Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Good Story 001: The Reapers Are The Angels

The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden BellIn the first A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast, Julie and Scott discuss The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell!
For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.
Download or listen via this link: |Episode #001|

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner

An iTunes feed is on the way...

Talked about in the podcast:
And here's the audiobook from Blackstone Audio, read by Tai Simmons. I love this cover!

The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell


  1. Thanks for the new podcast! I am a bookaholic, knitter, podcast junkie, gamer, the list goes on and on. So many things intrigued me that y'all hit on in this episode, from Joss Whedon to Harry Potter extremists to my new list of zombie books to check out and heaven knows what else. I love Flannery O'Connor, too. Sorry this jumps around but I think my brain has overload from all the sparks that you have ignited. I am so looking forward to the next episode - yea, Serenity! So, um, could you post!?!


  2. Hey, guys--Thanks for the thoughtful and insightful discussion! The Stand and Scott Pilgrim are both great suggestions--and if I can score five stars on the Joss Whedon meter, I feel like I've accomplished just about all I wanted to accomplish in this world!

    Looking forward to hearing what you have to say about Serenity and future topics!

    Josh (Alden Bell)

  3. Hey, thank YOU for the excellent novel! All very best.

  4. Patti - pleased to meet you as well! Thanks a million!

  5. Patti - those sparks in your brain? That's how I felt after our conversation - all lit up! It sure was fun and I'm glad it came across the interwebs too! :-)

    Josh - thank YOU so much for that fantastic book! I'm looking forward to seeing what Alden Bell writes next. :-)

  6. Just finished the book today, wow, not what I expected. Characters and story line borrow heavily from "Blood Meridian", "The Road" and "No Country for Old Men" and "Winter Bone". Nature is both beautiful and impenetrable in its presentation to saints and sinners. The known world has collapsed yet Temple carries within her a certain, steadfast morality that is barely articulate but tied to the miracle of nature that she sees (fish, sunsets) or imagines (Niagara Falls) man made or not (the "iron giant"). Zombies and mutants are also expressions of the natural world, ugly as they are, she avoids moralizing their behavior. Zombies are the usual feeders of live human flesh and perhaps serve as a metaphor for despicable behavior of people who treat other humans as a means to satisfy their own needs without regard to the "person-hood" of the other. How else to describe the popularity of zombie-lit out there? I decline to comment on the ending as others may be in the process of reading this. The character Maury could have gone a different way at the end or at least I had imagined another scene at the climax of the story where he might have changed the course of the ending. Did you?

  7. emwenz, Hello!

    Like I said in the podcast, the appeal of zombie-lit for me is not so much the zombies, but the destruction of civilization that they cause. I enjoy other apocalyptic novels that don't have zombies, like The Stand and Lucifer's Hammer. The appeal is two-fold: I never get tired of stories in which day-to-day life has been stripped away and replaced, and I also like to read about how people collectively might try to put things back together.

    Interesting point about zombies representing the behavior of people who use other people.

    And on the climax of the novel, yes, certainly I imagined other ways it could go, and how Maury could have taken it there.

  8. Any word on when the iTunes feed will be available?

  9. I never thought about zombies as representing the behavior of people who use other people either ... interesting, though not really relevant in this story, for me anyway.

    Will - it is finally here! WOOHOO!

  10. I finally finished the book and listened to your podcast. Thanks for an insightful discussion of the book! One thing I would say about the character of Moses Todd. To me, he's not as much like a Pharisee (though I certainly see that "letter of the law" in him) as like someone who has to finish what's been started, even if it isn't really his project or his first inclination. Like Temple, he follows where circumstance or Higher Powers lead him.

    I'm looking forward to listening to the next two podcasts (I don't know why I'm being a stickler for listening in order; maybe I am like Moses?!?)

    Thanks again!

  11. In response to Joseph -- It seems to me that the parameters of meaning which both Moses and Temple have delineated for themselves in a world-turned-upside-down involve living by unswerving codes of honor. Moses must kill Temple -- even though he comes to recognize she is in many ways a kindred spirit -- not because he wants her dead but because vengeance has become his raison d'etre. This is why he is so angry when Millie kills Temple -- the anticipated moment that has given his life purpose remains forever unfulfilled. Of course Minnie was seeking the same sort of vengeance, which might have resonated with Moses had he not been single-mindedly focused on the justice of his own cause. Maury is a blank slate on which both Temple and Moses project meaning -- a malleable core around which a purposeful life can be constructed.

  12. Joseph R and dracmean,

    Thanks for the comments!

    Interesting! So Maury becomes his new raison d'etre. What does it say about Moses that he can't find a reason without involving someone else?

  13. Just finished the book and then came back to hear the rest of the podcast.

    Wow! Thanks for pointing me to this and making it my new favorite intelligent Zombie novel over World War Z.


    I can't remember what was the last time the death of a character hit me so much as in this novel. Still almost grieving over it even if it made sense the way the story was told.

  14. SO glad that you liked it!


    I agree about the impact. It was reeling from that and having no one to talk to at all about it that I demanded Scott read it and then talk to me about it! I have now read the book (or at least looked it over) one more time because a friend chose it for our Lenten book club read. It still hurt to read about and seemed wrong ... (even if it did make sense as you say).

  15. And I third that... so very sad.
    What a book!