Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P is for “Plague”

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays), I’ll be sharing a short bookish memory with you.

The first post-apocalyptic stories I remember reading were the Countdown books by Daniel Parker. The series was published in the late 90s, when I was a preteen. I loved the books back then, but if I reread them now, I’d probably find them idiotic. The series is about a plague that is let loose on New Year’s Day in the year 2000. The disease causes children and adults to melt into puddles of black goo. Teenagers inherit the Earth. Each book in the series is a different month of the year 2000.



Countdown: January – Daniel Parker


On New Year's Day, it happens: 
Over six billion people die within twenty-four hours. 
The stunned survivors are left to fend for themselves in a world where chaos reigns. A world with no rules, no order . . . and no adults. 
Because the only people left are teenagers.



Countdown captured my young imagination in the same way Lois Lowry’s The Giver did. The series made me desperate for more dystopian fiction. I think Countdown and The Giver get the blame for my current love of dystopias.

The worst part of the Countdown series was that some of the books were difficult to find. Online bookstores weren’t common in the 90s. I lived in a small town with a tiny library and no bookstores. My parents searched everywhere, but they were never able to find the entire series. My teachers, friends, and librarians had never heard of Countdown. I just had to make peace with not knowing the whole story.

During The Hunger Games dystopia craze, I started thinking about the Countdown books again. I Googled them. I learned that they got terrible reviews from critics when they came out. The Goodreads pages for the books are pretty dead and empty. The few reviews the books do have on Goodreads aren’t great. I guess this series didn’t have the same impact on other people as it did on me.

I also learned that I could buy used copies of the Countdown books I couldn’t find as a kid. I decided not to. Maybe some things are better as memories.



Have you ever heard of Countdown? Is there a book you loved as a kid but are reluctant to reread as an adult? 






19 comments:

  1. Never read the series, but the adults really melted into black goo? Yikes. I'm not sure I'd want to live in that world as a teen. Can you imagine? Double yikes!

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  2. I have never read any of the Countdown books, but wasn't reading YA in the 90s. I have found books that moved me as a teenager weren't always well received by the larger world.

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    1. I’ve noticed that, too. Children and literary critics often have very different tastes.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. I've never read this series but there was one called Plague 99 by Jean Ure which was about a group of teenagers surviving a plague (they were away at some sort of retreat when it struck so survived). I remember reading Z for Zachariah at school and writing my own story about a plague as well, so the idea obviously stuck with me.

    Nowadays I'm hesitant to go back and reread them, not because they might not be as good, but because I have enough adult things to worry about and with outbreaks of things like Ebola, I don't need to give myself more to stress about, hehe.

    Cait @ Click's Clan

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    1. I don’t read as many plague books as I used to. I’m on the lookout for a really good one, though. There must be a good plague book out there somewhere.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. Sounds like you were the perfect audience. I'm not sure many adults would pick it up!

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    1. Yeah, I think the “black goo” thing was probably too ridiculous for most adult readers.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. I definitely some things are left in memories but that is ok. It had an impact on you and that is all that matters.

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  6. I haven't heard of the series, though as a teen I wasn't really into fantasy or sci-fi. I was a big fan of the Babysitter's Club when I was in middle school. When it made a come back a few year's ago I thought about picking up one to see if it was what I remembered. But Mom got rid of all of them and I'm thinking it might be a better left to the memories. Girl Who Reads

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    1. I read a few of the Babysitters Club books when I was a teen. I remember liking them, but they were too tame for me. I prefer my books to be full of death.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  7. This is new to me, but I will tell you right now, as a teen, the only books I read outside of school reading were contemporary romances. Huh? Funny how things haven't changed much in 30 years. =)
    Sam @ WLABB

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    1. I still read dystopias, so my reading tastes haven’t changed much, either.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. That sounds like a cool concept. You couldn't have been the only one who liked it, otherwise it wouldn't have gotten published. The premise of having no adults to run the world does sound a lot like Lord of the Flies, though. Does it end the same way?

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    1. I have no idea how it ends. I was never able to find the “December” book.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  9. Interesting concept for a story. I was definitely in the adult catagory in 2000 and can tell you that I am very glad I did not turn into a blob of goo :) I do remember going crazy over V.C. Andrews books in my teens. I want to do a re-read but I am a bit afraid that it will lose some of its charm in my old age.

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  10. I've never heard of this series TBH. Most of what I read as a kid doesn't read well for me as an adult but I don't really have time for rereads at the moment! I was kind of obsessed with nuclear war as a kid rather than black goo syndrome...*grins*

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  11. How funny that you loved them but never got to read the whole series. You're probably right that some things are better left as memories, though. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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