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Reading for an Apocalyptic World

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Dreaming of summer? Yeah, me too, but from the looks of it outside, it feels like it’ll be delayed even longer. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a hot weather person by any means, but the consistently overcast skies are really starting to (literally and metaphorically) rain on my parade. 

Perhaps in an ideal world, where the weather is consistent and less unpredictable due to the downfalls of climate change, we’d be posted up on a beach somewhere, toes in the sand, the perfect beach read in hand, not a cloud or worry in the sky. 

But this is not an ideal world, and climate change is real, damaging, and a threat not only to the perfect summer, but to humanity as we know it. Not to be a huge downer, but that’s our reality. 

I’m sitting with this, and with the grayness outside, it feels appropriate to have a column of post-apocalyptic-panic-reads to curl up with under an umbrella in this PNW downpour, in a basement hiding from zombies, in the forest far away from civilization… Bring on the gloom & doom. 

Reading for a Post-Apocalyptic World

Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh 

Blue Ticket drops you straight into a world in which you have no bodily autonomy, and that your future and fate are determined lottery-style, by pulling either a white or a blue ticket. The white ticket gives you a life of marriage and children, and the blue ticket gives you the opportunity of having a career with no possibility of children.

While many in this fictional society see the lottery as a blessing, and as a way to not have to make big decisions about one’s future, others are stuck wondering: what if the ticket you pull is not the lifestyle you were hoping for? It’s a quick read that I blew through, quickly trying to figure out what was going to happen to our questioning protagonist, Calla. 

Purchase Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh by using the following links:

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

It took me far too long to get into an Octavia Butler novel. She’s often heralded as one of the best science-fiction writers in the game.

I was prompted by a friend to begin with Parable, and I’m glad this was my first foray into her work. In this world, it is 2024. The impacts of global warming have nearly decimated the planet, and societal and class inequalities have grown to extremes.

We follow Lauren Olamina as she ventures out of her no-longer-safe gated hometown, on a quest to find any semblance of peace following the destruction of her neighborhood and death of her friends, family, and neighbors. It is as much a fight to live as it is the birth of a new culture, belief, and faith system. 

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff

I picked this one up on a whim from the library after a quick and brief comparison of this novel to Cormac McCarthy’s bleak and despairing novel, The Road. This novel certainly follows a similar premise.

We meet Orpen, traveling through forest and over empty roads with her mother’s dying partner, Maeve, in tow, after a decision to finally leave the safety of their island in search for the hope of a new life, and new sense of safety. All the while, the two are being chased and hunted by creatures called Skrakes.

Through flashbacks, we learn of how Orpen was raised–trained to survive and to fight off skrake by her mother and Maeve, and the happy memories they were able to create in their little island cottage. What Maeve learns of skrake and of what is left of humanity is for you to discover. I could hardly put this one down because of the suspense. 

Kailee Haong

Kailee Haong is a queer writer and editor. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University. Her work has been published in Split Lip, Moss, The Inlander, Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living Magazine, Lilac City Fairy Tales, and elsewhere. She writes & resides in the Pacific NW.

read all of kailee’s articles here.

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