Survival is a mean, cold bastard. You think you’ve got it all figured out, then the world ends, and you realize, well, not quite. At least, that’s what the twelve stories in The End, a short story apocalyptic anthology featuring speculative fiction written by the SFFWorld.com forum members, tell us. And so you learn that the end can be faced in many different ways, by being nice to your floor cleaner, by ingesting bacteria, through introspection, with celestial physics making its naughty things.
Anyhow, some of us agreed to do a tour. Each week, someone else would blog shortly about their experience with the anthology, and give a short blurb on a story that impressed them, an angle they liked best, a message they would like to focus on. This week is my turn, and so let me tell you what I had in mind.
I chose G. L. Lathian’s Sacrifice as my entry. There’s something eerily magical about facing an icy end with a smile, even if it’s a sad one. Imagine a family, trying to make a harsh living in a world covered in snow. Not bad, so far. Then, as a reader, they ask you, it’s an apocalypse, someone has to die, who do you choose? The eternal conundrum of morality that works as long as it’s nice, warm and cozy. So you know it will not be ending on a happy note, because it cannot, and what remains is that bastard called survival. Just when you think it’s so much easier to give up, you fight for your life, despite the pain, despite the agony. You show some character. Yup. Here’s a quote, and let me not spoil the story.
He remembered a time when life’s decisions were trivial things. What should he have for dinner? What gifts to buy his children for Christmas? Should he go to the range for afternoon shooting practice? Now, the wrong choice would send his family to the heavens. But, he had hope. As quickly as the world had turned to shit, they had survived, when most were dead.
Tim made his way across a patch of ice. The steady scrape of the trailing sled played with his weary mind. As he trudged on, his mind took him to a distant memory. Tim smiled as he remembered his daughter’s voice.
“Daddy, show me how to do it,” Lilly called. “Jake wont show me.” Her small arms protruded from a pile of blankets where she sat on the kitchen bench in front of a large fire.
Jake was beside his younger sister, eating fruit from a small tin. He wore a proud smile for having learnt how to use the flint already. Jasper, their four-year-old Alaskan malamute was wedged between the children. A long day of helping tow the sled had exhausted the dog and under the children’s constant patting and scratching, he’d fallen asleep.
There you go. Now, you might also be interested in the other four entries, already posted:
Lastly, if you like the anthology, it’s FREE, so hurry up and grab it. There are several handy choices awaiting your judgment. You can find the book on Smashwords. You can download it from Amazon. And it’s also available on Barnes & Noble. I remind you, free of charge. Oh, if you happen to have read the anthology, then be a sport, write a review!
That would be all gents, have a pleasant read!