Author Archives: char

About char

I'm Canadian, which according to movies and TV means I'm part of the group that's almost always wiped out during the apocalypse. I’ve watched too much Star Trek and Stargate over the years and spend too much time at my computer. Now, I'm waiting for the arrival of (and human enslavement by) the Borg or the Goa'uld. That is, if my computer doesn’t swallow me first. When I'm not at ICoS, you can find me on Twitter @ApocalypseMama or on my blog at Of course, you can always email me at Char(at)incaseofsurvival(dot)com.

Book thoughts: The Sunshine Series by Nikki Rae

The Sunshine Series
Author: Nikki Rae
Publisher: Nikki Rae
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Vampire

This is a bit of an unorthodox review from me, since I’m reviewing all the three books of a trilogy together. I did this to make it easier though, so I could post the review all at once. (And because I didn’t want to make the author wait even longer, since she’s waited a hell of a long time already. My sincere apologies, Nikki.)

Be warned! This review might be a bit longer than usual.

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Guest post: You Say You Want a Revolution by Carrie Patel

Note: In Case of Survival is part of the Cities and Thrones blog tour. Yesterday’s review was not part of the tour, but today’s post is.

Today, we have a guest post from author Carrie Patel. Yay! Thanks for joining us, Carrie!

What are your thoughts on revolutions? Let us know in the comments!


You Say You Want a Revolution

Wicked rulers and corrupt governments have been a staple of speculative fiction for about as long as they’ve been around in real life.

Which is to say, forever.

Overthrowing the despot, deposing the dynasty, and outmaneuvering the bureaucracy are nearly-universal power fantasies, so it’s no surprise that they show up in much of our fiction.

And so we read stories about heroic pig farmers who vanquish sorcerer-kings and resourceful children who save the world. These story arcs follows the heroes’ empowerment, their struggles, and their ultimate triumph over the forces of evil and ineptitude.

It’s generally assumed that everything is hunky dory once the heroes have ousted the bad guys. All that remains after that point are the author’s acknowledgements.

Endings based on successful revolutions are satisfying because they reflect a certain moral symmetry that we like. It seems right and reasonable that circumstances should improve when people who are intelligent and well-meaning replace those who are not. We like to see our heroes earn their happy endings, and we want to believe that the world can become a better place through simple, honest effort.

But this ending—the happy revolution—assumes several conditions.

It assumes that a person in power will stick to her principles.

It assumes that her lieutenants and subordinates will, too.

It assumes that all of these people who knew how to rebel also know how to govern.

And it assumes that everyone else will agree to follow them.

But the skill sets of wartime champions are not always compatible with those of peacetime leaders—George R. R. Martin derived an entire series’ worth of conflict and drama from this idea. Furthermore, the realities and compromises of leadership are often messier than the high-minded ideals of revolution.

And few ideals survive a violent uprising unscathed.

To gloss over these tensions is to miss some of the richest story material available to a writer. And yet, stories so often end once power has changed hands. Just when things are getting really interesting.

Cities and Thrones is about the notion that reconstruction is an even greater epic than revolution. It’s not so much an end to the conflict as it is an extension of it. Allies find themselves at odds, enemies learn to cooperate, and principles are put to the test. Meanwhile, the aftershocks of revolution set off a domino effect of maneuvers and counter-maneuvers as the newly-empowered and the recently-deposed scramble to seize and salvage what advantages they can.

An intricate and chaotic game of musical chairs often begins after a sudden shift in power. Individuals find their beliefs and loyalties challenged in new and surprising ways. It’s hectic and heart-wrenching, and it’s some of my favorite conflict in fiction.

Book review: Cities and Thrones by Carrie Patel

CitiesThronesCities and Thrones

Author: Carrie Patel

Publisher: Angry Robot

Release date: July 2, 2015 (UK), July 7 (North America)

Note: This book was provided by the publisher.


In the fantastical, gaslit underground city of Recoletta, oligarchs from foreign states and revolutionaries from the farming communes vie for power in the wake of the city’s coup. The dark, forbidden knowledge of how the city came to be founded has been released into the world for all to read, and now someone must pay.

Inspector Liesl Malone is on her toes, trying to keep the peace, and Arnault’s spy ring is more active than ever. Has the city’s increased access to knowledge put the citizens in even more danger? Allegiances change, long-held beliefs are adjusted, and things are about to get messy.

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Book review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

the walled cityTitle: The Walled City

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publisher: Little, Brown

Genre: YA

Release Date: November4, 2014

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley.


There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there traffic drugs or work in brothels–or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

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Book review: Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach

heaven's queenTitle: Heaven’s Queen

Author: Rachel Bach

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: SF

Available now


From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’ life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that’s eating her alive. 
Now, with the captain missing and everyone — even her own government — determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running. 
It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

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Book thoughts: The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick

the shadow master coverThe Shadow Master

Author: Craig Cormick

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Angry Robot

Available now

Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley



In a land riven with plague, inside the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control: the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation.

And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack…

A story of alternative history, love and conflict, madness and magic!
Assassination; ancient, impossible machines; torture and infamy – just another typical day in paradise.

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Book review: Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica

child of a hidden sea coverChild of a Hidden Sea

Author: A.M. Dellamonica

Genre: SF/F

Publisher: Tor

Available now

Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley


One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles. The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard. Sophie doesn’t know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered…her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.

But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don’t know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world…or is doomed to exile, in Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica.

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Under the Dome Season 2, Episode 1

The one where I attempt to (unsuccessfully) live-blog the Under the Dome season premiere. (Note: Actual recap to come in the next day or two.)

30 Jun 2014 - 10:08pm (EST)

Okay, I think I have this figured out… I’m trying something new this time, and I’m live-blogging Under the Dome’s season premiere. Should be interesting…

30 Jun 2014 - 10:16pm (EST)

I’m expecting weirdness. This episode was written by Stephen King.

So we pick up from last season’s finale, where Barbie is about to be hung by the lynch mob and the dome is doing crazy glowing shit. Also, now it’s magnetized.

Barbie isn’t hung (obviously) (well, not in the sense that he’s going to be executed). Julia, our monarch, was by the lake and…she finds some random girl in the water. Because the lake coughs up people, I guess.

The police officer from CSI: NY is stitching up the hole in Julia’s shoulder (did she get shot? I can’t remember).

Junior finally figures out that Barbie didn’t kill anyone and his dad is the ultimate bad guy and goes after Barbie to help find Julia. Or something. Barbie goes to hijack a car, and is held up at riflepoint by the car’s owner (who sucks with weapons, apparently, because he disarms her in like two seconds).

Aside: who IS this lady? Where did she come from?

30 Jun 2014 - 10:18pm (EST)

Metal! Is flying! And I mean ALL metal — including knives and nails from the wall! A nail spears Joe in the hand. So magnetic dome = bad.

But wait! It also drops the bomb shelter door on Barbie’s head so maybe it’s good?

Annnd…Joe’s house collapses. Um. Okay. I don’t…okay.


30 Jun 2014 - 10:21pm (EST)

So Big Jim is trapped in the bomb shelter. (AHH sorry did I say Barbie got trapped in the shelter? It was Big Jim. Apologies.)

Guess who’s in the shelter with him. Dodee. That’s right. Dodee.

Except SHE DIED LAST SEASON. I’m guessing either ghost or hallucination.

Or I don’t know, maybe she’s alive. This is Under the Dome.

30 Jun 2014 - 10:22pm (EST)

Dodee is very smart and attune to the dome, for a dead person.

30 Jun 2014 - 10:25pm (EST)

The dome wants Big Jim, and won’t stop until he dies! Or something. (So says Dodee’s Ghost.) (Can’t say I’m complaining.)

New Lady with the Rifle is very knowledgeable about the dome and magnetic field. (She’s a science teacher, I guess.) They’re building a giant magnet to counteract the dome’s magnetism. Okay then.


30 Jun 2014 - 10:29pm (EST)

CSI Guy is in a cabin with Julia, watching over Strange Girl from the Lake. Julia goes off to do something, and CSI Guy flips through this crazy scrapbook of weirdness with sketches and handprints in blood (I think?). While’s going through the world’s weirdest memory book, he realizes that Lake Girl has wandered off.

Angie sees her walking down the street, but ignores her and goes off to the diner to get a gun. Junior comes in and says “The dome was right, my dad is EEEEVIL” and offers to get her a gun from the police station.


30 Jun 2014 - 10:30pm (EST)

Ahahahaha… Big Jim, to Dome Dodee: “Shut up and be dead!” after she tells him he’s not listening and the dome will refuse to let him go.

In reply, Big Jim blows up the door to the bomb shelter. Because of course he does.

30 Jun 2014 - 10:31pm (EST)

So magnet experiment is now under way. Everyone but Barbie collapses. (Marty Stu alert!)


30 Jun 2014 - 10:35pm (EST)

Okay, live-blogging is getting very tricky with the baby trying to get to my computer as well. I’m going to have to stop it here and re-watch it later, when I can pay attention. Then I will recap. Watch for it in the next couple days!

Until next time!

Interview with Joseph D’Lacey

A little while ago, I reviewed the books Black Feathers and The Book of the Crowman. They were excellent books, and the author, Joseph D’Lacey, was kind enough to take time out of his schedule and answer some questions for us. Yay!

1. The Black Feathers Duology is quite unique in its premise and themes. How did you develop it?

I’m fortunate in that ideas seem to happen to me regularly and naturally without me having to do anything. If they’re good ideas, they hang around and bump into other ideas, getting bigger and heavier. Eventually, if I can’t ignore a subject any longer, I start working – that’s the point when I happen to the idea.

Quite honestly, most of the ‘development’ happen as I write, with many notions arising spontaneously. It’s haphazard but it works for me.

2. How long did it take you to write the books?

I wrote both books as a single novel, initially. I never expected to see it split up, even though a psychic friend told me back in 2010 that that’s what would happen. The first draft took seven months and the initial editing another four.

3. I understand that you normally write horror. What made you decide to write a fantasy? Do you see Black Feathers as a fantasy?

I’m known as a horror writer because that’s how I got my break – with MEAT in 2008. But I write all kinds of things. I love humour as much as horror and there are often strong elements of SF and Fantasy in my stories.

Writing The Black Dawn wasn’t a decision to change genre, it was simply the next thing I needed to write. But, yes, I see it as either a dark or apocalyptic fantasy.

4. Let’s talk about the themes in the book for a moment. Did you actively decide to include the religious parallels, or did that happen organically? What about the technology vs nature conflict? How did that come about?

I’m fascinated by spirituality and sacrificial figureheads. I think it’s visible even in my earliest work. In The Black Dawn, I wanted to chronicle the life of a martyr from birth to death whilst exploring our broken relationship with the land that supports us. The themes worked together very naturally and I still contemplate them daily.

5. Do the book’s themes about nature, technology, and people reflect your personal views?

They reflect my concerns and I investigated those concerns as deeply as I could within the fiction at the time. Actually, I don’t feel the ‘conclusion’ I reach at the end of The Book of the Crowman is conclusive enough. I may need to write a third book to reconcile everything!

6. I was sad about Gordon’s ending, but at the same time not surprised. It seemed like the perfect ending for his character (as sad as it was), given the parallels in the book. Did you always know that was what would happen to him?

I knew his birth and I knew his ‘death’. All I had to do was take him on a journey from one to the other.

But, of course, there is no death; only a change of worlds…

6. What happened to Megan?

I think it’s more a question of what will happen to Megan. :)

7. Will you write more fantasy now?

I’ll probably keep doing what I’ve always done, which is to please myself before I think of anyone else! That said, I love the imaginative opportunities fantasy offers and the epic possibilities it lends to central characters, so the short answer is ‘yes’.

8. We have a few writers in our audience (and here at ICoS). Can you describe your writing process? Do you have any advice for beginner writers?

Having taught writing at various levels, I’ve learned that every writer is different and that they progress through many phases of development. There’s no single piece of advice that works for everyone.

I’ve spent many years flogging myself in a variety of ways in order to achieve results. I think, on some deep level, I must have believed that suffering was essential in order to write well. Nowadays, I’m not so sure. I want to be happy and I want to enjoy my life. Because so much of my life is about stories, I’m doing everything I can now to make the actual process of writing pleasurable. After all, if you’re not getting happier as you get older, something’s wrong.

Out of all of this, though, there are a few things that might be of use:

  • write in the knowledge that you will make mistakes and let yourself make a ton of them.
  • try every method you can find and quickly discard what doesn’t help.
  • don’t let other people tell you there’s a single, foolproof method. It’s bullshit.
  • that being the case, be true to yourself and find your own way. Because your own way is the only one that will sustain you.
  • consider what success really means and define it in your own terms.

9. What projects do you currently have in the pipeline?

I’m writing a series of children’s books for 5-7 year-olds and a psychological thriller screenplay. When that’s done, I plan to write a new novel; very likely a fantasy.

10. Out of curiousity (and to pad my own reading list), what books are in your Kindle (or on your bookshelf)?

Since September last year, my genre reading has been, exclusively, horror or dark fiction by women. This is a result of my ignorance becoming very public in a Halloween article I wrote for The Guardian.

Best by far, to date, is HOME by Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone. Go and get a copy immediately if you enjoy dark, challenging fiction. I have many more female authors on my TBR pile and hope to interview some of them in my new TV slot – ‘The Vault’ on The Book Show.

You can see a list here.

11. Because this is In Case of Survival and we like the apocalypse, I have to ask: What does your apocalypse look like? (Personally, I favor an evil space monkey apocalypse, but realistically I think we as a species will find a way to destroy ourselves without interstellar help.)

Yes, our overlords are doing such a superb job of killing us and our planet, it appears their nefarious schemes are far more inventive than any fiction I could create! In the meantime, what can I do but take each day as it comes?

About Joseph D’Lacey

JDL_bio_pic_20.08.12Joseph D’Lacey writes Horror, SF & Fantasy, often with environmental themes, and is best known for his shocking eco-horror novel Meat. The book has been widely translated and prompted Stephen King to say “Joseph D’Lacey rocks!”.

His other published works to-date include Garbage Man, Snake Eyes, The Kill Crew, The Failing Flesh, Blood Fugue, Black Feathers, The Book of the Crowman and Splinters – a collection of short stories. He won the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer in 2009.

He enjoys being outdoors, eating vegetarian food and was recently adopted by two cats.


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Book review: The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

the mirror empire coverThe Mirror Empire

Author: Kameron Hurley

Series: Worldbreaker Saga (book 1)

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Angry Robot

Release date: September 2, 2014 (North America); September 4, 2014 (UK)

Note: This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.


On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.

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Book review: Some Fine Day by Kat Ross

some fine day coverSome Fine Day

Author: Kat Ross

Genre: YA SF

Publisher: Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot

Release Date: July 1, 2014 (North America and digital); Jul 3, 2014 (UK)

Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley


Sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist is on the verge of graduating from the black ops factory known as the Academy. She’s smart and deadly and knows three things with absolute certainty.

She knows that when the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.

She knows that the only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.

Most of all, she knows there’s no place on Earth where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades.

Jansin has been lied to. On all counts. Faced with the truth in the form of a charismatic young survivor named Will, Jansin vows that her former masters will regret making her what she is…

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Book review: The Buried Life by Carrie Patel

the buried life coverThe Buried Life

Author: Carrie Patel

Genre: Dystopian, SF

Publisher: Angry Robot

Release Date: July 29, 2014 (North America), August 7, 2014 (UK)

Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.


The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Ricoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

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Book review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

kiss of deception coverThe Kiss of Deception

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Holt/Macmillan Children’s

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.


In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. In The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

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