A Silent Dystopia Anthology
To say I’m honoured to be involved in this project would be one hell of an understatement. Demain Publishing ticks a lot of the boxes as to why I set up Kendall Reviews in the first place. They are passionate about the genre and offer a platform for authors to create exciting new worlds and more importantly give them a voice.
This week is incredibly exciting as Kendall Reviews are delighted to host a week-long series of announcements set in and around Dave Jeffery’s brilliant A Quiet Apocalypse universe.
Today features Dave Jeffery, David T Griffith and Dean M Drinkel. Between the three of them you will be introduced to what’s happening, whilst in subsequent days you’ll be introduced to contributors, interviews, free book announcements and more.
Today you can pick up the book that started it all, A Quiet Apocalypse for FREE
That’s enough from me, I’ll hand you over to Dave Jeffery
Introduction by Dave Jeffery – Creator of A Quiet Apocalypse
In August 2020 I received a FaceBook message from writer/editor David T Griffith saying nice things about my novella, A Quiet Apocalypse, released through Demain Publishing in 2019. David then asked if I’d ever consider the idea of opening the AQA universe to other writers, perhaps in the form of an anthology. In truth, this wasn’t something that I had considered, given that AQA was only ever meant to be a single story when it was released. However, by this time, I had finished book 2, Cathedral, and was well on the way to completing The Samaritan. I suggested we run the idea by Dean Drinkel at Demain who thought it was a solid concept and we both agreed David needed to not only be involved, but edit the anthology given it was all his idea!
To sign off on it, I had only one request – that a few of my favourite writers be offered an opportunity to be involved. Some said yes, others were unable to commit due to existing workload. Ultimately, the line-up of writers that David pulled together is an impressive array of international talent and I’m incredibly proud to have their work associated with the AQA universe. As for Mr Griffith, his editorial talents are a thing of wonder, and the quality of the final book is testament to his great sense of professionalism and insight.
As creator of the series, I will say that I do not consider any of the stories contained within A Silent Dystopia as ‘fan fiction’. They are interpretations, perspectives if you will, of the unique world that is AQA; the writers adding to – rather than drawing from – this world of prejudice and intolerance. Therefore, I have co-written (with my son, Tom) an origin tale for the book so fans of the series can see this volume as much an extension to the AQA universe as another novel. As for the contributors, why they decided to sign up for the project and the challenges they found as part of the process will follow very soon. All I can say is that to each one of them, I am in awe of what they have brought to this book.
Now, on to the real stars of this project – editor, publisher, and the wonderful contributors – beginning at the beginning as they say, how this project came to pass and the road to creating A Silent Dystopia.
First up please welcome, editor David T Griffith and publisher Dean M Drinkel.
David T Griffith
What was it about the A Quiet Apocalypse universe that made you want to be a part of it?
For the first week after I finished reading A Quiet Apocalypse, I was stuck thinking about the AQA universe. The book resonated on a level, which I’m always excited to find. I started wondering about what other stories might be told amidst the fallout of the MNG-U pandemic AQA is built around. I sent Dave a quick note asking if he had considered developing more AQA stories, particularly an anthology comprising guest contributors. I quickly learned Dave was in the process of finishing Cathedral, and then I was asked if I would want to helm such an anthology project, and A Silent Dystopia was born.
I was taken in by the slow-burn horror of A Quiet Apocalypse; the grim and realistic world that became evident in the first pages. I love that the horrors perpetrated throughout the book weren’t the products of some supernatural forces, rather, they were completely within the realm of humanity. It’s easy to see how fragile human nature is when mob mentality takes over that is driven by fear, misinformation, and propaganda based around a misunderstood viral outbreak. Despite the parallels that can be drawn from our current-day COVID-19 situation, the books show us an eerily familiar darkness buried deep within our general consciousness. I love this aspect of the AQA books, that humans can be the worst monsters of all, even on the most subtle level.
What were the challenges of editing an established universe and how did you overcome them?
Editing A Silent Dystopia was a challenge that I took on in full force. In my professional life outside of writing, I am accustomed to managing complex projects with many pieces and players. I regularly bounce between the 100,000-foot view, the microscopic view, and everything in between to ensure a project is done well, understanding how each part functions and its impact on the whole. I take that approach in writing and editing fiction.
A critical challenge in editing this anthology was to make sure each story was told in the individual writer’s voice without deviating from the source material and overall tone of AQA. Working within a fictional universe’s parameters is never easy for a writer, though I feel it pushes a writer into a difficult scenario in which they must enact new levels of creative thinking and problem solving, thereby producing some strong work.
More information about David and his work can be found HERE.
Dean M Drinkel
As a publisher what attracted you to the concept of an anthology set in the A Quiet Apocalypse Universe?
When I set up DEMAIN in 2018 I did so because primarily I wanted to give newer authors opportunities that perhaps hadn’t been available when I first started out as a writer. For me, this was a continuation of what I had been trying to do in the genre/community for the past ten years or so – compiling/editing several anthologies for indie publishers based in the US and UK (and in fact, the first DEMAIN release was a small anthology called The Darkest Battlefield). Three years later we’ve had a good run publishing horror, crime/mystery, science-fiction, weird, even poetry and at the time of writing we’re close on 100 titles – we’re going to be branching out again soon too which is very exciting. So far, we’ve received some great reviews, some of our authors have been nominated for awards and some have even gone on to win – we’ve also been extremely lucky in (I’m not sure the correct term so we’ll go with this, forgive me) ‘buddying up’ with Gavin Kendall / Kendall Reviews who we do all our announcements through. For DEMAIN that’s been a fruitful relationship and I hope Gavin feels the same. Anthologies are damn hard work but can be very rewarding. I’ve had a lot of fun working on them even if they do take up a lot of time. When I first read A Quiet Apocalypse by Dave Jeffery I knew it was something special and even if that first book was self-contained it was obvious (to me anyway) that there were so many stories that could be told in this universe and in the 18 months or so (probably a bit less now I come to think about it) we’ve managed to publish the first follow-up (that’s a misnomer I suppose) Cathedral and in July, the third book, The Samaritan. It’s a series that has improved (again that’s probably a misnomer as the first book was excellent – if you don’t believe me, check the reviews) and the universe has expanded and continues to expand. When I was approached and the three of us (myself, David T. Griffith and Dave Jeffery) sat down and talked about a possible anthology set in the AQA universe it literally was a no-brainer and within a second, we all agreed what a fine idea it was. Dave’s original story was set in the UK (in the midlands) but we decided it would be amazing to speak to (and invite) writers from all around the world to get their take on the ‘virus’ and how it could affect individuals in their communities, their countries, their continents. I’m sure our discussions occurred before Covid too so to some extent we were ahead of the pack on that one. It is always an honour to publish anybody’s work and in particular Dave Jeffery’s – he’s a star in the genre, always taking time out of his busy day to promote others and push their work. He is an incredibly unselfish person but one helluva writer.
What were the challenges of getting the anthology up and running as a project, and how did you address them?
Let’s start with the cover. Once we agreed that the anthology was a go, we spoke to DEMAIN’s brilliant brander/designer Adrian Baldwin. Luckily as this is the fourth in the series of AQA books, we already had a standard. The previous covers had included artwork by Dark Artist Roberto Segate so we were ecstatic when Roberto allowed us to use another piece. Adrian has always got what DEMAIN is about and has received so many great comments about the covers that I’m sure it’s only a matter of time that he personally is nominated (and wins!) an award. I will admit that for this anthology David T. Griffith (editor) has done a lot of the groundwork so much so that I’ve been able to sit back and let him do what he needs to do. When he’s needed advice, I’ve given it but it’s always been his baby so to speak. I’ve known David for several years, and we’d often talked about putting together a ‘shared universe’ kind of project which didn’t quite work then but I’m happy that this has and from what I’ve seen it’s been relatively plain sailing. Dave gave his permission for the anthology to go ahead (with some caveats in terms of possible future stories) and David gave me a list of authors he thought could be a good fit for the project and invites went out. Once we had everybody on board then we did a couple of group ‘zoom’ meet-ups which was fun (as you can imagine with writers from all over the world, each on different time-zones) and David has done individual ones with each of them and worked very hard on the edits/drafts. We have a private Facebook group and it’s been great watching writers ask questions of David or Dave or even of each other. The stories are so diverse it’s amazing (I know it’s a cliché but there really are some talented creatives out there) and together I know that the anthology is going to be brilliant, not just for fans of the original trilogy but for readers of shorter apocalyptic stories who might like to dip in/out of Dave’s universe – the writers have done both David and Dave proud. Heck, I’m proud too and wish I had had the time to write something as I do have a great idea set in an abandoned fort off the French coast – maybe if there’s another anthology I’ll do it (maybe we need to even think about a different medium, can you imagine a series of films set around A Quiet Apocalypse? Even a tv series!). As I said before I’ve personally put a lot of anthologies together and they’ve been hard work but this one has been (at least for me) relatively easy (of course David might say something different haha!). I raise a glass to David, to Dave, to Adrian, to Roberto, to Gavin, to the authors and to all our readers – thank you.
More information about Dean and Demain Publishing can be found HERE.
Information about AQA Dark Artist Roberto Segate can be found HERE.
Information about AQA Graphic Designer Adrian Baldwin can be found HERE.
A Quiet Apocalypse
The end is hear…
A mutant strain of meningitis has wiped out most of mankind. The few who have survived the fever are now deaf.
Bitter with loss and terrified to leave the city known as Cathedral, the inhabitants rely on The Samaritans, search teams sent out into the surrounding countryside. Their purpose, to hunt down and enslave the greatest commodity on Earth, an even smaller group of people immune to the virus, people who can still hear.
People like me.
My name is Chris.
This is my story.
CATHEDRAL … The world has changed. So have the rules.
In the silence of a quiet apocalypse, there is Cathedral. It is a city like no other, sanctuary for the survivors of a terrible plague that has deafened the world. The walls protect the small community. Rituals and laws maintain order to prevent a return to chaos.
But Cathedral is a dangerous and complex place. For citizens like Sarah and newcomer Paul it can be either home or prison.
They just have to decide where their loyalties lie…
(cover by Adrian Baldwin; central art piece by Dark Artist Roberto Segate)
The disease known as MNG-U has staked its claim on humanity and ended the world. Those who survive have been robbed of their hearing, deafened in this quiet apocalypse. But in the city of Cathedral, they have found sanctuary.
Inside the walls, the meagre populace relies on harsh governance to keep them safe. Outside the walls they depend on Samaritans, search teams who scour the Wilderness for both resource and threat. Bound by an oath to maintain and defend their city, Samaritans are the line separating Cathedral from disorder and ruin, a mandate they pursue ruthlessly and without question.
On a routine recon, one Samaritan will find himself injured and alone and in desperate need of guidance. Where loyalties between the oath made to his beloved city will clash with promises from his past. Now he must question everything he knows, including his own purpose.
Because, lost in the Wilderness, redemption is about to become the only way to stay alive.
The Samaritan: Book 3 in The Quiet Apocalypse series.
(cover by Adrian Baldwin; central art piece by Roberto Segate)