11 April 2012

J is for Journey (A-Z Challenge)

J is for Journey

This is more an overview of how journeys (aka road-trips!) work in apocalyptic fiction.  Everyone loves a road trip, right?  Well except if you suffer (like me) from travel sickness, but that’s another story.  For the sake of clarity, by journey I mean a long (days/weeks rather than hours) trip. If you’re writing or reading an apocalyptic book, what kind of journey works?
Going back over the last posts, a journey works well in any of the following scenarios:

Drought – travelling without water, particularly through potentially hostile territory will be tough not just on the characters but their method of transportation.  Your car needs water, a horse needs water, you need water – what to do?  Bicycles, camels, just making a run for it?

EMP – Once you have a roadworthy vehicle, you’ll be off like a shot – but what would you encounter along the way?  Remember, most vehicles are totally unusable after an EMP, so your old-timer is going to become very hot property.

Hurricane – Getting home to tuck the kids into bed isn’t going to be much fun during or under threat of a hurricane.  Either battling through or racing against the clock, a hurricane journey is going to be action-packed and nail-biting.  Just watch out for flying cows.

Ice-Age – The first question here is vehicle – chances are the friendly guy in the snowplow will also be holed up burning his kitchen table to keep warm, so you’ll need something snow-worthy, and guess who will probably have most of those vehicles under lock and key?  Yep, the government/military.  Once you have your vehicle you’ll then have challenges in keeping warm, eating, and finding your way.

Journeys are fun, and a great way to show how different parts of the world have been affected by your apocalypse.  You can pick up new characters, meet creepy/crazy characters, or further cement the relationship of existing characters by putting them through some hairy situations.  Making your whole story about a journey is a difficult choice – you’ll need to have a way of ‘ending’ the story without using a clich√© like ‘they all lived happily ever after’ or ‘they drove off into the sunset’.


  1. I almost used Journey's for my J as well, but it wouldnt have been as good as this!

  2. What an interesting post for J for you. The way that you broke down different situations in a journey and what could go wrong is great. I like the way your mind works;) Keep up the great work.

  3. Well I have a special affinity for any kind of road trip. And I especially love them in PA - much more interesting than just surviving in one place!

  4. Now that you've brought that up, all of my favorite adult PA novels have a journey aspect. Funny that I've never considered that... :-)



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