Not an easy story.
If The Light Escapes (A Braving the Light Novel) by Brenda Marie Smith released last week in the Sci-fi (post-apocalyptic) genre.
A standalone sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US
A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid fourteen months ago. Everything’s gone: power, cars, running water, communications, all governing control and help—gone. Now northern lights have started in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.
All that’s left for Keno, his family and neighbors is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat. Keno’s still reeling from the death of his pregnant sister. His beloved Nana is ill, Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and water is far too scarce. Desperate thieves are hemming them in, yet he can’t convince his uncle and other adults to take action against the threat.
Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him at every turn, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.
IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.
BookPeople Austin: https://www.bookpeople.com/book/9781970137835
“These northern lights bug the crap out of me,” I tell Alma. “What are they doing here? They’re supposed to be tied to magnetic poles. I saw this show a couple years ago that said the north pole was drifting north, not south. So how did they end up here? The poles can’t drift around randomly. That’s impossible.”
“I don’t know, baby. They worry me, too, but we need to be quiet.”
“They make me feel like something bad is gonna happen. What do you call that? Fore-something.”
“That’s it. I’ll be quiet, now, and just stew in my foreboding.”
“Silly.” Alma reaches up and ruffles my hair.
When we patrol and we can’t cuddle on account of guns, Alma and I could talk all night. It’s not a good idea for us to talk much when we’re patrolling, though. We get all involved and forget to listen for anyone who might be sneaking around, hunting for food or water, or worse: getting ready to kill us for it.
We walk along with our rifles in the night. It’s cool out here, but not cold…
Alma stops and raises her gun.
“Hear that?” she whispers.
“No, what?” I’ve got my gun up, too, and I’m pivoting around, searching. I want to hide Alma, but she would never let me.
“Over there.” She points at the corner by the park. And I hear a jangly noise, like car keys. No one drives cars now, though…
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.
Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.
Her first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller; If Darkness Takes Us and its sequel, If the Light Escapes, are post-apocalyptic science fiction.
My Top Fifty Favorite Apocalyptic Movies
A couple of years ago, my son J.D. and I made it our business to watch every apocalyptic or dystopian movie or TV series we could find. We binge-watched late almost every night, it took us months and months, and we didn’t watch movies we’d recently seen. I write apocalypses. I read them. One might say I’ve gone apocalypse crazy. They help me count my blessings.
For purposes of this list, I’m going to leave out the franchises such as Terminator, The Matrix, Planet of the Apes, and the movies derived from comic books—all good, and I like them, but they’re not my favorites. And I’m using a loose definition of the apocalyptic genre. Others might classify some of these movies as dystopian or science-fiction, but they all have apocalyptic elements. There are still apocalypses out there that I haven’t seen, especially newer ones, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some good ones, so I apologize if I missed your favorites. The choices here are entirely my own.
I can’t possibly rank these movies in relation to each other. They are each good in their own ways, and they are in no particular order. Although there is one that, for me, rises far above the rest. I will save it for last.
Fahrenheit 451, the 1966 version with Oskar Werner
10 Cloverdale Lane
On the Beach, the 1959 version with Gregory Peck, although the 2000 version with Armand Assante is decent
Seeking A Friend for the End of the World
The Book of Eli
The Day After Tomorrow
The Day After
The Fifth Element
The Omega Man
The Andromeda Strain
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Bad Batch
A Quiet Place
28 Days Later
These Final Hours
All the Mad Max movies
I Am Legend
A Boy and His Dog (but only for the kitsch)
The Quiet Earth
V for Vendetta
Escape from New York
Children of Men
Time of the Wolf
How I Live Now
And, finally, the apocalyptic movie closest to my heart is The Road. No doubt, it’s about as bleak as it gets—true to form for Cormac McCarthy—but it’s also loaded with hope and love, and the story unfolds so well that you are quickly immersed. Viggo Mortensen makes us ache for his character and his predicament. He will go to any lengths to protect his son, a testament that love can survive in the most horrid circumstances. And the boy, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee—I don’t have enough superlatives for his heart-rending performance. I hope to watch this movie a few times per year for the rest of my life. I’m sure I will never tire of it.
This post is part of a tour. The tour dates can be found here:
- $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card