7 June 2012

Doomsday: A Review of Parable of the Sower, The Canticle of Leibowitz, Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America

Once again another list has not only occupied my time and imagination but made me wish I had thought of it.  Googling Armageddon calls up some startling sites:  For example the now defunct site Countdown to Armageddon.  As my alarm bells start ringing in my head for fear of inadvertently clicking into some dark, religious nightmare,  I see this
Site last updated on September 13th
Our apologies for the lack of recent updates.
This site is run by volunteers who haven't
had time to invest recently.
It is hard to maintain full scale panic when you rely on volunteers.

That being said, the Apocalypse or Armageddon or my personal favourite "All Hell Is About to Break Lose"  sub-genre is a thriving, varied plot element that most SF authors use.  Looking for some type of crisis for your main character? Why not chuck in the complete destruction of his/her world.  Actually the only person I have met who takes this destruction pretty well is Princess Leigh.  The Death Star blows up Alderaan before her eyes and all she does is screams "No" and then proceeds to jump down a garbage chute with a Wookie, and two handsome blocks with blasters.  (kinda went off the rails there, but I think I have made my point.  If I was Princes Leigh, which trust me I have, also Boba Fett ((come on, he is awesome)) and saw my planet get obliterated I most likely would pull my face off.  Yes, my entire face.  I also probably would jump into a garbage chute with two handsome blocks as well, you know I think I will just stop here...).

As you are aware I lightly touched on Armageddon in Ladies First confessing that I overdosed on it a couple years back. So much so that until I read this list I thought I was done with the genre but soon realized that I have been reading it the entire time.  WTH!   The great thing about SF is that it is a huge category allowing for a great amount of flexibility.  If you would like to go completely berserk you can.  If you would rather step back from insanity and showcase something less violent that is also open to you.  With this in mind here are three great Armageddon-laced books ranging from full on nightmare to mild anarchy.

Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler - Full on Nightmare
Since reading this book I am unable to look at U.S interstates without visualizing the highways overrun with mobs of people making their way on foot to Alaska while trying to avoid being murdered, beaten or eaten.  (now that is a sentence)  If you are into full scale Apocalyptic insanity this series is for you.

A Canticle for Leibowitz, Stephen M. Davis - Mid-level panic
600 years have passed since the world was devastated by nuclear war.  Not surprisingly, those left to rise from the ashes decided to turn their backs on technology and jump blindly back into the dark ages.  If you could read, you were killed.  Isaac Edward Leibowitz, survives the murderous hoards and founds a monastic order whose mission is dedicated to preserving  knowledge.  A true SF classic and a must read for all you new SF readers out there.

Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America, Robert Charles Wilson - Mild Anarchy
Great fun book to read for the summer.  Not too heavy on the berserk quality but enough to create a mild level of panic.  It reminds me of A Canticle for Leibowitz in that good ole' America has imploded upon itself and reverts to a neo-Victorian oligarchy ( NO idea what that means).   The books has an old west flavour to it, with great, extremely likable characters.  I really enjoyed reading this book.  Wilson is a true story teller.