Review of “Elements of the Apocalypse” from Permuted Press
Elements of the Apocalypse, as the title suggests, gives the reader four stories using the classic elements to show us how the apocalypse will occur. I thought it was a creative take on apocalyptic stories from the standpoint of using this theme. Fire, Air, Earth, and Water are the means to our destruction, and a different author took a swipe at each particular element.
The first story, by DL Snell, gives us fire as the source of our destruction. Dylan Bradley is minding his own business on a bus ride home from school for spring break when the bus driver bursts into flames. Rather quickly, most of the people around him are doing the same, as spontaneous combustion takes hold as the means to our end. Dylan races home with several other characters as madness takes a hold of the few remaining survivors, in an effort to find his girlfriend.
The second story, by John Sunseri, deals with aliens invading our planet and placing huge atmospheric generators on earth, which make our air unbreathable for humans. Thirty years later, a team from New America, the last surviving lair of humans, has created a device that might help them fight back. Led by Bess, the toughest survivor left, they climb out of their underground hideout and make their way to one of the alien’s air processing stations with the device in tow. Since the atmosphere is polluted not only with unbreathable air, but with “demons” and “diggers”, both servants to the aliens who crave the oxygen inside human blood, making the trek is somewhat like traversing one of the nine planes of hell.
The third story, by R. Thomas Riley, has the animal kingdom in revolt against humanity when Gaia decides that we are poor caretakers of our planet and she needs to start over. Animals don’t just turn on us, they become smart and vicious servants of their earth mother. But Gaia has a plan, and that includes enslaving some of the humans to do more of her dirty work.
The final story, by Ryan C. Thomas, has water the entire world over disappearing in a rapid fashion, leading to a desperate scramble to find the cause and find the last remaining sources of drinkable water on the planet. Cam, an estranged husband and father, has to work with Scott, his scientist brother in law, in an attempt to discover the cause of this catastrophe, while at the same time trying to find water for his infant son as he lay dying from dehydration.
Each story has individual merits, and I give credit to each author for giving us compelling characters that made each story more than just simple doom anthems. I grew attached enough to the characters that I found myself rooting for them to find a miracle despite knowing how most of these types of stories end. I am not going to pick out a favorite here, because I really don’t think any of them missed the mark, and there were parts of each tale that resonated for me. If you enjoy reading stories about our destruction that lean toward the fantastic, than this book is a entertaining choice I highly recommend.
Elements of the Apocalypse can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Apocalypse-D-L-Snell/dp/1934861502/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1293203900&sr=8-1