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Curiosity About Post Apocalypse Stories

red61544

It seems that post apocalypse stories on SOL always have high ratings. I have started reading a several that were so bad I couldn't get through the first chapter. Poor grammar, bad spelling and simply piss-poor writing seems to make no difference; they still rate high sevens or eights. What is their appeal? Why do readers seem to rate them so highly?

Ernest Bywater

@red61544

The cause of the high scores in this situation is two-fold, and applies to a lot of genres, not just the PA stories.

1. Most people who don't read a story all the way through don't score it.

2. The genre fanbois tend to score the stories in their genres high.

samuelmichaels

@red61544

What is their appeal?


I think an important element of a PA plot is it shows the conflict of a person or a small group against the world; one that allows exhibitions of courage and other qualities largely unencumbered by the structure of dense social fabric in much of the world for the last few centuries.

I think it's the same aspect that is often present in Westerns, wilderness adventures, and some time travel stories.

Replies:   Dominions Son
sunkuwan

1. Some of us dont exactly drop a story outright, just take them on hold and find another story that is more interesting/better first. So we are in the mindset, that we will score it "later" when we come back to the story.... eventually.

2. There are also some genres that get tanked here regardless of the quality. Mind Control and (primarily) gay/lesbian stories are not big here and dont have a fan following. Some Authors dont want to include the m/m rating into their stories in fear of getting fewer readers are lower scores. (and some authors get angry mails and lower scores because they had 1 m/m scene and didn't include the tag.

REP
Updated:

@red61544


What is their appeal? Why do readers seem to rate them so highly?


Personally, I believe we all have a dark side to our personality. Most of us keep it under control and don't talk about it. It isn't socially acceptable to discuss what we would like to do under certain situations.

PA stories address what remains of our society with no legal restraints. It is a situation where any unethical or immoral person can do anything they want to do unless someone else stops them. If you are such a person and someone has something you want or need, kill them and take what you want. If you see a woman or young girl you want to have sex with who says no, rape her and just walk away or kill her. Then there are the ethical people who are trying to rebuild society. They group together for mutual protection and support and comply with ethical and moral behavior.

The reader gets to live the story through the characters, especially those characters the reader identifies with. Even if they don't identify with the bad guys and never commit inappropriate actions, there is still an element of wanting to do something and get away with it.

At least that is my take on it and to some extent you could consider it wish fulfillment.

StarFleet Carl

@red61544

It's not just on here, if you think about it. They also tend to do well in dead tree format as well.

"War of the Worlds" by H.G.Wells is a PA story.

In more modern times, "Lucifers Hammer", by Niven and Pournelle.

A most recent one, the Black Tide Rising Series, by John Ringo. (Yeah, I'm a Ringo fan.)

Why did Independence Day do so well? (And the sequel suck SO badly?)

There's a bit of a dichotomy involved. Realistically no one yearns for the utter destruction of civilization. But we're really not that far removed from our primitive ancestors - and even the ones not so primitive. That was something discussed regarding life in the Star Trek universe. Think about it - you have unlimited energy, unlimited resources, unlimited food, unlimited recreation. Why are you ever going to leave your living room?

Those people who would do so - those are the ones who would join Starfleet and explore the galaxy. Those who want more than just what life gives them here - even if it's a meteor shower that ends civilization and reduces us back to survival of the fittest - those are the people that a PA story will appeal to, because they want a challenge in life.

(Yeah, I may have ended up doing a paper on something very similar to this for a criminology and psych class.)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@samuelmichaels

I think an important element of a PA plot is it shows the conflict of a person or a small group against the world;


See now I generally can't stand most PA stories, because in my opinion, they make surviving in post apocalyptic far too easy.

Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl


"War of the Worlds" by H.G.Wells is a PA story.


No, technically it's just an apocalypse story. It ends when the immediate disaster is over and never really shows anyone trying to survive in the aftermath.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Dominions Son

Okay. I do sort of have just regular apocalypse versus post apocalypse cofused to a certain extent. That's partially because I am literally re-reading the Ringo Black Tide Rising series again (about the 4th or 5th time). It's both apocalypse (holy crap, there's a biological plague) and post (holy crap, we're killing those people affected by the plague and trying to rebuild the world!)

Crumbly Writer

I actually don't think it's that complicated. Readers tend to rate stories on their potential and enjoyment, rather than on the more esoteric factors like proofreading skills. If a story has potential, a creative and unusual plot, readers will often ignore many other problems with the story. They're essentially rewarding the author (especially new authors) for taking chances and stretching their wings, hoping they'll eventually grow into those wings, rather for encouraging them to scale back their efforts and not publishing until they have more limited stories.

Also, PA is a strange market, because many people read them for the details (did they know how to hand build a working toilet without power) rather than on decent story telling. These people are likely living in a cabin in the woods, looking for ideas on how to survive the coming apocalypse, and aren't concerned with writing quality. It's akin to gun-porn, where veterans are more interested in the details of what guns were used and how the character disassembled his weapon than in what happens in the plot (slight exaggeration for effect).

Replies:   Grant  graybyrd
Grant

@Crumbly Writer

rather than on the more esoteric factors like proofreading skills.

Basic spelling & grammar are not esoteric skills, but something that is (or was) expected of children by the time they finish primary (elementary for US readers) school.
Being able to actually read a story makes it a lot easier to appreciate it.

Others have pretty much answered the question.
Some people vote stories down because they don't like that genre- no matter how well written, others vote them up because they like that genre- no matter how badly they are written.

graybyrd

@Crumbly Writer

Also, PA is a strange market, because many people read them for the details (did they know how to hand build a working toilet without power) rather than on decent story telling. These people are likely living in a cabin in the woods, looking for ideas on how to survive the coming apocalypse, and aren't concerned with writing quality.


As an old fart, three score and seventeen, who was raised with kerosene lamps, outdoor pit toilets, horse-drawn farm equipment, cross-cut saws and wood heat in rural areas far from the civilized grid, I've noted with considerable disgust that most of the PA 'back to the woods' survival inventory and methods is a bunch of delusional crap. Add to that the fact that the inventory comes from store-looting, it's all a tailspin descent into absurdity.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@graybyrd

It's even worse if you are stuck in the middle of a major urban area in a PA situation.

Let's say you are in NYC.

No power grid, natural gas, and water utilities are down without power.

You have no light, no heat, no AC, probably no working fireplace, so you can't even burn your furniture for heat.

No refrigeration means fresh food will be gone in days.

No indoor cooking. Probably no skill to cook over an open fire.

If you have anything to eat at all, it will be cold canned foods and jerky.

No drinkable water other than bottled water looted from stores.

No sanitation, not even a pit toilet.

You are surrounded by 8 million dead and rotting bodies with no one to dispose of them.

Your world is a nightmare of pestilence and decay.

Anyone who thinks they can survive in such conditions with less than 16 hours a day devoted strictly to immediate survival issues is insane.

Even getting out of the city will not be easy. Even if you have access to a working car and gas. Road are likely blocked by disabled and abandoned vehicles.

Bridges leading off of Manhattan Island are similarly blocked, that is if they are even still standing.

Your only way out of this nightmare is to walk or swim.

richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

Your only way out of this nightmare is to walk or swim.

Maybe you could take a boat?

Replies:   Dominions Son
REP

@Dominions Son

A very good synopsis of what someone is likely to encounter in a PA survival situation. About the only thing I can think of that was not mentioned is the interaction with other survivors.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Maybe you could take a boat?


What boat? Any boat with more than a pull to start outboard motor is going to have a key to start the ignition. Do you have a key for the boat? Do you know how to hot wire an electric ignition boat?

Jim S
Updated:

@Dominions Son

It's even worse if you are stuck in the middle of a major urban area in a PA situation.


A nicely encapsulated summary. But take it a couple of steps farther, e.g. a complete breakdown of civil order for the survivors. I remember the power blackout of the early 2000s that took out electric power in Ohio and Michigan. I lived through it and remember the speculation of how long would it be before civil unrest started. What I found is that civil authorities gave it 96 hours, i.e. 4 days. Such is the thin veneer of civilized behavior.

I've often thought along the lines of what would happen in a PA world. And I do like a lot of the stories. Aftermath by Al Steiner is one of my all time favorites here at SOL. My expectation is a society somewhat along the lines of inner city gangs. Might makes right. Women as property and play things. Survival of the fittest. I don't think NOW members would last long.

My own take on PA appeal is the wiping out of all that is wrong with no real thought or appreciation as to what would or could replace it.

I also share this thread's originator with both poor story quality as well as poor diction, spelling and grammar that afflict a lot of those stories. I don't make it through them either.

My own two centavos....

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Jim S


A nicely encapsulated summary. But take it a couple of steps farther, e.g. a complete breakdown of civil order for the survivors. I remember the power blackout of the early 2000s that took out electric power in Ohio and Michigan. I lived through it and remember the speculation of how long would it be before civil unrest started. What I found is that civil authorities gave it 96 hours, i.e. 4 days. Such is the thin veneer of civilized behavior.


That would be true for just the loss of the power grid, but no immediate deaths. The government is still in place to try and maintain order.

I'm talking something different. Kill 90+% of the population without damaging any infrastructure.

The government is gone instantly civil society won't have a chance to break down, it was wiped out instantly.

The power grid requires constant balancing and management. Kill enough of the population even without damaging any physical infrastructure and the power grid will begin fail within minutes.

You aren't going a couple of steps further than what I described, you are around a hundred steps behind.

Replies:   Jim S
richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

What boat?

Maybe a rowboat, to leave Manhattan Island, cross the Hudson River. Or a sailboat, at a local marina, doesn't have to be a yacht. Maybe fill an air mattress with air and float across a narrow body of water, somewhat like swimming. Find a personal flotation device aka life jacket and swim for your life. If I understand your problem, you want to leave the built-up area and don't want to walk, maybe you are on an island with no useable bridges.

Another option is flying, if you can find a plane or glider. Or a helicopter, but those require really specialized skills. I think your PA situation involves greatly reduced population (8 million rotting bodies) so it might be problematical finding someone to help you get away.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Maybe a rowboat, to leave Manhattan Island


If you can find one, which I doubt.

Or a sailboat, at a local marina, doesn't have to be a yacht.


Even small sailboats take a fair amount of skill to pilot. If you don't know what you are doing you are better off leaving them alone.

Maybe fill an air mattress with air and float across a narrow body of water


Manhattan is an Island sitting where two major rivers (Hudson and Harlem) empty into the ocean. Your narrowest crossing is still going to be at least 200 feet across the Harlem river. It's well over 1000 feet across the Hudson.

No problem, if the tide is coming in, but if it's going out, the current can get rather strong and you risk getting swept out to sea.

Another option is flying, if you can find a plane or glider. Or a helicopter, but those require really specialized skills.


If our hypothetical survivor is not a qualified pilot and his life depends on finding one, he's dead Jim.

LonelyDad

@Jim S

My expectation is a society somewhat along the lines of inner city gangs. Might makes right. Women as property and play things. Survival of the fittest. I don't think NOW members would last long.

I think anyone who wants to survive anywhere above the bottom level better internalize the Ranger/SEAL/Green Beret/Force Recon (They all claim it!) psalm - you know. "Yeah though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil, for I am the meanest Son of a B**** in the Valley"

Replies:   Jim S
Capt. Zapp

@Dominions Son

What boat? Any boat with more than a pull to start outboard motor is going to have a key to start the ignition. Do you have a key for the boat? Do you know how to hot wire an electric ignition boat?


Ever heard of something called an OAR? Even if you can't find a key you can always use something as an oar to move the boat. Of course, city-slickers probably wouldn't think of that. :)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Capt. Zapp

Ever heard of something called an OAR?


Of course I have. Have you ever tried to paddle a speed boat? Even with two people working together, it's not easy to keep going in a straight line.

Even if the city slicker thinks of trying that, if he tries it when the tide is going out (this is Manhattan) he will probably get pushed out to sea before he reaches the other side.

graybyrd

@Jim S

What I found is that civil authorities gave it 96 hours, i.e. 4 days. Such is the thin veneer of civilized behavior.


Here on the island we live on the fringe of the US's second greatest potential natural disaster: the Cascadia earthquake fault. (The unquestioned greatest potential natural disaster event is the Yellowstone caldera. It could destroy most of the continental US.)

The scientific and civil authorities recognize the inevitability of the Cascadia event, which by most reckonings is thought to be overdue. The political and public mindset, however, seems to be "ho-hum, just another dire warning of something that _might_ occur sometime in the _uncertain future._"

Result: the entire Pacific northwest coast region on the seaboard side of the Cascade mountains will be impacted in several severe ways: 1) immediate habitat and infrastructure destruction with tens of thousands of deaths; 2) loss of vital communication and energy utilities, and destruction of all corridors of movement both within and without the region; 3) isolation from outside assistance. All corridors through the mountains will be closed by landslides and collapse of bridges; and airports within the affected region will be destroyed, preventing access by heavy aircraft. Only helicopters can serve in very limited capacity. 4) medical facilities severely damaged; medical personnel killed, injured, or distracted by family deaths and injuries; difficult or impossible access to remaining facilities due to communications and transportation limits; 5) relief from the sea will be hampered by the destruction of piers, terminals, and other shore facilities; 6) virtually all the region's fuel storage and refining facilities are located along the shores and are not expected to survive the initial earthquake; 7) rolling, cascading series of destructive and deadly events from earthquake aftershocks, fires, loss of water and food supplies, and outbreaks of disease, looters, and violence.

Not a pretty picture (look it up! The predictions are very well documented), and one the authorities can only warn about. Of the three coastal states, Oregon admits to being the least prepared. Washington is a dismal second with hopelessly inadequate preparations. California's greatest impact might be the hordes of refugees that struggle to escape the disaster zone; eastern Oregon communities have already been warned to expect tens of thousands of refugees struggling up and over the mountains to reach safety. Look at a gazette and see how few and small those remote eastern Oregon communities are, and you'll get a hint of the problem. The only hope would be for massive bivouacking of federal and state relief resources to receive the refugees.

What a great idea for a totally realistic PA story, but one with little hope of a fairy-tale ending. This is one event that could bring the US to its knees: losing virtually the entire West Coast economy in one sudden event.

Ask yourself: how long could you and your family survive without ready access to power, shelter, fuel, water, food, and infrastructure. The Washington State authorities advise us to plan for up to a week. Is that realistic, or just wishful whistling in the dark while strolling past the graveyard?

Replies:   richardshagrin
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

It's even worse if you are stuck in the middle of a major urban area in a PA situation.

Let's say you are in NYC.

That's why I placed part of Great Death 3, Seeding Hope Among the Ashes in Manhattan, just to flesh out what would be likely to happen.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Maybe a rowboat, to leave Manhattan Island, cross the Hudson River.

Uh, how many rowboats have you ever noticed while visiting Manhattan? You'll find many more multi-million dollars yachts than rowboats. Your best bet would be to visit a sports store and grab a paddleboard, but the currents surrounding Manhattan are fierce, you'd end up far out in the Atlantic before you ever reached shore.

richardshagrin
Updated:

@graybyrd


7) rolling, cascading series of destructive and deadly events from earthquake aftershocks, fires, loss of water and food supplies, and outbreaks of disease, looters, and violence.


Either in (7) or as a new hazard, (8) volcanic eruption, lava flow, and volcanic ash interfering with internal combustion engines for land, sea and air vehicles and any emergency generators that are brought into service. Mount St Helens, but from many more volcanos, possibly even new ones erupting. Depending on wind direction, and many locations are downwind from at least one volcano which may be dormant, for thousands of years but not extinct. And some communities on the slopes may have problems with mudslides at very high speeds as glaciers melt and water runs down hill. Being near some of the streams that drain say Mt. Rainer may be hazardous to your continued existence, or at least your health and welfare.

StarFleet Carl

@Jim S

What I found is that civil authorities gave it 96 hours, i.e. 4 days. Such is the thin veneer of civilized behavior.


That would be one of the reasons why I have two backpacks ready in my house, one for me, one for my wife. They each contain enough supplies for one person for one week. (I'm making an assumption on water, but that's also because we also always keep at least 2 cases of water bottles and several gallons of distilled on hand.)

And then there's the vests that go UNDER the packs. Each vest contains pockets for both rifle and pistol mags, as well as multiple tac-lights, two multi-tools, and two first aid kits. Commonality of ammo - Glock and Sig 9mm pistols, Sig AR-15 in 5.56 for me, Colt AR-15 in 5.56 for her. 6 mags for each pistol, 10 mags for each rifle, fire and replace ammo every 6 months, and always keep an additional 400 rounds of 9mm and 2,000 rounds of 5.56 in ammo cans.

Oh, and a .22 with 5,000 rounds for hunting game, like squirrel, rabbit, birds, etc. Yes, that does mean I have several thousand dollars worth of firearms and ammunition in my home. I'm NOT a prepper - I'm just a military vet and science fiction fan that realizes that the veneer of civilization is just that - a thin veneer.

I would much rather have all of this and never need it, than end up needing some of it and not have it. And one other minor comment - other than Fort Hood, have you noticed that terrorists have only tried once to do anything in Texas? You know why? Those of us in this part of the country ARE armed, and we WILL shoot back. Our motto truly is, Peace through Superior Firepower.

(Oh, and I've had a long day at work, it's been hot, and my rehydration has included a certain amount of Seagrams, so I may be rambling a bit.)

Replies:   BlinkReader
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

That's why I placed part of Great Death 3, Seeding Hope Among the Ashes in Manhattan, just to flesh out what would be likely to happen.


No long term survivors is what's most likely to happen.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

No long term survivors is what's most likely to happen.

And then there is no story. You need to be a little optimistic that your hero will survive, or the story you write will be very short, and get a lot of ones from readers who wanted a happy ending.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

You need to be a little optimistic that your hero will survive, or the story you write will be very short, and get a lot of ones from readers who wanted a happy ending.


1. That needs to be balanced against making survival too easy.

2. I can not understand why people who want happy endings would read PA stories. The end of a PA story ought to be more "Thank God we managed to survive another week" than "Happily ever after"

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Jim S

@LonelyDad

I think anyone who wants to survive anywhere above the bottom level better internalize the Ranger/SEAL/Green Beret/Force Recon (They all claim it!) psalm - you know. "Yeah though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil, for I am the meanest Son of a B**** in the Valley"


Personally, I think that quote originated with the Ancient Spartans and just filtered down through the ages. :)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Jim S

@Dominions Son

You aren't going a couple of steps further than what I described, you are around a hundred steps behind.


The point I was trying to make is that civilized behavior would break down quickly without electric power. It wouldn't matter if population loss was 0% or 90%. Frankly, it would probably be worse if it was 0%. Most PA stories try to address that in some manner. How effectively (read, believably) they do it is what makes the story either good or bad, absent bad spelling, grammar, dialogue and other sins.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Jim S

Personally, I think that quote originated with the Ancient Spartans


Unlikely, because it's a paraphrase of a passage from the Bible.

"Yeah though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil, for the Lord is with me."

Replies:   Jim S
Dominions Son

@Jim S

The point I was trying to make is that civilized behavior would break down quickly without electric power.


Very true.

It wouldn't matter if population loss was 0% or 90%.


The point I was trying to make in reply is that if the population is reduced drastically enough and quickly enough, civilized behavior would break down even before the power gird fails.

Jim S

@Dominions Son

Unlikely, because it's a paraphrase of a passage from the Bible.

hmmmm. Wonder where the Bible's authors got it? :)

Ernest Bywater

@Jim S

hmmmm. Wonder where the Bible's authors got it? :)


The Torah.

Dominions Son

@Jim S

Wonder where the Bible's authors got it?


Probably not the Spartans. It's Old Testament Book of Psalms, which means is from the Torah. I'm not familiar with the timeline of authorship, but it could predate the Spartans and in any case, it's unlikely the ancient Hebrews had much if any contact with the Greece.

If it's not original to the Hebrews, it most likely comes from the Egyptians, pre-Islamic Arabs or Persians.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S

@Dominions Son

Uh, I thought the smiley was enough to indicate this is all tongue-in-cheek?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Jim S

Uh, I thought the smiley was enough to indicate this is all tongue-in-cheek?


It was, but I still thought it's an interesting question.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I can not understand why people who want happy endings would read PA stories. The end of a PA story ought to be more "Thank God we managed to survive another week" than "Happily ever after"

PA stories have always been more about human behavior than anything else. It reflects on the persistent Catholic mantra that man is inherently evil unless the force of God (as exerted by civil society) forces them to do good. However, that's really never been borne out by reality.

True, regions like Somolia provide pretty bleak coorelations, but that's only after nearly a full decade of unrelenting poverty and lack of opportunities, and the total collapse of the government in helping anyone in the country. Short time (less than 10 years of that), people still continue to pull together.

It's similar to arguments made in the old Christian vs Atheist communities. Without the threat of hell, no one would ever be moral. Yet atheists are consistently highly moral individuals, largely disproving that conjecture (whew, I almost said "theory" there!).

Morality doesn't derive from either Christianity or faith, it's instead a constant state of human behavior (as seen in most primate species, where the group survives by working together as a group, rather than a pack of individuals fighting among each other).

Thus, most PA stories are 'moral tales' about how we NEED society to CRUSH the invidividual, who's inherently evil (aside from the few individuals who realize why society is truly needed).

That's why I wrote my PA series, because I approached the subject from a framework of, after watching everyone die, everyone just wants to be left alone to grieve, until someone urges everyone to work together because the 'hard times' aren't yet over (i.e. people still need each other, even more if they're hurting).

In short, most PA stories are directly related to the concept of 'Original sin', even if written by people not particularly religious.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

If I were ever to write a long story here, it would likely be PA. The topic fascinates me, unlike the originator of this topic.

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts the "thin veneer of civilization", something I firmly believe. I think we're just one small nudge away from letting the inner barbarian run wild and it wouldn't take much to push us over the edge. A mass reduction of population provides an excellent vehicle to examine such a scenario.

It also provides an excellent vehicle to examine (or speculate about, which is all fiction is) what could happen when all major advantages of civilization (technology) are removed. Man isn't anymore civilized than we were 4000 years ago. Think not? Examine the barbarity of WW2 as well as more recent wars in Asia, Africa, Latin America and South America. Or the current Middle East. All that I see is current technology making mass death so much easier. I guess we've improved somewhat though. It appears rape isn't any easier or different.

Thats not to say that mankind is inherently immoral or barbaric. I agree with you that morality is a human trait and exists without Judeo/Christian influence. But, even so, that still gives mankind wide latitude to be inhumane towards its own kind. Groups may each have their own morality, jointly agreed to and arrived at, but there is nothing to say that such morality is kind and not cruel. And different groups will arrive at different moralities in a PA world. Note that most PA stories that I'm aware of delve into how these different groups react when coming into contact with each other.

I guess a short way of looking at it is that PA is a great vehicle for examining both all that is good and all that is bad in man. Or woman for that matter.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

Listing the conditions present following a disaster is not enough. Major disasters create these conditions but the disaster may not be an Apocalyptic situation. To me, the situation created by the disaster is permanent and widespread; not a local disaster that the government can fix.

To define a Post Apocalypse Story, we must first define an Apocalypse. I like the following description:

But what exactly is an apocalypse? Nowadays, we typically think of an apocalypse as a worldwide disaster that can dramatically affect civilization, like war, famine, plague (natural or bioengineered), natural disasters, and nuclear fallout. These scenarios qualify as apocalypses today because they signify to us the very real possibility that life as we know it could end.

http://study.com/academy/lesson/post-apocalyptic-literature-definition-books.html

For a post apocalypse story, the cataclysmic, civilization-altering event has already ended and life as we know it has changed. In most stories, life as we know it has ended and been replaced by the total collapse of our civilization to include our legal/penal system and our economic system. There are no longer police, courts, prisons, stores, transportation systems, etc. Any food, clothing, weapons, fuel, electricity, operable vehicles, etc., available at the time of the collapse are either a thing of the past or they will be so shortly for the replacement supply chain is destroyed.

The bad guys are no longer constrained by what society will do to them for there is no longer a society to protect the rest of us. The bad guys band together as gangs to take and do what they want. The good guys band together to protect themselves from the bad guys. The good guys have to redefine how they are to conduct themselves in regard to each other and the bad guys. There are no longer police to arrest the bad guys, courts to try them, or prisons to keep them away from the rest of society – so what do you do with them if you take them prisoner. Add in the good guys have to build shelters, if not available, and obtain food and water in the process of defending themselves. Basically the good guys are trying to build a new society, while the bad guys tear it down.

P.S. I archive the posts of many views of PA stories to aid me in writing a story I call The Ark. Part 1, already posted, is what I consider a Pre Apocalypse Story. Part 2 will be the Post Apocalypse half of the story, which I am working on now.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
BlinkReader

@StarFleet Carl

It's easy where you can easily get arms an ammo.

What about places where guns are "verboten" (forbidden)like in UK?
How could you prepare your selves in such environments? How about bows an arrows and crossbows? Are the usable at all?

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S

@BlinkReader

How about bows an arrows and crossbows?


Read up on the Battle of Agincourt if you want to learn how devastating the English longbow can be. About the only question needing to be answered is if there is any yew left in Britain.

Dominions Son

@Jim S

Read up on the Battle of Agincourt if you want to learn how devastating the English longbow can be. About the only question needing to be answered is if there is any yew left in Britain.


I'm sure modern compound bows and compound cross bows are available in the UK. They can be just as, if not more, devastating as their ancient counterparts.

The main advantage of guns, especially repeating guns is that they can be used effectively with less skill and physical effort.

Crumbly Writer

@Jim S

Man isn't anymore civilized than we were 4000 years ago. Think not? Examine the barbarity of WW2 as well as more recent wars in Asia, Africa, Latin America and South America.

That's not civilization, that's biology. Mammals, and many other animal groups, rape each other. It's hard to escape your basic biology. But I base my faith on humanity on history. While multiple wars are horrendous, we currently only have one country that has reverted to complete barbarism, the others, despite how bad things have gotten, still hang on to their humanity. Thus I doubt the 'thin veneer of humanity is so thin.

While we have plenty of war criminals, we also have plenty of people who'll call them to task on the matter. To prove me wrong, you'll need to point out a more recent example than the fall of Rome two millennium ago.

But you're right, that is the basis of most PA stories.

Replies:   paliden  Jim S
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Part 1, already posted, is what I consider a Pre Apocalypse Story. Part 2 will be the Post Apocalypse half of the story, which I am working on now.

You seem to be missing a part, the Apocalypse itself.

However, that's another trend in PA stories, the actual apocalyptic event gets, at most, a short chapter detailing what happens, afterwards there's barely any mention of bodies, disease, infections or contaminated waterways. Instead the story focuses on the classic roving bands of motorcycle gangs vs. the lone good guy trying to rebuild society.

@BlinkReader

How about bows an arrows and crossbows? Are the usable at all?

It depends on what state your 'world' is in. In the case of title waves, floods, etc., they may not have access to the necessary wood. Assuming they survived, most hunting stores have a decent stock of hunting bows (and hunting rifles or shotguns, knives and traps of all kinds).

I'd consider a bigger and more immediate problem is the building of a shelter, a working sustainable water system, and some way of warning you when you're about to be invaded, however rudimentary it is (dogs, underbrush, broken glass, chained-up zombies, etc.).

Replies:   REP  StarFleet Carl
Crumbly Writer

@Jim S

About the only question needing to be answered is if there is any yew left in Britain.

There ain't no Yew for you, but there's plenty of Mei for me!

paliden

@Crumbly Writer

we currently only have one country that has reverted to complete barbarism


What country is that?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

You seem to be missing a part, the Apocalypse itself.


Not really. The anticipated effects of the disaster are well described in Part 1, which ends shortly after the apocalyptic event ends. Part 2 will include descriptions of the devastation and its effect on people and infrastructure as the survivors begin their task of rebuilding society .

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
docholladay

No one can really say what they will do in a survival situation. Sure the so-called trained experts in survival might have a better chance. But the major part of survival is to do what you have to and worry about if its right or wrong (ethically or legally) later.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@paliden

What country is that?

Somolia, where the rule of law is now pretty much non-existent.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Not really. The anticipated effects of the disaster are well described in Part 1, which ends shortly after the apocalyptic event ends. Part 2 will include descriptions of the devastation and its effect on people and infrastructure as the survivors begin their task of rebuilding society .

It wasn't clear from your description (here) whether the apocalyptic event happened in part 1, or between the two parts. (Again, I always gets frustrated by PA stories which view the death of billions as being irrelevant and of little concern to the story.)

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

No one can really say what they will do in a survival situation. Sure the so-called trained experts in survival might have a better chance. But the major part of survival is to do what you have to and worry about if its right or wrong (ethically or legally) later.

I always think it's funny considering all these survivalists when you consider that all those who die in the initial apocalypse will include many of those same survivalists (nothing says a meteor strike, volcano or earthquake won't strike low population wilderness areas instead of the despised cities in most of these stories).

There's nothing that says you'll survive just because you built a shelter and are paranoid. I like the 'randomness' of an apocalyptic event, the fact that no one knows who survives, rather than only conservatives will. The idea that someone at random is suddenly thrust into events seems to be a major component of these stories, as opposed to those who seem to be cheering for the coming end-of-the-world.

Jim S

@Crumbly Writer

While we have plenty of war criminals....


War criminals? The very term confirms how uncivilized modern man is. We, as a "civilization", have actually developed jurisprudence on what is acceptable as we kill our fellow man in mass numbers? Yup. Civilization at its finest.

I much more prefer the honesty of Ghengis Khan, barbaric though it is.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

However, that's another trend in PA stories, the actual apocalyptic event gets, at most, a short chapter detailing what happens, afterwards there's barely any mention of bodies, disease, infections or contaminated waterways. Instead the story focuses on the classic roving bands of motorcycle gangs vs. the lone good guy trying to rebuild society.


If you want a good example of how even a good author can screw this up, go find the Supervolcano series by Harry Turtledove. The first part of the book and series is the apocalyptic event - the Yellowstone caldera goes boom.

Then, if you know or have read anything at all about what would happen JUST from that event, as well as the OTHER chain reaction events that would happen ... try to contain your laughter as you read along. You know you've done something really wrong when 33% of the reviewers give it 1 star.

I think Stultus in his series ended up making the wasteland that was the central U.S. more believable than anything Harry Turtledove did in this series of books - that he actually got paid to write. (And keep in mind I like the other books by Harry - so I was prepared to like this one because it's ... a Post-Apocalyptic book!) I would be curious if anyone else besides me thought it sucked.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

I think Stultus in his series ended up making the wasteland that was the central U.S. more believable than anything Harry Turtledove did in this series of books - that he actually got paid to write. (And keep in mind I like the other books by Harry - so I was prepared to like this one because it's ... a Post-Apocalyptic book!) I would be curious if anyone else besides me thought it sucked.

Never having read it, I'd venture his issues were more likely general believability and relatability issues rather than the overall severity of the one event. After all, just because a particular event may occur doesn't mean you'll get a major even this time (i.e. more people survive than you'd otherwise hope). After all, you need enough people and resources left to make for a decent story.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

It wasn't clear from your description


It wasn't my intent to describe the entire story. My P.S. was intended more as a thank you for helping me define aspects of a PA story that many Authors overlook.

My motivation in writing the story came from a thought of: What would happen if someone learned of a potential disaster that would totally destroy Earth's social structure? If the person had time and resources to prepare for the disaster, what would they do and how would their efforts play out after the disaster?

REP

@docholladay

But the major part of survival is to do what you have to and worry about if its right or wrong (ethically or legally) later.


I agree Doc. Although in a PA story, the MC and associates do not have to worry about "later". There will be no later in regard to society imposing punishment for there is no longer a society to punish wrong doing. In that type of situation, the main concern is survive or die.

REP

@StarFleet Carl

I would be curious if anyone else besides me thought it sucked.


I found it difficult to suspend disbelief through most of the story. I did okay as the survivors journeyed down the Mississippi until New Orleans. From that point on, the situations and the Senator's power was no longer credible. Especially, the local island authorities not recognizing that the US was dead and thus the Senator's position as a powerful person was no longer valid.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

It wasn't my intent to describe the entire story. My P.S. was intended more as a thank you for helping me define aspects of a PA story that many Authors overlook.

That's how most great stories begin. We see something in a common genre that others have overlooked and decide to see where it leads. I've written many stories based on that basic premise (unexplored issues in otherwise overworked genres).

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Although in a PA story, the MC and associates do not have to worry about "later". There will be no later in regard to society imposing punishment for there is no longer a society to punish wrong doing. In that type of situation, the main concern is survive or die.

I don't know about that. I had fun, in one of mine, where one of the leaders in the 'let's band together movement' decides they need to curtail the rise of lawyers attempting to revise the 'lawsuits for all' mentality by eliminating the problematic lawyers. It was probably the highlight of the entire story.

It's not just good guys vs. bad guys (or for the ladies, good buys vs bad buys) but how we'd like to reinvent society, and which pieces we'd keep and which we'd dump that make for interesting stories. There's really only so long you can go on about roving bands of motorcycle gangs.

Replies:   REP
LonelyDad

@Jim S

Unlikely, because it's a paraphrase of a passage from the Bible.

hmmmm. Wonder where the Bible's authors got it? :)

Divine inspiration? "For the prophecy came not in olden times by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" 2 Peter 1:21

It is part of Psalm 23, probably the most well known Psalm written by King David about 1000 BC.

LonelyDad

@REP

My motivation in writing the story came from a thought of: What would happen if someone learned of a potential disaster that would totally destroy Earth's social structure? If the person had time and resources to prepare for the disaster, what would they do and how would their efforts play out after the disaster?

'Impact' by Doores is just such a story. He had taken it as far as the actual disaster had occured, but, alas, it is unfinished.

Dominions Son

@REP

What would happen if someone learned of a potential disaster that would totally destroy Earth's social structure? If the person had time and resources to prepare for the disaster, what would they do and how would their efforts play out after the disaster?


A lot would depend on the exact nature of the disaster and how much time you have to prepare. Those factors will be the primary determiners of what level of resources are needed.

Replies:   REP
docholladay

@REP

I agree Doc. Although in a PA story, the MC and associates do not have to worry about "later". There will be no later in regard to society imposing punishment for there is no longer a society to punish wrong doing. In that type of situation, the main concern is survive or die.


Basically the only laws will be each individual's personal Code of Conduct. We all have them to an extent. I find my personal code does not allow me to use any excuses when I fail to follow it.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

. It was probably the highlight of the entire story.


Was it a Post Apocalypse story? Doesn't sound like one.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Dominions Son

A lot would depend on the exact nature of the disaster and how much time you have to prepare.


You would have to read the story to understand, but a meteoroid storm that carries a lethal virus. Only 5% percent of Earth's population is expected to survive. Preparation timeframe of about 25 years.

Replies:   Dominions Son
REP

@docholladay

Basically the only laws will be each individual's personal Code of Conduct.


I agree. If we were to examine the personal code of the criminal element of our society, we would probably find it is based on whatever the criminal wants to do regardless of how that might affect others.

Dominions Son

@REP

You would have to read the story to understand, but a meteoroid storm that carries a lethal virus. Only 5% percent of Earth's population is expected to survive.


What's the story title?

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Was it a Post Apocalypse story? Doesn't sound like one.

Yep. Book 3 of my Great Death series, where the daughter of the man who developed a cure to the plague which devastated the world travels to New York City to help spread the cure and get people working together again.

REP

@Dominions Son

The Ark

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