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Friday, September 21, 2012

Post-apocalyptic Dystopia: Since Tomorrow by Morgan Nyberg aka @MorganNyberg (excerpt)


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Since Tomorrow

by Morgan Nyberg

Genre: Post-apocalyptic Dystopia, Speculative Fiction



Synopsis


In this full length novel Morgan Nyberg takes the reader to the West Coast of Canada, where the city of Vancouver has been transformed by climate change, pandemic, economic collapse and earthquake into "Town", a squalid, lawless place inhabited the desperate, the diseased and the dying. Taking advantage of this state of affairs is the formidable Langley, who grows poppies to produce "skag", a crude form of opium. Langley has amassed enough power to control a small private army. Now he is determined to acquire Frost's farm for himself. Recklessly opposing Langley is Frost's fearless but impulsive granddaughter, Noor.



Excerpt


They stopped – the three wagons and their drivers, the guards, the four dogs - at the cusp of the bridge. Already the noise of the market reached them. Shouts. Shrieking. The workhorse that was harnessed to the lead wagon turned its head and looked back at the driver. Noor said to it “No, we’re goin’. You know damn well we’re goin’.” She set her mouth and twitched the reins and gripped the handbrake. They started down the long slope of Frost’s Bridge.

Dunsmuir, Airport and Lansdowne were guarding the Town end of the bridge with three dogs. Lansdowne was requesting a little toll from an old man who had a plastic basin full of knobby carrots. Noor stopped the wagon. “Aren’t you Jacob?” she said to the man.

“That’s me. I know you, Noor. I know your grampa.” He did not have any teeth. The guards hauled the dogs out of the way and the other wagons passed. These wagons were smaller, and each was pulled by a Holstein steer.

“You’re from South, aren’t you?” Noor said.

“I was a long time ago, but I moved across. Too hard to get into Town, tradin’ to cross on the raft every time. I’m this side of the South Arm now.”

“Alone?”

He nodded.

She said “Come to Frost’s. We’ll make a place for you.”

He waited, then said “I can’t think of any reason not to. Except that I’m too stupid and I’m too stubborn.” He produced a squeaking laugh. “Tell your grampa you saw me.” Noor smiled and said to Lansdowne “Let him pass.”

At the foot of the bridge they swung left and hooked back toward the river. They followed a wide trail between a few decrepit three-storey apartment buildings, among overgrown foundations, among humped ruins covered by blackberry and across the weedy asphalt remains of streets. There was a smell of human excrement. Town smell. A few people ran or limped toward the Frost wagons, flourishing their loot.

The market sprawled along the bank of the river, nothing but a mess of people hollering at one another and waving lengths of electrical wiring or a sleeve of a red coat or a rusty can of forty-year-old soup or whatever else they had managed to strip from the corpse of the city. The guards took a tighter grip on the leashes of the dogs, who added their nervous whines and yelps to the general melee. The party found a place for the wagons at the lip of the riverbank.

The boat of the Park Crew was tied at the river’s edge with a load of cordwood. Noor gazed across the river as she filled a bucket with spuds. In the water near the far bank stood two high piles of stones. On the bank itself lay Daniel Charlie’s half-built water wheel. Beyond rose the concrete storeys of her home, “the domicile” as her grandfather called it, leaning toward the river at a dangerous slant. Between the market and Frost’s Farm the late morning tide surged up the north arm of the river.

The crowd was forced to stay back a few paces on account of the dogs. People carved out personal space with curses and slashing elbows while still managing to advertise a shoelace or a six-inch bolt complete with nut, or even some Town-grown vegetables, calling in their ragged Town voices “Lookit. Lookit what I got.” The drivers, Marpole and Hastings, each beckoned someone forward and set to haggling. The owner of the six-inch bolt went away with thirty potatoes.

Noor held the bucket with her left hand and with her right took the leash of Puppy from one of the guards and headed cautiously into the throng. She let the bucket rest against the sword in her belt, so as not to injure those she passed. Behind her a one-legged woman with a crutch made from a chunk of black plastic pipe bartered an eight-foot length of eaves-trough and went away with enough food for two weeks. Lookit. Lookit what I got.

Ten feet of garden hose bought a week of root starch.

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