Thoughts on post apocalypse

I was without internet for about three days, and I have to admit that’s pretty much how I felt.

Since I don’t spend too much time on social media (okay, okay, I hardly ever spend any), what annoyed me the most was that I couldn’t save my work on the cloud. And the fact that I couldn’t do any research for my work. Also, the fact I couldn’t reach out to other authors who write post apocalyptic horror, like The Darkening and arrange some cross promotions (you can find more about my book here, by the way).

However, it got me thinking as to how would our civilisation react to a scenario where the internet no longer worked. I tried to come up with a chain of events that could happen, and the reaction it would take from us to either carry on from where we stopped or start anew.

To carry on from where we stopped it would mean that we would have access to an alternative technology that already exists but has yet to be used (probably because of a more reliable, like the internet), and that the means to spread it to every country are also there and have not been affected by the collapse of the internet.

To start anew means that we’re talking about a possible post-apocalyptic case, the current civilisation has collapsed, and that it’s up to those who remain to create something new with what it would be available to them at the time. Availability here also includes knowledge and the means to pass it on to future generations.

Naturally, this led me to ponder on our dependency on technology to do even the most basic things (like talking to each other, for instance). I’m one of those who believe that if we were to experience an apocalyptic event that brought the end of every kind of advanced technology we currently have, not many of us would be able to pick up the pieces and carry on living in stone age conditions. Just imagine what our lives would be like without running water and electricity at our disposal. Without being able to properly heat our houses. The networks for electricity distribution and the water supply rely on the internet. Probably not the same as the one you and I use, but one that could be affected just the same. In an apocalyptic scenario, these are the first that would collapse. Then of course, there’s the banking system one has to consider, but I think lack of water and electricity would cause more chaos than the fall of the banks.

And of course, our medicine. We have a pill for nearly everything these days, and hardly ever do we rely on our own immune systems to do the job they were meant to do. I’m not a biologist, but I think this may have potentially weakened us. Just think of how many unseen things are in a glass of non purified water that runs from our taps. The word dysentery keeps popping into my mind.

I have no doubt that we would be able to scavenge from what was left and make do for a while, but what would happen after we ran out of things to scavenge and had to make new ones? Let’s say you need a new pan to cook your fish. How easy is it nowadays for you as a consumer to acquire a pan, and how easy is it to manufacture one these days? They probably come out of an assembly line by the thousands in record time (just guessing here, obviously). Would it be as easy if you had to mine the mineral, separate the impurities, melt it, mold it/shape it, then distribute it? How many of us here know how to do any of these things? The process is the same in both cases, but I believe that although our technology has made us the dominant species on Earth, our dependency on it and the ease it brings to our every day lives, has also become an obstacle and a hindering factor. And then one has to take into account the complexity in creating things, which is why we have specialised and trained people for almost everything. However, high level of knowledge in a field, means people know just the one field. Survival, requires more than one though.

What do you think would happen if one day the internet were to stop working completely? What would the chain of events be after that?

Writing Prompt 51

“It’s not that bad,” Horace said.

“How would you know?” Anuk stabbed her finger on his chest. “You haven’t died a single time yet! Not once! Try dying a hundred thousand times, jumping from body to body, then tell me if it’s bad or not. Not so bad, he says… pfff!”

Horace opened and closed his mouth. His eyes glided over her. “Well, you look great in this body.” He smiled.

Anuk folded her arms and cast Horace a malevolent narrow glance. “You eye-grope me once more, I’ll show you how annoying death is right now.”

Reviews and behind the scenes for At Horizon’s End

It’s been a week since my latest horror story, At Horizon’s End, went live and it has already garnered a couple of five-star reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, as well as on reviewers’ blogs. You can read these blog reviews here, here, and here. If you’re looking for a quick read, and you’re into horror with a twist of sadness, At Horizon’s End may be a good fit for you.

Some people asked how I came up with the idea and the title of the story.

To explain the idea, I’d have to introduce you to my way of developing stories. Originally, the idea was to have Death in a conversation and a mortal, contemplating Death’s job. For some reason, to this day, I picture them talking over a chess board. I don’t know why, but the image is stuck to my head. Anyway, that idea branched off into having the mortal being the next one Death would take. Which seemed interesting, only I’ve already published
something similar earlier in my career. So, I decided that the mortal should be a child, because of the antithesis it would create (children represent life and future, whereas death, well, the end of life and future).

At that moment, the idea of having something as massive and hard-to-process as death, contrasted with a child’s innocence simply appeared out of nowhere and it made sense. So I revised the story accordingly. But then I had to do something to answer the question, why would Death be talking or playing chess or interacting in any way with a child? That was the final blow to my chessboard picture. Bye bye chessboard.

Instead, I came up with the idea of having Stella’s mother’s passing (Stella is the child in the story). Which, in turn, led to the idea of having Death second guessing himself when he took the child’s mother. Given my Greek heritage where Charon (a name we still attribute to Death here in Greece) ferried the dead in a one-way trip, my story’s Death was also unable to return someone from the afterlife to the lands of the living. Which finally gave rise to the question, how would Death handle such a problem? To answer that question you’ll have to read At Horizon’s End.

How I came up with the title is a different issue. In the story, there is mention through Stella’s memories of the way her mother used to refer to the afterlife. Now, at the time I was listening to a song from Paradise Lost (a band I like a lot), called As Horizons End. Though the song has absolutely nothing to do with the story, it was one of those moments where epiphany knocked on my door. In my mind there was no better way for a parent to explain to their four-year-old child the concept of death. How can anyone explain to a child that they will never see each other again and at the same time attempt to relieve the pain of loss? How else better to soften such a blow, if not by telling them that they will meet again at some point? So when I heard the song, it just clicked.

Lastly, you may want to take a look at the Interviews section. Viking Reviews was kind enough to interview me a couple of weeks ago. If you want to know a little more about me, but never dared ask, this is a your chance 😉

Writing Prompt 44

Mike kicked a pebble on the pier and watched it plop down into the sea. “Okay, we’re here. Now what?”

Alex rolled his eyes and sighed as if he had other, better things to do than explain trivial things to the village fool for the tenth time. “Now we wait.” He spoke slowly and intoned each word to make sure the message got through. He stuffed his hands into his pockets and bounced on the balls of his feet.

Mike fought the urge to introduce his fist to Alex’s face. Instead, he nodded and chewed on his lower lip. Moments later, when the silence became unbearable, he spoke again. “For how long?” Pompous, know-it-all little prick was going to get the beating of a lifetime, if he gave him another stupid or arrogant answer.

“Until something big happens. Now. Shut. Up.”

Mike flexed his fist and tried to picture his friend’s nose as a swollen, three-feet-wide monstrosity across his face. He caught sight of something strange from the corner of his eye. He turned his head to it, and something cold sped from the base of his skull, down his spine, all the way to his limbs. “Big as in… like that perhaps?” He pointed at the shore.

Alex turned and looked. His face turned ashen, and the bulge on his throat went down once and rose slowly. His mouth hung.

“Sea going away big enough for you? Where’s the sea going, Alex? Huh? You messed up. Again.”

Readjusting a writing routine

For the past few weeks, certain life events (all of them unforeseen, as life tends to make them, but not all of them bad), have made me unable to write. No, I’m not going through a writer’s block. I want to write and edit and revise my work, and I have material to work on, but, alas, someone decided that each day should only have 24 hours. I don’t know who it was, but I don’t like that person. I used to like them, but not at the moment. And, to make things harder, I also got a job. For the record, I’m not a lazy bugger, but as it’s the case with most jobs, it takes up a great part of my day. One third of it, to be exact. However, it’s a nice place and, get this, there’s another writer there. Another one from the tribe!

And yet, it adds to a problem that has been going on for the past few weeks, one that leaves me with either not enough time to spare to write or not enough energy for it. Everything that has been going on for the past month or so has messed up my writing routine (which I took great care to protect, but when family health issues arise, what can you do?). So I’m trying to come up with a new routine, at least until my placement is over (which will be around February 2018 – unless they fire me before that *shudder*).

I’m sure most of you have faced similar life changing events, so how did you cope? Did it take you long? Was the transition to a new writing routine easy? Did you have a routine in the first place? What steps did you take to be productive (writing-wise) again?

I have a few ideas, and once I put them into practice I may write a post about them, but until then feel free to share your take on this. I’d really like to see how other people deal with this issue.

I’m hopeful this changes in my life will not affect this blog. But it may happen, since I usually draft these posts a few days in advance and go over them as much as I can each day, before I publish them. If it does happen, know it’ll only be temporary, that you can reach me through social media, or through the contact form (at the top).