Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SF/F: American Apocalypse by Nova

An Internet success story when it was self-published, now in an edited and redesigned edition from Ulysses Press, this newly published edition of American Apocalypse: The Collapse Begins makes dystopia a little more stylish.

One of the things I find difficult to understand about the book is its success. After all, in many ways, it’s hitting a little too close to home. Like any good post-apocalytpic novel, a disaster has occurred and the people of the world are picking up the pieces and figuring out how to survive. But rather than the natural or technological disasters we’re used to seeing, what we witness here is the beginnings of global economic meltdown. Sound familiar? All of American Apocalypse is like that. It’s an interesting mental exercise… and it’s a little too close to home.

It is the not-too-distant future and the world has moved on. As things get underway, our narrator is looking back on his old life with a kind of wonder. “I was never rich by the prevailing standards of the time,” he tells us. “I had a job, a car, some cool toys, a girlfriend, and a condo -- what I thought of as the basics of life. Nowadays… well, we all know; the standards changed -- and changed so very fast.”

Now the world looks very different -- think almost any Kevin Costner movie from the 1990s -- and all anyone can hope to do it survive.

At worst, American Apocalypse is a gripping, entertaining read. At best it is a handbook for the future. Either way, those who enjoy dystopic stories will find a lot here to like. Look for further installments, some already published. It turns out there is a need for disaster fiction that looks a little too much like home. ◊

Lincoln Cho is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in the Chicago area, where he works in the high-tech industry. He is currently working on a his first novel, a science-fiction thriller set in the world of telecommunications.

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