Tag Archives: post-apocalyptic

The Shannara Chronicles Opening Sequence

The Shannara Chronicles is coming. MTV released the opening title sequence of the upcoming TV series based on Terry Brooks’ Shannara series of novels. I’ll say this before you see the video: It’s a fantasy novel series, but…

Interesting, isn’t it? They’re really pushing the post-apocalyptic part of the story. Throughout The Sword of Shannara and The Elfstones of Shannara (the first season of the TV series is based on Elfstones), we get small glimpses of current day Earth, but it’s never outright shown that it is Earth. The Wishsong of Shannara is much more explicit in this, though. And there are several novels that span from The Word & Void to The Genesis of Shannara and Legends of Shannara that actually show the world changing into the fantasy world. Is this a spoiler? Not really, it’s actually widely known, and you can guess as much just by reading the back covers of the books. Regardless, I’m pretty excited about this TV series. I can’t watch it in Japan, but should be able to see it in other ways in the future.

What did you think of the opening sequence?

Gateway Novels

The first fantasy novel I read was The Hobbit. I loved it. The first science fiction novel I read was Jurassic Park, which I also really enjoyed.  I was already a sci-fi fan, though, having watched a lot of Star Trek and Transformers when I was a kid.

Those books got me interested, but I never really focused on reading novels much at that time. However, when I was in university, I started reading a couple of different series.  One was Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series and Terry Brooks’ Shannara series. Those are what really hooked me onto sci-fi and fantasy novels.

What books would you recommend as gateway novels into speculative fiction? Any suggestions for science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopia, or post-apocalyptic novels? Let’s get a list going. Leave your suggestions in the comments, and invite your friends or anyone else to give their thoughts, too.

Book Review – Scavenger’s War

scavengerswarScavenger’s War is the first book of The Marlowe Transmissions by Jack Sheppard.  It’s a short post-apocalyptic science fiction novella that left me with very mixed feelings.

Desmond Marlowe is a man who has been traveling a long time through the former United States, which is now a wasteland populated by pockets of people and the scavengers, a race of part human, part technological beings who prey on people for energy.  There are a few city-states, and Dez is on his way to one of them, Detroit.  Detroit is a fortress ruled by dictator Terrence McHale.  Dez meets his daughter, and everything goes to hell for him.

The story is an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic genre, as there was no war, no alien invasion, no nuclear bomb, no asteroid impact, no disease.  It’s the result of a well-meaning attempt to expand the mind’s abilities.  People have telekinetic abilities, but it has resulted in people thinking they’re invincible, so the world became an anarchy.  War spread and the land was devastated.  This isn’t much of a spoiler, as it’s explained very early on, including in the book’s description.  It was an intriguing idea.  But I felt that there were some aspects that didn’t work for me.

The characters didn’t click with me.  Dez Marlowe seemed like a seasoned veteran of this dark future’s battles.  However, I couldn’t get the image that he was a young man for most of the book.  He was not even described until the final third of the book.  I didn’t know what he looked like or how old he was.  When he was finally described, my image of him was completely wrong.  We didn’t get to see much of Terrence McHale, but his daughter was central to the story.  Layla McHale seemed both spoiled and naive.  But she had to grow quickly.  I felt like I didn’t get enough time to like her.  There was some good characterisation, particularly with Huginn.  I liked him.

The technology is also interesting.  The scavengers seemed almost like animals acting on instinct, with only a remnant of their humanity remaining.  Some of the weapons that relied on mind control were intriguing, too.  The brain and technology interface was all telekinetic, not using a direct physical connection.  I liked that.

This story is told in first person using present tense.  This is a difficult way to write a book, and I found it somewhat jarring.  At one point, this was described as a transmission of Marlowe’s experience.  Wouldn’t he be talking about it in past tense?  I wasn’t sure why it was in present tense.  I’m not a fan of this kind of writing style.  This was the biggest problem for me.  But that’s just my personal taste.

Overall, I felt that this story had potential to be very good.  However, there were many things that didn’t make it as enjoyable as I’d have liked.  I am interested in seeing how it continues, though.  In the end, I have to give this 2 and a half stars out of 5.  Recommended for those who like post-apocalyptic stories with a twist.