Sunday, May 11, 2008

REVIEW: Aftermath by Brian Fischer-Giffin


A plague has descended in the wake of a passing comet. Most people are dead. Biker Talon Willis is one survivor. Teenaged Tahnee Goss is another.

But living through the plague is one thing.

Living through the aftermath is quite another.


If you're looking for a basic, bread-and-butter post-apocalyptic tale, Aftermath will likely satisfy. Fischer-Giffin's writing (which alternates between Talon and Tahnee's diary entries to tell the story) is straightforward, engaging and, of critical importance, brisk. Fischer-Giffin keeps the action moving forward at all times, which is exactly the right approach. Most readers of Aftermath likely will already be familiar with the conventions of the post-apocalyptic genre, and Fischer-Giffin hews closely to them in his episodic tale, up to and including the expected climactic battle between the forces trying to rebuild civilization and the eeevil marauders out only to rape and pillage. Accordingly, because we readers know what to expect, there is no need for Aftermath to linger; rather, it is a locomotive, allowing us to enjoy the ever-changing scenery, even if we are already familiar with the journey as a whole. (And, to be fair, there are some welcome, if mild, deviations from what I predicted when I started the novel: biker Talon does not turn out to have quite the heart of gold one might expect (tarnished bronze is more like it), and teenaged Tahnee, even making allowances for the fact that her family and friends are dead and she's living in a post-apocalyptic nightmare, is, amusingly, really quite insane.)


Aftermath is available from Lulu as a $3.75 pdf download (or a $19.50 paperback). Fischer-Giffin also maintains a MySpace page.


Aftermath may not be particularly innovative, but sometimes telling a simple tale in a straightforward manner can be more fun for the audience than would be a more unconventional narrative. For example, I enjoyed the short film Postapocalyptic Sandpit for most of its increasingly outlandish running time. But as it entered its more surreal final moments, it lost me entirely, both in terms of literal narrative and emotional response. By contrast, I can enjoy the new-wavish song "Among the Ruins", a straightforward soundtrack to the loneliness of life in the post-apocalyptic world by long-dissolved punk 'n' roll band the Vee Gates (which bills its music as "post-apocalyptic rock"), without reservation.

1 comment:

Brian Fischer-Giffin said...

Thanks for the review!