The Doomsday siren calls on civilization's last day. Natural disaster. Nuclear war. Pandemics. These are the ways the world ends. Now, in the aftermath of ruined cities and humanity gone savage, mankind will once again find his oldest allies and closest friends amidst the debris of all that once was. The Walking Dead meets The Incredible Journey in 14 incredible tales of nobility, self-sacrifice, and unconditional love as told by today's most talented independent authors. Humans will learn an old lesson anew - that animals, the heroes in these tales, might just make the difference in their quest to survive one more day. Seven stories set in all-new dystopian landscapes. Seven stories set in the best-selling post-apocalyptic worlds of David Adams's Symphony of War, Michael Bunker's Pennsylvania, Nick Cole's Wasteland Saga, Hank Garner's Weston Files, E.E. Giorgi's Mayake Chronicles, Deirdre Gould's After the Cure, and Edward W. Robertson's Breakers. Other authors include: Chris Pourteau, Todd Barselow, Steven Savile, Stefan Bolz, Harlow Fallon, and Hank Garner.
"One of the most original and captivating collections of end-of-the-world 'tails', shown through the eyes of an amazing cast of unforgettable furry and feathered characters. Kudos to all the authors for bringing to life such refreshing and compelling four-legged or winged heroes. Whether or not you are an animal lover, these action-packed yet heartwarming stories will leave you hungry for a sequel! Truly a good read." (R.J. Pineiro, author of The Fall) "Tails of the Apocalypse is a book project worthy not only of its heart-felt cause, but also of its crisp, imaginative writing. I found myself captured by the gripping power of 'story', and this for me is telling, as I don't normally delve into this genre. With this collection I was given an opportunity to step beyond myself into something new, something fresh...and I was captured. Thank you! Very well done, and highly recommended." (Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood-Red Sun and Hunt for the Bamboo Rat)
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Contents The Water Finder’s Shadow by David Bruns When You Open the Cages for Those Who Can’t by Edward W. Robertson Protector by Stefan Bolz The Poetry of Santiago by Jennifer Ellis Demon and Emily by David Adams Keena’s Lament by Hank Garner Tomorrow Found by Nike Cole Pet Shop by Deidre Gould Kael Takes Wing by E. E. Giorgi The Bear’s Child by Harlow C. Fallon Wings of Paradise by Todd Barselow Ghost Light by Steven Saville Kristy’s Song by Michael Bunker Unconditional by Chris Pourteau
Anthologies can be tough. They can contain gems and lumps of coal. This particular anthology is very even. All the stories were good. I felt it was important to include a non-spoiler summary of each story. The authors deserve to have their stories highlighted individually instead of a collective rating.
The Water Finder’s Shadow by David Bruns Mr. Bruns made me cry. The story was beautiful and very moving and frankly it hit very close to home, my home and my elderly dog. In a world where water is the most precious resource, the water finder is the highest regarded position. That is until their gift is gone and they are sold to slavers. This story follows a water finder whose gift is enhanced by his Shadow, his dog. Even as his gift begins to fade, Shadow continues to lead him to water and safe him from the wrathful tribe time and again. Now Shadow is dying and the water finder is losing not only his gift but his dearest friend. Beautiful story, well constructed world and lyrical language make The Water Finder’s Shadow a must read. Kleenex recommended.
When You Open the Cages for Those Who Can’t by Edward W. Robertson A young girl lives out of step with everyone around her. She does not fit in at school. Her parents do not understand her. The only place she is comfortable at the animal hospital where her mom works. The dogs and cats kenneled there do not judge her, simply accept her. When a plague leaves her as one of the few survivors in a dangerous world, her first thought is for those animals caged at the animal hospital. This is a beautiful story illustrating in human and animal relationships it is often impossible to tell who is looking out for whom.
Protector by Stefan Bolz Protector is a lovely story of loyalty based on one small act of kindness. The animal featured in this story, besides man, is the wolf. A wolf is fascinating in of itself but given a character and a voice, it really does steal the show.
The Poetry of Santiago by Jennifer Ellis I am a very particular cat lover. I do not love all cats. I am very selective and the ones I do love have a uniqueness to their personalities that transcends their cat-ness. It is very hard to describe. The cat is this story would definitely meet my qualifications to be on my cool cat list. He and the human that he comes to know comfort each other in very quiet moments and very subtle gestures. It is a love story for all, even those who are not cat fans.
Demon and Emily by David Adams Emily is Demon’s human. Demon is Emily’s dog. This story is the apocalypse as seen and interpreted by Demon. Events have to be processed into human terms. Demon has the unique canine gifts of heightened smell and senses. His job is to protect Emily. Against nuclear bombs, monstrous insects and predatory humans, Demon does takes them all on because Demon is a good boy. The author does a fantastic job of thinking like a dog. I could very easily see my own dog thinking in these terms.
Keena’s Lament by Hank Garner What a fascinating story. The apocalypse involved is very real, and a part of human history. The story is told through the eyes of a half human/half angel type individual. He finds an orphaned dog, deeming it the purest of all the creator’s creators. He and Kenna watch events unfolding without understanding their lethal consequences.
Tomorrow Found by Nike Cole Thirty years after a nuclear holocaust, a man is debating suicide when he is saved by a mother dog who is saving the runt of her litter by giving him to the man. The puppy saves the man who in turn saves the puppy, who he names Dog. The man is trying to finish his quest to find the past. The man and Dog travel through a dangerous world in search of the past to save the future.
Pet Shop by Deidre Gould Surly Shirley is a parrot who lives up to her name. She has been in the pet store for 10 years because she is too mean for anyone to buy. Something has happened. The owner is gone. The food and water are almost gone. The nasty parrot has to try to stop her fellow pets from dying and deal with predatory humans. If you have owned a bird (I had several parakeets over the years), you will have no problem believing Shirley's actions.
Kael Takes Wing by E. E. Giorgi This was one of the shorter stories. There is not as much sense of post apocalypse except mentions of technology augmenting people, like prosthetics. A young raptor being parented by only one parent is at a disadvantage. It gets worse when his mother does not return and he falls from his nest, injuring himself. He is found by humans struggling with their own depravations and injuries. It is a sweet story about who we choose to call family.
The Bear’s Child by Harlow C. Fallon Set in a world with a huge chasm between peoples, the people in the city, Icarus, live in safe and clean conditions. The people outside the city are considered ferals. No medicine, no support and they are hunted for sport by the city dwellers. The main character suffers from a degenerative disease that affects the ferals. It has affected her mind and she cannot always tell reality from hallucination. When she finds herself hiding from a hunter in a bear’s den, her life changes when the bear speaks to her.
Wings of Paradise by Todd Barselow After an ecological disaster, animals inherit the earth. Budgies and bats form a cooperative to find food and protect themselves. It works well until humans show up again. The decision on how to deal with humans sparks dischord with unforeseen consequences.
Ghost Light by Steven Saville The story begins in the post cold war days. Suddenly it begins again and ends within minutes as the buttons are pushed. The main character is a passenger on a plane in flight headed for London. The passengers take a vote and decide to try to land safely as opposed to flying until the plane ran out of fuel. The plane lands in northern Scotland with everyone safe, for the moment. As ghost lights begin to appear, in the form of phantom dogs who circle at night, the passengers know death is coming.
Kristy’s Song by Michael Bunker Michael Bunker’s world created for his Pennsylvania series is the setting of this story. New Pennsylvania is a planet where people are encouraged to settle to help relieve the issues of an overcrowded earth. Unfortunately it is caught in a war. Kevin, the main character, has been on the run for over three years after removing the government mandated chip. He has survived because Kristy, his dog, accels at alerting him to danger. This story was a little of a challenge for me because I had not read any of the New Pennsylvania stories.
Unconditional by Chris Pourteau A dog and his boy takes place in a world after “The Storm of Teeth” has occurred. The dog is in the yard waiting for the boy to come sneak him into his room. As the family is eating dinner, the dog becomes aware of strange smells, “unlife walking”. He is separated from his boy. As the storm of teeth grows larger, the dog continually searches for his boy. What happens is terrifying, heartbreaking and a testimony to the love between a dog and his boy.
After each story, there is an explanation by the author of how the story came to be written. Some of them are fascinating. There is also information about how to find more of that particular author’s work if you enjoyed the short story.
Maxwell Zener did a great job narrating. He did a wonderful job on accents, males and females and gave voice to animals that were believable. This was my first narration by Mr. Zener. I enjoyed it and will look for more of his works. Production values were very good.
Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher.
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