After the Pulse
SYNOPOSIS – Shep Adams is miles from home when a mysterious electromagnetic pulse suddenly wipes out the electrical grid. The phones are dead. All the computers are down. Planes fall out of the sky. Cars skid to a halt. Life support switches off. The country is, effectively, stopped dead in its tracks.
People are dying too. Or rather, they are killing one another. Brutally.
The pulse doesn’t just affect inanimate objects; it affects the electrical circuitry of people too. Large portions of the population go completely insane, fighting and killing anyone they can reach. Others are rendered vacant, in a coma-like state, eventually rotting quietly from within. Others look normal from the outside but the pulse has stripped away their humanity, leaving them devoid of compassion. These might just be the most dangerous of all…
Shep, along with his father, sister and sister’s friend Zoe, must work their way home. But what is waiting back at their remote cattle farm? Is the rest of their family alive, dead or, even worse, turned into the living dead? What has happened to their close-knit rural community?
Can Shep and his family save their family farm? Can they and their neighbors survive in a world where lack of power presents a challenge greater than they could imagine? The threat from the ‘crazies’ is bad enough but the madness seems to have switched to the animal world too. However the greatest danger may lie in the craziness that can’t be seen.
After the Pulse is a story about survival; about strength in family and community. It looks at our fateful dependency on modern technology and our helplessness when that
If the grid went down tomorrow, would you cope? Could you go back to basics? Could you learn to live off the earth? In the face of terrifying danger, would you unite for protection, sustenance and to
maintain some semblance of civilization? Or would you kill your neighbor?
Chapters 1-5 of After the Pulse can be read on Authonomy.com.
Reader review (from Authonomy):
I seem to be fast becoming a Kim Jewell fan without knowing it. I read Misery’s Fire a while ago and was struck by the unique depiction of Hell found within. Now I’ve stumbled across After the Pulse and realized after a couple chapters that the author was the same person. The skill level of the writer left little doubt.
After the Pulse is a more traditional survival horror tale compared to Misery. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Stephen King’s Cell, where a mysterious electrical surge turns people into zombies and survivors have to travel across a ruined country. Being compared to Stephen King is a good thing in my opinion and in a lot of ways, I think Jewell is as good an author. The characterization is extremely well done here, much more so than what we normally find in this genre. Because of that, readers get an instant connection with the characters and really care about what happens to them as the story progresses. There is always that fear that something bad will happen.
Descriptions are particularly strong. In many cases I felt drawn into the story, almost down to street level with the main character survivors. The first person narrative at times may seem a touch off, but you get used to it quickly. In a way, that is the style of parts of World War Z, which is the pinnacle of zombie books. There is also a really cool mystery here regarding why some people were turned to zombies, some went into a coma, some died outright and a few people, like the survivors in the story, were not affected at all. I want to know why.
Only five chapters are posted, but already I want to learn more. The story is just getting really good. I’m left wondering if two people armed with a pickax and a bat will do well against hoards of zombies, or if the zombies will act like they traditionally do in most tales. Can survivors get infected? Perhaps the process can even be reversed?
This is the beginning of a great tale for zombiephiles, and the story is obviously in the hands of a talented writer. I have little doubt that it will become a wonderful novel in the zombie compendium.
John Breeden II, Author of Old Number Seven
A polished and assured sci-fi book for a YA readership. Kim, you really have the aptitude for this genre. The vocabulary is perfectly pitched, the editing faultless – both are as expected from this author. What I didn’t expect was the strength of the plot and the sharpness of the characterisation. I love the first-person narrative. It has pitfalls for the writer and is manifestly more difficult to write given the obvious constraints of the story-line when told in a single voice, but when it works as well as this… The highlight for me, was in the long pitch, ‘A theory which some were quick to point out was how they believed God had hit the restart button.’ That’s a guaranteed hook for a teen readership. Strongly recommended.