The (Almost) Apocalypse of Still Dark
Not to dive too deep into spoilers, but my novel, Still Dark, flirts with some apocalyptic scenarios. They’re handled subtly, and it certainly isn’t the focus of the book, but it is a bit of me dipping my toe into a world of fiction that has always fascinated me. The idea of dealing with, living through, and especially, living after an apocalypse is a bit like standing on the edge of the cliff and wondering what it would be like to leap over. I’m both drawn and repelled at the same time.
Clearly, I’m not alone. Just look at The Walking Dead, one of the most popular shows on TV. Even now, as entertainment has grown fractured and overloaded with almost endless options, you could strike up a conversation with most strangers and odds are, they would have at least seen a few episodes of that show.
Or, take long running franchises like Mad Max or Planet of the Apes. Or just consider the ubiquity of zombie stories and novels in the horror fiction world. There’s something about the apocalypse that we just can’t get enough of. The question is, why?
I’d guess the reasons are many, but a few rise to the top of my mind. For one, the end of the world always seems to be a bit of a mirror for people. Whatever the cause of the downfall of society, there’s always a question that lingers: What would I do in that situation? The Walking Dead, in particular, leaves me daydreaming after an episode as I consider how I would reinforce my house, what sorts of power tools would make the best weapons, and how long I could drive before running out of gas. It’s almost an active thing rather than just a passive show.
That’s the fun way to look at it. The other, much darker reason for the staying power of apocalyptic fiction is the undeniable fear that comes along with the world we live in. We have it good. Regardless of your political beliefs, there’s no denying that fact. Sure, we might strive to have it better, to fulfill our great potential, but we have wonders in our very pockets that our ancestors might go mad just looking at. We can talk with strangers across the face of the planet. We can barely miss a day of work because of diseases that would kill an entire family a hundred years ago. We have more entertainment to throw away than ever as we drink coffee grown in a different country.
This is, without question, an age of wonders. And every one of us knows, whether we want to admit it or not, that it could be gone in the blink of an eye. When the food runs out, or the gas runs out, or the dead starts to rise, those wonders will disappear and some of us will do anything to survive.
It’s terrifying, and like all terrifying things, we work it out through our fiction. Still Dark shows the reader both sides of the coin, the before and an aftermath presented in a way you might not expect. I hope you have as much fun thinking about the what if’s as I do. After all, if we watch someone else go through hell, maybe, just maybe, it means that we won’t have to go through hell too. I for one, hope we’re right.
When a thunderous explosion rocks an idyllic cabin resort in the Great Smoky Mountains, animals and humans alike begin to act strange. Jim, along with his wife Laura and son, Sam, are cut off from the outside world, but they soon realize the true nightmare is just beginning…
Deep in the snow-covered woods, something is waiting. The creature calls itself Apex, and it’s a traveler. Reading the minds of those around it, Apex brings the terrifying fears hidden in the human psyche to life with a singular purpose: to kill any that stand in its way.
Locked in a fight for their lives, Jim and his family must uncover the truth behind Apex, and stop the creature from wreaking a horrifying fate upon the rest of the world!