Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors - Benjamin Wallace

    2011; 267 pages.  New Author? : Yes.  Full Title : Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors (A Duck and Cover Adventure).  Genre : Action-Adventure; Humor; Post-Apocalyptic.  Overall Rating : 8½*/10.

    The title sets the stage – it’s seven years after the bombs rained from the sky and obliterated most of the human race.  National governments don’t exist anymore, but the couple percent of humanity that did survive are gathering themselves into communities for mutual protection.

    There are rumors of marauding raiders with evil intent, but the townspeople in New Hope haven’t seen any such baddies, and are frankly a bit skeptical of the horror stories.  So when the first Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warrior knocks on their gate, they give him a not-so-subtle send-off.

    But when the second PANW shows up (on the same day as the first one; what are the odds?), he has pictures of the carnage that’s just happened to the neighboring town of Nova Vita.  Hmm.  Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a hired gun in town.

What’s To Like...
    Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors borrows elements from various other works.  The plotline reminds me of Stephen King’s  The Gunslinger.  The setting feels like the old Kevin Costner movie, The Postman.  And the baddies are akin to those found in the Mad Max series.

    But the tone is lighter here, and only Mad Max – Beyond Thunderdome is comparable.  Yes, the evildoers are vile, and there’s a  fair amount of violence and dangerous beasties, including mutants, sentient plant life, and the terrifying SSB’s (Super Smart Bears).  But this is offset by wit, humor, romance, and some heartwarming reunions.

    I like Benjamin Wallace’s storytelling style.  The pacing is brisk and action-packed.  The similarities and contrasts between the two Nomadic Warriors was a nice study, and I enjoyed some of the side references, such as Kickball, and Johnny Cash music.  This is a standalone book, although it cries out to be made into a series.

    They kept smart phones in their pockets and family and friends at arm’s length.  And when the end came and there was chaos and rampant starvation, people learned all too well that you could not rely on stuff.  You needed friends.  A dead phone provided no companionship; an empty home no comfort.  The latest fashions provided no food, but you could always eat a close friend.  (loc. 1641)

    A bulletproof vest struck the Gadgeteer in the face and fell into his hands.
    “What’s this?”
    “Body armor.”
    Timothy, the whiny councilman, “Why does he get body armor?”
    “He needs to live the longest.”  (loc. 4145)

Kindle Details...
    Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors sells for $3.99 at Amazon.  There is a short-story that ties in to the “Duck & Cover” series, Prisoner’s Dilemma”, which sells for $0.99.  ANAICT, there are no other full-length books in the series.  Benjamin Wallace has 10 or so other books for the Kindle, ranging in price from $0.99 to $5.99, with pricing based more-or-less on the length of the story.  There are at least three other “Benjamin Wallaces” offering books on Amazon, so make sure you find the right one.  If the title doesn’t sound “spoofy”, it isn’t this one.

”Even a mushroom cloud has a silver lining.”  (loc. 51)
    The quibbles are few.  The name of the neighboring town, Vita Nova, is cited as being Latin for “New Hope”.  It is not.  “Vita” means “Life”; the Latin word for “Hope” is “Spes”.

    Also, there are some over-the-top aspects to the storyline.  The bombs may have wiped out almost all the humans, but plant life is thriving.  Music apparently has acquired magical powers.  Food and gasoline seem in plentiful supply, despite the presumed destruction of the food-processing and oil-refining industries.

    But hey, you might ask how the baddies got so much fuel to run their fleet of attack vehicles in Mad Max 2, or why father-&-son hadn’t starved to death long ago in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.  Every Post-Apocalypse tale is inherently a fantasy story  (realistically, we’d all die in a matter of weeks or months, whether it be from radiation, starvation, disease, or good old-fashioned barbarism)Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors just adds an element of spoofery to the storytelling.

    8½ Stars.  To use a cliché that I am not fond of, the book sucked me in from the start, and I spent several nights (work nights!) reading “just one more chapter” into the wee hours.  I sense that Benjamin Wallace penned PANW to be a fast, light, fun read.  That may not seem like the most ambitious of goals, but PANW achieves it most admirably.

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