Post-Apocalyptic Stories: What Comes After the End?

After the Apocalypse

Everybody loves a good apocalypse. And there are lots of post-apocalyptic stories that are worth your attention. For the “Post-Apocalpytic Fiction” panel at Balticon, I compiled a list of some of the most memorable books, and a few movies, that deal with the topic.

I gave the list away as a handout to all of the attendees. I also thought it would be fun to post it on my web site. There’s a lot of good reading on the list, featuring all sorts of apocalyptic disasters.

Download the PDF right now! You won’t be sorry.

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Meetup.com: Yet Another Disappointing Update

A Typical MeetingI’m a member of a writing group that uses Meetup to promote our group and organize our meetings. I have come to the general conclusion that the folks at Meetup are totally clueless about the business they’re in.

Despite the fact that people are paying to promote and manage their groups on Meetup, the company seems determined to take away existing features and continually devolve the product into something of use only to photo-sharing teenagers (for which there are probably also better sites).

Last year, they took away the Files feature. So, you can run your meetings, but you can’t share things like hand-outs, agendas, course materials, etc. As a writing group, we shared chapters weekly to be critiqued, a capability that they took away. When I complained, their answer was 1) they felt other sites like Google Drive did filesharing better, and 2) most of their customers were using Meetup on their phones. So, you can’t share files, but, hey, you can share photos.

Thanks to this feature removal, our members have to join Meetup. And then they have to join Google. And then we have to do extra work to set up access for new members so we can share files with them. No more one-stop shopping. More headaches, and more work, for the organizers. And each group on Meetup that has this same problem, has to figure out how to solve it themselves.

In their latest update, Meetup is rolling out a new user interface. Well, really, they’ve unified their codebase so the same interface is being used for both their web presence and smartphones. Theoretically, they get a single more maintainable user interface, and paying customers get:

  • An inconsistent interface, with different parts of the site in varying stages of makeover.
  • An airy design that uses screen real estate inefficiently and makes features harder to get to for web users.
  • Out of sync information between screens. For example, while on a Meeting page, if you click “Attend” and then go to the All Meetings page, the attendance numbers will be out of sync. Are you scheduled to attend or not? This is important…our writing group meetings have a cap on attendance.
  • An invalid count of the number of meetings attended (for some users). This has been a reported bug now for a year; still not fixed.

I could go on with my list. As an IT worker (in my day job), I consider it a half-assed, unprofessional update that adds nothing for paying users. It’s a shockingly bad release for a company that has seventy or so people.

All I’ve got to say is…we’re actively looking at alternatives. Facebook might be a viable alternative for us, and they’re free, too.

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Inspiration: Worst Cities in a Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie Apocalypse

If you’ve ever worried about which cities would be the worst to be in when a zombie apocalypse starts, well, here’s an infographic that ranks the worst cities in the United States. Not unexpectedly, New York tops the list (which just happens to be where I’ve set my upcoming zombie story).

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I’m Reading…the Black Tide Rising Series

Black Tide Rising - A Zombie Series by John Ringo

Since I’m working on a zombie story of my own for Martin Wilsey’s upcoming anthology, Whispers of the Apoc, I’ve been reading a LOT of zombie fiction lately. In this case, I’ve just re-read the Black Tide Rising series by John Ringo.

The premise is simple. There’s a zombie apocalypse and a family of disaster preppers manages to escape to sea in a boat with lots of weapons, ammunition and food. When civilization is inevitably smashed to pieces by the man-made virus, they begin collecting survivors from boats and ships in the Atlantic ocean and gradually try to bootstrap a successful recovery effort.

The four-book series is a lot of fun, which isn’t something you often hear about zombie books. It’s got humor, lots of action and a pretty high degree of logic to the recovery efforts. It’s also one of the few zombie stories in which the various US military organizations play a substantial part in assisting with the recovery process.

Recommended for the military and action-oriented readers out there.

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Zombie Anthology

Whispers of the ApocI’ve been invited to participate in a new zombie anthology called Whispers of the Apoc, edited by Martin Wilsey. I’m even consulting on the bible for the anthology, because one of Marty’s goals is for the anthology to share a common, consistent background.

For more details on the anthology, check out the notice on Marty’s blog. The book is being published through Tannhauser Press.

For me, well, that short-circuited my (crazy) plan to publish a zombie story in installments on my web site (see Manhattan Zombies, which I’m renaming as SkyriZe). Getting paid trumps free installments on my blog. Um, sorry.

So, bring on the zombie apocalypse!

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