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My anthology, WASTELANDS: STORIES OF THE APOCALYPSE, contains most of my favorite examples of short-form post-apocalyptic fiction. And on the occasion of the UK release of WASTELANDS  (and my zombie anthology, THE LIVING DEAD), Orbit asked me to provide a guest post, so I thought I’d tell you about a curiosity of long-form post-apocalyptic fiction that I discovered during the course of my research into the genre.

Discovered in the ruins of Notting Hill at some unspecified future date, The Hopkins Manuscript is ostensibly a “day-to-day record,” written by retired school teacher/chicken breeder/amateur astronomer Edgar Hopkins, which chronicles the days immediately before and after the shocking discovery that the Moon’s decaying orbit will bring it crashing down into the Earth.

Doom is prophesized, but the world is not destroyed as expected.  Instead, the Moon strikes the Earth a glancing blow to the western coast of Europe .  Being nothing more than a “hollow body with a thick crust,” it collapses and forms a new landmass that bridges Europe and the Americas, like a cosmic puzzle piece settling into place.   Amicable plans are made by an international council to divide up ownership of this new land, but upon discovering that the Moon is not a lifeless rock—that instead it is rich in natural resources and possesses enough minerals “to give wealth to this world undreamed of”—the specter of war raises its ugly head in the immediate aftermath of the greatest cataclysm humanity has ever seen.

R.C. Sherriff (1896-1975)—a playwright, screenwriter, and novelist—is perhaps most remembered for his filmic collaborations with legendary Frankenstein (1931) director James Whale (1889-1957); the two worked together on several films, including an adaptation of Sherriff’s best-known play, Journey’s End (1930), The Invisible Man (1933), One More River (1934), and The Road Back (1937).  In The Hopkins Manuscript, Sherriff presents a dark vision that is both a reflection on humanity’s attitudes in the aftermath of The Great War and a portent of things to come when one considers its publication date of 1939—the year World War II began.  Though its science is obviously laughable, the novel remains thematically relevant and is an engaging read that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in seeing an historical view of the apocalypse through the literature of its time.


THE LIVING DEAD and WASTELANDS: STORIES OF THE APOCALYPSE are both now available as to buy digital-only editions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The Living Dead, an anthology edited by John Joseph Adams, featuring short stories abotu zombies from Stephen Kind, George R R Martin, Neil Gaiman, Laurell K Hamilton, Clive Barker, Nancy Holder, Joe R Landsdale, Joe Hill and many othersWastelands - an anthology of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic short stories deaturing Stephen King, George R R Martin, Orson Scott Card, Paolo Bacigalupi, Gene Wolfe, Elizabeth Bear, Nancy Kress, Jonathan Lethem and many others

HITCHERS by Will McIntosh – be careful who you give a ride to . . .

Hitchers, a chilling supernatural/horror tale about the dead coming back to haunt the living, from the Hugo Award-winning Will McIntosh, author of SOFT APOCALYPSE, Bridesicle and LOVE MINUS EIGHTYThis month Orbit UK digitally released two titles from an award-winning author. I can honestly say that these two novels have affected me so deeply, stayed with me so long, that I just want everyone to read them. EVERYONE. So it’s just darn lucky I work in publishing, meaning I can actually help bring these books to you . . . (And yes, this is the best job in the world).

The Hugo Award-winning Will McIntosh has already talked about his debut science fiction novel SOFT APOCALYPSE here, so today I wanted to focus on his other title released this month – HITCHERS.

HITCHERS is a hard book to define. Part horror story, part contemporary supernatural tale, part post-apocalyptic adventure, part touching tale of grief and redemption. But ALL compulsively readable. Chilling, amusing, sad, creepy, gripping, and deeply, deeply affecting.

To start with, the book has just about my favourite prologue ever. Read it here, and see a brief excerpt below:

“You don’t think she’ll get fired, do you?” Lorena had asked drowsily as we drifted. “I didn’t mean to get her in trouble, even though she was incredibly rude to me.” She was still ruminating about the argument she’d had with our waitress at the Blue Boy Diner. I was ruminating about the argument I’d had with my grandfather that morning, which had far greater implications for our future.

What I didn’t know at the time was that we had no future. We had about twenty-five minutes.

Someone is about to die . . . and this opening sets up one of the most fantastically-crafted and creepy tales you’ll read. In fact, in not too long, a terrorist attack is about to wipe out half the population of Finn Darby’s home city.

With all this destruction around, it’s expected that everyone would be pretty upset. But what isn’t expected is the mass phenomenon that starts to occur after the attack. People start to blurt out voices beyond their control. They appear to be taken over by a sinister unknown force, and can do very little about it. What’s so disturbing is that these voices sound freakishly similar to the voices of the recently deceased, that somehow the dead seem to be “hitching” onto the living . . .

If I say much more then I’ll be giving away too much, but what I really want to get across is how  addictive this book is, how intelligent and multi-layered the writing, how intriguingly unsettling Will McIntosh’s view of the afterlife, how heart-wrenchingly attached you’ll become to his characters.


Love-Minus-Eighty, a tale of love, loss and technology 100 years in the future,, from the Hugo Award-winning Will McIntosh, author of SOFT APOCALYPSE, HTICHERS and BridesicleSo the moral of the story is – you need to read this (and that’s not even with my publishing hat on).

You also need to look out for LOVE MINUS EIGHTY, which will be a big worldwide release from Orbit next summer.

And you also need to put pressure on Film4 to make sure that they actually make a film out of the rights they optioned for ‘Bridesicle’, the Hugo award-winning short story that LOVE MINUS EIGHTY is based on, because it would make the best, most wonderfully weird, chilling and entertaining movie ever.

Get mobilised people – let’s make this happen.

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