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4pocalypse: Four Tales Of A Dark Future Paperback – 14 Mar 2012

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The end of the world has never been so fun. 24 Mar 2012
By Takeda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The post-apocalyptic world concept is one that has been used by many authors over the years. The reason is that it is just so much fun. This book was built on the premise of taking four different authors and asking them to destroy the world in their own unique fashion. What resulted was a great game of what if. In this latest offering from Dark Red Press, the four founding member have banded together to tell their stories and the result proves why they are becoming such a creative force in literature today.

With no other prompting than to explore how the world ends, each author went off on their own path and they are as marked by their differences as their similarities. On the one hand we have completely different world killers in the form of zombies, plagues, meteors, and whatever the heck you call Steele's concept. On the other hand, three of the four stories feature a strong female protagonist and even the fourth has a strong female main character. This is interesting from four male authors, who did not plan it this way, and I think they pulled it off well.

I had previously read (and loved) works from Brian Fatah Steele (In Bleed Country) and Jack X. McCallum (Made in the USA). I was pleasantly surprised to see them both go in different directions from their previous work while still delivering high quality tales. Steele's "Futureblind" is sheer genius. Known primarily for horror and urban fantasy, this was a straight up Sci-Fi tale that was well researched and well executed. His ideas were truly original and I loved wrapping my head around the concepts as much as I enjoyed the non-stop adventure of the story. There is a lot of subtext and hidden social commentary and you may need a few re-readings to get it all. And as with all of Steele's stories there are great characters, both heros and villains, the kind you really want to hang out with. I would love to see more done in this fantastic universe. McCallum's "Smile" is about one of my favorite topics, Zombies! But in a time when zombies becoming increasingly popular, he manages to keep the concept fresh and original and that much more disturbing in a departure from the typical zombie story. The first person perspective really made the tale engaging and I felt I could really identify with the protagonist. He also presented a good image of the overall worldview, the Big Picture of the situation, which is one thing I think lacks in most zombie stories. The language is witty and inventive and to find a polite way to put it, extremely vivid. The style thrusts you into the story whether you want it to or not and makes for a great read.

This was my first opportunity to read works by C.L. Stegall and John J. Smith. Knowing the works of the other two authors, I assumed that these tales would be good as well. However, they were even better than I anticipated. Stegall's "White Sands" is set in what some may think is an overdone story concept, the super plague. However, this story is set apart by great characters and a few twists and turns that I did not expect. He manages to take a story about a flu that wipes out mankind and turn it into a revenge story. This story was so good, I flew through it faster than any of the other tales because I could not put it down. Finally Smith's "The Last Pharmacist" is simply one of the best novella length stories I have ever read. Something about it just spoke to me personally. His narrative style is one of the most engaging I have read in a long time. Smith just seems to write the way I think. His world concept is brilliant and there are many twists I did not expect. His Jasmine is easily the strongest of the leading ladies and I found myself cheering for her out loud a number of times. I will definitely be looking for more work by both of these authors.

Overall, this book was just a good time. I thoroughly enjoyed all four stories and would say that each of them is worth the price of the book, let alone all four of them. With each new release, Dark Red Press is proving themselves a group to watch and it is to the point that I would buy a new release from them without knowing anything about it because I know it will be good. Do yourself a favor, read this book.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Poor Kindle Formatting Compromises Read 5 Aug 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book does not respond to traditional Kindle inputs; it is poorly formatted and very difficult to read and navigate. I would like to have enjoyed to stories in 4Pocalypse, but the failure to properly format caused me to abandon the book very early in the reading process.
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