S. L. Grey
There recently was a reality television program from the US broadcast on Australian television which explored something of the world of the ‘preppers.’ These are people who have been making provision for an expected apocalypse. Desert homesteads, a cave on a hill and all sorts of things were presented as ways of life to help survive the expected future collapse of life as we know it. In reminded me of the 1950s wave of interest in underground bomb shelters.
One thing which the program demonstrated is that the way of the prepper is, at least now, for real to the participants. But how many of them thought of a prepper’s outfit being an intended luxury multi-level condominium style of affair buried underground and sold off the plan like an investment property?
In a post-apocalyptic scenario, presumably we would have little choice in who the other survivors may be that we expected to rebuild life with. In Under Ground we see a collection of people cloistered together who not only would never have associated with each other previously, but who should never have been placed in close proximity for any length of time.
When such disparate individuals find themselves down in the bunker, each with their own agenda and secrets, but finding things down there to be other than as expected, trouble would be sure to ensue.
This story is told through several different viewpoints which can be a problematic approach as both writer – and especially in a writing partnership such as that of Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg as S. L. Grey – and as reader, unless you make sure you check each chapter heading to ensure you realise whose viewpoint you are now with. While there was little real differentiation in individual voices, there is sufficient difference in stories to help keep you on track without becoming confused.
As internal disasters mount, for the reader it is easy to develop a sense of despair as you wonder how they are going to surmount the new obstacles. Was anyone even going to survive at all? And a closing switch is quite dark.
While strictly speaking this is not a post-apocalyptic novel as such, Under Ground has sufficient elements within it to place this firmly within that subgenre.
Categories: Book Review