This special commemorative coffee mug can be filled with 350ml of hot coffee, even steaming hot: it is fully temperature resistant. All types are supported: latte, cappuccino, koffie verkeerd or macchiato; its smooth surface even protects against the oxidative effects of Devil’s Brew.
How does it work? The mug comes with two holes: one hole (at the top) is used to both add and extract the coffee. The hole on the side is used to insert two fingers so that the mug can be lifted. (Confusing the two may lead to damage and/or injury.)
Can the mug be used for tea? Yes.
How about the artwork? Find the cover of Two Journeys on the front, and a mysterious QR code on the back! Where does it lead, you will wonder? Which miraculous domain of the internet?
John Harpsicord*), a follower of this blog, asked: “What about the name of this blog dude! Survive the Apocalypse – I can’t find any apocalyptic content and no survival tips. WTF is that all about? Confused, John.”
Well John, you do have a point. Let me try to explain why this blog may be ALL about surviving the apocalypse.
Once the apocalypse strikes – which may happen earlier than you think, through a deadly combination of global warming, over-population and some completely inept political leaders (so sad !) – there is very little that we can do.
In my novels Two Journeys and Fields of Fire, this shocking situation is caused by a global epidemic. Luckily, humanity has gone a long time without a major pandemic. But outbreaks of viruses such as SARS, corona or influenza (e.g. H2N2 or the Asian Flu H3N2; or bird flu) have occurred repeatedly in the last twenty years or so.
In my books, I try to show a different path than what some so-called “preppers” or the “prepper movement” appear to advocate. If catastrophe strikes, keeping the higher ground morally shows that we are human. Stocking up on emergency food, baseball bats, pepper spray and guns may sound like a sound strategy, but in reality you won’t know what has hit you, once the post-apocalypse arrives.
For me, the best survival strategy is… enjoy life while you can! Take life with a grain of salt and a lot of humor, because none of us know how long we or good ol’ Earth will be around.
The apocalypse does make for some great reading though – just think about the zombie hype a few years back. This is also reflected in my adventure novels (curious ? Look here at www.clemenssuter.com/books). You will find a lot of information about these books on this blog, which is another explanation for the name of this site.
And finally: aren’t we all, in one way or another, surviving our own personal apocalypse each and every day? Life can be tough as shit; and most confusingly, it is also absolutely beautiful. That’s what I try to bring across in my work and in the title of this blog: the negative of the Apocalypse and the beauty of Survival – they are like Yin and Yang. Life is complex and unpredictable: there are no easy explanations.
*) name (slightly) changed
Survive the apocalypse with appropriate headwear. Life is a contradiction and can be confusing as hell, so better enjoy it while you can (Photo by Charles Deluvio)
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“This is a great book, if what you want is action, suspense, humor, and character development.”
Comments by the author – Strong, quick acting Alan is a scientist, traveling for business… but things do not turn out as predicted. One of my goals as the author was to raise awareness of just how vulnerable we are to a pandemic in the developed world. I also wanted to show how a single person can cope with being a lone survivor. You will need to be able to rely on your own moral fiber, on your physical strength and on your willpower. We’ve gone long without a major pandemic that kills millions. On the other hand, outbreaks of viruses such as SARS, corona or influenza (e.g. H2N2 or the Asian Flu H3N2; or bird flu) have occurred again and again. Let’s face it, if we knew, we’d be even more frightened; with the huge global population, the possibility that a pandemic strikes and spreads quickly isn’t that remote. In my books, I want you caring about the character as well as the world. Action occurs, and contact is made with beings on alien “ships”, however the book – on purpose – does not answer all questions. After all, in case of a pandemic, with a breakdown of communication and internet and so on, there will be more questions than answers. Imagine the world falling apart while this plague decimates the entire population. You will enjoy this ride with the hero Alan, as he races across Asia towards what was Western Europe.”
Great news for all fans of my post-apocalyptic / adventure novels TWO JOURNEYS and FIELDS OF FIRE: the first raw version of the third installment in this trilogy was finished today, at 91,634 words. Now comes the hard part: refining the text, finetuning the storyline and… editing, editing, editing!
Below a sample for the impatient – but caution: this is unedited text.
I had been asleep for a few hours, when Vora shook me. “Alan. I’m not feeling well, not well at all.”
She looked terrible, and she was hot with fever. I gave her some water and a few tablets to lower her temperature. “Go back to bed, I will look after you. If I’m not here when you wake up, I will be looking for medication. You will feel better in the morning.”
I lighted a candle and sat in a chair close by, dogs at my feet, and pretended to read a journal. My mind wasn’t with the text at all, as this unexpected complication took me by surprise. People did get sick, but I wondered what had struck her. I retraced our steps and activities but couldn’t immediately think of anything that might have caused this unless she had been wounded during the skirmishes in Denver. Or had one the soldiers been a carrier for an infection and had that been passed on to her?
After a restless night, dawn arrived, a blood-red sun slowly rising above the horizon. I had stolen away and wandered through the empty halls. I had located a store with some medical supplies; the stuff that travelers had needed; ibuprofen, aspirin, cough medicine, antiseptic solutions, plasters; nothing truly useful, but I took all of it along.
Vora was still asleep, her fever slightly better. She woke up about an hour later.
“How are you doing?”
She shook her head: “Tired mostly. Exhausted. This is a bastard.”
She felt her body. “Not really. Alan – I’m sorry, I…”
I put my finger to my lips. “Hush! I don’t want to hear it. Let’s get you going again, then we’ll talk about next steps. I will have to examine you, whether you have any damage.”
I helped her get out of bed and together we managed to take off her trousers. I lifted her shirt. She had some bruises and scratches, a few looked slightly more serious. I checked her feet and her hands for wounds. I cleaned every scratch with alcohol.
“What do you see?” She could only speak in a whisper.
“Nothing conspicuous. These wounds should all quickly heal, none of them should cause a fever, but you never know… Just rest now, and I will do some thinking. Did anybody do anything to you… anything that I should know about? That could have infected you?” She shook her head. “No, nothing that I can think off.”
In a clean t-shirt and loose leggings, her face and hands cleaned with some water and alcohol, and after a bite of food, she looked a bit better. “Stay in bed and relax.”
I left the lounge. I cursed when I was out of hearing. I needed Vora to get me across the ocean, to fly that plane for me… us. Without her support I would be lost. I needed to get her fit as fit as possible and as quickly as possible.
At the information desk in the arrival area, behind customs, I found details about the immediate surrounding area. Mostly commercial offerings, like hotels, restaurants, and shuttle services; nonetheless I also found a useful map: a university hospital was located nearby, may ten blocks away.
Vora had to be moved. A hospital would provide medicine, equipment, information…
Not much later, I located an ambulance parked underneath the terminal. The engine worked. I pulled out the stretcher and the dogs and I walked back to the lounge.
Vora was awake, but I wasn’t happy with the way she looked. She hadn’t improved one bit, that was clear. I transferred our gear to the ambulance, and then I tied her onto the stretcher, to which she objected halfheartedly. In her position I would have objected too, but I didn’t want her to break a hip should she fall off.
We went to the ambulance, I loaded her and the three dogs in the back, and off we went. For a second, I was tempted to switch on the siren, but decided against it, for obvious reasons; I didn’t want to attract any downers.
I drove up to the entrance of the emergency unit, unloaded the stretcher with Vora, and found a room where I could put her in. I put the stretcher down to a few inches off the ground. “Everything OK?”
She didn’t answer.
Like it? Get a copy of TWO JOURNEYS on your Apple device, and start out with part one of the trilogy.
In a previous post I provided details about the new novel that I am working on: REBOUNCE is the preliminary name of this book and the third and final book in the TWO JOURNEYS trilogy (get a copy of the first two books, for instance on your iPhone / iPad). I am now at 45,000 words, 55,000 to go.
The hero Alan, as tough as nails… combining unrelenting courage, adaptability, compassion and inventiveness – pre-conditions essential to survive in a devastated, post-pandemic world.
Danger lurks around every corner, and not just from humans. To illustrate the man’s resilience: here’s a short sample from the unedited manuscript. DON’T try this at home.
Stay tuned for more.
Part of Chapter 7
Lewis’ eyes explored my face. “What happened to your eye?”
Usually, people ignore the black patch that covers my left eye, they just stare at it curiously, too embarrassed to ask.
“A guy with a knife attacked me.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
I shrugged. “He’s too. I shot him.”
Lewis’ eyebrows went up, a combination of respect and shock. I usually tell anyone who asks me this story. Why not make the best out of the loss of an eye? In addition, the true story was so embarrassingly weird, that nobody ever believed it.
I had at one point made the foolish decision to take a motorbike for a ride. In the absence of humans and pesticides, insects had returned in large numbers and as the engine accelerated onto an unspoiled stretch of highway, I hit into a cloud of fat hornets. One had landed in my eye and stung me multiple times. I fell off the bike and barely made it back to base. The next day, my left eye swelled up beyond recognition. I dragged myself to a drugstore where I camped for a few days, trying out any useful medication or antibiotic that I could find. It was no use; without any help, I suddenly had to decide between dying or operating on myself; the left side of my face was swollen like a red balloon, and the eyeball was gray and obviously invested by an aggressive, unbeatable bug. I pulled a stretcher into a backroom, mounted lights and a mirror above it, and prepared an infusion with a cocktail of salt, painkillers and antibiotics. Lying on my back, I anesthetized half of my face. The next hour was the most horrible in my entire life. On some level, even my wife’s death was by comparison a walk in the park. In my dreams, especially after a heavy meal, I sometimes still see the scalpel approaching my eye. The first incision was excruciating. I shortly passed out from pain and the obnoxious smell of puss and blood that ran down my face. I screamed in horror and shook my head like a wild man. After many minutes I regained some control, and feeling slightly better, I turned my head back to look at my reflection in the mirror. With my gloved hand I opened my half-closed eyelids. The eye itself was gone, the socket a gaping hole, with some ugly bits of tissue and the stump of the nerve in the back. With trembling hands, I rinsed the wound and patched it up with bandages and disinfectant that I had prepared earlier. Then I fainted. It took me six weeks to recuperate.
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The very first book I ever read was an illustrated children’s story about a small duck. I must have been six, I still remember how I struggled with the first page for weeks, until one Sunday morning I suddenly could read it in one go. I was so happy that I woke up my parents. Even after all these years I still have that book, torn and frayed at the edges.
I haven’t stopped reading since. I recall the books of my youth, such as the ones by Jules Verne and Karl May. I read Lord of the Rings when I was 13, and then moved on to science fiction: Asimov and Jack Vance. Many books I have read multiple times: some even 5 or 10 times. Good books never get boring. I started writing myself, and in 2010 I published an adventure novel… about the dreadful effect of a corona pandemic. As an author, I have less time for reading, but I still do manage to read some exiting novels. Luckily enough my wife prereads a lot of new releases and passes the most thrilling ones to me.
Here‘s my personal list of the Best Books Ever! It is in alphabetical order, but you can easily browse or re-order to your liking. Currently it contains 50 titles, but I will add more over time. And yes, my own pandemia books are also in the list, as they have also greatly impacted my life. I hope the list inspires you to pick up some great (classic) fiction and non-fiction. Is any particular favorite of yours missing?
The novel Celeterra is available as paperback and also in many e-book formats, for instance at Barnes and Noble. If you would like to read this exciting novel, simply go to the bookstore on your device, or visit your favorite bookstore, like for instance at Barnes and Noble.
What is this book about? It has many different aspects. On one side it is a crime story; there are some mystery aspects to it. It has to do with religion, and it is set both on Earth, and in heaven. It is definitely a dystopian story, about people who are power-hungry and want to misuse religion for their purposes. Most of my books deal with that motive, in some form and shape: individuals that want to profit from the misfortune of other individuals.
In the end Celeterra is simply a great adventure story to read and you won’t be able to put it down.
Altijd bent towards Vance and whispered in his ear. “Adolf Hitler!”
Vance’s mouth fell open. “What? Adolf Hitler, the German dictator, is in Heaven? Are you sure? He was a terrible war criminal, directly responsible for the murder of millions of people!”
“I met him here! Let me tell you what happened. One afternoon, Ballew and I were walking hand in hand along a small brook. The trees were golden, soft music filled the air. Extraordinary birds hopped on the path, which was covered with small diamonds. Two men came in our direction, both casually dressed; trousers, shirts, sneakers. The man on the right was Adolf Hitler, I recognized him immediately. We stopped and talked to them. Ballew seemed to have met both of them before. Hitler was rather quiet, not speaking much at first. He made a serious and subdued impression. When he did speak, it either was in German or heavily accented English. His companion was less reserved and chatted away happily with Ballew. If I remember correctly, his name was Ed Gean or something… I cannot recall exactly. Ballew mentioned later that he had been a notorious killer in his earthly life.
“Anyway, I was challenged to follow the conversation, I just stood there and stared at Hitler. He seemed to be slightly embarrassed by this. During a break in the conversation, he turned to me, stiffly, as if his back was rigid.
“‘Well, Altijd, how do you like it here?’
“At first, I didn’t know how to reply. Then I mumbled that I thought it was a great place. Hitler smiled. “‘You know, young man, I have been here for a long time. I have very much enjoyed every day of it.’
“To me, his statement sounded rather unconvincing. He had said it somewhat mechanically, as if he was reading it, from a piece of paper. Ballew took a hold of my arm. “‘Adolf is one of our most honorable guests. He has been here for quite a while, and if you have any questions about this place, just ask him, there is nothing that he has not seen or heard about. He knows every corner of Heaven and many of its more interesting inhabitants too.’
“Adolf Hitler smiled weakly beneath his moustache and took a hold of Ballew’s hand and kissed it. Ballew giggled with pleasure. “‘You are always so charming. Come, why don’t the two of you join us for our walk?’
“We continued along the path. We talked about this and that, and Adolf and Ed pointed out some of the sights. I still had difficulty taking part in the conversation, I was truly flabbergasted to stumble upon this singular, most brutal dictator in Heaven! However, my three companions chatted away happily. Even Hitler seemed to have thawed to some extent. Still, on several occasions, I saw him shooting quick glances at me.”
Altijd interrupted his narration. They were following a small track leading down into one of the valleys, towards some distant music. It was getting later in the day and the sun was setting. Sheep stood in the heather and munched away at sparse green grass. Vance noticed that he was getting hungry.
“What happened then?”
Altijd walked in front of him. Without turning around, he continued his story. “We picnicked together, underneath a tree. Blankets had been laid out for us. We had some champagne and toast with smoked fish. It was a pastoral scene, Arcadian – like a Tomas Cole painting. Ballew looked absolutely marvelous, she was always so very pretty when she was enjoying herself. She was sitting very upright and in the center. We three men rested leisurely on the grass. Hitler started to tell stories about his childhood in Austria, about small boy’s pranks and escapades. Despite myself, I had to admit that his narration was extremely funny. He was charming and a great storyteller. One story stands out in my mind; how he and his childhood friend had gone out to steal apples from a neighboring orchard. When the farmer discovered them, they had to run off as fast as they could. His friend was a bit overweight, and as they climbed over a fence, his trousers had torn. He got a proper spanking from his mother. At that part of the story, Hitler got up and was gesticulating passionately, like I had seen him do in some of those old documentaries. However, this time he was not rallying for war, but talking about his youth and imitating his friend’s mother! He was so funny!”