Tag: Steve Campitelli

Book Review: The Fall – Steve Campitelli

Happy Wednesday everyone!
If you checked out my blog post yesterday, an Interview with Steve Campitelli, then thank you very much! If you haven’t read it yet and would like to know a little bit more about this book, please go and check out this post afterwards!
Today, I get the privilege of sharing my thoughts about the book with you.

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

The Fall

Goodreads – The Fall

Melbourne, 2052, two years since The Fall.
A wave of infection, the Jackson Virus, has swept the world, leaving in its wake a terrifying apocalyptic wasteland populated by wild cleanskin survivor groups and the ravenous, infected night predators – the jacks. In this nightmare landscape, one of the last remaining sanctuaries is Kulin Wallcom, a community enclosed by a 10-metre wall patrolled by what’s left of the military. The wallcoms are the last remaining bastions of defence and security in a world gone over the edge.
But the people of Kulin can’t stay behind their wall forever.
Recovery expert, John Bradley, is part of a major operation into the wasteland looking to not only ensure the survival of Kulin by bringing back critical supplies from the abandoned Southstone Supermall, but, more crucially, to also locate and extract the only person left who may be able to reverse the tide of infection.
However, the mission faces danger at every turn. It seems to be compromised from the inside, Southstone is thought to be an impossible target overrun with infected, and wasteland survivor bands, led by the psychopathic wasteland leader, the Headhunter, are bent on making sure the operation has to fight each step of the way to get back to the wallcom before nightfall.
Because that’s when the jacks come out.
And they will find you.
Welcome to the world of The Fall.

How would you cope, being thrown into a world overrun with infected?
I sure wouldn’t.
Nothing screams desolation better than the hot, dry, and almost uninhabited Wastelands of Melbourne, Australia – at least, it isn’t inhabited by many humans. Only small, ramshackle communities remain, but not by choice. Infected stalk their prey in the night, looking to feast off human flesh and infect the remaining population. Life for the remaining survivors is not an easy one.
Kulin is not wholly self-sustainable, and when they undertake their most ambitious “pick” yet, will the operation run smoothly? There is a lot to play for and much to gain; personal ambition may threaten the entire operation.
The post-apocalyptic vibe of this book reminded me of another book I enjoyed last year, Bad City by Matt Mayr. I’ve also been listening to The Stand by Stephen King, and whilst this is of a different genre entirely, they have one thing in common – the world as we know it being ripped apart by a deadly virus and civilisation scraping together to start again as best they can.
The narrative is well thought out and constructed in a diarised format, giving each POV an almost personal touch. The text is still written in third person (which admittedly is my favourite), but each chapter clearly states who our perspective is from. There are a sizeable number of POV’s but some of these aren’t extensive contributors to the book. For example Helen, whilst being a significant character in the narrative as a medic in Kulin, only has a small number of chapters to her name. Bearing this in mind, I think these entries have been written in the best way to help the reader keep track.
I understand why certain characters viewpoints were favoured, such as Bradley’s and Skylar’s; however, I would have liked to see a little more contribution from Helen. The other infrequent contributors had less of a part to play in the novel and their mere five minutes of fame is therefore understandable, but maybe as the series progresses we will get to see more of the minor characters.
The book is set with the right pace, allowing events to unfold in their own good time – such meticulous planning cannot be rushed. As the “BIG” operation is planned out, he outlines the everyday lives and hazards of the residents of Kulin, in order to make us understand just how huge a risk they are taking. Inevitably, the first few chapters are necessary to acquaint the reader and in this genre, this is all the more important. The rules are different and they need to be outlined. The first couple of chapters weren’t my favourite, (I didn’t fall in love straight away, but I didn’t dislike them either) but they accurately set the tone for the rest of the book. For me, the narrative picked up when the wheels are set in motion for the planning of the expedition.
I am also glad that Steve isn’t precious about any of the characters – after all, they live in a harsh world! It hardly seems realistic if the main characters somehow live in a protective bubble and manage to dodge all the bullets. Events transpire with the appropriate level of impact, and that is a skill to be admired.
The characters vulnerability makes them relatable to us as a reader. Fear is an emotion we all experience at one time or another – and in expressing our fear many of us let our guard down. Out on the Wasteland, adrenaline runs high. One lapse in concentration can mean death or infection, if not for you, then one of your buddies. Tragedy is only around the corner and it affects everyone in different ways. The diversity of characters, their personal background and their varied approaches to the situation they live in are an asset to the narrative and its development, as well as portraying an all-too-realistic response to this fictional pandemic.
The Fall is an enjoyable, read and makes a perfect introduction to what has the potential to be an excellent series. I think you could read The Fall as a standalone story if you wanted to, as the immediate conflicts are resolved, there are leads that will no doubt be carried forward into the future series and I for one would love to see how these get resolved.
Rebecca mono

Author Interview: Steve Campitelli

Hi everyone!!!
As you may know, I recently undertook reading The Fall as a part of my January TBR, and I am excited to be bringing you my thoughts and review of the book tomorrow!
I always like to give authors a chance to talk about their own books, and today is no exception. Steve has very kindly taken the time to answer some questions I had after reading The Fall:-

Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, the setting for the book. I’ve lived most of my life here, apart from a 6-year stint living and working in Japan. I’ve been involved in education for 30-odd years in a few forms, and have also been working with text and editing work for about 15 of those years. I’ve always been a movie and reading junkie – the sort of idiot who likes catching the train to work as it gives me reading time. I am open to most genres but reserve a special place for post-apocalyptic, and I always knew that when it came to writing a book, it was going to be post-apoc!
 

What inspired you to write The Fall?

What inspired me to write The Fall? I grew up in the 70s and that era gave us some classics in post-apocalyptic, sci-fi and disaster movies like Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, The Poseidon Adventure, Rollerball, Logan’s Run, Soylent Green – these movies influenced me hugely. Later on, came George Miller’s Mad Max 1 and the second instalment in that series, Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior, was a pivotal movie for me, a real turning point. I found it visually stunning with a classic storyline, and it was significant as it was also an Australian movie – it showed we could make these types of stories too and, perhaps subconsciously, I took something out of that. I thought then, as I do now, it is almost the perfect movie, and it planted a seed around post-apoc stories that influenced The Fall some 30 years later. That notion of the last people standing, island of calm in a sea of danger that Mad Max 2 portrayed so beautifully, I tried to echo in The Fall with Kulin Wallcom, an oasis of safety in the nightmare wasteland. The Omega Man remake I am Legend was another influence. I’ve always been drawn to the faster and for me more terrifying quick infected beings, such as those found in I am Legend and 28 Days/Weeks Later, as opposed to slow, shuffling zombies. I wanted to write something which combined those elements. I hope I got it right!
 

Do you think it’s possible that some of the technology available becomes a reality?

This is great question and the answer is yes, absolutely, some of the tech in the story will be a reality and in fact, already is. I wanted to write a close-future story that contained elements of the recognisable and known to us, plus future tech, but I didn’t want it to be ‘magical’ and to dominate the story. I wanted it to be grounded in reality, to just be there and almost taken for granted, like we do the tech we have now, so I needed it to be very believable and logical and used in an everyday way. The BACC suit body armour and the ultra-strong materials it’s made of already exist and are being used, not quite as presented in the book. Other things such as coagulant spray, the tech portrayed by the ‘medeval’ (early ID of illness, remote diagnosis), driverless transports, virtual keyboards all exist and are being used now. The highlight tech piece in The Fall is the 360, featuring the virtual wrap-around screen in front of the face, which doesn’t exist as yet, but the technological basis for it does. I had this notion that future communications technology would transition from the hand-held phone to wearable tech positioned around the head and activated in front of the face. I drew on the tactile-virtual objects featured in movies such as Minority Report and Ironman, and essentially fused that with app technology of mobile phones. The technology for ultrasound-based tactile or touchable virtual objects exists now, so it seems a logical step for communications tech to go in that direction – it’s augmented/virtual reality. Another one which exists now is nano technology – the future of that is very exciting and real.
 

In terms of the infected and the mutations, was any research required before you wrote the book? If so, what did you look into?

In terms of the infected and what the virus might do, yes, I did quite a fair bit of research. I was presenting an unreal viral agent (the Jackson Virus) but I wanted to write things supporting it which would hold up and be believable as part of the world I was trying to establish. So I did a fair bit of reading on science, tech and medical websites and government CDC-type sites, on viruses, contagion, pandemics, procedures, nomenclature, physiology, emotional contagion, aggression, addictive drugs, ‘turning’ off infection at the cellular level – the types of things I have written about in the book are grounded in the things I have read and then taken up a few levels with a few liberties, health, tech and reality-wise. It was also important for me to write at least partially from the infected ‘perspective’ – to explain them and to make them more real as opposed to just being targets for the non-infected. I wanted them and the discussion around them to be more nuanced, so it was important to really ground the whole thing in believability.
 

The setting of the book is a post-apocalyptic Australia – why did you choose this setting?

Why did I choose post-apocalyptic Australia? I’ve probably already partially answered this in question 2 with the influence and appeal of Mad Max 2; I just love that dusty, wasteland setting. The Prologue of the book is set in The Mallee, a dry, hot wheat farming area hundreds of kilometres from Melbourne in north-west Victoria, much like the setting for MM2 in many respects. It’s a place I visited a few times as a child as my mother had good friends who had a farm there, and to get there we had to take an overnight train – it just felt like the end of the world; an appropriate place to start the apocalypse! When I first started writing the book, the Prologue was set in China at the base of a shale mountain and I was doing all this reading on it and I suddenly stopped and asked myself why was I setting the story in a place I knew nothing about? I then resolved to stick to what I know, so the Prologue transferred to rural Victoria, and the main part of the book, which was always going to be Australia not China, I set in an area familiar to me, south-east Melbourne. That notion of using familiarity also explains the Japanese angle: my wife is Japanese, I lived there, and the language peppered through the book is a reflection of that. There’s a lot you can do with research, but there’s also a lot to be gained from who you are and your experiences.
 

I get the distinct impression that The Fall is to be a part of a series. Any news on a next book?

Yes, The Fall Conversion is the first in what I intend to be a three part series. I am working on book 2 now, Reversion, which rewinds back to 2050 at ground zero with the virus’ namesake Dr Riley Jackson, before coming back to 2052 in the second half with John Bradley again as the feature. I hope to get it out mid-2018, but realistically, it’s probably going to be later in the second half of the year. The third part, Redemption, will be the resolution of the story. I hope you can be there for the ride.
The Fall


S.T. Campitelli
@stcampitelli
http://thefall-book.weebly.com/ 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0762XCH57
 

A huge thank you to Steve for his time with the interview! If you’d like to find out more about the book, then please keep an eye out for my review, which is being posted tomorrow! I hope to see you there!