2017 Reading List: Live and Let Live

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6. Live and Let Live: Diversity, Conflict, and Community in an Integrated Neighborhood, by Evelyn M. Perry (2017, The University of North Carolina Press)

I took a break to read my first title this year that wasn’t related to The End of the World as We Know It in fiction or non-fiction form, and what a treat it was. Live and Let Live is a sociological examination of the neighborhood I’ve lived in, Riverwest…oh, for about 17 years now. Author Evelyn M. Perry moved to Riverwest for three years to work on her study, in a style known as ethnography, or as I describe it, “hey, can I hang out with you guys for a couple years?” As she rolls through the chapters, she investigates the neighborhood– warts and all– and if you live in the neighborhood (or one similar) you’ll see a lot of issues examined that are common discussion here: gentrification, diversity, violent crime, public intoxication, “live and let live.” Perry has pulled a lot of great quotes on the neighborhood from a variety of local characters (disclosure: part of a jokey thing I wrote about Riverwest drinking culture is the epigraph for Chapter 6).

I have a Q & A set with Perry for the April issue of the Riverwest Currents and she makes an in-store appearance Friday, March 31, 7pm at Woodland Pattern Book Center here in Riverwest.

Recommended? Definitely. If you live in the neighborhood, you’ll learn a new perspective. And if you want to read a well written sociological examine of a diverse neighborhood, this is it.

 

Apocalypse Blog Book Club, Book 2: The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

The Apocalypse Blog Book Club voted to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood as our March selection. The book, written in 1985, is timely for a number of reasons and there is some excitement of the book being adapted into a show for Hulu, which premieres in April.

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More on the book from Wikipedia:

The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) is a work of speculative fiction by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, the dystopian novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency. The novel’s title echoes the component parts of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, which comprises a series of connected stories (“The Merchant’s Tale”, “The Parson’s Tale”, etc.).

The Handmaid’s Tale won the 1985 Governor General’s Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award. It has been adapted for the cinema, radio, opera, and stage. The Handmaid’s Tale has never gone out of print since its first publication in 1985.

In addition to next month’s Hulu show, the book was previously adapted into a 1990 movie.

The Handmaid’s Tale is widely available online, at bookstores, and in library systems. We will have an in-person meeting to discuss the book the last day of the month, Friday, March 31, 7pm at the Riverwest Public House. There have been requests to switch up meeting location, and we can entertain those requests in the future. Takeaways from the meetings and online discussion will follow April 1 on our Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1482975718409410/

We also have a Goodreads page here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/213307-apocalypse-blog-book-club

There is no fee to be part of the Apocalypse Blog Book Club, just a desire to read a dystopian themed book every month and discuss the story and parallels we see to our current world.

 

2017 Reading List: Climate Wars

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5. Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats, by Gwynne Dyer (Oneworld Publications, 2010)

This is the second book I’ve read over the last month (the other one was Six Degrees, by Mark Lynas) about climate change, and let me tell you, the current environment has accentuated the terrifying visions depicted in these books. I would say it’s been similar to reading a horror novel in an abandoned slaughterhouse.

While I’m reading these apocalyptic visions of how badly planet Earth will be screwed, even if the average global temperature increases just a couple degrees, I’m seeing photos in my Facebook feed of friends sunbathing on the beach in Wisconsin…in February. Climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed by our government like yesterday, but the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, is a climate change denier and a straight up fossil fuel flunky. His goal is to “dismantle” the EPA. From the New York Times:

“Both opponents and supporters of Mr. Pruitt’s say he is well positioned to carry out Mr. Trump’s campaign trail promises to dismantle the agency and slash its ranks of employees. Mr. Trump vowed to ‘get rid’ of the agency ‘in almost every form.’”

Climate Wars was a good companion to Six Degrees. The book has two components: a variety of fiction future scenarios author Gwynne Dyer has created, and chapters analyzing research that might back those scenarios up. It is a story of nations going to war over water and habitable land. There will be drought, famine, and flooding, which will lead to a large amount of “climate refugees.” If you think people are in a frenzy over building walls now, just wait until hundreds of millions of desperate people are heading north to escape unbearable climate change. And in the end, climate change could cause the oceans to die completely and the atmosphere will be filled with hydrogen sulfide. Hey, TGIF, everyone! Be sure to wear a Hawaiian print shirt today!

I really liked the book’s future scenarios, but the info chapters really didn’t grab my attention span. I found myself skimming and skipping over large parts of these chapters because the technical language was over my head. But if you want a look at what the upcoming Water Wars are going to look like, this is an interesting read.

Recommended? Like I said, I enjoyed the scenario chapters, but not the dry research ones.


The Apocalypse Blog explores the topics of Tea Krulos’s third non-fiction book, which is about doomsday predictions, prepping, and pop culture. It’ll be published in 2018 (if the world survives that long). His first two books, Heroes in the Night (2013) and Monster Hunters (2015) are available from Chicago Review Press here: http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/krulos–tea-contributor-296670.php

2017 Reading List: Parable of the Sower

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4. Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler (Warner Books, 1993)

I finished the first selection of the Apocalypse Blog Book Club (more info how to join HERE) and I have to say, wow, what a fantastic book, so glad I read it and have been able to have this shared experience with other people in the club.

I’m going to write more on my thoughts after we have in-person/ online discussion of the book at the end of the month. For now I just want to share some parallels to my non-fiction book I’m working on.

-Climate change! This book was written in 1993 and mentions the detrimental effects of climate change. I know climate change research has existed for decades, but was a little surprised to see references from 1993.

-Prepper culture! Preppers refer to a backpack ready to roll in case of emergency as a “bug-out bag” and a safe haven as a “bug-out location.” They study a wide range of survival disciplines including survival while on the move, the benefits of having a small community of people surviving together in a secure, isolated location. All of this was depicted in the novel.

-Civil unrest! A common theme in prepper theory and dystopian literature. Here we have marauding gangs of people who shave their heads, paint their faces, do a drug called pyro that gives them a sense of ecstasy from committing arson. Preppers want to be the group living safely in a fortified community to escape the burning world of savages surrounding them.

I definitely am interested in reading the novel’s sequel in the future, but first I have to catch up on some other reading and get a copy of the club’s March selection, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Recommended? HELL YES.


The Apocalypse Blog explores the topics of Tea Krulos’s third non-fiction book, which is about doomsday predictions, prepping, and pop culture. It’ll be published in 2018 (if the world survives that long). His first two books, Heroes in the Night (2013) and Monster Hunters (2015) are available from Chicago Review Press here: http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/krulos–tea-contributor-296670.php

Zombie Squad: Milwaukee

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While working on my book, one group I encountered and became intrigued by is Zombie Squad. It’s a national organization that meets up to discuss surviving a zombie apocalypse, with zombies being a useful metaphor for disaster preparation in general. The local chapter had a table at my Milwaukee Paranormal Conference (in 2015) and I went to a meeting they had last month. I’m going to try to make all their meetings and check out the annual ZombieCon in June, which takes place in Missouri.

To tie in with their meeting this Friday, I wrote a short bit on the group for Milwaukee Record, which you can read here: http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/we-make-dead-things-deader-gearing-up-with-zombie-squad-milwaukee/


The Apocalypse Blog explores the topics of Tea Krulos’s third non-fiction book, which is about doomsday predictions, prepping, and pop culture. It’ll be published in 2018 (if the world survives that long). His first two books, Heroes in the Night (2013) and Monster Hunters (2015) are available from Chicago Review Press here: http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/krulos–tea-contributor-296670.php

Apocalypse Blog Book Club, Book 1: Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler

I’m happy to announce the first selection of the Apocalypse Blog Dystopian Book Club: Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

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Here is a plot description of Butler’s 1993 novel from Wikipedia:

“Set in a future where government has all but collapsed, Parable of the Sower centers on a young woman named Lauren Olamina who possesses what Butler dubbed hyperempathy – the ability to feel the perceived pain and other sensations of others – who develops a benign philosophical and religious system during her childhood in the remnants of a gated community in Los Angeles. Civil society has reverted to relative anarchy due to resource scarcity and poverty. When the community’s security is compromised, her home is destroyed and her family murdered. She travels north with some survivors to try to start a community where her religion, called Earthseed, can grow.”

The book was nominated by club member (and author) Ryder Collins and is widely available online, at bookstores, and in library systems. We will have an in-person meeting to discuss the book the last day of the month, Tuesday, Feb.28, 7pm at the Riverwest Public House (Facebook event page HERE). Takeaways from the meetings and online discussion will follow March 1 on our Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1482975718409410/

There is no fee to be part of the club, just a desire to read a dystopian themed book every month and discuss the story and parallels we see to our current world. February is a short month, so put “get copy of Parable of the Sower” on your to-do list!

The Apocalypse Blog Dystopian Book Club

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I’m so excited about this. I’ve wanted to start some kind of book club for a long time, but didn’t have a particular inspiration until today.

I’m working on a non-fiction book that has to do with end of the world predictions, pop culture, prepping, etc. I’ve been reading a range of non-fiction titles related to these topics, but I want to read dystopian themed novels. When I was researching my book Heroes in the Night, about the  Real Life Superheroes subculture, I read tons of comic books. I found it helpful to read a range of superhero comics just to help me wrap my head around the lingo, style, tropes, etc of the genre so I could be generally well informed. Same thing with dystopian novels, I’m curious to see what parallels between fact and fiction I might discover. As I thought about, I decided it would be a rewarding experience to discuss the books with others.

Fortunately, I have awesome friends who have already suggested a lot of appropriate titles. I set up a FB group where I will be listing suggested titles people can vote on to read first.

Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1482975718409410/

List will be posted this evening, voting will be open a couple days and then I’ll announce title and meet up day. We’ll do one title per month. If you are in the Milwaukee area, we will have a monthly meet up to talk on the title. If you’re elsewhere in the world, you can join our online discussion of the book at the above-mentioned FB group.

2017 Reading List: Six Degrees

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3. Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, by Mark Lynas (HarperCollins, 2008)

Oh boy, what a week. The Doomsday Clock got updated (see previous posts on this blog) and there are a lot of factors behind the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist’s decision to move the time to 2.5 minutes to Midnight, the closest the clock has struck since 1953. One of the factors is climate change.

Six Degrees is an alarming look about how climate change will alter our world. It doesn’t seem like a major temperature change, but a 6 (C) degree rise in the Earth’s average temperature would be catastrophic. This book leads the reader about the devastation the world faces at each degree increase. By the time we get to the 2 degree world, things are already pretty bad. Some parts of the world will suffer drought, famine, leading to a huge flux of climate refugees. As the polar regions melt, other areas will experience extreme flooding. There will be extreme weather and the food chain will fall apart as the changes bring about mass extinction.

This book was written in 2008, so I’d like to follow up and see how far into the timeline presented we are– are we already in the 1 or 2 degree world? After presenting the apocalyptic 6 degree world, Lynas ends with a chapter titled “Choosing Our Future” in which he pleads for people to look forward and try to reverse our downward spiral by curbing greenhouse emissions, investing in renewable energy, and reducing the carbon footprint however possible. In that regard, the United States is the biggest offender. Sadly, it looks like our new administration has absolutely no interest in addressing this threat and has some trouble even admitting the issue is real. That is bad news for planet Earth as action needs to be taken on climate change, like yesterday.

I’m going to try to let my mind settle on this book and then I’m going to start reading another title on climate change tomorrow.

Recommended? YES.


The Apocalypse Blog explores the topics of Tea Krulos’s third non-fiction book, which is about doomsday predictions, prepping, and pop culture. It’ll be published in 2018 (if the world survives that long). His first two books, Heroes in the Night (2013) and Monster Hunters (2015) are available from Chicago Review Press here: http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/krulos–tea-contributor-296670.php

It is now two and a half minutes to Midnight

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I anxiously watched the livestream of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist’s press conference at the National Press Club to reveal their update of the Doomsday Clock this morning. It was, as they stated “particularly historic.”

The Doomsday Clock has crept forward 30 seconds (the first time the clock has ever utilized a half minute) to 2.5 minutes to Midnight. This is closer the clock has ever been since 1953, when concerns about the H-bomb and the arms race placed the second hand at 2 minutes to Midnight.

“The board has decided to act, in part, based on the words of a single person: Donald Trump,” the Bulletin stated.

Among other reasons, the Bulletin stated a major reason for their decision was careless rhetoric, threats, the belief in “alternative facts” and fake news from world leaders from the U.S., Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea.

We are “back to an age of great uncertainty,” as one of the Bulletin members stated. They reminded us that President Trump has just been in office for six days and unless things change, we will continue to tick forward. The Bulletin urged all people to call on their leaders for change and to not ignore science.

Find out more about the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (and sign up for their newsletter) here: http://thebulletin.org/


The Apocalypse Blog explores the topics of Tea Krulos’s third non-fiction book, which is about doomsday predictions, prepping, and pop culture. It’ll be published in 2018 (if the world survives that long). His first two books, Heroes in the Night (2013) and Monster Hunters (2015) are available from Chicago Review Press here: http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/krulos–tea-contributor-296670.php

They are updating the Doomsday Clock tomorrow morning and I got to tell you, I don’t think it’s going to be good

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The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is an organization and publication that was formed in 1945. The idea, basically– “oh shit we just created an atomic bomb and that might not have been such a great thing, so let’s keep tabs on where this is going.”

In 1947, the nerve-wracked scientists debuted the Doomsday Clock, a metaphorical visual aid to show just how close we are to nuclear annihilation. Some years the clock ticks forward to Doomsday (aka Midnight on the clock) and other years, to a sigh of relief, it falls back in time. Over the years, the organization has added other factors to consider, in addition to nuclear proliferation: climate change, bio-weapons, and cyber threats.

Here’s some Doomsday Clock highlights:

1947: Doomsday Clock debuts at 7 to Midnight
1953: 2 to Midnight, the closest to Midnight the clock has ever been. This is the year the H-bomb was created.
1991: 17 to Midnight. The end of the Cold War pushed the clock the furthest it’s ever been from Midnight.
2015: The clock ticks to 3 to Midnight. Only two other years chimed this close: 1949 (when the Arms Race was heating up) and 1984 (the height of the “mutually assured destruction” days of the Cold War.)
2016: The clock remains stuck at 3 to Midnight. It is, as the Bulletin notes “not good.”

You can see a longer timeline of the clock here: www.thebulletin.org/timeline

What will 2017 bring? I think it’s painfully obvious that tomorrow morning we will see the clock edge even closer to Midnight.

Let me give you just two quotes from the 2016 presidential campaign:

“I would bomb the shit out of ‘em. I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I would blow up the pipes…every single inch. There would be nothing left.”– Donald Trump on ISIS

“…carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”–Ted Cruz on ISIS

Just a small sample of things the Bulletin had to consider this year, in addition to other nuclear threats, and a new administration who believes bigly that climate change is a hoax and not a priority.

Tomorrow I will be up bright and early to grab donuts and coffee and watch the Doomsday roll in. The Doomsday Clock reveal and press conference will be live streamed at 9am CST here: clock.thebulletin.org and I will be tweeting out my reactions here: @TeaKrulos

Hold on to your butts.


The Apocalypse Blog explores the topics of Tea Krulos’s third non-fiction book, which is about doomsday predictions, prepping, and pop culture. It’ll be published in 2018 (if the world survives that long). His first two books, Heroes in the Night (2013) and Monster Hunters (2015) are available from Chicago Review Press here: http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/krulos–tea-contributor-296670.php