troublesome than you in such a happy place? Even the most pleasant-natured person would die of boredom or hang themselves or get into a fight and kill or be killed by someone who is even more driven to madness by the lack of struggle. Struggle has made us what we are and has suited us to the nature of things so that no other existence is possible. You might as well take a fish out of the sea and encourage it to fly.

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Reviews:

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  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (16 Jan 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0141042400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141042404

Gimpel, Ann: Earth’s Blood (Earth Reclaimed II) (2014)

Artist: Kelly Shorten Interior book design: Cera Smith Editor: Angela Kelly Line editor: Jenny Rarden
Artist: Kelly Shorten
Interior book design: Cera Smith
Editor: Angela Kelly
Line editor: Jenny Rarden

First of all I am going to talk about going off on tangents. My thing is words – Autism is part of me. That means that sometimes the sound of a word in my head or the way it feels in my mouth sets me off on a chase. One of the words in Earth’s Blood that set me off was Lemurian. The Lemurians are also called the Old Ones and are hated by both the Celtic gods, of which Fionn is one, and Aislinn. But the name Lemurian. It keeps on going round and round in my head. Part of it has to do with lemurs. Lemurs are soooo cute/adorable/sweet (maybe not) and all of those adjectives that we give animals that look like them. The other part was when I started looking for things to do with Lemurian on the net. Wow, there is actually a whole belief system centered around the concept (see links below). People are fascinating.

Sometimes when I read a novel one of the characters begins to annoy me. Once I realise what is happening I stop and ask myself why. This time it was Aislinn’s way of handling her situation that got to me. I was getting more and more frustrated with her until I finally stopped and looked at what it was I was projecting. Surprise, surprise. Thinking is problematic to my imagined self.

One of the things that bothered me was all of the sex between Aislinn and Fionn. This is coming from the woman who claims that she wishes there was as much sex (vanilla kind) in novels as there is action. In Earth’s Blood there is. But it bothered me and here is why: Conditioning. My child-hood religion is very orthodox. Sex is no exception to the rule. That in itself makes the whole concept of reading about it – even when it is as well written as Ms. Gimpel writes it – problematic. Oatmeal has a really great poster on the subject. It is funny and incredibly sad at the same time.

My other problem with descriptive sex was my childhood. I was sexually abused by some of my relatives and that scarred me and made sex less than fun for a long, long time (my poor husband). Once I realised what was going on in my head and emotions I could let go of the pain. Sex is good for me now. I got so turned on by some of the scenes that I dragged my husband upstairs and had some adult playtime.

The other thing that annoyed me was how volatile Aislinn was. Once again I had to stop myself from reacting and instead looked at what on earth was causing such a strong emotion in me. One of the things going on between Aislinn and Fionn was a whole lot of insecurity about their relationship from Aislinn’s side. No wonder, considering how it all came about and all of the challenges thrown their way (an understatement if there ever was one). I looked at my own insecurities when it comes to people and especially my husband. Being an autist is a challenge when it comes to a relationship – both for me and my non-autistic husband. My husband is the kind that shows his love through action and not through words. For me that is incredibly cryptic. My thinking muscles are severely challenged when trying to interpret what is going on in our relationship. We have been together 25 years, so I ought to have caught on by now, but you know – some people are just slow.

The other thing that caught me was what happened when Aislinn discovered she was pregnant and the following abortion. The myth about pregnant women being volatile is no myth. Sometimes our hormones take over completely and there isn’t much we can do about it. Add to that the new relationship between Aislinn and Finn and Aislinn just beginning to open her sealed chest of grief over her many losses in life thus far – and my feelings about Aislinn changed.

Is there action in Earth’s Blood. I realise that the above might have made you think otherwise, but there is plenty of action. Plenty, plenty, plenty. And like the sex it is detailed but not explicit (if that makes sense). The dark gods (another concept that sent me off on a tangent) and the old ones used to fight each other. But in their craving for control over the earth they have pooled their resources for the time being. Power is such a seductive thing and power is what both the Old Ones and the Dark Gods want. Power over the people and power to consume the earth’s resources.

By destroying anything to do with technology they have handicapped humans. And by killing off people without magic they have reduced the population and the potential number of people who could rise up against them. These are the creatures the Celtic gods and Aislinn and their bond animals have to fight. But when one of those Celtic gods is a dragon there is hope. Especially when that dragon does what she does best and goes off on a mission of rescue. I like Dewi. She is a cranky, self-important, stubborn, independent and insecure dragon who is terribly lonely as the only dragon left on earth. I believe she is my favorite character.

Anyways, Earth’s Blood affected me and helped me realise something about myself. That is probably one of the more important things an author can achieve. My imaginary hat off to Ann Gimpel.

I have to add one comment here. If you are one of those who struggles with talking to your teenagers about sexuality, I recommend letting them read this series. There is a lot of action and a whole lot of wholesome and fun sex in it. Sexuality is shown as something fragile in new relationships while also showing how turned on by each other people are at the beginning of a relationship.


I’ve reviewed an ARC copy, so Earth’s Blood is not out on the market yet. For a description:


My review of Earth’s Requiem


Lemuria/Lemurians (not connected to the Lemurians of the novel but I got off on a tangent.):

Stross, K.M.: The Man in Black – The Woman in White (2013)

The Man in Black-The Woman in White
Cover art by Chris Smith

The Man in Black – The Woman in White shows us what the earth could be like in almost 200 years if we keep on letting it go to pieces and allow money to rule the world.

Stross presents us with a world without hope, a dark story of loss, poverty, inequality and disinformation. The town of Present, Nebraska thinks the world works in one way, and it seems they have been intentionally kept in that belief. Maintaining this status quo is the will of the people who hold power to change the lives of the citizens of Present for the better.

One of the tools the powers that be uses to keep the people of Present in Present is lack of education and information. Another tool seems to be to allow companies to move in and “encourage” farmers to sell their land and water-rights.

Stross encourages me to question my own beliefs of right and wrong. Exactly who is the culprit and why do I consider that person to be a culprit?

Poor young Kyle, living in circumstances that quite a few young people live in today. Desertification, water shortage and hunger are all parts of the lives of young and old in certain places of the world. There, too, tools such as the ones used against Present, Nebraska are utilised. The Man in Black – The Woman in White speaks of a world that already exists for many and will probably exist for many more in the years to come.

Stross doesn’t give us a solution or an answer to the problem. I appreciate that. Having an open ending allows me as a reader to look around and see if an answer exists at all.


Reviews:



I could not find any information at all on K.M. Stross.

Rigel, L.K.: Space Junque / Hero’s Material / Samael’s Fire (Apocalypto I) (2010)

Apocalypto
Edited by Anne Frasier/Theresa Weir
Cover art by Phatpuppy (link)
Cover design by eyemaidthis

I saw the old cover for Space Junque on Rigel’s site and much preferred this one. This cover is seriously cool. Phatpuppy is on my list of favorite cover artists (she’s got her Halloween theme going right now).

Why change the title so often? Weird. Rigel explains it (I still like the above cover best):

Hero Material is a prequel, the story of how the paranormal world in the Apocalypto series replaces the old unmystical normal world. The series proper is a paranormal fantasy, and all the action is definitely on earth or within the realm of the gods.

In fact, when the paranormal elements of Hero Material nee Space Junque kick in, it’s been a shock to a lot of readers, not expecting such things in science fiction. I blame myself for too-light foreshadowing. But I blame the old cover too.

Now the name has been changed again – to Samael’s Fire.

As you see above Apocalypto is meant to be a paranormal fantasy series. Samael’s Fire is the first step on that road.

Charybdis Meadowlark is living in a post-apocalyptic version of our world where the corporations have been able to play to their heart’s content and the environment has gone down the drain. Environmental terrorists, like the DOGs, aren’t making the Earth any cleaner. When we meet Char, she is fleeing Sacramento. Her friend Mike has warned her that the DOGs are about to bomb Sacramento and that she needs to get off Earth and into space.

From the very beginning many of Char’s experiences are about fleeing one sort of trouble after the other. Trouble seems attracted to her but unlike a great majority of people Char has incredible luck in how it affects her.

Charbydis is very much our main character. The story is told from her point of view and she is the one we get to really know. The only other person we get to know fairly well is Jake. Char meets him as he sells her coffee at the coffee kiosk.

From all of the other reviews I feel certain you’ve realised that Char and Jake become an item. There is instant sexual attraction on both sides, they don’t really like each other and both are beautiful people. Like so many other novels there is a sort of love triangle.

In space there is plenty of action, a lot of explosions, some fighting and meetings with gods/goddesses and shapeshifters. These gods/goddesses are like the older type gods: norse/greek/roman = pretty selfish and fighting each other for their worshippers. It is upon meeting the gods/goddesses that the shift toward fantasy slowly happens.

Samael’s Fire is a safe and fun read both for those who do not like explicit violence and those who do not like explicit sex.


Reviews:


  • File Size: 287 KB
  • Print Length: 188 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Beastie Press (September 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041T59IY

White, Angela: Alexa’s Travels: A Prelude (2010)

Alexa's Travels
Cover design/art by Angela White

You need to begin reading the Alexa’s Travels series with Bone Dust & Beginnings. While this short-story/novella calls itself Prelude, it is not. Instead it is a continuation of the story of Alexa, part Descendant of Jesus Christ and part Fire Demon.

I am not certain if being part Fire Demon is something that is part and parcel of being a Descendant. Being one does give the “possessed” fairly cool powers. I doubt their victims would agree.

Alexa’s trusted group of men (pets as she calls them) are still stuck to her. They feel fortunate in having such a person to look after and who looks after them. Together they get to fight strange creatures and bad people.

Prelude is fairly well-written. Editing issues are few. I doubt if I am its intended audience.

White, Angela: Bone Dust & Beginnings (Alexa’s Travels) (2012)

Alexa's Travels
Cover art/design by Angela White

I started off reading Prelude, which isn’t a prelude but a continuation of Bone Dust & Beginnings. I couldn’t get a grip on what on earth Alexa was and felt annoyed at myself for not getting it. That made me splurge on USD 1.99 for BD&B.

This is young adult fiction. The author warns about mature content, but come on – the only thing US citizens thinks of as mature content is sex and there isn’t any explicit sex in this novel. There is violence but not of the mature kind.

Bizarrely enough, Alexa happens to be a descendant of Jesus Christ. She and other Descendants have been hidden from the public by the “Government”. If only they had been allowed out into the open, the world could have experienced peace. Instead people have used the Descendants for their own selfish agendas and this was a major part of why the world has become the bombed out place it has.

Alexa’s mission is to find her father, rescue the other Descendants and save the world.

Alexa seemed like an unknown after finishing BD&B. Her background was filled in, but something was missing. The novel itself was well-written with few editing issues. Bone Dust & Beginnings was a fairly good novel. I do not think I am its intended audience.

Ee, Susan: Angelfall (2012)

Cover art by Silverlute

Angelfall is Susan Ee’s debut novel and the first book in the Penryn & The End of Days series. Wow. That woman has talent. The story of Penryn’s hunt for her sister is moving and exciting. It shows how low people can stoop and high they can rise once they are thrown into chaos through war. The angels have decided to destroy civilisation as we know it and Penryn and her family are one of the many victims. The situation is not made any simpler by Penryn’s mother being schizophrenic paranoid or her little-sister Paige having to use a wheel-chair.

Penryn’s mother is nuts. She is a frightening person that comes around every once in a while. But Penryn manages to communicate with her and is the parent in their little family. She has to make all of the tough decisions.

Then they are torn apart when the angels decide to take Penryn’s little sister – all because Penryn happened to throw a sword. Now Penryn ends up saving an angel (Rafe), making a deal with him and traipsing through dangers in her search for Paige. It isn’t easy being 17 years old and stuck with this kind of life.

There is plenty of action and the author manages to get whatever messages she has across without preaching. I loved it.