Today sees the launch of an ambitious new series from Nick Cole and Michael Bunker, titled Apocalypse Weird. The concept is simple: the end of the world is very f-ing nigh and you have front row seats. Five novels drop today and join The Red King, Cole’s previously released work in this ‘verse: The Dark Knight by Nick Cole; Reversal, by Jennifer Ellis; The Serenity Strain by Chris Pourteau; Immunity, by E. E. Giorgi; and Texocalypse Now by Nick Cole and Michael Bunker.
While shared universe series aren’t new (remember Bill Fawcett’s The Fleet? How about David Drake’s Crisis of Empire?), what makes the AW ‘verse unique is the fact that Cole and Bunker have partnered with Rob McClellan’s ThirdScribe outfit to open the field to any and all contributors. So-called “Tier 3” authors are considered purveyors of AW fanfic. The stories are non-canonical, but they are also open to anyone who wants to publish them using the ThirdScribe platform. Readers vote on their favorite stories and well-received contributions get both the attention they deserve and perhaps a bit more.
The rules of the series are straightforward: in the not-too-distant-future (or past) a demonic mafia known as “The 88” have decided that they can’t sit around waiting for mankind to doom itself forever. Their solution: give homo sapiens a big push into the abyss. Their foot soldiers in this work are human servants known as “The Black Hand.” As civilization crashes and burns, individual actors, perpetrators, and survivors share talents, stories, actions, and supplies to manage their own little corners of the devastation. It’s up to each author to mix and match the mayhem according to his or her tastes and writing style. The results are brilliant, fresh, and exciting.
I’ve read Reversal and The Dark Night, and I’ll be posting reviews of those later today. But all five books are now up for grabs (and linked above). If what I’ve seen so far is any indication, this is the best apocalypse to come along in years.