Fly on the Wall podcast Post Apocalypse series: The Road Ahead, prologue [fan made story]

Fly on the Wall podcast Post Apocalypse series: The Road Ahead, prologue [fan made story]

Fan made prologue to the finale to the Post Apocalypse series featured on the Fly on the Wall podcast. None cannon story that takes place years later following the events from the podcast, following Woz, Luke, Keith and Glenn as they finally discover the source of the virus.

Inspired by the podcast, I wanted to create a non canon story using story elements that were laid out by Luke and Woz. Crafting these story lines into a conclusion that ties up many plots and events with a few twists (you’ll be shocked what I’ve got in mind for the main finale story if this prologue story gets a few positive feedback and the Luke and Woz seal of approval!). Imagine this as an alternative timeline.

Who caused the virus? What will happen to Keith and Woz in the future as mutants? Will Glenn redeem himself? And is Luke as fine as he says he is in the story?

All will be revealed in my fan made non canon prologue, with some artwork I did to better describe the four weirdos of the wasteland.

Please support the official Fly on the Wall by following IRO blog (ImperialRebalOrk) or check out the podcast on your favourite podcast station.

Just before you read this story, I recommend listening to Mitch Murders EP album, Hardwired. It fits well as a background music for reading this story, a bit of dark noir synthwave to immerse yourself in the post apocalyptic world. The single of the same name as the EP, Hardwired, is a must to listen to, a mix of synthwave and 80’s horror style. I listen to it when I read James Herbert’s books, including The Rats Trilogy.

With that, I hope you’ll enjoy this story. Enjoy!

(Be warned, I’m not the greatest story teller……….)

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In the dry deserts of Australia, there were four dark silhouette shapes walking across the blazing heat and dry earth. The post apocalypse had turned this once grassy and forested area into a desert corpse. Once there were trees as healthy as the highlands, grass as vast as the eye can see, birds, crocodiles, Horses and kangaroos making noises in a living and breathing nature paradise.

But the virus took that away, all of it. The trees were dead and hollow as a carcass, grass so grey it could be confused as grey clouds and the animals either killed, extinct or mutated into horrible abominations of perversion. It didn’t just affect the human population, it affected nature itself like a freak climate change that couldn’t be averted in time.

The mutated crows with two heads and four wings encircled high above watching these dark shapes move through the wasteland, like phantoms in daylight. Hoping for a tasty snack of dead meat, the birds wait until the time was right to feast on the corpses.

The dark shapes were in the far distance and Shimmering like water. Then the unidentifiable dark silhouettes slowly formed into humanoid shapes of different shapes and sizes, half looked human, the others odd shaped.

Soon they were clear as day, the sight would either make you gag until your intestines run dry, or your sanity gets messed up just by seeing the odd looking freaks. The first of the four was the sore thumb of the lot, a big muscled ape like man with four arms and two tusks. It’s body was covered in orange fur, skin as dark as a ripe grape, eyes golden green, ape like in looks. It walked on all six limbs as it carried crates of supplies, tents, food, and other supplies on its broad back.

This mutant was once known as Keith, now he’s known as Krakstrong, pack leader of his mutant family and ally of the roaming gang he now follows. The virus infected Keith and his family during the initial stages of the outbreak, falling prey to the illness with fever, headaches, pale yellow looks and as Luke would point out, “a rash ass”.

Luckily Keith survived the infection along with his family, recovering quite remarkably despite the blood loss that Keith had lost. But soon it was obvious that he and his family weren’t in the clear, for Keith had started to mutate with one of his arms getting swollen with muscle and strength.

The changes would result in Keith and Glenn, his long time friend, being spilt apart by Keith’s sudden primal outburst. He took a bite out of Glenn’s wife’s shoulder, blood dribbling down his chin as he chewed on the warm flesh. Glenn already being affected by the apocalypse went ape shit, swearing to kill the mutant that was once his friend. He nearly did too at gun point with his shotgun aiming at Keith’s head, but he couldn’t kill him in the end as he could still see Keith behind the mutants eyes.

Since then, both have not spoken to each other for awhile, six years to be precise. His relationship with Luke and Woz is a mixed bag of stable and absolute hatred. Luke, Krakstrongs man slave (translated to advisor and human ambassador), is the closest to retaining any verbal communication. Luke believes that Keith still lives inside the mutant ape, hidden behind the primal and primitive persona of Krakstrong. His efforts to bring Keith back as of yet are going nowhere.

As for Woz, Krakstrong despises Woz for his symbiotic bonding of man and machine, part man, part bike, part vibrating dishwasher, part anything electrical. He hates the sight of this abomination for it was not by nature’s design nor the virus’s doing, the machine is the enemy of the mutants and should be destroyed.

Krakstrong would soon evolve and change to become a four armed ape who is hardly recognisable anymore unless you knew him before the change. He has become the leader of his mutant ape family clan, beating his rival brothers and sisters in combat. Suited for this new world of the post apocalypse, Krakstrong has faced many dangers including bandits, cannibals, killer clowns, mutant rabbits (the second most dangerous creature in the wasteland), mutant creatures and the mysterious mutant rats.

Lately he has been looking south in a sort of day dream, even his family too in a strange hivemind like connection. Maybe he wants to move on with his clan, to resettle and grow his clan to be big and strong. Or, maybe he still seeks to find his nemesis and the only threat to his clan, the Silverback Chimp Tribe led by Gornicus, the face ripper.

Whoever wins in that war, will decide the fate of the wasteland and the new mankind’s survival.

The man he once was had died years ago, and the ties he had with his friends and none mutants have eroded for a few years now. Krakstrong and the soul of Keith

***

Next there’s the lone warrior of the group, Glenn. He had a serious alcoholic problem during the apocalypse when most of his friends, family and his pet dog, Keith, were perished by the virus. Losing all hope in life, Glenn wanted to give up and die in the wasteland. But he was denied death by his friends, an act that would result in the creation of the legend of the lone bounty hunter centuries later.

His only companion was his wife called Glenn’s wife, no one knows her name for they forget it as soon as they hear it. At one time, Keith tried solving this issue by recording what she said her name was on a recording tape, what came back was nothing but static noise…………..

Glenn would amass a small gang of ex working class construction workers, calling themselves the ‘Fixers’ as they fix the wastelands problems by killing the bandits with construction tools. They would be at relative peace with the caravan group that was set up by Luke and Woz. Although Glenn’s increasing consumption of alcohol and fighting some of the Fixers has caused damage to the small settlement. It was decided that by Luke and Woz that Glenn and his gang be assigned as a scouting party. The front line of both close assault and heavy weapon teams, assessing the enemies strength and weaknesses.

But disastrously, the Fixers were all killed by a mutant surprise attack led by the Butcher, a massive mutant brute who has been longing to kill Glenn and his gang for screwing his plans. In one awful turn of events all the gang members were killed, eaten or ‘bonded’ to the mutants as new sustenance to evolve.

Glenn hated all mutants from that day as well as some of his friends that had been infected by the virus. He would kill them all even if it meant killing Luke, Woz and Keith to rid the wasteland of its taint.

More tragedy would follow as Glenn lost his wife during the groups effort to save his wife from the Butcher, as he sliced her into meaty bits. In rage, he hold no sympathy or remorse as he tore the hood from the swollen deformed monster. Even as he saw the purest face of a youthful man with bright blue eyes and an expression of fear and confusion. Glenn let loose as much bullets as he can into the abominations complexion, 100% confirmed kill.

A man lost of hope, life, love and friendship of old, Glenn left the group to go solo to help the people in need. Bounty hunting criminals, monsters and bandits wherever he went. Years later however by chance, Glenn had an encounter with his old friends when he was hunting down a mutant named Jackson Creeker. Jackson was a serial murderer, pillager and a Slicer. Slicers were a mutant group who worked for the ‘Dark mind’, a mysterious player in organising raids on settlements and safe towns. They would act as the infiltrators poking weak holes inside the cities and towns of pure stock humans, ready for the main mutant army to flood into these well protected places.

There were three outcomes if you were a citizen of said town, you either die, sliced slowly, be a slave or be used as spare parts to produce new mutant soldiers.

Luke, Woz and Krakstrong were helping one such settlements defence against the mutant army, and rat out the Slicer before the chaos could happen. Glenn was on a contract to hunt down Jackson Creeker, and by chance he saw his old friends.

He was a different man than what he used to be for he was now a solider of sorts, gone was the depression, recovering alcohol addiction and letting go of life. Now he was a killer bounty hunter, a moral one at least.

He reluctantly helped the gang save the settlement as it nearly got overrun by a back door entrance. The Mayor had a secret entrance in his office where the mutants can raid at the heart of the settlement. It was only thanks to Krakstrongs instincts and Glenn’s investigations that led them to accuse the mayor of working against the people. With the old mayor dead in his own office as well as his sheriff who also conspired to help the invasion, two positions needed to be filled.

Glenn became the sheriff, a role he only kept as a temporary position until he and his gang locate and kill the Dark Mind. Luke became mayor of the settlement (turns out Jackson Creeker was actually the mayor of the town named after his alias, Moorton), a role he didn’t ask for but took on the mantle of responsibility, with the help of Glenn as sheriff, Krakstrong as the mutant ambassador and Woz as the Chaplin of the faith of the machine.

Now Glenn has one purpose, a journey that he must complete without mercy, emotion and second thoughts. He and his friends must find the source of the mutant virus and put a stop to it before their world is destroyed. The risks are too great to falter, to find the Dark mind and kill it before it unleashes the Final Apocalypse. Glenn hunter by the horror of the Butcher

***

Luke is Luke, he’s been the same from then to now. The core of the group (not leader, Krakstrong is considered to be the leader, though in name only), his humanity and moral philosophy is still very much alive despite everything that’s happened. He and Woz were the leaders of the caravan escape during the beginning of the apocalypse, taking their family and friends away to safer lands.

After many adventures to find supplies, scouting missions, bandit attacks and growing mutant sightings, the gang had bonded closer now that they had to survive together.

They established a small caravan town that knew relative peace for a time, until the mutants led by the Butcher attacked their settlement. Many would be killed or eaten, including friends of Luke who he knew decades ago. Even in his sleep he can still see the faces of the dead, cursing him and tormenting him for letting them die.

Only a handful of survivors escaped to go in search of a new and safer home. Luckily, they found land that was on a hill side with running pure water. Not the safest spot to settle but better than no water at all. Everything seemed to be finally on track as the community started to recover from the mutant attack.

But behind the facade of his over confidence, jokester jest, eagerness and never backing down, Luke is slowly dying from the virus. The Butcher took Luke on in a brawl during the downfall of the caravan settlement, pinning Luke down as he injected Luke with a degenerative disease of the virus into Luke’s bloodstream. At first Luke thought he was going to become a mutant like Keith, but luckily the changes never came.

However, the interior of Luke’s body fared worse as he suffered nerve loss from time to time, losing his control of limbs and in some cases eye sight. Using medication that’s available, Luke hides his degrading health to ensure he and his family and friends live long enough to find a safe place to live.

Only one person in his family knows of his health problems, and swore not to share this knowledge to anyone, even to Woz. As Luke continues his fight he is surely to pay dearly for what will come once the virus gets stronger.

He became mayor of a settlement after defeating the Dark Minds mutant army and ratting out Jackson Creeker. His new role has loosen his role as a fighter and group leader in supply gathering, which benefited him to hide his falling health. Wearing a pirate outfit with a taxidermy parrot named Frank, Luke would organise and build the settlement to become bigger, stronger and more open for trade with other settlements. He can now assure his family will be safe now that they have found a safe home.

At last, Luke must join his old friends one last time as they travel to a location far east of Australia, to an abandoned testing facility of water purification called ‘H.J Water purification facility’. There he and his gang will stop the source of the virus outbreak and save their homeland. Luke only has scarce supplies left to delay the inevitable as he is soon reaching the point of no return. This may be his last trip………….. Luke

***

Finally there’s Woz, half man half machine infused symbiotic bonding. Once he was the most human of all the gang as he placed his moral duty and belief before aggression and nihilism. A peacekeeper and Lukes twin by a brother to another mother quote, Woz handled the complex side of the affects of the apocalypse to the caravan settlers.

He unfortunately had a fatal incident with the Butcher as Woz had his hand sliced off, leaving a few fingers and a thumb left. But something miraculous happened as his arm bonded to machine parts, reforming his hand as organic and mechanical symbiosis. Woz by all accounts was not a mutant, for no other creature had the strain of bonding, but rather evolving by its own mutation and absorbing organic only.

Woz became half man, half machine, able to absorb from a fall of 8ft and more, reconstructing broken bone into new parts. Soon Woz was seen as a god by the tech nerds who saw him as a machine god. But Woz refused to be seen as a god, just a lucky bugger.

However, Woz would lose something in exchange for these enhancements as he slowly lost his humanity. The one biggest strength that Woz has was his humanity and moral ideals from right to wrong. But as he absorbs more machine parts, the more he has lost that which made him the man he was. His unemotional appearance, cold calculating plans and disregard for innocent life has made him a danger to his friends and family.

His family out of concern tried to get him the help needed to bring him back to normal, but the damage was done and nothing can be done to save him. Only those vague good memories are what keeps Woz from losing the identity he has left. He has now passed on the mantle of responsibility to his next of kin, to carry on the traditions and values that he himself had followed. With that, he left his family with such cold and unfeeling separation like it wasn’t Woz anymore, like a stranger.

He became a Chaplin to the faith of the machine, a cult of worshipers that use barely running computers to pray. Sermons start at 1pm with the first song of binary numbers of 1s and 0s. Members are required to use treadmills to run the computers as the power lines went dark during the apocalypse.

This cult would soon grow old to Woz after much grovelling by the tech worshipers, he only came as he needed to build his mind and machine soul to be stronger. Deification was a distraction from his intent to absorb as much knowledge as he can from the database archives. This was where he found the source location of the virus.

leaving the church to find his family who he hasn’t seen for a year. A hope of the old Woz returning, or just an error in his mechanical logic?

Now Woz joins his flesh mortals (friends) on their last trek to find the source of the virus, and save mankind from total extinct. Somehow after much research Woz found the location to the source of the outbreak at an old water purification site. Strange, he didn’t have evidence to suggest this was the location or even if it was still there. He just has this feeling in his mind that it is there, as if something is calling out to him. Telling Woz to go find it like a beacon transmission……… Woz, the man machine

End of prologue……..

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Horror Harvest: James Herbert The Fog

I’ve now decided to theme my horror reading book blog posts under the ‘Horror Harvest’ title, so it will be like a series of sorts with a nice artwork.

Before I begin with The Fog, I’d like to thank IRO (Imperial Rebel Ork) and The Fly on the Wall podcast, for taking my suggestions for their podcast topics. They did a brilliant podcast on the Subject of James Herbert, and what book they enjoyed the most.

The podcast is like an all sorts show ranging from different topics from funny and serious subjects. Its great for long bus trips (they can take ages so a good hour of podcasting always helps!), painting miniatures, walking and anything else really.

It’s also good motivational therapy fuel for getting through paper work after paper work after paper work after paper work. Oh did I mention it’s great for getting through paper work?

If you would like to know more about the podcast and who bears the one Mocha of all Mochas, I have two links to IRO’s blog where he has the official links for where you can download the podcast.

https://imperialrebelork.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/fly-on-the-wall-podcast-plus-some-hobby-updates/

https://imperialrebelork.wordpress.com/2019/05/02/army-of-hate-second-miniature-plus-fly-on-the-wall-podcast-episode-2/

And for those of you who want to hear the James Herbert episode, links below to IRO’s post.

https://imperialrebelork.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/fly-on-the-wall-podcast-and-the-new-post-apocalyptic-saga/

Best of luck to The Fly on the Wall podcast!

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Continuing on my journey reading James Herbert’s books after a colossal read of The Rats Trilogy (and the Graphic Novel), today I want to share my thoughts on The Fog. A horror story about an ominous yellow fog that appeared after a huge fissure opened up in a small village, floating away after our main protagonist saves a child whilst being trapped below the fissure gap. However, unbeknownst to the people who witnessed this strange event, the fog would go on through the land to cause madness to anyone who inhales the it.

This book unlike The Rats trilogy, is more of a horror mystery story mixed with human physiological horror. The fog itself whilst known in origin of how it came to be (no spoilers here!) It’s still a mystery as if it may or may not be sentient. Anyone who comes across the fog and inhales it becomes a single minded force of madness.

Wether by hatred, depression, love or any other emotion, the fog is just the means to create the horror as it turns both good, bad and everyday citizens.

At the core of the fog there is an unatural light which seems to draw people closer, as if it wants them. It also seems to rest at places of convince for safety, say inside a church, a rail tunnel or an underground motorway. Overtime this fog grows in size as it feeds off carbon dioxide, becoming as big as a town.

The story focuses more on human psychology, when the mind slowly deteriorates making the person more savage with madness. Usually the person affected will either eventually die from their minds deteriorating, or commit suicide.

Our main protagonist, Holman, is the first to be affected by the fog after he escapes from the fissure. For weeks he was classed as clinically insane as he became a mad man, until weeks later his sanity came back whilst being placed in a mental health facility.

At first it was assumed that he was diagnosed with PTSD from the fissure incident, but later on through the story it’s revealed that the fog had cause this sudden personality change. This would be proven true as several incidents of strange murders are all linked to the yellow ghastly fog.

My thoughts on the book?

As usual James Herbert writes The Fog in great detail and engaging narrative, using his human victim characters to tell their story and how the horror aspect plays into their actions. Each character has an interesting story to tell, from our main protagonist, Holman, as a survivor of the fissure. Side characters including a drunk who cares more about his pigeons than his wife, a woman who’s same sex relationship broke apart by her partners choice to be in another relationship with a man, a school teacher who’s past during the Second World War is a dark and disturbing story and a man child who decides to give his boss a message he’ll never forget.

Similar to how The Rats Trilogy was written, these short story’s in one book adds to the weight of the affects that the threat can cause as a consequence. You feel for those who don’t deserve it, but can’t stop reading the book as you find out the fate of these unfortunate victims.

By this point I’ve become pretty used to how James Herbert writes his books, nearly leaning towards predictable at times when it came to certain sub story lines and plot twist. However, this isn’t to say it’s all predictable as the finale throws a very good question during the end, and reflection on just what the Fog could be.

This was James Herbert’s second book that he published in his writing career, still in the early days when James would use excessive blood, violence, mature themes and subjects that you tend not to see in today’s literature. It’s only later on that these things would dull down as supernatural and paranormal horror stories were written.

Overall, another great book to read as a twisted but enjoyable horror story. If you’ve read James’s books before, you may find some parts of this book to be the same old stuff you’ve read before. However, it’s still worth reading if your interested in the human psychological horror genre.

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Well that’s all I have for my post on The Fog. Now that I’ve read all of my current James Herbert books, and read some other books (like Eric, by the late Sir Terry Pratchett) too to broaden my ongoing reading past time. I’ve now started another book by James Herbert, this time a supernatural horror story, The Ghosts of Sleath.

until next time, mind the yellow fog,

-Bjorn

Thornton Reed (Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace)

Digital artwork based on the character of Thornton Reed from Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.

About a month ago I found a pretty funny black comedy series called Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, a very funny but short lived series that’s more interesting than today’s offerings on TV. Out of all of the cast my favourite character was Thornton Reed, he knew the crunch.

So inspired by this character, I did a digital artwork in tribute to this mans genius and bad acting (seriously, he’s pretty bad).

Wait a minute, where’s the cable for the telephone?

Until next time,

-Bjorn

The future of The Rats after Domain?

The future of The Rats after Domain?

After reading all three books of The Rats trilogy (and The City graphic novel), I’ve decided to look back and theories the connections of each books revelations to the end bomb shell book of Domain.

Below I’ll be giving brief catch ups with each books endings relating to the rats, and where there origins started. This will relate to my theory on the series finale, and how it effects the future in a post- apocalyptic world rule by the rats.

This post will have major spoilers for The Rats, Lair, Domain and The City!!!

In the first book we find out through the course of the story that Under-Secretary, Foskins, had found information about the Black Rats origins. They were created by an atomic bomb test in New Guinea, which a professor (Zoologist) by the name of William Bartlett Schiller took one of the rats back to the U.K.

He went to a canal in London in a small house and started breeding the brown rats with the black rats, resulting in the creation of the mutant breed. However to no ones surprise, the Black Rats break free and start breeding and infesting London’s sewer network.

Harris (protagonist), knew where this old canal house was went straight to it to reach Foskins in time, during the big purge against the rats in an abandoned city of London. When inside, Harris finds all sorts of stuff in a study room including a black board with a faint image of a rat. It’s only when he goes downstairs does he finally realise how significant this place is.

For within this house we find our first White Rat, a mutated monstrosity who’s obese, crippled, hairless and distinctly has two heads. We also find it’s mutated bodyguards who are much bigger than the Black Rats. After battling his way through the bodyguards (and found out the fate of Foskins), Harris kills the mutant rat king.

Meanwhile as the military massacres the hordes of Black Rats from their hiding places (using ultra sounds to attract them), a few however were trapped in a storage room unable to get out. The mother rat gives birth to a strange White Rat before she dies from stress, the White Rat leads its kin away from the city.

In Lair, the protagonist by the name of Pender, finds the new nest of the Black Rats, which reveals more about its hierarchy system. I’ve listed this below to quickly explain the lowest to highest in the rats lair.

  • Black Rats are the foot soldiers who deliver fresh meat to its superiors, decapitated heads are much needed to the brood.
  • Bodyguard rats are much bigger and stronger than the foot solider, who guard the mutated white rat and it’s group of similarly afflicted kin.
  • White Rats are mutated monstrosity’s who tend to be leaders or in place of authority to the Lair. They demand food on a constant basis to replenish their hunger, for their crippled affliction makes them useless to hunt for food.
  • White Rat (king) is the leader of the lair who bends all to his will and demands for more fresh heads to eat. Being bigger than its kin, this rat has two heads, one being useless apart from either eating or sniffing, sight is blind.

After a dispute with one of the Black Rats who the White Rat king was feasting on its new meal, the Black Rat strangely disobeyed its orders and attacked its king. Tearing its throat out and forging on its flesh, along with the rest of the Black Rats. The bodyguards and its White Rat masters were killed off too, making the lair go into outright chaos.

In the end, Pender managed to escape as the army destroys the abandoned house with rockets and explosions, supposedly killing off the Black Rats forever.

But a few survived and went back to the city…..

In Domain, it’s revealed that the rats have a Mother Creature, a massive White Rat who commands all to her commands. Not only is she like her white kin, but she can also breed to create more rats.

After the nuclear apocalypse the rats had grown bolder and left heir nest to find a world in ruin. Regaining their confidence they terrorise many survivors, killing them and taking food back to the nest.

By the end of the story, it’s revealed later on in the last chapter that when the protagonist looked back at the horror he witnessed seeing the Mother Creature, he realised that her litter looked awfully familiar. They were human in appearance with rat features, almost as if the litter were an evolution in the rats cycle. Did mankind evolve from rats, not apes?

Finally in The City, we discover yet another Mother Rat in illustration, and a first visual illustration of what this human/ rat looks like.

~~~~~~~~~~

So with all that information out of the way, what can this all mean?

From everything I’ve gathered from all three books, and how the author developed his stories, I have theory.

The Rats are a product of a nuclear blast which changed their DNA to make them abnormally stronger, smarter, more cunning than their smaller kin. However, it has caused a mutation where a few newborn become the white rats. Eventually these rats become deformed and crippled either by genetic failure or it’s part of the hierarchy gene that makes them above the Black Rats. Like bees, the rats produce a unique litter that will lead its nest if ever the King or Queen is slain.

One rat may become the mother creature, who breeds many rats including her own white kin. Unlike her own kind, her newborn are alien to the Black Rats who see them as a threat. But they won’t harm them for their Queen has total command over the nest.

These newborn are the next evolutionary step in the rats species to evolve into more humanoid beings. Wether they are the return of mankind’s ancestors or something entirely more disturbing will never be answered.

This is the true horror of James Herbert’s trilogy of The Rats. Whilst each book is horror filled with rat attacks and mutilations of victims, these pale in comparison to the real horror that connects all the books.

Domain ends the trilogy by showing mankind’s downfall for its recklessness with nuclear weapons, massacring everyone and everything on this earth. The rats, a product of nuclear bomb tests decades ago (the irony that mankind had created such horrors) were a mistake created by mankind’s recklessness (and a professors stupid idea to breed them). The rats took this opportunity to rise up from their long absence from the upper world.

They breed and kill the now weakened but surviving groups of mankind, whilst their queen breeds a new race to rule the earth.

The true horror is that the rats have become the next dominant species of earth, and theses new breed of humanoid rats will inherit this world once mankind becomes extinct. The rats hate them and are more than willing to kill them, but this new breed may live long enough to survive as long as their queen is still in power.

~~~~~~~~

Whilst the revelation of the new inheritors of earth is an interesting theory, it’s only what I think might happen. You may have your own theories on what The Rats trilogy ending could mean, I’m interested to hear your own theories in the comments below!

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you have enjoyed this post and, hopefully you may be interested to read more or James Herbert’s literature.

Next up I’ve got one more post on The Rats series with my own ideas to improve The City, and how I would give it more meaning as a finale to the series. I’ll explain the positives and negatives of the original story, and wether it could continue the saga with a sequel if James Herbert had continued the series.

Until next time!

-Bjorn

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Sources:

  • Herbert James, The Rats First published in 1974 by New English Library. Edition 1999 Re-published by Pan Books
  • Herbert James, Lair First published in 1979 by New English Library. Edition 1999 Re-published by Pan Books.
  • Herbert James, Domain, First edition 1984 published by New English Library.
  • Herbert James, Miller Ian, Balchin Judy, The City, First edition 1994 published by Pan Books.

The Rats Trilogy

Over the past three or four weeks this month, I’ve been reading all three of James Herbert’s books in the Rat Trilogy (well quadruple series If including The City graphic novel). After finding a copy of The City last month I was intrigued to learn more about James Herbert and his fictional works. Luckily enough I found myself a copy of The Rats early this month, and read it in just four days!

For my first ever read of a horror book, it added a sense of chill and visually disturbing imagery of the Black Rats, how they attack their prey with bloody mindless savagery. The wicked, the good, the bad and the innocent are all meals for the rats, as they care not for who or what you are so long as your flesh fill their stomachs.

The series follows the mutated Black Rats who unlike their inferior rat kin, are smarter, cunning, strong and measure at two feet and up to three including their long scaly tail. The Black Rats are not your average pest for they have a certain appetite for human flesh, which they constantly seek to gorge on their endless hunger for more.

The Rats

A short book that’s more of a novella sized story than a novel, but by no means is it lacking in quality. Set in the 1970’s, the story sees multiple perspectives of the victims that are murdered by the Black Rats, a touch of tragedy in their past life that is all to soon ended by a horrific bloody end.

There is a protagonist of sorts of a teacher named Harris, but he’s not the story’s main focus, but rather the one who has to deal with the pests. Interestingly, the story focuses on the Black Rats as they become incredibly uncontrollable in their bloodlust to the point of mass infestation.

This book was amazingly written, every chapter just wanted to pull you in and watch as the horror unfolds for each victim. Never shying away, James Herbert uses graphic and violent descriptions of the Black Rats attacks to the extreme. With blood and gore being James’s hallmark for the trilogy.

My favourite scene would have to be the underground subway attack, it was brilliantly written and I was on the edge of my seat all the way through the chapter. The combination of the dark tunnel and the rats swarming all over was bloody disturbing.

For a first book publication, this book was a good horror story, maybe some areas could improved (which in the sequel, Lair, James made a worthy successor). Some of the more seedy and lusty stuff may be too much for today’s readers, some parts even felt a slight bit misogynistic. However, because the book was set in its time in the mid 1970’s, it worked as a look back to the culture and lifestyles of the 70’s.

Get this book first if you want to start reading The Rats trilogy. Whilst the sequel books are sort of self contained books in the same cannon, it’s worth reading The Rats first to get a good understanding about the events that take place.

Lair

The second book in the series as a sequel to The Rats, Lair moves away from the city of London setting and takes us to the outskirts of the city in the countryside. Once again the mutant rats have bred in mass in their new hiding place in the country side, five years after their defeat during the London outbreak.

Like Ridley Scott’s Alien to James Camerons Aliens, Lair is a successor that amps the horror, violence and narrative of the rats revenge. Not only are the rats more vicious and cunning in their craving for human flesh, but the humans are better written in the story. This time focusing on Luke Pender, an inspector from Ratkill (an organisation who’s goal is to wipe out the mutant Black Rats) who is called upon to investigate reports of rodent sightings in Epping forest.

What’s makes this book so much more interesting is the way James Herbert had crafted his story, the environment and setting is used with great effect when used for setting up the rat strikes. You get the feeling that the forest is itself is fearful of the mutants that have made their Lair in the woodland, killing the natural cycle of nature. For they themselves are not a natural creation, but rather accidentally created by mans selfishness.

My favourite chapter is a tough one, as all the way through the book I couldn’t find much to criticise (well there are certain nitpicks in some areas), even the quieter moments are rather enjoyable to read. However, if I had to choose it would be when Pender finally finds the lair of the rat nest, I won’t spoil it, but I’ve found the whole event to be insightful on the Black Rats function in its nest hierarchy.

I see this book as James Herbert’s best book by far for The Rat trilogy in terms of the way the story was written, engaging and well written characters and far more gruesome ways with the rat attacks.

DomainThe last book in the trilogy, Domain takes a wildly different turn in the series as the situation turns in favour of the now fearful Black Rats. Set years in the not so far future in a time where tensions in the Middle East have escalated to breaking point, London is attached by five ballistic nuclear missiles that wipes out nearly all of London’s population.

However, a few were lucky enough to have survived from the nuclear bombs in time before the fallout could kill them. Unbeknownst to the survivors however, the Black Rats have finally come out of their hiding places sensing a shift in the balance. They aren’t the prey anymore, now they have become the rulers of this domain.

And they seek the fresh taste of human flesh.

The series by now has become too predictable as by now readers will have seen it all. James Herbert could probably tell the series would lose its charm if he kept churning out more of the same story of the rats. So to make this final book go out with a bang (literally) he decided to mix in a post nuclear story for his third and final book.

I think this was a very good choice, as by now the Black Rats has been written to the best that James could write them. Like Alien to Aliens it would be difficult to write a third movie (without interference by the high ups) that could be even better than its previous successor. Making a post nuclear apocalypse gave James much more opportunities to make the rats still a scare factor.

However, parts of the story sadly felt flat especially toward the end, where the story kinda felt same old with the rats. It felt like I’ve seen it all and wanted something fresh and interesting to read. That’s not to say this book didn’t add anything new, the Black Rats hierarchy is explored further with a far more darker revelation about their new leader.

The humans are okay, not stand out as Lair had, some of the characters felt like they were just there to be killed off. Whilst others felt lacking like Jackson and Kate who could have been developed better early on like D.R Reynolds, who had a fascinating chapter explaining how strong she was with her profession and her weakness for her loss.

Two stand out characters were the helicopter pilot Culver and a member of Government Dealey. Both characters are polar opposites who both survived the apocalypse together, tying them in a strange way as close but not close individual. You realise at the end of the story that both characters go through big developments from where they started. Dealey especially has changed from what he’s been through to survive.

The final bomb shell to end the story is a shocker, and was to me in my opinion the main horror point of the story, even the series it’s entirety. As the pieces come together we finally get the full picture as to what the future might be when the Black Rats take over the world.

Overall I think this final book whilst not as good as Lair, is still a fantastic book to read as an enjoyable post apocalyptic story.

The City

And so we reach the fourth and last of James Herbert’s Rats story, his final story takes place several years in the future where the ruins of London have become the rats territory.

This was my first look into James Herbert’s work and where this whole interest in reading his work started. I picked this up by chance not knowing anything about James Herbert and his bestselling horror book series. I’m glad to have found this graphic novel, as it’s opened my interest to try and read more variety of books than just Black Library.

This graphic novel doesn’t add anything to the ongoing story, an the story itself is not much to say. We don’t know much about the protagonist, the Traveler, and what happens to the character in the aftermath of Domain.

It’s sad to say that this final story is not worth reading unless your a collected and fan of James Herbert’s Rats series. The art however is gorgeous in the way Ian Miller illustrates a torn and ravaged landscape of post apocalyptic London.

Going back and reading this graphic novel after reading all three books has finally made some sense, parts before I isn’t have a clue about until now. It’s worth reading all three books before reading this if you want to know what game before.

~~~~~~~~

With that, I’ve finally finished reading this long and compelling series that James Herbert had created. I’ve really enjoyed reading this book series and broaden my tastes for more Sci-Fi/ horror fiction stories.

Although James had sadly died in 2013, and his fiction will not be as known as the more notable mainstream fiction. I’d like to think that James is still a well respected writer that still has a following of readers who praise his talent of work. I’m glad to have read his fictional work, and hope to read more of his books like The Fog and 48.

Thank you for reading this post, I hope you have enjoyed this post and learnt something new today. Are you a fan of James Herbert’s work? Have you read any of the books from The Rats Trilogy? Comment below and share your views on your favourite book by James Herbert, and which book from The Rats trilogy did you like most?

I’m not quite finished yet with The Rats trilogy just yet. I’m planning on doing a spoiler post on big plot points in the trilogy, and speculate on the revelations in the series finale.

Then I’ll be doing one last post on what I’d change and improve on the graphic novel, The City. So stay tuned for both posts soon!

Until next time!

-Bjorn

2019 book reading challenge!

2019 book reading challenge!

After counting how many books I’ve read last year, I was surprised to learn that I made a big record of reading twelve books (one being an Omnibus so it’s technically fourteen books), so this year I want to beat that record by reading more books this year. I still have some books left to read on my book shelf, including the Soul Drinkers six book series.

Below is a list of what I’ve read last year, (R) means re-reading books I’ve already read to have a second read to learn things I’ve missed, (S) means second hand book that I’ve brought and (C) means continuing a book I haven’t progressed further from reading years ago but finished this year.

Books I’ve finished reading in 2018

  • Gaunts Ghosts: The Founding, by Dan Abnett
  • (R) The First Heretic, By Aaron Dembski Bowden
  • (R) Horus Heresy: Brotherhood of the Storm, by Chris Wright
    (S) Horus Heresy: False Gods, by Graham McNeill
    The Primarchs: Fulgrim the Palatine Phoenix, by Josh Reynolds
    The Primarchs: Lorgar the Bearer of the Word, by Gav Thorpe
    The Primarchs: Sons of the Emperor, by various authors
    Warhammer AoS: Soul Wars, by Josh Reynolds
    Fifteen Hours, by Mitchel Scanlon
    Warhammer AoS: Winters Heart, by Nick Horth
    Warhammer AoS: The Red Hours, by Evan Dicken
    (C) United States of Japan, by Peter Tieryas

That’s quite a lot of book I’ve read last year, especially finishing an omnibus! Admittedly, some of the books on the list were an on and off progress that were a year or two ago started.

This year I’ve already finished four books, and today I’ve finished reading my fifth book!

Books read so far in 2019

  • (S) The Rats, by James Herbert
  • (S) Lair, by James Herbert
  • Legacy of Dorn, by Mike Lee
  • (R) Horus Heresy: The Crimson Fist, by John French
  • (S) Horus Heresy: Galaxy in Flames, by Ben Counter

In January things were pretty quite so I had tons of time to get reading some books. I’m hoping to get more of my backlog of books read this year as well as buying mire second hand books, only rarely buying new books unless I really like it.

So what’s on my list to read going forward? Well I’m currently reading the third and last book in James Herbert’s Rat trilogy series (and so far, holy sh!t is it a horror fest to read, guys a genius when it comes to writing fiction!). I’ve also got some Warhammer AoS and 40k books to read as well.

Here’s what’s on my incredibly long list of books to read, I won’t be able to finish all of these books this year tbh, but I’m hoping to pass my previous record.

  • Domain, by James Herbert
  • Warhammer AoS: Nagash, The Undying King, by Josh Reynolds
  • Titanicus, by Dan Abnett
  • Space Marine Hero’s, by various Authors
  • Souls Drinkers: Redemption, by Ben Counter
  • Soul Drinkers: Annihilation, by Ben Counter
  • Seraph of the End: Guren Ichinose: Catastrophe at sixteen book 1 and 2 by Takaya Kagami
  • Horus Heresy: Path of Heaven, by Chris Wright
  • Horus Heresy: Betrayer, by Aaron Dembski Bowden
  • Horus Heresy- Primarchs: Magnus Master of Prospero
  • Inside the Firm, by Tony Lambrianou
  • Elric of Malniboné, by Michael Moorcock
  • The sailor on the Seas of Fate, by Michael Moorcock
  • The land Leviathan, by Michael Moorcock
  • Warqueen, by Darius Hinks
  • Drachenfels, by Jack Yeovil

Wish me luck!

-Bjorn

12 days of Winter: day six, Red moon (Before New Grim)

The Red moon rises as the Grim cult causes untold damage to the county

During the night on the 18th December, 1999, at 18:37pm, eyewitnesses saw a strange sight as the moon arose in glowing red. At first it was believed just gossip from the locals at the beach, until many eyewitnesses across the county saw the same anomaly.

It’s theorised that it might be climate change that’s causing the earths atmosphere to turn far distant astrological objects red. Caused by a mix of chemical pollutants, the atmosphere is weakened by as of yet unknown substance thats causing a faster rate of climate disorder.

However, other researchers have disproved this theory as earths atmosphere seems to be normal in America, China, Greenland and many other countries. Instead oversea researchers believe it’s just one small area that’s affecting the sky.

Whatever the cause might be, the public have taken this sight with a mix of surprise, curiosity and fear. Recent rise of a small religious group calling themselves the Grim, proclaim this is a prophecy of things to come. They believe the world will end by the first day of 2000, destroyed by mankind’s own sins.

The group has been growing since the 12th May of last year after the Wolds incident, which saw their leader Huston Ferren, 48, display a gathering of followers on the Wolds northern area. He was convicted of modern slavery and acts of cruelty to the helpless, he was jailed for 26 years for acts of pure evil and may likely never see the outside world in his life time.photo taken of graffiti of the Grim cult symbol at the Wolds incident.

But since his imprisonment, his cult religious group have grown vastly with reports of increased violence and property damage by the group. As of last week, the group have been deemed by the authorities as an extremist group, and will be arrested on site by local enforcers of the GJS.

The question that everyone has on their minds right now is when will order be restored and how long will the government take before anarchy ensues?

Written by Garrneth Derrick