Christopher John Chater’s short novelette, Dating in the Apocalypse, is the first in a series following Tom Collins, a trendy ladies man who is simply trying to make the best out of a bad situation.
In a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, it can be tough to find a nice girl, let alone get them to go on a date with you. Even more so when gangs follow your every move and kidnap any prospective women who do come along.
So hard to get a read on a girl these days. Dilated pupils could be fear rather than arousal. Licking her lips could just mean they were dry. Sustained eye contact was more than likely a fight-or-flight response, not ‘come-hither’. Damn apocalypse was ruining my day game.
Still, Tom does his best. Using the sudden drop in real estate to bag himself the grandest bachelor pad in town and, being sure to always dress to impress, he still occasionally gets lucky. Yet females are disappearing fast and, not only that, but they are being snatched straight from his arms by the ruthless men, known as the marauders.
This short instalment gives us a taster of what’s to come, mainly setting up Tom’s character as a gentlemanly ‘player’, coming across as a lovable rogue, and watching as he grows to the realisation that if he is ever to find the woman of his dreams then the marauders need to be stopped.
As well as humour and romance, Chater gives us some excellent action scenes. Although, in having Tom excel in all areas, the character starts to lose his unique edge and take on more of a typical James Bond vibe.
They thought they had easy prey this time. Until I fired. The street filled with a fireball, climbing as high as the skyscrapers, a massive mushroom of fire and black smoke. The Humvee was boosted into the air, spinning, the wheels tossed from the axels, the bulletproof glass shattering, the doors blown off their hinges.
Overall, it’s a great teaser story. The writing is straight forward, its fast pace keeping the reader fully engrossed, and at no point did I find myself stumbling over typos or grammatical mistakes. Tom Collins becomes entangled into the depraved depths of the post-apocalyptic city, and I look forward to seeing how he fares in the next instalment.