There must be a word that describes what I feel when I settle myself on the sofa, only to remember that my Kindle is fully read.
Betrayed, perhaps? By a source of interest and entertainment and joy that I have bonded with so closely, and taken great care of, yet has nothing for me at the end of the day. Of course it is an inanimate object, and I am completely responsible. Of course I should be pleased to have finished everything I’d lined up, and proud to have published another dozen reviews… But in that moment I realize that I haven’t actually published the reviews, and I’ve been so swept up in the stories, swallowing one after another, that I’ve forgotten the detail needed to write said reviews. Doh!
The good news is that I have been reading in the dystopian genre for many years now, such that recurring themes have overlapped and blurred the edges, and the specifics are now all intertwined in my mind. My brain has trained itself to learn non-fiction only, preserving fiction as an experience of pure entertainment: However deep the love, it is still fleeting, as I move right on to devote myself to the next. All this means I can read each one again, being surprised and enjoying them just as much the second time around. Mostly, anyway.
But I’m not in the mood for that right now: I want another binge-bulk purchase. I want to go online and crank up the downloads so that I can indulge unhindered for another month or so. Oh yeah! A convenient and awesome distraction for whenever I feel guilty about not writing my own work. Er. Moving on…
But what to buy this time? I’ve just about exhausted the catalogs of all my favorite authors, so it’s time to check out what everyone else is reading. Here’s what I found in Amazon’s Best-seller list for the Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction genre:
- Trackers: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Series by Nicholas Sansbury Smith.
“Ripped from the headlines, the explosive new Trackers series is a hard-hitting and realistic depiction of what a North Korean EMP attack might look like at a time when the threat has never been more real.”
So far there are three books published in this series, with a fourth available for pre-order. The reviews are generally very positive, but the plot idea really does seem a bit too plausible right now. I’ll be all over this at some other time, but right now I want to relax.
2. Getting Out: A Post-Apocalyptic EMP Survival Thriller (The EMP Book 1) by Ryan Westfield
This one has an overall reviewer rating of 4.3/5 stars, and although the featured reviews are not quite as effusive in their descriptions as they are for Trackers, they are giving good ratings, and the book is obviously doing well. So far, there are no subsequent books listed for this series, so it doesn’t really meet my criteria for a binge buy. Also, it’s another EMP story, so my search continues…
“The end of the world brings out the best and worst in all of us. With no communication and no word from the government, the Sloanes find themselves grappling with the end of the modern world all on their own. Will Madison and her friends have what it takes to make it back to Sacramento and her family? Can Tracy fend off looters and thieves and help her friends and neighbors survive?
… After the EMP [is] a post-apocalyptic thriller series following the Sloane family and their friends as they attempt to survive after a geomagnetic storm destroys the nation’s power grid.”
There are five books in this series. The featured reviewers seemed to appreciate Tate’s characters and the method by which he delivered the characters’ perspectives. But wow, the EMP premise really is popular right now!
4. Code Breakers Complete Series: Books 1 – 4 by Colin F. Barnes
According to the book description, “Code Breakers has been one of the highest rated sci fi series on Amazon for the last four years, with over a million downloads and conversion into an RPG setting. Containing all four novels of the series, this box set will delight fans of gritty post-apocalyptic fiction, with a cyberpunk flavor… Barnes has injected the world full of interesting characters, AIs, droids, and advanced tech in a post-cataclysmic setting where the very idea of freedom has to be fought for.”
Well that’s different! The featured reviewers are reasonably consistent in noting fast paced action that stretched their imaginations. Okay, we are getting there…
5. The Stand by Stephen King, Audible version narrated by Grover Gardner.
When I clicked the product link in the search results, there was a notice that the Audible version was not available to me, and for some reason I was unable to link to the Kindle edition. Hmmm. Therefore I’ve switched here to the paperback version.
There seems to always be something in the way of me reading The Stand. It’s appalling, I know, that I have not yet read it. How can I call myself a fan of this genre if I have not even opened what almost everyone refers to as the greatest classic?
I’ve read the product description before, of course: “Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and tangled in an elemental struggle between good and evil remains as riveting and eerily plausible as when it was first published.
A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.”
Now this is right up my alley. And, having made it through the links, I have no excuse not to read it this time. So, I have #1 for my list.
6. Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy Book 1) by Jeff VanderMeer
The product description is surprising: “Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.”
I’m not sure what to make of this. My mind wants to make assumptions: To guess at other-worldly intervention and remember the set of the TV show, Lost. But my mind is likely wrong, and I’m intrigued enough to add this as #2 on my list, even though the reviewers often claimed that the ideas in this story were undersold. That’s okay: Whilst I like to scan the reviews, I prefer to make up my own mind.
7. Return of Victory: A Kurtherian Gambit Series (Reclaiming Honor Book 8) by Justin Sloan and Michael Anderle
I’m not sure how this book turned up in my genre of choice. According to the description on its Amazon page, this novel is also categorised as being about ‘werewolves and shifters’ and ‘vampires’. Although supernatural is not my thing, I may as well check out the book description though:
“The future of the world is in their hands, and they will set it right. Valerie has returned to New York in a time of reckoning. When an enemy declares war on her and her friends, there’s no holding back. The whole gang reunites for a fight-fest of epic proportions that promises to determine the fate of their lands once and for all.
Honor. Justice. Glory. These are the trademarks of this new world. These are the lynchpins she and hers have set in place, and they refuse to let anyone try to break them down. The princess has returned, and she will have her Victory.”
Whilst there might be some cross-genre context, I’m thinking this falls rather more heavily in a fantasy category. In case others are interested though, I will mention that the first-named author has a lot of other work in his catalogue. For this book, there are only twenty reviews on the product page at this time, and they are all 5-stars, but that’s rather consistent across the older titles I looked at too. Wow! I should partner up to produce my own writing better and faster. (Or maybe stop reading so much. Nah, it’s not a race.)
8. The Off Grid Survivor: An EMP survival story by Connor McCoy
“Twenty-five years ago, Conrad Drake’s life was shattered. Now, he lives a life of solitude, devoid of modern conveniences and things that do his soul no good. He has found contentment in a life of hard work and skilled preparation. He depends on no one.
When he begins to settle into life on his homestead, away from mainstream life, two strange turn of events change his life once again. His plans to prepare for disaster are sent into high-gear as the world around him tumbles into lawlessness.”
This book is only 179 pages long, but it also only costs $0.97, so one can’t complain about that, eh? So far there are only ten reviews, and those are divided, with the overall score being 3.9/5. Some readers complained about the ending, and I’m wondering if that might have to do with it belonging to a series. There’s no mention I could see about that, but the author has three other books in his catalogue, being books 1, 2 and 4 of a series wherein every book is subtitled ‘An EMP survival story’. I don’t know… In any case, it’s another EMP story, so my search continues.
9. Final Dawn Box Set: The Final Dawn Omnibus – Seasons 1 – 3 by Mike Kraus
Humanity has been torn asunder and brought to the edge of total annihilation in less than an hour. For those who died, it was a quick death, so fast that their brains didn’t have time to process the pain signals from their nerves. For those who survived, the true horror is about to begin as they struggle to not only stay alive, but come to grips with the shocking realization about what – and who – was responsible.
Final Dawn is a thrilling post-apocalyptic series that follows the journey of four people who survived the end of days”: A city sanitation worker, an accountant, a self-made millionaire and a wife/mother.
This boxed set includes three books, but each one is called a ‘season’, and each season includes several ‘episodes’. I think it could be because Kraus releases his work in instalments. In any case, the compilations are available for Kindle and in paperback.
This series appeals to me a lot because I’m a huge fan of ordinary characters who find themselves thrown together with strangers, needing to be vigilant and resourceful, and to try new things. Needing to be resilient. Also, I’m pretty sure I read one of Kraus’ other compilations (Surviving the Fall, book 1) a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.
This set will be #3 on my purchase list.
No, you are not imagining things. This is the same book that was listed at number 6. However, that first one was the Kindle edition, and this is the paperback. How great to get both formats in the top 10!
So after all this, I have chosen three purchases, netting myself five new books, with the possibility of two more if I decide to continue with the Annihilation series. That’s probably enough to tide me over for a little while. Besides, if there isn’t a huge list waiting for me, I might manage to pause long enough between stories to get back into the swing of writing reviews. Or… maybe writing some more of my own stories.
At the end of today’s exercise I’m quite appalled at myself for having not yet read any of the books at the top of my favorite genre. No time to fix that like the present though!
Happy reading 🙂