After the Burn by Ronald Kelly
It was a picture-perfect Fourth of July; one that heralded both celebration and pride for millions. Folks enjoyed parades and cook-outs, the playful laughter of children and a velvet sky alive with fireworks. Afterward, they went to sleep, happy and contented, without a care in the world. Then at midnight, the sun came up, brighter than a billion sparklers and hotter than Hell unleashed.
They called it The Burn. The senseless detonation of nuclear devices across the face of the earth; randomly scattered, without rhyme or reason. Civilization as we knew it was consumed in fire that day and, from its ashes, rose a horrifying phoenix of boundless evil and depravity. Those who had once clung to the shadows, because of law and moral restraint, now stepped boldly forward to stake their unholy claim…
This collection of two novellas and six short stories follows the exploits of a handful of survivors in a nuclear-devastated world ruled by the dregs of the Earth: serial killers, child molesters, rapists, and cannibals, as well as radiation-evolved mutants. This is surely Ronald Kelly's most extreme work to date. Now open the cover and prepare for The Burn!
Dog eat dog world
This was fantastic. After the Burn follows a bunch of different characters and how they are coping and surviving after the burn. The first story sets the apocalyptic science. Picture an old man standing up to what has become dominant in this terrifying new world. The story that stuck with me the most featured a rich woman and a faithful dog, right up until the end, I wonder if the dog had altered motivations for what was going on. It is definitely a dog eat dog world and only the cunning will survive. I love this one!
After the Burn
After the Burn is a collection of novellas and short stories that all take place after nukes were randomly detonated across the globe. All were remarkable stories, but my favorites were: A Shiny Can of Whup-Ass I loved this one! It takes place in a rural town called Watkins Glen. After the Burn happened people cleared the town. A few stayed behind and were greeted by Rott a well-known serial killer and his gang who brought even more pain and suffering. A wonderful and unexpected ending to this one. Meat is Life Phyllis Pfizer was a culinary diva who had her own cooking show and many bestselling cookbooks. Her fame came from her enjoyment of meat. Phyllis’s culinary philosophy was that eating meat was a spiritual experience bonding two of God’s creatures together. When the Burn happened, Phyllis had to get creative with her meat prep and that philosophy of hers came back to bit her in the ass. Another fantastic ending! Popsicle Man Since the Burn happened sex offenders have been out like crazy targeting kids. On this particular night, the Clownies have a run in with the Popsicle Man who tries to protect the children. He has a really “cool” way of taking down the bad guys. Flesh Welder This one was insane! A surgeon/arc welder provides a service to the community often reattaching limbs and other surgeries to help them. One arrogant individual who came for his services twice got exactly what he deserved for all the torment he brought upon others. Fantastic ending and a great revenge story. This was my first time reading Kelly’s work and I really enjoyed it. Each story was gripping, a bit gory, and well written. I can’t wait to check out more of his work.
Before, during and After the Burn
After The Burn comprises 2 novellas, 6 short stories and some fantastic illustrations, all based on the nuclear apocalypse, and the effects and reactions before, during and after. They range from creepy, to funny, to brutal, to harrowing, and every one of them is a great read! My favourites are, POPSICLE MAN, EVOLUTION RIDGE, and FLESH WELDER! And TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS was a whole lotta fun! As always I will write a few words for each story in this collection…. *A SHINY CAN OF WHUP-ASS* This one was chilling, eerie and emotional. When the nuclear bombs hit and serial killer The New Satan and his gang of rather unsavoury characters are unleashed from prison, they decide to go on a cannibalistic rampage in a sleepy little town, where long time resident Sam can only sit and watch….or can he? What a fantastic twist ending! *MEAT IS LIFE* A well to do chef, used to the finer things in life, finds herself alone and in a fight for survival after The Burn, until she meets an unlikely companion. They become a team, helping each other to find food, but when there's nothing else, meat is meat right..? An unexpected twist at the end, I thought I knew what was coming, I didn't!! *THE HAPPIEST PLACE IN HELL* Imagine, after the nuclear bombs have hit and the world as we know it has ended, you find yourself in the Happiest Place On Earth! Then, it becomes overrun with an asylum full of the criminally insane, and they dont like you…. This one ends with a very satisfying celebratory meal, complete with Old Spice sauce! *POPSICLE MAN* This is a terrifying tale of child abusers taking advantage of The Burn, going on a rampage where no child is safe! Unless you hear that familiar jingle and the Popsicle Man arrives in time to help! Creepy and cool, ice cool! I also loved the little nod to the Chili Peppers, which made me laugh out loud! *EVOLUTION RIDGE* A tale of horrific evolution brought on by The Burn, where no animal or human is safe, everyone is open to change, but not in a good way! Cannibalistic vegetation, (s)creamed corn, flying snakes.. Truly the stuff of nightmares, creepy and chilling, but with a beautifully moving and emotional ending! *TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS* Elvis has NOT left the building!! This one was a whole lotta fun, including killer cows and some brilliant humour. *FLESH WELDER* What do you get when you combine a surgeon and an arc welder? You get a whole lot of weird stitched up humans and when the bad guys start to get pushy, revenge becomes satisfyingly sweet. Brutal, bloody and messed up, perfect! *THE PARADISE PILL* This one starts off beautifully intriguing, with a quick descent into horror and desperation, leading in the end, to heartbreak. This one got me in the feels
Master of his craft!
Do you remember that feeling you had when you first fell in love with reading horror? Maybe it brings you back to covers pulled over your head, flashlight on, worried that even the sound of turning pages might bring your parents into the room to discover you had embarked on a journey to the gates of hell! Maybe it is watching the clock at work or in class, the minutes taking by slowly as your fingers curl longing for the paperback where you peek into the dark heart of humanity and face your fears!! Or maybe it's curled up in your favorite spot, a wicked grin on your face as you see through the eyes of the monster and for a moment allow yourself to feel the intoxication of being predator not prey! We all chase that feeling with each and every book we pick up and when we find it again…oh when we find it we devour it with relish, We salivate as we consume, greedy little horror readers that we are!! Shall I share with you where I reclaimed that high? Shall I share in this banquet of delectable terror? After the Burn by Ronald Kelly will take you back to that feeling and satisfy that need! Who do we become when the fragile foundations preventing us from becoming savages are destroyed? When the real life monsters no longer need to hide in the shadows how will they celebrate? After the Burn takes you into the lives of those who survived the burn with 8 tales of horror, heartbreak and a dash of humor. Each story told will quench that thirst for the macabre and allow you to escape to unforgiving landscapes and the horrors that they hold! If you've got the fever, then Ronald Kelly's After the Burn is the cure!
Watch The World Burn
This collection of novellas and short stories all take place within the same universe but at different times, giving glimpses of a world that could be if things go wrong in the not-so-distant future. Included within are stories of just desserts, child predators, the side effects of nuclear fallout, and much more. It’s hard to choose a single favorite story when every single one resonated with me as much as the last. Each story hits hard in its own way, from watching friends and neighbors die, to having predators hunt down innocent children. That’s not to say there isn’t some lighthearted moments too. “Taking Care of Business” comes in right after an especially dark story, bringing me back from the edge with its hilarity and all around fun vibes. This is my first venture into the writing of Ronald Kelly, and I feel like a fool for waiting so long to do so! His southern fried style of horror is entertaining as all heck and his way of writing is engaging. It feels like I have Ol’ Ron sitting in the room with me telling his stories. If this is the standard for all of his writing, I can see why he’s been such a mainstay for decades in splatterpunk!