Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Subtle Apocalypse

When you think Post Apocalypse, the first thing that enters your mind are Nukes, Virus Outbreaks, Asteroids, Super Volcanoes, and Zombies. But there are subtler ways to die, and ones that are truthfully, more realistically to happen. Like what happens to the USA in the book by Brian Francis Slattery called Liberation: The Adventures of the Slick Six after the collapse of the USA. In this rendition of the fall of society and the death of millions, it comes at the financial collapse of the American economy. The banks, markets, and stocks all at once crash so violently that overnight everyone is flat broke.

Without infrastructure, food, or anything of monetary value, the U.S. starves and millions of people just die off. The story starts off after this great schism has done it's worst. It follows the adventures of a group of "super" criminals that got rich pre-collapse. The main character, Marco spends the dying years in a European prison. When he finally escapes he decides to get the crew back, and to exact revenge on the man that put him  there. The Catch? The man he's out to get "The Aardvark" is the kingpin and pretty much the absolute leader of the U.S. in the post collapse. Some countries like Europe, China, and Japan fared better than the U.S. In this new world, American citizenry  are now being rounded up as slaves to these fair to do countries.

The overall feel of the novel is easy to figure out. Essentially, it's all the sins of America coming back to haunt them. Now we are the slaves, and the Native Americans are taking lands back, and the Mexican border has become the front line of the war to save what is left of the U.S. But another sublime theme also emerges. That of now that the chains of progress has been lifted, Americans start to return to a more pastoral and "blugrass" like existence.  You almost yearn for exactly where they get to, even in the face of massive loss of life. Back to basics.

Slattery's prose is a mix of Henry David Thoreau and Shakespeare. He plays a lot with his words that becomes almost comical in feel. He is quite poetic, and sometimes you have to read deeply to create a picture of what he is trying to explain. But I liked it. Of course it's a little preachy(anti-establishment and all), and takes the fall to extremes, but it's a nice view of survival during a time of total disintegration of society. A definite must for the Post Apocalyptic reader.

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