Is there life or death in the Apocalypse?

Different World ~ Image courtesy of manostphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Different World ~ Image courtesy of manostphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you prepared for the apocalypse? Or have you been scared off?

On the one hand some people, especially agents, have had enough – or so they say. Yet, there are still books and movies in the apocalypse genre being released – e.g: The Colony. Is the genre going through an operatic death as the back-log dries up? Lead times in production are long, so in a year or two the apocalypse could have gone the way of vampires. What can we believe?

Unless it becomes reality – no longer the stuff of speculation.

I say this because I realise that I’ve been committing the mortal sin of writing in a supposedly dying genre. So what do I do? Admit that I’ve erred big time? Put the manuscript on a back burner for a few years? Turn it into a romantic comedy?

I keep wondering whether I can simply redefine it by changing the frame of reference. It’s not really post-apocalypse. Yes, there is a global disaster and society is breaking down. But there is hope. There are relationships. It goes beyond survival. But I’m not a hardened science fiction writer, who has ready every book in the genre. I’m an eclectic reader, hopping from mysteries, to fantasies, to historicals.

Apocalypse ~ Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apocalypse ~ Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Of course, apocalypse has got a bad press – blame Hollywood. It’s often seen as the end of the world, a cosmic cataclysm as described in the Book of Revelation – or rather that’s the simplistic interpretation. According to the online Oxford English Dictionary the word originates from “…Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal’, from apo- ‘un-‘ + kaluptein ‘to cover’.”

So it’s all about a revelation – as the Book says. In a useful examination of the genre Fantasy Faction said, “The term apocalypse originally did not mean mass extinction, destruction and death, but rather related to enlightenment in a biblical sense. And before that, the term translated as “a great change.” 

Might be worth looking forward to – once we’ve got beyond War, Pestilence, Famine, and Death – plus zombies, aliens, Justin Bieber, and Kim Jong II.

Maybe my take is different enough from all those that have trod the path of apocalypse before me – not that I have read all the books in the genre… too many given my reading speed. For a pretty comprehensive list, see Michael White’s Chronological list.

I can claim to have read some of the definitive novels, such as John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, Arthur C Clarke’s Childhood’s End, John Christopher’s No Blade of Grass, and Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley.

Apocalypse ~ Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apocalypse ~ Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My attempt is called ‘Storm’s Compass’ and the collection of short stories will be Book 1 of The Gossamer Flames Saga. Provisional blurb is:

“What lies ahead when the world is devastated by a solar storm? Who will choose to build the future?

Eight tales of unfolding disaster have repercussions that will affect posterity. From the arid deserts of India and the United States, to the wild beauty of Norway, the future could be sown.

Storm’s Compass is post-apocalyptic fiction, with folklore in the shadows and greenpunk in the workings.”

What do you feel is the future of the apocalypse/post-apocalypse genre? Does ‘Storm’s Compass’ sound enthralling? Do you want to be among the beta readers?

Please tell me what you think in the comments.

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T is for Technology

T

T is for Technology: In the world of Gossamer Steel the resource-hungry technology of the 20th century has been forced to give way to low impact technologies with innovations that lean towards steampunk, solarpunk and greenpunk.

Wikipedia says, “Technology (from Greek τέχνη, techne, “art, skill, cunning of hand”; and -λογία, -logia) is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments…”

From the wheel to cybernetics, technology has been used for both the positive advancement of society, and for the exploitation of people and destruction of the environment. Most of these technological advances have been since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th Century, although prior to that there were some pivotal advances made in many parts of the world. However, the rapid advance in technological progress has depleted many precious finite resources. With the growing threat of global warming, another approach is needed and humanity already holds the knowledge to apply beneficial technology, like alternative energy sources, to advance forwards. [See also E is for Energy & M is for Mojave]

Printing press from 1811. ~ Photographed in Deutsches Museum Munich, Germany

Printing press from 1811. ~ Photographed in Deutsches Museum Munich, Germany

T is also for Tamil, the inhabitants of the southern areas of Bhārata (India sub-continent), and followers of the Dravidian League.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr

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The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

P is for Punk

P

P is for Punk: P should have been all about Punk as in Steampunk, solarpunk, greenpunk, and even elfpunk, which are all part of Gossamer Steel.

But instead…

P is for Positive thinking, Plagued by Pathetic failure to Provide Phonic Provision = Pissed off with Phone-Internet company = BT have told us it will be mid-June before our Phone & internet is installed = Preposterous.

Also P is for PlusNet, a light in our tunnel we hope.

iRetrofone - Steampunk iPhone Handset

iRetrofone – Steampunk iPhone Handset

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native ~ O is for Outcasts

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

G is for Garuda

G

G is for Garuda: The Garuda (from the Sanskrit: Garuḍa गरुड or “devourer”) is a large mythical bird or bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. In the world of ‘Gossamer Steel’ it exists in the self-reliant land of Bhārata, where myth and a greenpunk solutions exist alongside each other. An airship called Garuda, piloted by Captain Devaki, is essential to the exploits of Dravidian pirates. Garudas also play a central role in the cyber-mystery ‘Wyrm Bait’, appearing in the ‘Gossamer Steel’ MMORPG in the climactic in-game battle.

Appearing in several legends and venerated all over South East Asia, the Garuda is the mount of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism but has his own independent scriptures. In Buddhism, the Garudas are a race of winged beings that were the enemies of the Nagas, serpent beings, until the Buddha made peace between them. Both Thailand and Indonesia use the Garuda in various forms as their national symbols, including the sign of the Thai Royal family, and in stylised form as the logo of Garuda Indonesia, the national airline of Indonesia.

"Garuda Statue" by antpkr

“Garuda Statue” by antpkr

G is also for Gliders, engine-less heavier-than-air craft, capable of sustained flight. With recreational, sport and military applications, they have ranged from solo use to landing military units with equipment; although the latter have been superseded by helicopters and short-take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft.

Towed into the air or carried by a plane as payload, then released, glider’s aerodynamic shape allows them to remain aloft longer. Certain types can climb and soar using updrafts and thermals, in the same was as large gliding birds, such as owls and hawks, which are often seen circling inside a thermal to gain altitude without flapping their wings.

For sport/recreation there are three types of gliders, sailplanes, hang-gliders and para-gliders, although the latter are used by the military for dropping troops into remote areas. The latter two are primarily solo craft are either made of an aluminium alloy or composite-framed fabric wing, or are wing-shaped parachutes. They are light and manoeuvrable enough to be launched by the user from a high location such as a hill or cliff. In one Gossamer Steel tale, Captain Devaki uses a hybrid hang/para-glider that is more akin to the aerobatic wings used for Parabatix.

Hang Glider ~ Image courtesy of Dominic Harness / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hang Glider ~ Image courtesy of Dominic Harness / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In our tour of the Gossamer Steel world, G is also for giants, goblins, gremlins, gnomes, ghosts, protagonist Niels Gundersson and the antagonist Hubert Green.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

E is for Energy

E

E is for Energy: After the apocalypse that creates the Gossamer Steel world, the role of oil as an energy source diminishes rapidly as the means to produce and distribute its derivatives are devastated. The surviving enclaves are forced to turn to alternative energy sources, primarily solar, wind and the waves. There is also a powerful atmospheric charge to be tapped from The Storm that continues to divide the world and create Electro-magnetic interference.

All these renewables, except atmospheric charge, are viable today. The uptake on renewable sources depends on many factors, not least the individual country’s government and public opinion. The United Kingdom is the world’s leading generator of offshore wind power, and is currently seeing a healthy growth in onshore wind generation, while in the United States the favoured renewables varies from state to state. According to Wikipedia sources, “In 2010 renewable energy accounted for 17% of total energy consumption. Biomass heat accounted for 11%, and hydropower 3%…” “…In international public opinion surveys there is strong support for promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power, requiring utilities to use more renewable energy (even if this increases the cost), and providing tax incentives to encourage the development and use of such technologies. There is substantial optimism that renewable energy investments will pay off economically in the long term…”

English: Wind turbines in a rapeseed field in Sandesneben, Germany ~ Jürgen at Flickr

English: Wind turbines in a rapeseed field in Sandesneben, Germany by Jürgen at Flickr

Our industrialised society will continue to devour fossil fuels at an enormous rate, despite climate change and high oil prices, but inevitably they will run out. But will the Ravagers of Gossamer Steel destroy the world first? Or will an apocalypse herald a new fossil fuel-free world? A greenpunk future?

United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that renewable energy has the ability to lift the poorest nations to new levels of prosperity. Thus, in Gossamer Steel, one of the leading enclaves is India.

"King Of Nagas & Kylin Carving On Teak" by kornnphoto

“King Of Nagas & Kylin Carving On Teak” by kornnphoto

E in our A to Z tour of the  Gossamer Steel world is also for the elves/elfes or Alfar; for the Elementals that are intrinsic to the Blood-marked and possess supernatural powers; and for Etiäinen, spirits summoned by Finnish shaman.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array

B is for the Blood-Marked

C is for Corylus Avellana

D is for Duskweald

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel’, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel  ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

A to Z Challenge ~ Is the truth out there?

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

Tomorrow I start the A to Z Challenge, the brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out. (Although this was written in February just before we lost our Internet). 

The A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. We can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day. 

As my theme I have chosen ‘The World of Gossamer Steel’, which is the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas, that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ,Wyrm Bait’. Some of the tales are fantasy, while others have steampunk elements. However, this is a post-apocalyptic world where survival depends on taking the remains of consumer society and rebuilding with a new vision. Alongside this green or solar punk, there are areas where myths have come alive.

Beware though, the central theme of my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’ is deception. Do you really know who you are interacting with online? Who are you? Who am I? What am I?  Can you believe anything you read?