Friday Fiction Feature

FictionReboot2Greetings and welcome back to the Friday Fiction Feature! Tabatha is back, and this time I really am going to finish the Death & the apocalypse feature I promised! In part I we explored the world’s end & what to do about it, and now in part II we’ll focus more on the (wo)man who’ll make it happen. Death is a very important figure for most people (eventually), but (s)he never gets much face-time (ba dum chi). So today we’re going to take a peek into several different versions of Death as a character. However, I won’t be giving you selections like The Book Thief, because while I hear it is a great read, I’d prefer to look on the lighter side of Death for today (and I’ve never heard of a single Death-&-Nazi-centrous book that made me laugh). So without further ado, I give you a character who is just dying out in literature. I hope the humor’s not too grave for you! _______________________________________________________________ Mort by Terry Pratchett 

Mort (Discworld, #4)Terry Pratchett’s Mort is first on the list, for the simple reason that Discworld’s Death is my favorite in the entire series. He is charming, his humor just kills, and he’s really very understanding about his job (though he would like to have people be happy to see him, just once!).

In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can’t refuse — especially since being, well, dead isn’t compulsory.As Death’s apprentice, he’ll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won’t need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he’d ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

This book is worth a read if only for a look at how death (the state) functions in Discworld where the afterlife is whatever you believe it is, and everyone has a different idea of what comes next.

On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality #1) by Piers Anthony

On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, #1)Another series novel, On a Pale Horse has a very different approach to Death. Unlike the usual idea of Death as an immutable anthropomorphic personification (a.k.a. just the one skeleton forever), Anthony shows Death as more of a job that gets filled by a new working stiff. All in all it’s not too bad; the hours aren’t great and the walking skeleton look takes a bit of getting used to, but you meet a lot of new people, travel the world, and don’t have to worry about health insurance. It’s just the retirement plan that’s a bit troubling.

When Zane shoots Death, he has to take the job, speeding over the world riding Mortis, his pale horse/limo, measuring souls for the exact balance of Good and Evil, sending each to Heaven or Hell instead of Purgatory. The new Thanatos is superbly competent, ends pain when he ends lives. But Satan is forging a trap for Luna, the woman Death loves.

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries #1) by Michele Vail

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries, #1)Moving even farther from the personality-less sythe-carying skeleton we all know and fear, Undeadly posits a very different view of the incarnation: a teenage girl who thought the world would be a nicer place with one more cute boy in it. Oops.

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…
Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another…except, there’s something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly’s got an undeadly knack for finding trouble…

When  Adam Lacroft Met Death by Carlos Paolini

When Adam Lacroft Met DeathFor one last outsider’s opinion on Death, I’d like to point out that there is really no reason he needs to be a he (especially considering the whole fleshless skeleton thing…seems a bit of a moot point to me). When Adam Lacroft Met Death not only gender-bends our grim friend, but also gives her a personality. Far from Mort‘s understanding Death, this young(old) lady likes playing games with the lives, and deaths of others (but I suppose after a few millenia anyone would get tired of chess).

Death, in the form of a sexy, capricious twenty-something woman, offers a teenage boy a questionable way to win back his life in 19-year-old author’s debut novel.

Adam Lacroft is a carefree seventeen-year-old, in love, with a perfect slacker future in front of him–until a reckless driver crashes into his car and threatens to take all of that away. When Adam wakes-up in an empty white room, a cute girl sitting by his side giggles and explains to him that he is now dead. Coquettish and border-line psychotic , the girl produces a few demonstrations that scare Adam and verify the reality of his state of being. A proper introduction is then made and Adam Lacroft meets Death herself. Death, however, tells Adam he may call her Eve.

Feeling sympathy (or is it something else?) for Adam, Eve strikes-up a deal with him: if he can find and kill the driver who caused his accident within three days, Adam gets to turn 18 and find his natural end some other time. Having no clue of what to do next, Adam confides is rather strange predicament in his friend Erica and, together, they begin searching for the man who caused the accident. Their mission is unconscionable enough, but as Adam and Erica find-out more about their target, they find less of Eve’s version of the events ring true. Death is spoiled and condescending and, despite seeming to have a crush on Adam, is constantly setting him up to fail.

Death: a Life by George Pendle

Death: A LifeFinally, I want to shift gears a bit, out of the typical fiction and into autobiography. We’ve been looking at so many different accounts of what Death is like, it is only fair to get his perspective on the matter. (We at the Fiction Feature do believe in fair representation after all).

At last, the mysterious, feared, and misunderstood being known only as “Death” talks frankly and unforgettably about his infinitely awful existence. Chronicling his abusive childhood, his near-fatal addiction to Life, his excruciating time in rehab, and the ultimate triumph of his true nature, this long-awaited autobiography finally reveals the inner story of one of the most troubling, and troubled, figures in history. For the first time, Death reveals his affairs with the living, his maltreatment at the hands of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the ungodly truth behind the infamous “Jesus Incident,” and the loneliness of being the End of All Things.

Intense, unpredictable, and instantly engaging, Death: A Life is not only a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a universe that, despite its profound flaws, gave Death the fiery determination to carve out a successful existence on his own terms.

DEATH was born in Hell, the only son of Satan and Sin. He was educated in the Palace of Pandemonium and the Garden of Eden. Since before the Dawn of Time, he has ushered souls into the darkness of eternity. This is his first book.

Friday Fiction Feature (Apocalypse)

FictionReboot2Hello and welcome back to the Friday Fiction Feature!

This is Tabatha  with another round of books for you. For no reason at all, this week’s theme is the end of the world! But what fun would it be if we just explained how it will happen (we at the Friday Fiction Feature do not condone spoilers), so instead we’re going to show you how to handle yourself properly at the end times, and more importantly, how to get a good laugh out of the apocalypse. So without further ado (because I have to save up my end-of-the-world jokes) I give you the laughable end of the world. _____________________________________________________________

1Etiquette for an Apocalypse by Anne Mendel

We all know the apocalypse is coming, friendly people are always sitting around on street corners just to let us know and explain why. So it would be a silly waste of time to explain all that to you. Instead, I would like to start this Friday’s Feature with some handy pointers on what you should do when it comes, and what better place to start than with Etiquette for an Apocalypse? It’s the 2020 Apocalypse and Sophie Cohen, former social worker turned neighborly drug dealer, must keep her family alive amid those pesky end of the world issues: starvation, earthquakes, plagues, gang violence and alas more starvation.She investigates a serial killing and takes down the sinister emerging power structure while learning to use a pizza box solar oven, bond with her chickens and blast tin cans from the perimeter fence with a Ruger 9MM. In order to accomplish all this she must find a way to love her mother, accept her daughter’s adulthood and reignite her moribund marriage. She might discover that a decentralized, consensus driven life—without fossil fuels, iPhones and chocolate éclairs—isn’t the end of the world, after all.

2Apocalypse How: Making the End Times the Best of Times by Rob Kutner

Of course knowing the proper behavior for the apoclypse isn’t worth much if you can’t enjoy it. What is life after (everyone else’s) death good for if you can’t have a little fun? So to make sure you stay happy in your post-apocalyptic wasteland don’t forget to stock your underground bunker with Apocalypse How: Making the End Times the Best of Times. People have been predicting the end of the world since…well, the beginning of it. Oh, the form it takes may vary-firestorm, earthquake, plague, new ice age, alien invasion, nuclear cloud, or the rise of our machines-but everyone who survives will be starting over at Square One. Your needs won’t be that different from today’s: food, shelter, work, finances, relationships, 24-hour cable…. But you’ll have more raw materials to deal with. Apocalypse How is the humorous how-to-guide to living your best life possible (after the Apocalypse renders your current quality of life null and void.) Organized like a travel or lifestyle guide, the book tells you all you need to know in order to fend off zombies, forge for non-radioactive food, and make the most of your new dwelling (while ignoring the ash outline of its previous occupants on the far wall.)This handy volume includes such essential sections as: What to Expect When We’re Exploding Before We Blow: Your Essential To-Hoard List Should You Stay or Should You Flee? Questionnaire Sex, Love, and Dating: What if You Are the Last Man on Earth? The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Petty Tyrants The Apocalyptic Aptitude Test Apocalypse Howis guaranteed to be of use in the world to come. It also makes a handy defense weapon if thrown, and firestarter if needed.

3They Came And Ate Us: Armageddon II: The B-Movie (Armageddon #2) by Robert Rankin

Before we get into the more serious business of the possible variations of the end of the world, we thought it would be helpful for you all to visualize it in a more comforting context. As any film non-conusseour can tell you, nothing tagged “*The B-movie” can ever be scary, and so for your own well-being (yeah, of course…) we present next They Came And Ate Us: Armageddon II: The B-Movie. QUIVER AT! Horrible demonic stuff oozing out of computer screens! SHOCK HORROR! Elvis Presley pulling his face off! GASP AT! a talking brussels sprout! SEE! Cannibals on the rampage! HEAR! Fido the Dog do Frankie Howerd impressions! SEE! Rex Mundi, Rambo Bloodaxe, Deathblade Eric, Hugo Rune and a cast of millions caught up in Events Beyond Their Control! THRILL TO! all the loose ends from Armageddon the Musical magically tied up! WATCH! A comic genius doing the business! SEE?

4Mort by Joseph Duncan

Next, we have Mort, a story of an unlikely protagonist and his equally unexpected posse of apocalypse survivors because, well… I’m just a sucker for the phrase “post-apocalyptic buddy comedy.” Really, who wouldn’t be? A genetically modified food preservative mutates into a world-wide zombie plague, infecting humankind by the billions. As civilization collapses in a spectacular orgy of brain-eating destruction, overweight comic shop owner Mort Lesser must make his way out of his hometown of DuChamp before the local nuclear power plant goes critical. It’s no fun being fat when the streets are overrun by hordes of flesh-eating deadheads, but with the help of some new friends– foul-mouthed redneck Pete Bolin and sexy stunt car driver Zhao Dao-ming– Mort just might make it out of the city in one piece. Meanwhile, strange creatures stalk the inheritors of this blighted world. Are they mankind’s saviors, as their angelic appearances suggest, or something far more sinister? Both a post-apocalyptic buddy comedy and an extremely violent survival horror novel, Mort is one of the most unique and original zombie novels you’ll ever read!

5Love, Death and Tea by Will Once

If you thought Mort was an unlikely lead, just wait until you see the hero of Love, Death and Tea. A comic novel about love, courage and revolution at the end of the world. Just what do you do when the apocalypse happens … and you end up as a zombie and not one of the lantern-jawed heroes? I was not having a good apocalypse. When the world ends, we all expect to be one of the good guys – a gun-toting hero in a world of flesh-eating zombies and other assorted creatures of the night. But what if you find yourself on the wrong side? What if you become a zombie instead of a survivor, in a landscape of dragons, wizards and witches? When your girlfriend takes you on a mad quest to find a man who may or may not exist, while trying to evade a Government intent on grinding your bones into dust? That is what happened to me when normal life was suddenly switched off. I became an outcast, an outlaw and the unlikeliest hero of all. This is my story. I am dying to tell it to you. (Har de har har!)

6Apocalypse Cakes: Recipes for the End by Shannon O’Malley

Now, our loyal readers will know that we always try to write these features with your best interests at heart wanting nothing more than to keep you happy and ready for whatever comes next (of course that’s why…otherwise we’d just be odd people who keep gushing about monsters, ghosts, and the adventures of academics for no good reason. And that’s just silly. Obviously.) So for your edification we want to end our foray into the endtimes with the most practical tool you can have: a cookbook with Apocalypse Cakes: Recipes for the End. We are besieged with talk of crisis, meltdown, earthquakes, sink holes, global warming, bailouts, and more. Once you realize there’s not a whole lot of time left, grab a Bundt pan and whip up your own scrumptious Fallen Angel Food Cake–or one of the other 29 apocalyptic cakes in this irreverent cookbook–and indulge in your final days. Each full-color dessert photograph is accompanied by a short hilarious description.   That’s all for this week folks, but tune in next Friday for a companion feature on amusing Deaths!