Science fiction arguably started with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It’s a cautionary tale about the dangers of humans attempting to create life. Victor Frankenstein fears and despises his creation and the creature comes to hate his creator. Of course the novel also has strong elements of horror which come through the creature’s fight for survival and his struggle against Frankenstein. As science fiction developed, it found an identity that often didn’t include the attribute of horror. However, one important place where horror and science fiction come together is in the post-apocalyptic novel.
This week, I had the pleasure of reading a new post-apocalyptic science fiction novel called Strike Three by Joy V. Smith. In the novel, a coalition of nation states unleash weapons of mass destruction against the world’s major powers. Those major powers, in turn, strike back with nuclear weapons. The result, is a literal scorched Earth. No plants or animals survive on the surface. Those areas that suffered nuclear attack are rendered uninhabitable for many years to come. Most of the United States is relatively lucky. Although the virus unleashed destroyed all plant matter, it died off relatively quickly after it had nothing more to feed on.
Those humans fortunate enough to seek shelter underground with sufficient supplies were able to survive the catastrophe. These folks are now charged with rebuilding a life above ground. They must plant trees, reintroduce animal life, and try to build a new society. In many ways, the novel is more concerned with the process of rebuilding than it is with the horror of destruction. However, the horror looms in the background as bodies are found in some cities and must be dealt with. Not everyone who survived is out to help others. In once case, the survivors must cope with a dangerous, but competent militia group.
One particularly fun aspect of this novel is that I was written in as a character. It’s a brief scene, but I get the honor of starting the science of astronomy in this brave new world.
One aspect I’ve often found interesting about post-apocalyptic novels is their intrinsic hopefulness. No matter how bad the disaster that befalls humankind, there are always those who fight and find a way to survive. Joy V. Smith’s Strike Three is a quick read that focuses on those positive aspects. If you want to check it out for yourself, you can find it at Smashwords and at Amazon.
I first met Joy when Hadrosaur Productions recorded her time travel story Sugar Time for audio. We’re in the process of preparing a new print edition of the Sugar Time stories. In the meantime, you can check out the original audio book at hadrosaur.com