Thursday, November 8, 2012
Welcome to another Author Spot! Today I'm featuring the lovely Emily Devenport and her YA novel Spirits of Glory. Keep reading for a guest post on the end of the world and a giveaway...

About Emily
I'm a writer -- Emily Devenport, Maggy Thomas and Lee Hogan are the pen names I used when I wrote my novels. I've been published in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, and Israel. My novels are SHADE, LARISSA, SCORPIANNE, EGGHEADS, THE KRONOS CONDITION, GODHEADS, BROKEN TIME (which was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award), BELARUS, and ENEMIES. Look for my new novels, THE NIGHT SHIFTERS, SPIRITS OF GLORY, and PALE LADY on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Kobo, Sony, Apple, and Smashwords. I'm married to artist/writer Ernest Hogan -- check out his Mondo Ernesto blog. I write reviews on amazon as Emily Hogan. Like most writers, I have an eye for the weird, and that's what I like to blog about.

Spirits of Glory

One morning the people of the North woke up and the people of the South were gone. That s the first thing every child learns on the colony world of Jigsaw. But for one girl, knowing about The Disappearance is not enough. Hawkeye wants to know why. 
That's why she spent half her life researching The Disappearance. And that's also why eight Neighbors show up on her doorstep, demanding that she accompany them into the Forbidden Cities ruled by the Southern gods to speak with the Spirits of Glory. Everyone thinks Hawkeye is an expert on Neighbors, these almost-humans who move, talk, and think as if they were born inside one of the Time Fractures. But she can't imagine what they want to ask the ghosts of their ancestors, or why they need her to go along. The Southern gods caused every human inhabitant of the Southern cities to disappear overnight; what else might they do?
But the Northern gods say Hawkeye should go and her curiosity won't let her refuse, even though she's going into more danger than she can imagine. Pain and puzzlement wait along the broken interstate, along with scavengers who want to kill them all. Hawkeye's questions only generate more questions as they move farther and farther into the South, right into the heart of the Disappearance, until Hawkeye's questions have all been answered. Even the ones she was afraid to ask.
I've dreamed about the End of the World many times. On one memorable occasion, I dreamed that I as with a group of adults and children who had banded together for survival. We were doing pretty well,  scavenging homes and businesses for supplies we needed. We were organized, ethical, and successful  enough in our efforts to be able to afford compassion as well. We met with no serious trouble until one day when we were going through a neighborhood salvaging tools and dry goods from homes, and we were attacked by a band of about 30 feral children. We had no weapons, because we hadn't had any trouble so far.

They had filed their teeth, and they were armed with hatchets.

This scenario is more like the sort of story people used to write about the End of the World. Stories like The Birds and The Lord Of The Flies were an indictment of society, exposing the roots of trouble in  he world. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were originally depicted as Death, War, Pestilence,  and Famine, but 20th Century writers were more likely to describe them as Greed, Ignorance, Intolerance, and Fanaticism. Their books were cautionary tales, and Zombies didn't figure into the picture.

Something has shifted over the last couple of decades. Patient Zero entered the fray, and suddenly the theme changed from How do we fix the world before it fixes us? to We lost the battle years ago and we're justing getting around to noticing. It's tempting to diagnose this trend as chronic anxiety. Zombies could be symbols of our fears about the hardships and perils of modern life. But I suspect there's some odd wish fulfillment involved, too. 

How could the End of the World possibly be an example of wish fulfillment? Consider a couple of popular plot trends:

There's no more room in Hell, because everybody is rotten to the core and now we're just waiting for the zombies to overrun us and the bullets to run out. The plot may use a virus instead of a supernatural trigger, but the result is the same. I think this is a scenario favored by basement boys because if the world comes to an end, that means they don't have to go to work and/or school anymore. If everyone is rotten, they don't have to figure out how to relate to people. Just shoot anything that moves – what could be more simple?

Another popular scenario is that everything went blooey because it sucked, and now we get a reboot. There is some actual work that people may have to do in this case, but the up side is that you get superpowers. At least, that's what I'm hoping for.

Personally, I'm not remotely interested in the first scenario, even when it's masterfully done by writers like Cormac McCarthy in The Road. I don't believe that everyone is rotten to the core (though I accept that extreme circumstances like those depicted in McCarthy's novel would leave little or no room for human kindness). I confess that I haven't read The Road (or watched the movie), because despair, even when beautifully written, is not my cup of tea. I'm not interested in Zombie epics for a similar reason, but I wonder if despair is the emotion they inspire in their fans. I suspect some readers get satisfaction out of a scenario where it's okay to shoot the enemy and enjoy doing it – because they're already dead. This is about as ethically unambiguous as you can get. It's also rather nihilistic, but who am I to get in the way of good clean fun?

I'm a lot more interested in the reboot-the-world scenario. As a writer, I feel challenged by the moral ambiguities in this sort of story. In order for it to happen, most of the people in the world have to die – and despite the claims of certain politicians, most of them are good people. Doomsday cults might argue that it's worthwhile to sacrifice a lot of good people to get rid of a few rotten ones, and that once cleansed, the world will be a better place. But, though it could conceivable by cleaner (eventually), and more resources/jobs may be available (also eventually), the ratio of rotten people to good people would still be about the same. That's the human spectrum, regardless of culture. And that's one of the realities that drives an interesting story. Another reality is that if nature creates extraordinary strength (yes, I'm talking superpowers), it creates something equally extraordinary to challenge it. Figuring out what this could be is fascinating to a writer.

There is one other thing that differentiates the Reboot The World scenario from the Zombie Apocalypse, and for me it's the deal breaker. That thing is hope. Without it, I'm just not interested in what happens in a story. Hope makes a life worth living – and a book worth reading. So the next time I have that dream about my scavenging survivors and the feral children, I'll try to make sure my friends and I have electric cattle prods. Or we can fly. Or stop time. Something to even the odds. Otherwise, what's the point of dreaming? 
One lucky winner will get a super-special code to Smashbooks to get their own copy of Spirits of Glory. There are great reviews on Goodreads guys. You want to get this. :D Open to ALL Countries, 13+ and so forth. Must have email contact. It ends Nov. 20th. So what are you waiting for? Go enter!
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Thanks for stopping by! Hope you found the Guest Post interesting and fun to read! I did! Happy Thursday, XOXO,


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