This is a guest post by Konstantine Paradias.
Still Life With Apocalypse by Richard Kadrey is a post-apocalyptic fiction short story (about 3,000 words long) that is essentially the memoirs of a man in the ruins of the world, after it has been torn to pieces due to inexplicable reasons.
The nameless protagonist starts by depicting a horrifying scene that completely immerses you into the short story. It is sufficiently disturbing without resorting to gorror imagery. Without missing a beat, he then goes on to describe the way everyday life is in the ashes and gives you just enough information about himself to make you both despise and pity him at the same time.
My motto concerning science fiction short stories, has always been this: a good short short scifi story is like a swift, hard elbow thrust to the teeth. It makes you go reeling, stumbling back, grasping at the mess of your mouth, trying to pick up your teeth off the floor. Still Life With Apocalypse does just that. It grips you from the moment you start reading it and then suddenly lets you go reeling, feeling somewhat diminished and you just know you (and your dentist) will never stop thinking about it.
Despite its very, very strong selling points, the story does have a weak premise concerning how the Apocalypse came about (a series of events that somehow caused a chain reaction which in turn destroyed society as we know it), but it still flows excellently.
All in all, it’s a short and great read that feels like a nightmare (in a good way).
- Word count: 2,900
- Richard Kadrey is a San Francisco-based novelist, freelance writer, and photographer. Kadrey’s novels are Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha from Hell, Metrophage, Kamikaze L’Amour, and Butcher Bird: A Novel Of The Dominion. Other works include collaborative graphic novels and over 50 published short stories
Where you can find Still Life With Apocalypse:
This short story has been printed in the short story collection Wastelands (edited by John J. Adams). It’s a collection of post-apocalyptic short stories which has a number of excellent pieces and I highly recommend it. If you want to read it from free, you can find it here (http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/kadrey22.html).
Konstantine Paradias is a short story science fiction and fantasy writer, who has his own blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at firstname.lastname@example.org