What would you do if you slept through the apocalypse? What if everything you knew about disaster survival came from old B-movies? What would you do if society as you know it suddenly became The Oblivion Society?
Vivian Gray is too young and too smart to be wasting her life in the geriatric retirement haven of Stillwater, Florida. But as each day of the long, hot summer of 1999 blurs into the next, she just can?t find the motivation to break out of her miserable routine.
After an accidental nuclear war reduces civilization to a smoldering ruin, apathy is a luxury Vivian can no longer afford. She quickly joins a comically inept bunch of twentysomething survivors, and together they try to ride out Armageddon on little more than scavenged junk food and half-remembered pop culture.
When the contaminated atmosphere unleashes a menagerie of deadly atomic mutants, Vivian and her friends take to the interstate for a madcap cross-country road trip toward a distant sanctuary that may not, in the strictest sense of the word, exist. But can they get to safety before the toxins get to them?
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Double Dragon Publishing
September 09, 2007
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Excerpt from The Oblivion Society by David Wong
The summer sun rolled around the North Pole in a lazy circle, just as it had done through the countless summers of countless past millennia. There was no reason to expect this, at least, to change at the end of this particular millennium. After all, Earth's axial tilt would not be affected by the impending Y2K bug.
On the northern tip of Norway, just inside the Arctic Circle, a single rocket stood amid the bustle of a busy launch pad. Through an agreement with NATO, the Fimbulvetr Astronomical Institute had obtained this obsolete Wormwood-132 long-range missile from the U.S. military. Although it was originally designed to carry an atomic warhead, in the hands of researchers it had been retrofitted with a sophisticated array of daytime auroral imaging instruments to be launched deep into the heart of the northern lights.
This mission was an admirable use of wartime technology repurposed to deepen Man's understanding of his universe, and the nations of the world universally commended the institute on its noble endeavor.
Or rather, they would have commended the institute, had they bothered to read its launch announcement. But the world's leaders had much more important business to attend to than some insignificant Norwegian science experiment.
The president of the United States stuck his nose into his armpit and took an investigatory sniff. He recoiled with a pained wince and quickly re-buttoned his navy-blue suit jacket.
"Hoo-boy, Bubba," he thought, "you smell like the McDonald's fryer at the end of a long day."
He shrugged. "Well, the coat's not coming off tonight anyway."
He leaned against an ancient white oak and let his gaze drift through the heavy tree cover and into the hazy yellow glow of a Maryland sunset. For a so-called "presidential retreat," Camp Bravo afforded him precious little privacy. It had taken him an hour to lose his Secret Service escort, but now he was finally alone.
As he had promised the American people, the president had spent the afternoon trying to reconcile with his wife and daughter, but that wasn?t really why he had come to Camp Bravo. The real reasons were these dense woods, this forgotten corner, and that collapsing perimeter fence.
The president smiled as his eyes scaled the twelve-foot fence that guarded the interior of the presidential retreat from the heathens of the outside world. This ever-vigilant sentry encircled the entire compound in an unbroken barrier of heavy-gauge chain link and razor wire. Unbroken, that is, except for one lapse of weathered steel that some force of nature or decay had broken through, slashing its mesh into a pair of rusty curtains.
The Secret Service didn?t know about this place.
The first lady didn?t know.
The Camp Bravo groundskeepers didn?t even know.
Only one other person did.
The president pulled a cigar from his breast pocket. He put it in his mouth but didn?t light it. He almost never smoked cigars, and when he did, he didn?t inhale. The sun had now completely slipped below the horizon, and the president looked at his watch eagerly. He worried that perhaps his signal had been too subtle. No, it was fine. Unmistakable. He twirled the cigar in his fingers and daydreamed about what he could do with it if he wasn?t going to smoke it.
Just then he heard a rustling, snapping advance through the bushes on the other side of the fence. The president flicked his tongue over his dry lips and waited a long, tense moment. He could hear hard-soled shoes pounding through the loose brush, step by weighty step. Finally, when his sense of anticipation had fully filled out his trousers, he saw a jet-black mound of hair emerge from the foliage, followed by a round, female face.
The president's relationship with this particular White House intern had become somewhat sticky in recent days, literally before figuratively.
The intern walked up to the fence and peered through its corroded mesh coquettishly.
"Good evening, Mr. President," she purred. "Are you alone?"
The president grinned back at her from his side of the fence.
"It depends on how you define ?alone,?" he said flirtatiously. "I see you caught my speech this afternoon."
The intern blushed.
"I know you were addressing the entire nation, but I felt like you were speaking only to me," she cooed. "I especially liked the part about breaching the walls at the darkest twilight to meet between the tall trees."
The president's impossibly wide grin grew wider.
"Well, if you like trees, come on in and I?ll show you the executive branch."
With an excited squeal the intern put her palms against the rusted scar in the fence and shoved her way through its ineffectual barrier. But while the ancient chain link of the perimeter fence slept on the job, its sharp young apprentice opened up one eager eye.