I’ve got another great anthology for you to check out! If you like fantasy and unusual take on apocalyptic fiction, this book is definitely for you.
The End Was Not the End: Post Apocalyptic Fantasy Tales (editor Joshua H. Leet): Heroes prevail… usually. You sit close to a campfire, depending on its faint, flickering light to ward off the darkness. Yet the fire cannot hold back dark memories, thoughts of your fallen kingdom, of monsters across the land, of magic gone awry. Around fires like yours are seated other travelers, refugees from catastrophes none dare mention. Kings and queens huddle shoulder to shoulder with peasants, wizards share scraps with slaves, and each wishes only to be saved.
Some will be lucky, for heroes yet remain in their lands. For others, hope was not among the provisions stuffed into a pack when fleeing home. Eventually the silence of the night grows too heavy, and someone speaks. They tell a tale of loss, of foolish pride and tragic mistake. With bravery stoked by company, others speak up, each sharing their own sorrows. Before long, there are enough tales to fill a volume.
The conversations continue through the night, and by the time dawn has filtered through the gnarled tree limbs, journeys must continue, and one by one, the strangers trudge away. Their worlds may have ended, but they have survived another night. They will continue on, seeking to rebuild upon the ruins of great dreams. Their stories linger upon the air, drifting into time like the smoke from their extinguished fires, fed only by faint embers.
This book contains eleven stories set in worlds where an apocalypse has already come, but the characters you’ll read about aren’t quite ready for the end.
This anthology includes the following authors and stories:
Deedee Davies – “The Halls of War”
Desmond Reddick – “Blood and Fire”
Scott Sandridge – “Make Way for Utopia”
Jay Wilburn – “Twenty Year Plan”
Mandi M. Lynch – “Nightmares and Dragonscapes”
Magda Knight – ”The Stone-Sword”
William Ransom – “In the Hills Beyond Twilight”
Steven S. Long – “Blade of Fire”
Bill Blume – “Waist Deep”
Darra L. Hofman – “Ben”
Nathen Gallagher – “Story’s End”
Joshua H. Leet is a native of Lexington, KY. He absconded with a degree in English Literature from Transylvania University and has co-authored 3 non-fiction books, including Civil War Lexington, Kentucky: Bluegrass Breeding Ground of Power (The History Press). He currently works as a contract scopist, and he edits novels for Seventh Star Press, working with authors like Jackie Gamber and Steven Shrewsbury. He enjoys reading, watching sports, television and movies, and playing Frisbee. When he dies, he hopes to leave the world the same way he came in, screaming with a clenched fist.
We’re lucky today to have a guest post by Jay Wilburn, author of Twenty Year Plan, one of the stories in the book.
Writing the “Twenty Year Plan”
By Jay Wilburn
I’m fascinated by the possibilities of the dystopian world. With The End Is Not The End anthology exploring the idea of fantasy being the result of an apocalypse, I saw a new way to bend the stories that capture my imagination.
“Twenty Year Plan” centers around a society that follows a strict code of rules to remain hidden from the forces that destroyed the world. A code of silence is often the solution used for a wide array of problems with families, political groups, religious organizations, and even civilizations. Whether people feel justified in avoiding danger through silence, there are prices to be paid for these choices.
I’ve also given a great deal of thought to the notion of what happens to children born after a world shaping event. Many of the stories where I have explored this have been zombie stories which “Twenty Year Plan” is not. This concept has a bigger historical precedent. Every immigrant family deals with differences in family members that grew up before the move and ones born after the arrival. Stories are often the tool for bridging that gap and they can serve that role well, but they are not a perfect tool and some stories just can’t or won’t be told.
I imagine children born to the thousands of families that remained in the ruins of Rome after its fall. Generations that grew up in the most powerful city in the world even in its decline with millions of inhabitants give way to entire blocks being reclaimed by nature and the Coliseum being used for scrap stone and grazing land. How could they explain Rome? After its fall around 400 AD, Rome would not have a population of a million again until 1922. What an incredible, terrifying historic shift that must have been to live through and then try to raise a family.
In more recent times, a generation of Americans that lived through Pearl Harbor and World War II tried to explain their experience and values to the next two and sometimes three generations. The horrors some of them saw were incongruent with reality as they knew it. Many people from that time refused to tell the stories for that reason. They wanted their children to grow up respecting the values they learned through the horror, but they could not tell the stories of the events that so harshly sharpened those values.
A college or high school freshman stepping into that phase of their life in the fall of 2001 and their experience becomes the September 11th attacks. I wonder what they remember from orientation or those moments of finding friends in the first days on campus. How do they relate to their own children starting college a generation later?
So, with this story, I incorporated two worlds of experience in the characters. The inhabitants born in the world before try to explain that life to an inhabitant from the world after. Our chosen adventurers in “Twenty Year Plan” are a small group, but one side is made up of females and the other a male. Even as they try to relate, neither is prepared for a world they separated themselves from for their own safety and survival. They are all entering an entirely different “after.”
I was really unsure of the story once I submitted it to Seventh Star Press for The End Is Not The End call. By the nature of the theme, it was so different from any other fantasy, horror, or dystopian story I had written previously. There was a great deal more character work than I had included in other adventures. I felt a lot better about it once a reread it in the edits after its acceptance. I found that I loved the characters I had created. I feel very proud to be included after reading the other great stories in this anthology. The authors in The End Is Not The End created worlds and dystopian fantasy unlike anything I had read previously. I really like being part of a project that I’m excited to read and even more excited to have others see.
Intrigued? Then be sure to pick up a copy of the book! You can also learn more about the publisher, Seventh Star Press, at the following places: