A Post-Apocalyptic Novel without Zombies, Robots, Aliens, Dystopia, the Plague or Even a Recent War
Post-apocalyptic novels are big right now. It seems like everywhere you look, there's a great new story set in a post-apocalyptic world. There's Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Justin Cronin's The Passage, Max Brooks' World War Z, S.M. Stirling's Novels of the Change, Julianna Baggot's Pure, William R. Forstchen's One Second After, and Suzanne Collins' wildly popular Hunger Games trilogy (I know I'm missing some awesome ones; sound off in the comments with your favorites). Movies and television also have a wonderful selection of recent and somewhat recent post-apocalyptic fare: The Walking Dead, Contagion, Battlestar Galactica, City of Ember, Terminator Salvation, even Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland (both hilarious).
Most post-apocalyptic fiction deals with "end of the world" type stuff. That's what an apocalyptic event is, after all. It's an epic disaster, a cataclysmic event, total annihilation. It's an over simplification, but I tend to group post-apocalyptic tales into one of three categories:
• The Monster Stories: These stories have zombies, vampires, aliens, robots, or some other type of monster still actively chasing all of the survivors down.I adore post-apocalyptic stories. Why? Well, for starters, it's an ancient archetype of conflict. Monsters, sickness, and natural disasters have been man's enemy since the dawn of time. The passage of time, contemporary settings, and modern technology provide more, not less, story fodder. And dystopian tales? I'm betting the moment cavemen started banding together behind common leaders, they got a taste of dystopia. Dystopia is bad leaders happening to good people. Real world history is full of it.
• The Super-Plague or Disaster Stories: In these, the villain is faceless and much of the plot centers on the characters fight to survive in a destroyed world. Food and fuel shortages are common. Anarchy and lawlessness abounds.
• The Dystopian Story: These stories tend to be set a bit later than the two categories above, often years after the initial apocalyptic event. Civilization has had a chance to get back up on its feet, but it's walking around with a severe limp -- and a lot of poor governing practices. These stories pit the individual against a flawed society.
When I started writing my debut novel, Dark Light of Day, I wanted to set it in a post-apocalyptic world, but I wanted to try something different. My premise (regarding the world of Halja, where my story is set) was:
What if the Apocalypse came and went... but everything was still relatively the same? What if Armageddon was old news? What if there were no zombies, vampires, aliens, or robots? What if there were no plagues or disasters, natural or divine? What if the society wasn't dystopian?Well, if that's all there was to Dark Light of Day, the story might have been pretty darn boring. No monsters? No disasters? No dystopia? Where's the conflict?! I hear you and agree. So I added demons.
The concept of Armageddon originates with the Christian Bible. The Book of Revelation from the New Testament references Armageddon, which some have interpreted to mean the place where the final battle between God and Satan will take place. Such an event would, obviously, be apocalyptic. So I used the concept of Armageddon (not just a war to end all wars, but a war to end the world) as the apocalyptic event of my story. But then I added a twist by asking:
What if the demons won? And life just went on? What would it look like 2,000 years later? What would be the same? What would be different?In the beginning, I had misgivings about setting my story in a world where Lucifer reigns as an absent king. But I can assure you, Halja is as full of light as it is of darkness. I've tried to be respectful of my Christian inspirational sources, while remaining true to my primary goals, entertainment and exploration. I wanted to explore what life might be like in a world where good and bad aren't as easily defined as they sometimes are in ours. Have other writers done that? Sure, but I hope my story's unique enough to attract some attention. To help you decide whether this story might be right for you, here's a brief excerpt from Chapter 2:
If Halja, my country, was the lone man left standing in a battlefield after a long and brutal war, then its future would be the spilled blood under his feet—expected, yet somehow still startling, slippery and shifting, a sacrifice for peace in a world full of demons. Real ones. Because it was here in Halja that Lucifer’s army, the Host, beat the Savior’s army in the last great battle of the Apocalypse.So, what about you? Do you like post-apocalyptic stories? If so, which are your favorites? Why do you like to read it (or watch it)? What about stories that explore the nature of good and bad and right versus wrong? Do you enjoy stories where the line between the "good guys" and the "bad guys" is more muddied than it is in our world?
And yet . . .
Life goes on pretty much the way it did before. People still get married, have babies, and pay their taxes. Many things were destroyed, but many things have been rebuilt. We have mechanized cabriolets, electro-harmonic machines, winder lifts, pots of lip gloss, and nail lacquer. We have time to do our hair. Because the Apocalypse happened over two thousand years ago. Armageddon is old news and in the days, years, centuries, and millennia since, we’ve mourned our dead, buried them, and even forgotten where their graves were.
If you're interested in more post-apocalyptic tales, check out: http://io9.com/5572283/30-post+apocalyptic-visions-of-the-21st-century. If you're Interested in reading more about the end of the world, check out: http://www.history.com/topics/the-end-of-the-world.
Thank you, Sally, for hosting me and including Dark Light of Day in The Qwillery's 2012 Debut Author Challenge!
About Dark Light of Day
Dark Light of DayA Noon Onyx Novel 1
Ace, September 25, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, the world from slipping back into chaos.
Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret—she was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of and some will consider her an abomination.
Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.
Jill now lives in rural Maryland with her two children and husband, who is a recreational pilot. Weekends are often spent flying around in the family’s small Cessna, visiting tiny un-towered airfields and other local points of interest.
What: One commenter will win a copy of the Ace/Roc 2012 Science Fiction and Fantasy Sampler from Jill.
How: Leave a comment answering Jill's questions:
Do you like post-apocalyptic stories? If so, which are your favorites? Why do you like to read it (or watch it)? What about stories that explore the nature of good and bad and right versus wrong? Do you enjoy stories where the line between the "good guys" and the "bad guys" is more muddied than it is in our world?Please remember - if you don't answer the questions your entry will not be counted.
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, September 7, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.