Tag Archives: Apocalypse

Y – The Last Man – Volume 1: Unmanned by Brian K Vaughan and Art by Pia Guerra

Y - The Last Man - Volume 1 - Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan Title: Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Pia Guerra
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
ISBN: 978-1563899805
Genre: Comics, Graphic Novels
Pages: 128
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Yorrick Brown is the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. He does not know why and his entire world goes for a toss in this mysterious circumstance.

Interesting isn’t it? That’s what I thought as well and loved the premise. When I picked up the book and got done with the first volume, I loved it even more. The story is unique and begs to be a television series.

Image 1

The illustrations by Pia Guerra are sharp and display the post-apocalyptic world (well almost) quite interestingly. Yorrick then begins his journey with his pet monkey, a young geneticist and a government agent to go find his girlfriend halfway across the world and to figure how he happened to be the last man on earth.

Just for the premise, I would say you have to read this comic series. Brian K. Vaughan does an amazing job of this and this is before Saga was worked on. It is only a collection of ten volumes, so it does end somewhere. The narrative is so fast that there were times I had to go back and forth, just to make sense of it all. All that I can say is that the series will not disappoint me and yes I say this without having read the other volumes. I did pick up two, three and four right after. Go on and read this one.

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Y: The Last Man VOL 01: Unmanned

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Publisher: Picador
ISBN: 9781447268970
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 333
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

I could have easily finished this book in a day. That’s what I normally do when I start reading a book and I am totally immersed in it. That was also the case with “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. I was gripped by the prose and the beauty of the language and I could have finished it in one day. But my journey or love affair with the book lasted for five days and I also know that it does not end here. I will constantly keep thinking of the book, and will also reread my favourite parts which I have marked and will cherish for a long time to come.

On the surface of things, “Station Eleven” might seem to be just another post-apocalyptic novel, but it is way beyond that. It is a testimony to us being human and more than anything else, to the survival power art can have in our lives and to a very large extent about the role of memory and how it can be, both cruel and kind.

“Station Eleven” is more than the regular novel, well at least to me it is. Why do you ask? Because it makes you feel things on a different level. How else can I put it? It also makes you perhaps live this life a little better than you already are and if a book manages to do that, then it is supreme to me.

“Station Eleven” is not about the end of the world, as most people say it is. It is to me the beginning of a new world and new hopes and aspirations that never die, no matter what. The book is about a pandemic that wipes out almost three-quarters of the world and more. There is nothing left. The old world or the world that we knew is gone. The new world has no electricity, no cars, no Internet, you get the drift. People drift. People try and settle. Things are no longer what they used to be at all.

Twenty years have passed since. Humans are trying very hard to reconstruct life – new ways, new means and The Traveling Symphony, that travels on foot, putting up performances – musical and that of Shakespeare. Amidst this there is a prophet and his band of people which the Traveling Symphony encounter and from there things go haywire. And I cannot forget at the core of all of this, lies a comic, which you will only know more about, when you read the book.

Of course, I cannot say much because that would mean giving away the plot, which I do not want to. Memory plays a major role in the book, as I mentioned earlier. It is these memories that help people survive the new world and also for some it seems best to forget them, in order to move on. The small bits of the book make it so worthwhile a read: When newscasters say goodbye, when there is a glimmer of hope that maybe things will not be the same and someone will come to rescue the living, when people will do anything to hang on to faith of any kind because it is so needed, when you don’t realize that this might be the last cup of coffee you drink or the last orange you eat and when the most insignificant things become the most significant.

“Station Eleven” manages to evoke multiple emotions in you as a reader. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it even makes you want to believe in humanity when it is dying all around you in the book, but I think above all it makes you hope, no matter what. The idea is not about apocalypse or what happened in the new world, as much as it is about reinventing and recreating the world with memories. The book is about the connections we have with people (as the six people in this book do with each other in some or the other manner), about how the beauty of the world can never be lost, about life hangs on to the very end and how perhaps we need to give ourselves more credit for being human. I cannot stop recommending this book enough and I will not. I think everyone should read this book, just about everyone.

Here is the book trailer:

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Book Review: Scorch Atlas by Blake Butler

Title: Scorch Atlas
Author: Blake Butler
Publisher: Featherproof Books
ISBN: 978-0977199280
Pages: 188
Genre: Short Stories, Futuristic Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

In Blake Butler’s Scorch Atlas, the world is being obliterated by a series of thirteen plagues that make those of biblical renown seem altogether quaint. But this isn’t about how nations or social structures or science deals with upheaval and disaster. No, that would be far too rational a take on a universe that seems given over entirely to irrationality. The plagues frame the stories of this book, but are immediately backgrounded by extremely personal investigations of loss. (It’s not the same at all, but consider how Anna Kavan’s Ice all but ignores its global disaster in favor of a single obsessive search). And so, the core of each of these stories lies not in end-of-the-world adventures, but in a completely real and believable pain. Isolation, the loss of children, the disintegration of family.

Scorch Atlas’ drowned, mud-caked, pustulent endgame world is so unrelenting, it absorbs all light you have for it. It bears the same adolescent Apocalypse fantasies that all sci-fi writers do in fiction and Tea Party adherents do in real life: it creates a world where no one will help you, literal helplessness, where the poor bastards that do not succumb to disaster by drowning and architectural collapse -it takes a degree of separating oneself from the recent catastrophe in Japan, and memories of Katrina to take fiction of this sort in – are worse off to live in a world of literal and metaphoric shit.

The stories are, for the most part, voluminously and unapologetically throat-slashing, yet there’s such a poetic beauty to the language that balances out such material (I liken this kind of comparison to some of the horrific violence of the original Suspiria, which is centered around the candy-colored cinematography, striking some oddly corporeal balance of opposite goings-on), making many of the bleak and apocalyptic landscapes seem like there’s a chance that things could get turned around, could get better–something which you never actually see coming to fruition, but with the possibilities always indefatigably looming.

As a work of searing allegory, Scorch Atlas is what we were, what we are, and what we’ll always be: propelled and clinging and curious. This is not a story about the lives of characters after some cataclysmic event. This is a book about people caught up in the destruction and mayhem. There are situations happening in this book that are beyond imaginable, and yet Butler is able to think them up and describe the horror with such acute awareness.

Blake Butler hails from another planet, a planet where fiction isn’t just stale, old junk. Butler and writers like him are reviving my hope for fiction. Every line in Scorched Atlas is intensely rich and fluid, it washes against your skin and leaves you dusty. He takes real risks. And despite the complexity and linguistic richness of his sentences, there is still an accessibility that is hard to find in most “experimental” fiction and poetry, and there is an undeniable emotional core to his work, a real heart pumping dust and oil across the pages. Scorch Atlas is a meditation on suffering, the perceived mutation of just being a young person being projected onto a universe ill-equipped to manifest that kind of self-loathing.

Blake Butler has coughed what needs to be read. He is now asking you to read it. Please do.

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