Apocalypse: Diary of a Survivor by Matt J Pike

Suzie Eisfelder

One of the many books I bought at the Book Fair in Sydney last year. This is the first in a series, of which I bought the first four. As always when I read a series I wonder if I should only write about the first book, or wait and write about the series as a whole. It’s a dilemma as I don’t want to give spoilers but it’s important for each book to be given the attention it deserves. I’m going to continue pondering this for some time to come.

We’ve all lived through an apocalypse. If you’re shaking your head at that then just remember how we’ve lived through covid. I’d call that an apocalypse, think (or don’t, depending on your mental health) how our lives have been turned upside down and how many people have died. And then I go and read this book. The premise is that a comet is going to hit the Earth in three days. Jack Baldwin finds out via a gaming buddy, they’re playing online and one guy tells him in chat about the comet. This gives Jack the edge everyone needs to survive. he went out in the middle of the night and started buying up groceries, big time. $600 later and lots of crusing the news sites before he finally gets confirmation. He goes shopping as many times as he can and hides the goodies in his parent’s cellar. Yes, parents. Jack is 17, his brother is in London and his parents have gone on a hippie retreat. He manages to talk to his brother, probably for the last time, but not his parents.

This book is about the falling of the comet, the wiping out of so many cities and towns, and it’s also about survival. And it really hits hard because it’s set in Adelaide, with Melbourne flattened. Melbourne, where I live, and Adelaide where I’ll be later this year for the Discworld Convention. I’d like to say it’s also about moving on after an apocalypse, but that’s not this book. Maybe another book in the series is about moving on and learning how to live life in a new world, but I’ve only just started book two so I can’t answer that thought.

This book really hit hard. Pike doesn’t pull any punches. He writes about the comet hitting, the tsunami wiping out so much and how hard it is to survive an ash cloud. Did you know an ash cloud from a comet of massive size can last for over five months? I didn’t, but I’m pretty sure Pike did his research.

For me this book is raw. It’s well written and I like how it’s put together. There is some slang that was slang when I was Jack’s age. I don’t know how old the particular phrases are, but ‘very old’ would be my guess. And that makes me wonder when does slang become proper wordage. There are hashtags at various times which fit the tone of the book and the setting where they are placed. This series should not have been my choice of reading matter at this time. I should have been reading upbeat, lightweight books to help my mood. Essentially, I’m an idiot with my reading choices at times.

But this book, with its diary entries and its rawness (rawness? rawitude? I don’t know what word I want) is still well worth reading. I’ve got volumes one to four in this series and I will take a break for a breath in between each one. I will continue to read a little Hideo Kojima immediately before going to sleep to settle my brain somewhat. So, a few pages of Apocalypse and then one entry by Kojima. In case you’re wondering this is set in 2014. Thank heavens it’s in the past and not the future.

In case you want to look a little more closely at this book here is a link. Thank you to those who have clicked on a link, you give me peace.

Just so you know. Pike writes a big thank you to all purchasers. Part of the proceeds of his books go towards finding a cure for Rett Syndrome that has afflicted his daughter.

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