Saturday, 9 April 2016

11:02 – We got a lot done yesterday, and are now back at comfortable stocking levels on all of our science kits. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be making up and bottling chemicals and making up small-parts bags, chemical bags, and other subassemblies that we need to build more kits.

I got email the other day from someone who said I seemed to be extremely critical of the new breed of PA fiction novelists and asked if there were any I’d recommend. Fair enough.

The problem isn’t with the classic PA novels published in the 80’s or earlier. Stuff like Earth Abides, Malevil, Lucifer’s Hammer, and so on. Those were written back when traditional publishers actually employed editors who saw to it that the books they published at least used proper English. The problem is with more recent novels, and not just the self-published ones. Traditionally-published books like One Second After are desperately in need of an editor, but publishers no longer edit manuscripts comprehensively. Most books are lucky if they get a computerized spell check.

Self-published titles are as bad or worse. Even the best of them aren’t what I’d call well-edited. But the best of them are at least readable. Among those I’d nominate for that class are:

David Crawford’s Lights Out, a massive tome that follows a group of people living in a semi-rural subdivision after an EMP takes down the power grid. Unfortunately, Crawford’s follow-up book, Collision Course, is mediocre at best.

Franklin Horton’s Borrowed World series, another post-EMP series. This one has the major characters stranded in Richmond, VA after the event, and walking back to their homes in rural southwest Virginia. Horton is a competent storyteller and writer. The first book in the series is a bit rough, but he gets better as he goes along. The third book in the series, which I’m reading now, was just released yesterday. All three are available under the Kindle Unlimited program.

Boyd Craven III’s books. (Note that there is also a Boyd Craven II, presumably his father, whose books I haven’t tried.) I started by reading The World Burns, Episodes 1-3: A Post-Apocalyptic Story, yet another post-EMP story that was originally published as three separate “books” of about 70 pages each. I almost gave up on Craven after reading only the first 10% or so of this title. It’s horribly edited, with frequent grammatical barbarisms, misused words, and so on. But, unlike many of the recent PA writers, Craven is actually a story-teller, so I kept reading. After reading that one, I decided to give one from another of Craven’s series a try, so I grabbed Good Fences: A Scorched Earth Novel, the first in that series. Craven had an editor for this one, and it shows. The editing isn’t perfect, but what minor errors remain aren’t intrusive. I’ll look forward to reading more of Craven’s titles, all of which are available under Kindle Unlimited.

Theresa Shaver’s Stranded series, four full-length YA PA novels that have a bunch of teenagers walking home to Alberta, Canada after (of course) an EMP. Shaver is another competent storyteller and writer, and the series is decently edited. All are available under Kindle Unlimited. Shaver has another series that I haven’t read yet.

Angery American’s *ing Home series, which is now up to seven books, none of which are available from Kindle Unlimited. These are the weakest of the group I’m describing here, but they’re very popular and they are better than the average recent PA novel. I probably don’t need to mention it, but they’re set in a post-EMP world.

If I ever do get time to write a PA novel/series, you can bet it won’t be post-EMP. That’s been done to death. So have pandemics, for that matter, although much less than EMP. If I do one, it’d probably be set after a 9.2 quake on the New Madrid seismic fault, cutting off the eastern US from the states west of the Mississippi.