Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Here Comes the "Near Future"

Prepper fiction is a genre of literature that happens in the "near future." It's a form of dystopian, science fiction which details the realistic conflicts of grid collapse, societal chaos, and anarchy brought on by various catastrophes. Prepper fiction is fiction that could happen--tomorrow. Near future. Less fantasy and more reality based it is a genre that many readers find disturbing, to say the least.

This is a world that could happen, would happen, and has happened. See: Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Darfur, to name a few . . .

My newest short story is a grid collapse scenario from the point of view of a child, Darby Summerlin. The Strandline Series: Beyond the Strandline (Book I) & Following the Strandline (Book II) examines life and survival seven years after the event horizon . . .

Storm, Darby's Chickens & Puppies are prequel, short story tie-ins detailing both the horrors and the triumphs of Darby and her family . . . Find these and more @

Monday, June 18, 2018


A member of our church told a story about her clever father removing the second story of their house to re-build and enlarge it. Sadie (9) was quite impressed.

She said, "Wow, he took off the top of their house."

I said, "Boy, your dad sure couldn't do that."

She thought for a moment, "Nope. But my mom could."

Friday, May 11, 2018

Youth Sports and Other Myths

On Rose Marie Drive in Titusville (circa the Space Race) all the kids in my neighborhood played sandlot ball: kick, base, stick. The big kids always got to bat. The little kids always got gypped until they got to be big kids.

The fights were real. The solutions were up to us. The rules were of our own making. Parents were not involved until and unless there was blood or a death.

And then the grownups invented Little League.

Before the leagues—soccer, basketball, softball, football, baseball . . . before the teams—swim, cheer, track . . . before the grownups, children were free. They were free to work out their problems, organize their activities, and experiment with the complexities of inter-personal batting line-ups.

And then grownups invented uniforms.

A lot of kids didn’t own gloves. They played bare-handed or they switched off with the opposite team. We learned to share if we wanted to play. The “field” was an empty lot in the subdivision. We used chunks of construction drywall for bases. We learned to be innovative.

And then grownups discovered regulation: gloves, bats, balls, fields.

In sandlot ball one person owned the equipment, usually the kid that just had a birthday. And there was always the possibility that birthday kid would get ticked off, take his/her ball or bat, and go home. Negotiations and conflicts constantly teetered on the razor edge of collapse. We became master diplomats.

And then grownups created ALL the rules.

Nothing about sandlot ball is fair. Nothing. The big strong ones got to pitch, bat, and field. The little ones got stuck sitting on a cement block hoping for mercy from the big and the strong. It made us hungry to get better, bigger, stronger, more. It gave us a clear vision of how the world worked—get scrappy or take a seat. Winning mattered.

And then grownups took up a collection so that everyone would get a pointless, meaningless trophy.

I attended my granddaughter’s softball game yesterday. It was organized, orderly, and sanitized. Adults umpired, coached, and cheered. Little girls shrieked and stomped encouragement at each other. It was fun.

But it wasn’t sandlot ball.

Linda (Last Up) Zern

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