First off, let’s get two things straight before you even start reading this bastard. First, this was never meant to be a novel. And second, I hate EMP Apocalypse stories. Back in 2007 or 2008, I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to find my old checkbook and check out the exact date ( a check to bale out the wife from a domestic charge from her daughter-don’t ask ), the now ex-wife left in a huff over some imagined slight and moved in with her daughter ten miles down the road. Now, at the time I was pretty pissed, working a minimum of sixty hours a week trying to support the two of us ( with taxes and child support at 70%-I’ve had a few ex-wives ) and I felt I had done what I could making this relationship work and I felt betrayed to be once again getting the short end of the stick. So, in a bit of a rage myself, I plunged into writing a dark dystopian but funny in a black humor way tale. Writing has always been my stress release, that plus exercise because I won’t drink liquor anymore with my propensity towards alcoholism. I’m a brooder, and me and stress are “frienemies” ( I could easily avoid stress with Not Giving Two Craps, but worrying is how I cope with life- in effect, a bit of stress to figure out problems before they get to be bigger problems, or, a little stress now instead of a lot later ). Now, up to this point, all my writing pretty much had been non-fiction, having been in the newsletter then blog game for far too long. I think I went with fiction because I had also at that time not yet Found My Voice writing and non-fiction was a struggle everyday so I figured fiction might allow more of my venom to be expelled forcefully ( today, after literally millions of words practice, non-fiction is my therapeutic detoxification ).
I wrote chapter one in record time, certainly not more than a week ( I was of course also doing my blog everyday so the fiction was in the few spare moments I had left ). And I was as pleased as punch with it. Certainly it was a gem compared to all the other abortive fiction I’d tried. I was so pleased that I waited a day or three to bask in my own glory, then started chapter two. Which, let’s be honest, kind of really sucks- at least compared to the first. It sucked so bad, I wouldn’t touch the vile thing for years ( I think-vague recollections here ). I was proud of chapter one, which I should have just used as a complete story. But for whatever reason I just posted the two chapters and refused to do anymore. I don’t know what stopped me or why it fell apart. I think my rage had been expelled and after that the writing was forced. I can type a grand or two of words a day, no problem. I’m verbose once I’ve got an idea. I just think I’m not really a fiction writer. I can’t really walk a mile in another’s shoes even though I love playing Devil’s Advocate. I probably lack empathy ( could be why I’ve gone through four marriages ). Writing a character not Of Me seems too hard, forced, faked.
And I don’t LIKE writing fiction. It isn’t a challenge to me. Taking complex ideas and simplifying them for easier digestion, without sacrificing attention to critical detail, THAT is what I love doing with a keyboard. And since civilization collapse and survivalism is so multifaceted, I can range widely and always tax my abilities harder. The only challenge in fiction is bullshitting convincingly, hundreds of pages after another. I’m trying to cast aside BS. Which is why I probably wrote this story like I did. Not consciously, just on reflection. I think I was trying to say, hey, even as the world ends, we are all thinking about ourselves and not really caring about others except if they effect us. I think I did well to avoid the God’s View with morality tale which is pretty much the mainstream. So, why did I write the damn thing, after the second chapter fiasco? In a word, reader pleading. Hey, I’m a writer. Readers stroking my ego keeps me going, even though I must say for as few of them I have, they are extremely generous financially ( but again, so few, that doesn’t pay the bills. It does build my library admirably, for which my gratitude is boundless ). If two or three people write that they want more fiction, I take that as a groundswell of support. I was forced, brutally forced, I tells ya. Okay, that plus when I die I want to say, screw you, I wrote at least one novel. That was pretty much the compelling reason-it was a self-challenge. I have done it and don’t want to repeat it, but at least it is off the Bucket List.
As to apocalypse fiction, I’m a bit of a picky prickly prick. I HATE zombies. I HATE militia uprisings with all the Glen Beck inspired bloviating about rights. And while I don’t hate EMP or solar flare endings, they do nonetheless chap my ass. How friggin lazy is the author he can’t do a bit of research on regular energy/resource depletion civilization collapse? “Lucifer’s Hammer” had a ton of science behind it, and while I’m NOT a Hard Science Fiction fan ( mostly boring science porn ), what that translated to was a most believable story. You can throw fantasy my way ( SM Stirling does it well, an author I’ve come to respect despite a flawed beginning after I dismissed him for not being realistic enough which was my bad for failing to enjoy the story ) and that doesn’t necessarily kill the story, but laziness surely will. Here I am reading hundreds and thousands of books ( if you go back far enough ) to write a blog a mere five hundred souls enjoy, giving them what I believe to be a quality product, and you want to make millions by throwing together a barely researched tall tale? Hey, good for you, you entertained them. I was entertained by Jim Carey making his ass talk, and I guess you are trying to emulate that?
I’m not saying EMP as end hasn’t had some darn fine novels. It has. Mine ain’t one. Yet, I think once you read it, You’ll probably agree the setting doesn’t really matter. It could have been any catastrophe. At least I hope you’ll think that, and not sit in judgment as harshly as I do to others doing as I did. If you want in depth coverage of the real collapse ongoing now, read my other, non-fiction books. And really, summed up, none of the above matters. I would love to have you as a new or continuing Loyal Minion ( a term of endearment, coined, I believe, before Lady Gaga and hers ) but if you disagree after reading this, well then, screw you. It was free, you ingrate. Stay safe, be cool.
James M Dakin