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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

End Notes Season 3, Episode 15 - The Rat Nest

Alrighty my survivor friends, how are we doing. If you are eagerly awaiting episode drops in real time with Bated Breath it is the dawn of the month of March 2023. Spring is just around the corner for us up here in the northern hemisphere. Indeed, it is peeking mischievously at us from under a blanket of wet snow.

Now, you may, in your more cogent moments, ask yourself ‘what the hell does ‘bated breath’ mean?

And, lucky for you, I have an answer. Because etymology and morphology are two of my lesser bad habits. It’s not B A I T – like bait for a hook to catch fish.

Non non mon amies apocalypto. It is B A T E which, it turns out is a shortened form of the word Abate, meaning to stop, or cease.

Pro tip for you here is that when you see that little ‘A’ in front of a word it is a Latin prefix that means “Against”. As in Apolitical, Asexual or Amoral.

The first known written usage is from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice written in 1605, when I was just a lad. It is Elizabethan wording for being so excited to hear what happens next you are holding your breath. Holding your breath with antici … pation, (as Tim Curry would say).

So, you can drag that out at your next cocktail party and you will be the toast of the town for your stupendous intellectual prowess. Or maybe you’ll just be politely ignored for being a pedantic bore.

I’ve got a couple pieces of new content that I’ve sampled to share, but before I get to that I wanted to publicly thank Marshall for signing up to support us on Patreon. Marshall, shoot me an email and I will send you a cool After the Apocalypse patch that you can have your Mom sew onto your tuxedo.

All of you out there listening should take Marshall’s generosity to heart. Every time someone sends me cold, hard cash, an angel gets their wings. (sound of bell)

If you can’t send cash, whether cold and hard or warm and flaccid, you can always give us a quick review or like or share on your social media. Even if you’ve done it before, you can double tap and do it again. The media machine never sleeps. The AI overlords need to be fed!

I’m in a loquacious mood today. Just finished writing a draft of episode 15.

I am trapped alone with Ollie the Collie in my house on Cape Cod. Part of the roof came off and it’s raining in the dining room. I have to hang out here for a couple days until the insurance people come.

So I am trapped at the keyboard with my inner crazy person writing this for you.

I read another book since we last talked. “Another book?” you say, in an amazed, somewhat sorrowful tone. “Yes, I respond, with a religious certainty, It’s what I do.”

It was “The Berserker Wars” by Fred Saberhagen. Mr. Saberhagen was a prolific science fiction and fantasy writer from the 1960’s until his death in 2005. He wrote the first Berserker story in 1963, and soon discovered it was a fruitful, rich vein for him to mine. As near as I can figure he wrote 18 novels in the Berserker series. Some of these were standalone novels and some were compilations of Berserker short stories – like the one I read.

The Berserkers are a machine race that were built as a weapon by ancient extraterrestrials for a war, but the Berserkers got free and turned on their creators. Now the Berserkers roam the galaxy on a mission to eliminate life.

There is only one life form violent and unhinged enough to challenge the Berserkers. Yup, you guessed it. Those Bat-shit crazy humans.

The novel I read was a compilation of short stories that had been published previously in SciFi magazines. I picked up this paperback in that same used bookstore in the Milwaukee airport.

It was a good read. It’s not like the modern space operas where it’s all action and character. The stories here tended to be more introspective. He uses the Berserker theme as a backdrop to say something about humanity.

So – Fred Saberhagen, Berserkers – support your local used bookstore.

The second piece of content that I consumed was an apocalypse podcast recommended by Nate on our Facebook Group called Fulmar’s Folly. This is a really interesting apocalyptic story.

It is professionally produced, the audio quality is top-notch, and there are appropriate sounds effects. Even though there is a lot of internal dialogue there is also multi-character audio drama.

The shows run a little long, close to an hour some times.

I won’t give spoilers.

This is a viral zombie apocalypse and the story is around a family that has survived by living on a small sailboat in the ocean. But, as in most zombie apocalypses, or is that Apocali?, anyhow, shit turns bad in a hurry.

I found it quite compelling and the voice acting is really nerve wrenching. You will want to listen through it all in one go just to see what happens.

There are two things that struck me about this show. The first was the pacing. It is in full-on-heart-pounding-chase-scene-horror mode 98% of the time. I found it exhausting. The hits keep coming and there is no time to breathe or collect yourself. I had to step away a couple times just to catch my breath. But the voice acting is so good that you care about the characters and want to see what happens to them.

The second thing that struck me was how ‘Woe-is-me’ whiny the characters get over and over again. Like a full on half of some episodes is a characters inner voice beating themselves up for some imagined sin. It makes you want to roll your eyes and scream at them “Shut up and nut up! It’s the apocalypse. Get on with it!”

I give it a solid A-. Give it a listen and thanks to Nate for the tip.

That’s it for me folks. Hope you’re enjoying the show. I appreciate your joining us on this adventure.

Come over and join us on Facebook where we have 318 survivors standing in line for MRE’s and hot cocoa.

Links to everything are in the show notes and over at the website

Don’t forget to submit your story for our story contest to have it read professionally into audio here on the podcast.

You people are the true heroes of the show. Keep your dining rooms dry and keep surviving!

Patreon to support the show ->

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