Barb’s secret to surviving Christmahannukwanzadan Solstice
Last week I spent a few days at the Arran War Memorial Hospital & Day Spa. It was a lovely break, but sadly it’s put me WAY behind on essential life activities like writing an entire book in one month for NaNoWriMo, coming up with something to be grateful for in two days on Thanksgiving, and preparing for the upcoming festive onslaught.
Do I look worried? No. [Note to my sister: no, it is NOT because of the excellent pharmaceuticals provided by the AWMH & DS. Although they definitely helped.] It’s because I truly have the solution to all of the above, and—because I’m just that kind of good person—I’ll share it with you. One day at a time, of course, because that NaNo book is not going to write itself.
Surviving the six worst things about Christmas…You’re welcome
#6: The Office Party. Instead of spending your
forced incarceration festive celebration revising your resume and applying for the new job you’re definitely going to need by tomorrow, you can grab your one lousy free drink festive beverage and seek the roof if those three people, two portable scanners, and a flexible mag flashlight from IT have finished their disturbing and anatomically improbable attempts at fornication/ the kitchen pantry/ the janitor’s closet some dignified privacy by commandeering the end toilet stall and barricading it against all comers no matter how desperate they claim to be.
Once safely locked in, open your phone to a good white noise app loud enough to drown out the piped-in Christmas music and/or the people in the next stall begging for the end of the world, and open your Kindle app to Patient Zero, Terry Tyler’s anthology of post-apocalyptic shorts from the world of her Project Renova series. I’d recommend you start with #5: Aaron: New World Problems. Because there’s nothing like reading about the hashtag you could create (if there was an internet anymore, of course)—“Holed up with my ex, ’cause she’s the only person I know who’s still alive. Sucks. #NewWorldProblems”—to take your mind off listening to the truly disturbing things your colleagues are doing in the adjacent stalls.
And the best part about anthologies? Each story is short enough that you’ll still have plenty of time to work on that resume before it’s safe to leave your refuge.
[NOTE FROM BARB: Please come back over the next few days for the other reasons that the holiday season sucks. Ho Ho.]
BLURB: Patient Zero by Terry Tyler
The year is 2024.
A mysterious virus rages around the UK.
Within days, ‘bat fever’ is out of control.
Patient Zero is a collection of nine short stories featuring minor characters from the post apocalyptic Project Renova series. All stories are completely ‘stand alone’.
1. Jared: The Spare Vial
Jared has two vaccinations against the deadly virus: one for him, one for a friend…
2. Flora: Princess Snowflake
The girl with the perfect life, who believes in her father, the government, Christian charity and happy endings.
3. Jeff: The Prepper
What does a doomsday ‘prepper’ do when there is nothing left to prepare for?
4. Karen: Atonement
She ruined her sister’s last day on earth, and for this she must do penance.
5. Aaron: #NewWorldProblems
Aaron can’t believe his luck; he appears to be immune. But his problems are far from over.
6. Ruby: Money To Burn
Eager to escape from her drug dealer boyfriend’s lifestyle, Ruby sets off with a bag filled with cash.
7. Meg: The Prison Guard’s Wife
Meg waits for her husband to arrive home from work. And waits…
8. Evie: Patient Zero
Boyfriend Nick neglects her. This Sunday will be the last time she puts up with it. The very last time.
9. Martin: This Life
Life after life has taught the sixty year old journalist to see the bigger picture.
Tipping Point and Lindisfarne are the first two full length novels in the Project Renova series. A third will be available around late spring/early summer 2018.
My Review: 4.5 stars out of 5 for Patient Zero by Terry Tyler
Okay, I admit it. This is a terrific collection of disturbing little stories that I would completely have given five stars to except… I’ve read the first two books in this series and they are seriously even better.
So sure, these stories can stand on their own. Author Terry Tyler is the queen of instant character development, and nobody is better able to create rounded, believable characters with their own idiosyncratic voices. Each one is a tiny glimpse into a facet of what the day after the end of the world looks like.
For me, the thing I like best about this post-apocalyptic world is that it’s actually not about the presidents and prime ministers and generals and captains of the corporate engine who have their thumbs heavily on the buttons controlling the big picture. They’re all going to be holed up in their underground bunkers instead of providing story fodder. No, it tells us what might happen to the kind of individuals we meet every day…dreaming teenaged girls like Flora, self-centered boy-men like Aaron, traditional housewives like Meg, and people travelling through reincarnated lives like Martin. (Well, maybe not so many Martins, of course, unless you live in Los Angeles or Glastonbury…) The question the Project Renova series asks is what happens to people like us when our world ends?
For the most part, Terry Tyler’s answer, of course, is “not good things”, at least at first. But one of the most amazing things about these little stories and about the series in general, is that sometimes what happens is…not all bad things. Jeff, the gloomy gus who has had the satisfaction of seeing the doomsday he’s been predicting, finds a surprising answer to the question of what’s next.
If you like your apocalypse with more than a touch of black humor, characters under a microscope, and a dash of hope, I’d recommend Patient Zero. Of course, if you want to know why Nick becomes patient #zero, I’d recommend even more that you read the first two books in this incredible series. I guarantee you’ll join the rest of us converts in our impatient wait for the final book due out early 2018.
- Book Title: Patient Zero
- Author: Terry Tyler
- Genre: Post-apocalyptic SciFi short story anthology
- Publisher: Amazon
- Pages: 120
Amazon (Click on link for previews, reviews, and buy links)