12.09.2014

Scenes from The Last Supper -- Part 5: Together in a World Without Hope

In this eight-part series, I will be discussing the world and the characters of my upcoming book, THE LAST SUPPER, due out on 12/13/14. Original artwork by Justin Wasson. Pre-order paperbacks and Kindle now! Also don't forget to join the GoodReads Giveaway going on now through 12/21/14!

The moon isn't the only harsh mistress.
I have a thing for plants in fiction. In my short story, "Under the Scotch Broom" (which you can find in this collection), they don't play a starring role, but the vivid yellow-flowered plants, which are an invasive species to the Pacific Northwest, are used to conceal a mass grave. In my novel KUDZU, currently resting with my agent, the destructive and voracious vines figure heavily into the Georgia setting and again have a metaphorical place, mimicking the smothering and constricting influence of a particular family member over a couple of generations. But in THE LAST SUPPER, the plants are in many ways front and center, because they are the genesis of the world's demise.

When John leaves the protection of God's Hope, the world is unlike anything he'd imagined. Of course, he knew of the serpent weeds and had received carefully edited glimpses of the civilization that once was, but once a whole lifetime of Divine Rite propaganda had been stripped away, he began to truly understand the true alien horror of the earth.
The few buildings we saw looked like random humps in the weed-covered landscape as the plants had eventually grown to consume them in full. In the distance, some herd animals, perhaps cattle or bison, roamed around in the poisoned pasture. I thought it was a trick of the eye, but it looked distinctly like a few of them had more than one head. Mutants. Sadly not uncommon, even in God’s Hope on the limited amount of livestock people raised on the Lazarus grain, but these were worse. Even the birds were strange, almost like reptiles, with leathery wings and bald, scaly heads. A few of them circled overhead, probably waiting for a fresh carcass to skin. Maybe they were checking us out. Even the sky they flew in looked funny. I hadn't realized until then that the net over the town provided an illusion of normalcy. Out here, the horizon, tinted by the unchecked pollination of the serpent weeds, was the color of infected piss.
I mentioned in a recent interview how THE LAST SUPPER is largely a metaphor for truth and discovery. Anyone who leaves a life of protection, even if that protection is largely dubious and harmful as it was in God's Hope, is usually in for a pretty big surprise when they learn how harsh and cruel the world can be. These themes are usually reserved for young people first setting out on their adult lives, but as anyone who has lived long enough can tell you, there is no real resting point. You continue to learn, you continue to discover, and the world will always do its best to shape us like the lumps of clay we are.

There is a wide range of ages featured in the book. John is around forty. His twin daughters Beth and Kaya are sixteen. Genevieve is in her mid-20s, and her father is in his fifties. Then we have Turpin, an ancient one who remembers a very different time altogether. Can the combined years and wisdom get them through this hellish place? I suppose we'll have to wait and see. But I think as in life, getting anywhere takes different pairs of eyes and ears from all walks, whether they come from a group or the same person learning and changing over many years.

We're past the halfway point of our series, and it won't be long before you can experience the full story for yourself! In the meantime, if this is your first time here, venture back to the archive to read Parts 1-4!

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