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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

S4 E2 - Gangsters and Portals...

S4 E2 Outro

Hello my survivor friends!

Now we’re getting into the swing of things!

New Email Notification option on the website

Before I forget, because I would forget my own name if it wasn’t written on the inside of my underwear, I figured out something new last weekend.

I set it up so that when I post these outro comments with all the links on our website at I can also send it as an email to anyone who wants. Well, I’m lying, I can send it to the first 200 people who want it, and I’m at 20 right now, so your odds are good!

All you have to do is go to, go to the blog page and click ‘subscribe’ – I’ll add your email to the list and you’ll get the posts in your in box around when the show drops.

Honestly there is nothing perfidious about my intentions except I’m going to need you to also provide the password to you bank account and your date of birth and social security number... Kidding!



We are over 400 members at our Facebook group if you would like to come join that community. It is quite benign. We post apocalyptic art and old sci-fi pictures. It is a relative oasis of calm on the internet. Nothing to fear. But when you do ask to join, remember to answer the challenge questions so I know you’re either not a robot or you are a self-aware AI – either way I’ll let you in.

I do have a Patreon if you want to help out. And you can pay a little something to subscribe on Acast to get the shows early and some other listener only content.

Help us help you by leaving a rating and review for the new season.

That’s it. That’s all the selling I’m going to do this episode.

What is Chris Listening to?

I just finished listening through the audio drama podcast “Samwell Sift – Post-Apocalyptic Detective”. I liked it. The writing is very funny. The actors don’t quite pull it off all the time, but it’s a good premise – A detective Noir based in the zombie apocalypse. It sometimes crosses the line from noir into silly – but over-all I did like the writing – it was very funny at times and had a good comedic rhythm to it.

What is Chris Reading?

I finished reading “Red Harvest” by Daschell Hammett – who wrote the Maltese Falcon. Again, I really liked it. It’s full-on detective Noir from the 1920’s.

The writing is just so unique that I really love it. He uses so much gangster vernacular that sometimes I need to stop and re-read sections to understand.

It occurred to me, ironically, that I used to do the same thing trying to read Shakespeare.

It’s like a different version of English.

And this book was written in a particular moment of time. The plot is about a company town somewhere in the Midwest that had labor issues so some gangsters were called in to break the labor movement.

But, unfortunately for the town, the gangsters decided to stay and took over.

At the time, this was very topical. There were many of these towns across America where one capitalist set up a factory and basically built their own town around it. On the one hand they were single-handedly creating industry from scratch and the lack of any kind of laws or controls on industry made for a period of rapid industrialization and growth and wealth for the capitalists and the country. On the other hand, they lured in millions of cheap laborers to fuel these factories.

You had all this tension that would have been in the headlines at the time and that’s what Hammet layers his story on top of.

It reminds me of another book, which I think I was forced to read in prep school, the Jungle by Upton Sinclair that chronicles the fate of immigrant families in the meat packing plants in Chicago.

A book that contemporary Jack London referred to as the ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ of the meat packing industry.

What is Chris watching?

I watched my way through a sci-fi series on Prime called The Night Sky. It’s a bit of a slow burn but the character acting is top notch. It stars Sissy Spacek and JK Simmons.

I swear JK Simmons is in every single movie or series that you’ve ever seen. Fantastic character actor. You nerds may know him as J. Jonah Jameson in the Sam Raimi Spiderman movies.

But at the same time I was watching him portray an elderly man in the Night Sky, my wife was watching him portray an evil CEO who lifts weights and is bulked up in the Billy Bob Thorton series Goliath. (Which I’m going to need to go back and watch because it is very China Town noir. (And by China Town I of course refer to the 1974 noir film with Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston directed by Roman Polanski)

Anyhow – In Night Sky he plays JK Simmons plays half of an elderly couple who have a portal to another world under their lawn shed. As the story progresses it loops in other characters and reveals more and more. There are good guys, bad guys and such.

I found it quite thoughtful. Especially because I was reading the Daschel Hammett book at the same time and was thinking a lot about characters and plots.

But, It also appears to be one of those series that was intended to have more than one season, so the resolution at the end is a bit weak.

If you’re sick of the constant stream of explosions, car chases, and gun fights between beautiful woman and muscle-bound men, well, this is something you might dig. It’s slower paced and thoughtful.

Towards the Exit.

Ok my friends, I’ve got a new editor on staff to keep me honest as we start to introduce these new government characters. Being a writer is a bit like being a drug addict – eventually all of your family and friends are pulled in and impacted by your habit!

So – say ‘hi’ to my Son-in-law Blake who knows the difference between an M18 and an M17.

“It’s a family affair…”

Keep your M4’s clean and shiny and keep surviving.

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