Today we welcome author Jenna Petersen, whose book Her Notorious Viscount is out this month from Avon. She also writes as Jess Michaels, and her book, Taboo, came out yesterday!
Take it away, Jenna!
Apocalypse . . . Sometime
Hi everyone and thanks for having me here today. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I’m reading and it’s making me nervous. See, I have two books out currently (HER NOTORIOUS VISCOUNT and TABOO, both of which came out in the last month) and I’m just about to start writing a new book. What have I been reading and watching to pass the nervous hours?
Apocalyptic fiction and television.
Let me explain. It all started with ALAS, BABYLON. I read this book in high school and for some reason it popped into my head (okay, because we watched the horrific train wreck that was “Babylon A.D.” with Vin Diesel and the titles were similar and so I started thinking about the book). I wondered if I’d like it as much as I recalled liking it in high school so next thing you know I had a copy. If you’ve never read the story, here’s the run down…
ALAS, BABYLON was published in 1959 and written by Pat Frank. It’s a story about a man, Randy Bragg, who gets advanced knowledge of an imminent nuclear holocaust. How he prepares, how it comes down and how he and his small town of Fort Repose survive the aftermath is basically the book. Pat Frank apparently only wrote stories of nuclear war (although given his time, it’s sort of understandable why he was a bit obsessed) and this one is considered a classic.
Then I also was watching a show on Discovery Channel about what would happen if all the humans on earth just… disappeared (it’s not good, but then all the humans have disappeared, so I guess we wouldn’t have to deal with it). And finally, I’ve also been reading Stephen King’s SKELETON CREW, which features “The Mist”, a great story about what happens when the world falls apart. And he’s the author of one of the greatest pieces of “world catastrophe” fiction, THE STAND.
Death, destruction, utter devastation… these seem like the perfect things for a nervous author to read, yes? So soothing as I hit refresh at Amazon and obsessively wait for Bookscan.
The fact is, each of these books/shows has a different impact. THE STAND is great, just as awesome every time I read it. ALAS, BABYLON didn’t have the same impact on me that it did as a 15-year old, but it did freak me out in other ways. As an adult, I started wondering if I could survive in a world where all modern conveniences are gone, where you have to fend for yourself in every way. And I was also touched by the idea that with television and radio (the two main mediums of the time) gone, all the people crowd the town library.
In ALAS, BABYLON, as in THE STAND, people turn to books. For research, certainly. They all have to learn to filter water or make a lantern or turn a car battery into some other system. But also for pleasure. In a situation where no other entertainment existed, books and stories would return to prominence.
And maybe that gave me the comfort I need in times of “oh my God, I have a book out!!”.
So do you have any favorite post-apocalyptic fiction, either as a movie, television show or book? And if you lived in a Post-Apocalyptic world, which book would you label as a “must read”?
Thanks for joining us, Jenna!