Tuesday 30 August 2011

POD Blog Tour: Review and Guest Post

For Review: Templer Publishing
Published: 1 September 2011

From Goodreads: POD's - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside.

Josh is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food... Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...

When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself.

What would you do to survive?

This is definitely my kind of book!  I really enjoyed it.

The story story begins with an alien invasion, where hundreds of strange spheres hover in the sky zapping any human that ventures outside.  Josh is stuck in his house with his father, and Megs has been left alone in a hotel parking garage.  Both have to find a way to survive...

I loved that this wasn't all about the alien invasion.  Yes, it's an important (and intriguing) part of the story but the main focus in on how these characters survive.  What they have to face and the decisions they make.  I found myself equally invested in both stories.  Josh comes across as a typical 15 year old boy - I liked how witty he was, and how nonchalant he was in the beginning and then how he slowly started to see the seriousness in what was happening around him - plus I loved how his relationship with his dad became really strong over the course of the story.   Megs was a great character too - she has a grit and determination about her that you have to admire.  I did find it hard to believe she was just 12 years old though, but that is explained in the story.  Her family background makes me think she would have had to grow up quick!

I really enjoyed the author's writing too.  He did a great job at giving both Josh and Megs distinct voices - I love dual narration and in this case it really makes the story work.  While Meg's part is more 'action packed' I found Josh's story really hits a mark. One other thing I really liked was that we aren't really given that much information about the PODs. We only know what the characters know and I thought that was really clever.

I understand the author is working on a second book and I'm very interested to see where he takes the story from here.  Great stuff!

As part of the UK blog tour for POD, Stephen kindly stopped by to tell us a bit about the inspiration for POD...

About those PODs

There are two events in my life that had a strong influence in writing POD. One involves a terrifying short story I read in my teens. The other happened when I was sitting in an automatic car wash about ten years ago.

I had a brief horror phase in high school and shivered through one of the classics, The Horla, by Guy de Maupassant. It told the story of a man that was repeatedly attacked at night in his bed by an unseen force. He wasn’t sure if it was a dream or for real, and as the attacks continued he sunk deeper and deeper into a sea of paranoia. I consider this one of the most frightening stories I’ve ever read. The reader, just like the narrator, never knew what was going on. The terrifying events that unfolded had no rhyme or reason, and the attacker remained faceless and invisible throughout.

Many years later I was sitting in my car in an automatic car wash, observing the various stages of the cleaning process: a giant mop, steam, wax, drenching water, car-shaking wind. During that time I wondered, how scary would this experience be if I had no idea what is happening? If I were some guy from the past dumped into the future, into this metal box while it is being worked over by some mechanized demon emitting all this frightening stuff. And in the silence afterward, when the process is complete—I’m really not sure what just happened, or worse—if it’s really over.

In both cases it is the fear of the unknown that is most frightening. And that sense of fear is what I wanted to put in POD. So I kept the aliens faceless, like the Horla. And I had a captive humanity endure the various stages of an attack without knowing why, or for how long, or what will come next. With this running as a pulse in the background, I then told the stories of two people on the ground, in real-time, of what they had to do to endure and survive, and the worst of it didn’t come from the sky. That premise formed the core of what eventually became POD.

Thanks Stephen! 

POD has it's own website you can check out here

The next stop on the tour is tomorrow at ComaCalm's Corner


Tales of Whimsy said...

Wow. I hadn't heard of this.

Cliona said...

Wow, this sounds amazing! The Horla story sounds seriously scary-don't think I'll ever be reading that! Fantastic guest post!


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