Review by David Moresse
Title: Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors
Author: Benjamin Wallace
Publisher: Benjamin Wallace, Copyright: 2012
Genre: Comic post apocolyptic science fiction
Jerry survived the end of the world, outfitted himself with all sorts of cool gear, a great big dog, and began his new career as a post-apocalyptic nomadic warrior. He finds it a frustrating and thankless job, especially when the people he wishes to save don’t think they need his help. The townspeople of New Hope most definitely do, but they don’t realize it.
This book is exactly what it is advertised to be, a short, light, entertaining read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is something far too few books do, in my humble opinion. I like a book that can tell a good story and still maintain a healthy distance from reality, one that doesn’t pretend to be anything but fiction. A great book can do this AND still say something about reality. It leaves no doubt that the story isn’t real but the story behind the story is.
This book does not do that, and the author knows it. He’s not conveying any deep insights. There is no social satire. He has provided the reader with a good book, not a great one. It is what he set out to do. In the bio on his web page, this is what he says: “I don’t want to shock you or change your mind. I don’t even care if it makes you think. I just want you to squirt that drink out your nose.”
Well… This particular book is not quite that funny, but it will bring a smile or two. It’s a good book with a good guy who is actually good. He’s likeable. He’s admirable. The supporting characters, including his dog, have personality, too. They are well developed, interesting, and believable (at least for the sake of the story), and it is easy to care about what happens to them. Their dialogue and interactions make sense given the setting and their individual personalities.
Overall, the book is well structured, with a logical progression of events and clear shifts in point of view using scene breaks between different POVs. We meet Jerry in the beginning and get to know him and a bit about his background. There is no information dump, though, just enough to understand the character and the setting.
Speaking of which, the setting may be the weakest part of the book. It’s not awful, by any means. It just leaves someone as innately skeptical as me scratching my head. The end of the world just seems to have happened, and no one apparently knows much about why except that it was a war with some really nasty and imaginative weapons. Perhaps there is a point here after all. Maybe it’s trying to say that it doesn’t matter who fights a war; it doesn’t matter what it’s about because the result is the same. If so, I don’t think the point is intentional.
It’s an odd apocalypse, in any case. Most of the survivors we meet seem to be doing quite well either living in small communities or scavenging from the abundance left behind by those who were not so lucky. There are, of course, challenges, but they seem to be limited to organized bad guys who come to steal from the small, reasonably peaceful communities. This is where the setting especially came up short for me. If our hero Jerry can have a lavishly equipped motor home and an overpowered sports car, if there is plenty of stuff lying about for the taking, why would anyone go through all the risk and trouble of raiding the living when the dead offer far less resistance?
On the technical side, the Kindle version I read was double-spaced, which I have found is not uncommon with both traditional and indie published eBooks. The proof reading, editing, and the cover were all quite good, however.
It takes a few scenes to get up to speed, but after this, I found myself enjoying this story and empathizing with Jerry. I liked the character, and the expected cliché ending did not bother me at all. It fit. Nothing else would have been appropriate. I recommend this book to anyone in need of a light read and a few smiles.