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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Welcome to the Gossamer World

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

For some months I have been posting about my “Gossamer Steel” world, but now that world has evolved. Welcome to its new incarnation.

Gossamer Flames” is a series of short stories and novellas set in the post-apocalyptic world that arises after a catastrophic event leaves the planet ravaged and divided. Society is forced to adapt to a changed world where the surviving enclaves need to make use of their remaining resources. Only two regions are known to survive, Bhārata, formerly the Indian sub-continent, and The Country, comprising parts of Scandinavia. However, there are pockets of survivors in other areas, including within the desert areas of North America, in some remote mountainous regions of the Andes, and on some islands. Most of these are totally isolated from each other post the apocalypse.

The two principal enclaves of The Country (Scandinavia) and Bhārata (India sub-continent) have adopted economies that are regenerative and structured around renewable energy. Bhārata has the advantage of being built on the Republic of India’s self-reliance policy, although it is also hampered by the scale of the challenge. In The Country myths have come alive again and permeate society, but not all the forces favour re-building the world. The Ravagers, the people that pushed the technological fixes and exploitation of the Earth, are committed to destroying the greenpunk solutions that could be the future.

My 2014 posts in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge focused on various aspects in this future world, which at that point was still called Gossamer Steel, as in the Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) that provides the mystery in my cyber-crime novel “Wyrm Bait”. In the MMORPG the two main playing zones are Bhārata and The Country and the game touches on aspects of the tales.

MY BLOGGING FROM A TO Z APRIL CHALLENGE 2014 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 ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu~ V is for Vidda ~ W is for Windsong ~X is for Xerarch ~ Y is for Yggdrasil  ~ Z is for Zephyr

Although “Gossamer Steel” had a good ring as a game, I felt that I needed a different title for the series of tales. An author needs a title that doesn’t require explaining, just one that sparks interest. I suggested various options to my followers, and after assessing your feedback, Gossamer Flames seemed the most appropriate and the most popular. Warning – explanation ahead!!

Dewy Cobweb ~ by Norman Hyett

Dewy Cobweb ~ by Norman Hyett

Gossamer as in spider silk that makes such intricate webs, although technically gossamer is the silk used by spiderlings for ballooning or kiting to reach other locations. Spiders are often among the first inhabitants to recolonize a devastated area. Thus after an apocalypse Gossamer allows for new life and in my stories it also reflects the light touch of healing the planet. However, spider silk is both delicate and strong, exhibiting a unique combination of high tensile strength and extensibility. Most important, weight for weight, spider silk is stronger than steel, thus a force that cannot be ignored even amid the harshness of industrial solutions to the devastating problems remaining. Steel then is a contrast to Gossamer but I needed something even more evocative, hence ‘Flames’.

Flames have multiple meanings as in energy and passion as well as the destructive sense.  Flames can also generate ‘steam’, which covers the Steampunk’ elements in some of the tales. Flames can be both the devastating forces that threaten the world from the outset, and the passions that drive many of the characters forward towards the Renascence at the end.

~

As my Gossamer Flames tales are released, I will post more details on the new Gossamer Flames page.

 

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

*

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)

D is for Duskweald

D

D is for Duskweald: In our A to Z tour of the World of Gossamer Steel, there is an ancient woodland sacred to the Alfar or elves, which lies at the heart of The Country. Only the descendants of the horsemen of the Steppes and the Sámi reindeer herders dwell on the edge of The Duskweald, a sacred place that has become central to their beliefs and rituals. Few outsiders ever dare to venture into the trees. Duskweald is also a prestigious guild in the MMORPG ‘Gossamer Steel’.

Wikipedia says, “Dusk is the darkest stage of twilight in the evening.” In Hinduism, which is one of the significant components of Gossamer Steel, twilight is a time when some sacred ceremonies are performed, in part because the power-seeking Asuras are active. One of the most crucial festivals is Diwali, the festival of light – lights in the midst of darkness.

Weald is another word for woodland, although to me, being born and bred in Sussex, The Weald is a once wooded area between the North and South Downs in Southern England. As we live beside a wood and have done so since we married, my wife’s website is The Duskweald.

"Light In The Forest" by dan

“Light In The Forest” by dan

 

However, in my fictional world the darkest side of dusk and twilight is the end of our modern technological world, an apocalypse that involves aspects of Ragnarök or Götterdämmerung, The Doom or Twilight of the Gods. The Country is one of the few regions that survives the devastation of the world.

D is also for Dravidian pirate Devaki, captain of the hybrid-airship Garuda, and for solar array astronaut Donn Thorson, plus the mysterious doppelganger that inspires the science of Dasra Ashvin.

*

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’.

*

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array

B is for the Blood-Marked

C is for Cory

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)