by Peter Salisbury
This new collection of post-apocalyptic SF short stories is being uploaded to smashwords.com and will shortly be available in the usual range of formats, including PDF and Mobi/Kindle.
An anthology of twenty-six themed episodes set in a post-apocalyptic future, where the world population has been ravaged by a flu-like pandemic. A close-knit group of genetically immune men, women and children battle to survive attacks by marauders. The Families attempt to use their ingenuity and disparate skills to evade discovery and establish a viable, self-sustaining community, only to find it falls under attack by armed gangs.
There are twenty-three named characters. See how Jed, Sylvie, Brian, Jaide and their families tangle with gang members Snake, Rat, Stink and Grease. Discover the roles played by the spirited Nina, airport guy Graham, and the biker horde.
The stories have been written as episodes. They are in a logical sequence but mostly are separate stories about the same people in the same place. They don't all join up like chapters in a novel, although some may run on to the next. 54,000 words (equivalent to 74 paperback pages).
A couple of snippets:
Sylvie looked out across the rooftop, sunlight pouring in through the four-sided pyramidal roof.
'You can almost see the beans and tomatoes growing,' she thought.
Her husband Jed, Brian and his wife Jaide, Grandpa Gunn, all the kids, and Christine and Simon were sitting around the dining table with satisfied looks on their faces. It was the second week in a row they'd had roast boar for Sunday lunch.
'We call it Sunday,' Sylvie thought, resting her hands on her own slightly over-filled stomach, 'Who knows what day it is according to the old calendar.'
A plume of black smoke jetted out the exhaust ports of a huge battle tank. The tank lurched forward, the sound of its failing engine reaching the roof terrace a second or so later. Its squat, ugly shape was covered in black and brown camouflage and it positively bristled with armaments. The most prominent weapon was the main gun mounted on its top turret. The beast made it the fifty metres from the slip road into the car park, riding straight over the remains of a burnt-out car before the alternately stuttering and over-revving engine finally cut, and the short, stubby gun muzzle swivelled to point directly at the top of the building.
'Like I said, I ain't no lady!' Nina held Snake's gun at arm's length, with the muzzle against the back of his head. She pulled back the hammer on the over-sized, chrome-plated revolver.
'Take it easy,' Snake said.
'Don't 'easy' me,' Nina said. 'You're the one making trouble.' The others saw from her face that she was in deadly earnest. 'Now move that truck, or your boss gets it.'
Was Stink's plan just a bluff? Was he really trying to take over from Snake or was he playing a game to throw Nina off guard? While they were distracted, Nina moved again, so fast they didn't see it coming. She drew her own gun and pointed it straight at Stink.
Stink spat on the ground. 'Jeez, she's fast,' he said.