Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 8 of the Apocalypse! Alden Bell, The Reapers Are the Angels + Giveaway

Apocalypse! around the blogosphere:
Rainy Day Ramblings:
Love of Books:

For most people who have a healthy appreciaton for a) zombies; and b) gorgeous writing, the name Alden Bell inspires worship and awe. No one has ever balanced so gracefully on that fine line between literary and genre fiction. It took no more than 30 minutes of The Reapers Are the Angels audiobook for me to realize that I'd stumbled upon something potentially life-changing and I was right - my world hasn't been the same since.

On the last day of Apocalypse!, I am proud and honored beyond belief to be able to share with you a post by Alden Bell, or rather Joshua Gaylord, the person behind the pseudonym.

If you have yet to discover this literary gem, make sure to enter the international giveaway below. 


           I’ve been thinking recently about all the shiny, optimistic fantasies that people frequently append to something as epically disastrous as an apocalypse.  Doesn’t it strike you as odd that people get downright giddy about the world coming to an end?  I mean, you find yourself daydreaming about it, being jostled on a crowded street during your lunch break.  You grow peaceful imagining that sudden blip that will wipe out all these thousands of people around you and leave you free to pillage that McDonald’s on the corner.  No lines, no waiting, all those cheeseburgers, just for you!  Yes!  Apocalypse me!
            Of course, the keystone fantasy that drives all the others is that you, yourself, will be one of the few survivors.  That right there is an against-all-odds hope, my friends.  But let’s take it for granted that you make it.  Let’s use that as our starting point.  What Christmasy joys do you fantasize about when you imagine yourself a survivor of the apocalypse?
            Here are a few common ones:

1.      The Man-Alone Survivalist.  You take pleasure in discovering that your animal instincts are well sufficient to the task of mastering the world.  Secretly, you knew all along that you could outlast your boss if it came down to a Most-Dangerous-Game type of hunt, right?
2.      The Shopper.  Everything is yours.  All that stuff that you really wanted but couldn’t afford before the apocalypse?  Just walk into the store (execute a few zombies), and walk out with whatever you want.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s?  Lunch and dinner, too!  Fill a bathtub with diamonds.  Where will you bathe?  Get another bathtub, it’s free!  Enjoy it—it’ll be a long time before you acknowledge that those diamonds have no value.
3.      The Sightseer.  Related to the Shopper, you are the survivor who loves visiting places like Disneyworld and having the rides all to yourself. 
4.      The Romantic.  You know who else survived?  That girl you had a crush on and who never gave you the time of day.  Now fate has made it happen that you combine your ingenuities, steal a boat together, and make a new life on a desert island.  Love in the time of the Zombie Apocalypse.  Maybe the Blue Lagoon thing isn’t working out so well, and she really, really finds you objectionable?  No worries.  You’ve got all the time in the world, plus a bathtub full of diamonds to give her.  Also, you have to Adam-and-Eve the world back to life, right?
5.      The Solitairian.  You never really liked people anyway, and now you’re luxuriating in day after day of alone time.  Now you will finally have the time to read all those books that have been on your to-read list for ages.  Just don’t break those reading glasses!
6.      The World-Builder.  Let’s face it, the pre-apocalyptic world sucked.  Now that the slate’s been wiped clean, let’s all get together on this and build a new one!  No more taxes!  Seriously, we mean it this time.

            You want to know what my optimistic post-apocalyptic daydream is?  Me, I’m the Voyeur—a relatively rare form of survivor whose greatest joy comes from moving from house to house and picking through the detritus of other people’s previous lives.  There it is, the house stands empty, a whole family spirited away right smack dab in the middle of their own little history.  What wonders are to be discovered there!  What perfectly potted comedies and tragedies wait to be read among the remains!  The father buys expensive cigars even though the family is on a budget.  You find them hidden in a hollowed-out book on a shelf in his office.  The teenage daughter, you discover from her diary, has crushes on both a boy and a girl at her school—sexuality in flux!  The ten-year-old son has an unhealthy fixation on his own bowel movements, you find Polaroid pictures of them in a shoebox in his closet.  It’s a dirty world, you say, shaking your head—you knew it long before.  The mother is having an affair with a man down the block—you find letters from him.  Look, there’s his address, and now you can go to his house and continue uncovering the soap opera of these lost lives. 
            Also, the best stories are the ones that were previously hidden from view, aren’t they?  That’s why you have to hunt the dregs to find the gold.
            Okay, so it’s a little gross.  Certainly not as noble as some of the other post-apocalyptic fantasies.  But all writers need to be at least a little voyeuristic, no?  I ain’t ashamed.  For me, a world absent of its people is a vast library of stories to be read in the objects that remain.

Joshua Gaylord lives in New York. Since 2000, he has taught high school English at an Upper East Side prep school (a modern orthodox co-educational Yeshiva). He has also taught literature and cultural studies courses as an adjunct professor at the New School and NYU. Prior to coming to New York, he grew up in the heart of Orange County: Anaheim, home of Disneyland. He graduated from Berkeley with a degree in English and a minor in creative writing, where his instructors included Bharati Mukherjee, Leonard Michaels and Maxine Hong Kingston. In 2000, he received his Master’s and Ph.D. in English at New York University, specializing in twentieth-century American and British literature. In general, he tends to like people--particularly the ones who like him, though that's not a prerequisite.

Alden Bell has the same history but is more serious in all the ways you'd like him to be. He engages in bar fights that end amicably and spends a lot of time at the dog track.

Giveaway time! (Also, fangirling time, so bring snacks!) Enter to win either The Reapers Are the Angels or the sequel/prequel, Exit Kingdom. The giveaway is international, anywhere The Book Depository ships. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. My ideal apocalypse would be the romantic one, except I magically get stuck with Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom or Ian Somerhalder... OR all three! Yup, that would be an awesome apocalypse :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Ha - I'd be 1, 3, and then 5. But I'd totally be a voyeur along the way. Okay I'm am definitely checking that book out!

  3. Ok I'll go with romantic but also with #6 as I know that I'd want to change things and do it better. Also I'd love to voyeur along the way. Maybe it's not nice but curiosity is a strange thing :) Great post.

  4. I am seriouesly in love with this blog hop! I am totally the Shopper. EVERYTHING IS MINE! LOL.

    Thanks for sharing once again, Maja! <33

  5. #1 or #5, guess :-) Amazing books (i've been reading about apocalypse for the last three month)

    FB/Rafflecopter name - Yuliya Sh

  6. I love apocalyptic stories and would love to read these 2 books. Thanks for the chance to win a copy! :)

  7. I still need to read this authors books, but I love this post! I'm not sure which category I'd fall into...I hate to say it, but I'd probably be the first to die. *sigh* Great post, though, and thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed this, Maja! :)

  8. Oh, I'd be a shopper and a sightseer I think - I always thinks tourist stuff is great apart from all the tourists so an empty disneyland would be great! :-)

  9. I absolutely loved "The Reapers are the Angels". Really is one of my favorite apocalyptic reads. I am so excited for a chance to win the sequel!!!

  10. Where have I been? I haven't heard of this series, it sounds fantastic. I agree, we all do seem to have a fascination with the end of the world. I know I have been loving dystopians lately, there is just something that draws you in about them.

    great guest post and thanks for the week long fun!!

  11. I've heard such great things about this book. Seriously. It's been on my tbr shelf for months!! I am so eager to read it. It sounds utterly epic!

  12. Thanks everybody! I'm glad to see there are so many Shoppers and Romanticists out there. And I'm also glad I'm not the only one who would be sifting through other people's private lives!

    Thanks also to Maja for inviting me!

    Happy apocalypsing!

  13. I thought I was going to have to express my selfish love for The Shopper, but then I read #5! That is so me! I'd probably enjoy it for about a moment though and then break down in tears because I know I won't last long without other people's survival skills (sadly, I'm really not made for anything remotely apocalyptic). Great post! And I had no idea Alden Bell was a pseudonym. Cool. :)

  14. This series sounds SO GOOD!! Dystopian books are my favorite books to read right now. I'm definitely reading this series!! Thank you so much for this generous Sunday Swag!! LOVE the Sunday Swag!!

  15. I would prefer to be a sightseer but experience has taught me I would be a world-builder I just cannot help getting involved!

  16. Wow! How have I missed these books? It is a trip to think about going into people's houses and going through their private stuff. I must check out this series. Thanks again lady for everything. The Apcalypse was a smash! Love ya right back!

  17. An apocalypse that would leave me with all the time to read and do whatever else I want is one I'd be happy to support :) I'd narrow down that pesky TBR pile in no time!

    Thanks for the giveaway, Maja!

  18. I love The Reapers are the Angels! I read it before it came out and so had no expectations. It was very different (at the time) from anything I had read but I think the writing itself was the best part. I'm not a big fan of literary fiction usually but it worked for this book. I never did read the sequel, or even know it existed! Oops.
    I think I'd love to sort through other peoples belongings. It would be creepy, but if there are all these empty houses I wouldn't be able to resist.

  19. I enjoyed this post! I'm a mix of the Solitairian, Shopper and Sightseer ;) I would defintely hang out at a bookstore and just read as long as I wanted because there's no one and I don't think there'd be too many zombies in a bookstore. I would have it all to myself ;) Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  20. I love that he'd make the most of the apocalypse and entertain himself with the leftovers of everyone's messed up lives. I think that's what I look for in these books too, interesting remnants of the boring daily life after it's gone. Very cool guest post, thanks for sharing!


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