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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

Season 1 Episode 19 - Skinwalkers

Greetings my survivor friends. How’s the apocalypse treating you?


cial welcome to my daughter, who pitched in with the typo hunting in this episode. Thanks for the great Father’s Day card!

I am stunned and amazed that here we are, episode 19. Who knew we’d be able to pull it off. This chapter was fun to write. I think we have a clear understanding of who these characters are – so I can drop them into situation and let them speak for themselves.

We see our female protagonist Janet, a.k.a KJ the Killer, slipping into that ambiguity that the end of the world forces on people. We see the old man teetering on the brink of reality and sanity. We see the world thrashing about in the worst types of reactions that befall humans.

The question is which way will they all slide? What will they choose? Do they even have a choice?

We introduced that there is a ‘big bad’ roaming around as the world starts to coalesce around survivors. The ‘big bad’ is more than an antagonist to create narrative tension. The big bad is an alternate blueprint. He is the dark side of humanity that is always just outside, peering through that little window shaped like a porthole in the front door of civilization waiting for us to make a mistake.

And that’s always the tension with humanity.

Civilization is a chaos suppressant. Civilization sees chaos as evil. All our religions have a manifestation of chaos, from Loki, to the Devil, to Coyote – there’s always that tension between order and chaos, or more pedantically, good and evil.

If you don’t have that tension, then the story is just action without purpose. Or horror without purpose. Or comedy without purpose. And when the narrative fiction falls into that space you lose interest in the fate of the characters and all the action in the world can’t keep it going.

You need stakes. Unless there are stakes. Unless there is tension. There is no compelling narrative.

And that’s the fun part of creating a dystopian, apocalyptic universe. You get to decide how that tension of good versus evil is resolved.

Anyhow… enough with the ontology.

And speaking of Coyote the mischief making chaos god of some Native Americans - Here’s my reading list tip for you this week. The Tony Hillerman books about Navajo police detective Joe Leaphorn? I’m not a big mystery fan, but I started listening to these on audio book when I was commuting from my home outside Boston up to an office in Quebec City Canada.

It’s a long drive.

I would get books on tape at the local library for the ride. Hillerman was an Albuquerque New Mexico resident and did a great job describing the Southwest US cultures, and in particular the Native American mythologies. The audio books, if you can find them, are read by Native American voice actors and the cadence of the read is amazing.

There ya go – grab some Hillerman audio books for your summer vacation.

In two weeks we will present the last chapter, chapter 20, in this first season. Then we’ll take a pause to turn the first season into an e-book, a paperback and an audio book. I’ve got a copy editor to work through the scripts and I’ve got a couple artists working on cover art.

I’m recruiting a book launch team and typo hunters. Come over to FaceBook and join the After the Apocalypse group that can be found by searching for “OldManApocalypse” – all one word – and pitch in.

I’m asking nicely. I could use the help.

I’m happy with how this season and the overall format came out. We’re up over 11,000 downloads now. That’s not bad for 6 months in as an indie podcast.

The format lends itself to binge listening. The short consumable episode length and consistency allow people to just queue them up and march through them. Another irony of the podcasting world is that what took me 6 months to produce takes you a couple days to consume!

I can keep up with this fortnightly cadence and still produce a decent quality product. Unfortunately for you I have a full-time job and other things to attend to or I would be cranking out a season monthly!

The next season we are going to add more compelling characters to the universe, we are going to add situations and institutions and threats that test our survival skills.

So stick with us after the break. I hope all of you up in my hemisphere are enjoying your summers and those of you in antipodal hemispheres are enjoying your winters.

As always I could use your support on the Patreon page to keep paying the bills. And I can use your participation on the facebook group at oldmanapocalypse.

And of course keep leaving 5-star reviews on iTunes and keep telling your friends.

And together, we will keep surviving.

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