Tag Archive for apocalypse

The Cleansing by Sam Kates

The Cleansing by Sam Kates

Title: The Cleansing
Author: Sam Kates
Year published: 2013
Genre: Apocalyptic.
Threat: Deadly virus.
Two words: Engineered annihilation.

 

 

 

 

 

With post-apocalyptic fiction such a burgeoning subject in the creative arts, and publishing made so easy (and the stunning example of success that Hugh Howey’s Wool set), the independent book industry is now awash with authors trying their hand at apocalyptic tales. It is always refreshing, then, to find an author who’s done it properly, and professionally – and The Cleansing is a great example of how an independent book can be. With its international tale of a seemingly man-made deadly infection, it’s polished, intriguing and – above all – entertaining. Read more

Cat’s Cradle: Vonnegut’s inimitable style

cats cradle book

Title: Cat’s Cradle
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Year published: 1963
Genre: Apocalyptic, satire.
Threat: Ice 9.
Two words: Amusing apocalypse.

 

 

 

 

 

Kurt Vonnegut’s inimitable style hinted towards apocalyptic plots on numerous occasions – a sci-fi writer at heart, he dabbled in themes of crazy invention, alternative time-lines and space travel, against otherwise contemporary stories. Cat’s Cradle actually reaches a kind of full destruction (which is, I’m afraid, something of a spoiler), and is a great example of one simple experiment can bring about global destruction. The book itself uses this theme as an overall allegory for human stupidity, with the result that’s it’s as affecting as it is enjoyable.

What’s Cat Cradle all about?

The rather hapless narrator, John, is conducting research into what famous people were doing on the day of the Hiroshima bombing. This leads him to looking into a scientist called Felix Hoenikker, who helped design the atomic bomb, and takes John on an eventual journey to the fictional tropical island of San Lorenzo. On the way, and whilst there, John meets the Hoenikker children and gradually learns about a substance called Ice 9. Something that turns any body of water it touches instantly to ice, at any temperature.

Why you should read it

Vonnegut was one of America’s great 20th Century writers because his style was at once unique and incredibly readable. He brilliantly combines satirical humour that harks back to the irreverence of Mark Twain with exciting sci-fi and adventure themes. Those themes often go nowhere, compounding the satire of his writing, but in this case they reach an apt apocalyptic conclusion, that is more or less brushed off as an ‘Oh well.’ moment. It’s a light look at the disasters mankind can cause without even meaning to, and a fine addition to any library, apocalyptic or not.