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My Interview with Benjamin Wallace, creator of Duck and Cover!

As my own post-apocalyptic parody, A Happy Bureaucracy, is just around the corner, I wanted to celebrate by talking to one of the best in the genre, Benjamin Wallace!

Benjamin Wallace is a trailblazer in the post-apocalyptic parody genre. Though the wasteland has been lampooned plenty of times in comic form it never really got the attention that it deserved in prose. Benjamin Wallace’s Duck and Cover series changed that. Benjamin is an honest fan of the post-apocalyptic, and his love for it is obvious when you read his books. Check it out:

Logan walked over to a large map on the wall, grabbed a pen and started marking towns and settlements…

“Hope, Hopeful, Last Hope, Hopefulville, The Town Of New Hofeyulvilleness, The Town of Hope, Hope City, New Hope, New Hope, New Hope…”

From Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors.

Benjamin Wallace interjects his lighthearted wit into a world that should be full of terror. Below are his insights into the apocalypse and exactly what makes it so attractive to readers.

My Interview with Benjamin Wallace

Benjamin Wallace.

Fitz: Throughout the Duck and Cover series you are not shy about pop culture references. Bands like Gogol Bordello (a personal favorite of mine) or movies like A Boy and his Dog and Zardoz (also favorites) are name-dropped in a single chapter. What would you say was the biggest pop-culture influence on the series and how does it inform your writing?

Ben: First and foremost it would be the Mad Max series. When I started looking for the humor in the apocalypse, I knew the best place to find it would be in the survivors. I don’t think there’s been another time in history where the general population was less capable to live with the lights off then now. A lot of the basis for the humor was really in exploring what we’d try to hold on to from the “old world” and how people would try to rebuild. Our only frame of reference would be the movies we’d all seen. And, lucky for me, most of those movies aren’t very good. Enjoyable, but not very good.

Fitz: Your characters are often disappointed as the apocalypse that they learned about in said movies does not match the more mundane one presented to them. This irreverent and smart tone honestly reminds me a little bit of Douglas Adams. Unlike a lot of post-apocalyptic parodies you find a way to not get too knee-deep in the darkness of the genre and the comedy is genuinely light-hearted (considering the setting, at least). Is your sense of “glass half full” sense of humor reflective of your own philosophy on life?

Ben: I’d like to say I’m cheery and light-hearted but I probably throw as many middle fingers in traffic as the next guy. But, the upside of things is a great place to find a joke these days. The news is hyperbolic doom and gloom. Stand up comedy is just insults for applause or mining the darkest subjects possible to be edgy. No one’s expecting fun and happiness anymore. Especially not in a post-apocalyptic world.

Fitz: While we’re on the subject, why write a parody of the post-apocalypse and not a more serious take on the genre?

Ben: Did you see Connery’s thong in Zardoz? The genre was just asking for it.

Also, aside from growing up on Mad Max and Warlords of the 21st Century, I watched an awful lot of Zucker, Abrams and Zucker. Bringing the two together was something I always wanted to do.

Fitz: Unfortunately I have seen Connery’s thong. A quick note for the readers: if you have ever wanted to see a mustachioed Sean Connery utter the words “Stay in my psychic bubble,” without a hint of humor, then Zardoz is your jam.

Anyways, there is a scene in the first book where it is revealed that most of the new wasteland settlements are named “New Hope”. This is a joke that I think only a very well educated person in the genre could make. What is it about the apocalypse that attracts you to it?

Ben: The post-apocalyptic world is a pretty liberating landscape. A sandbox with no authority. No rules. That frees characters from a lot of restrictions a contemporary setting would put on them so I can push the nonsense a little further without it seeming too ridiculous. But, honestly, everyone would call their town New Hope and believe they’re the only ones who thought of it. Committees suck.

Fitz: You have been in the indie game near its start. What would you say is the biggest challenge that indie-authors face? Are you optimistic about the future of the scene or are you worried about its prospects?

Ben: Balancing productivity with marketing is my biggest challenge. Trying to write the next several books while still trying to sell the previous ones clutters the headspace a bit. But there’s still more potential in the indie world than ever before. Audiobooks are growing. Stigmas are all but gone. And I’ve always enjoyed the idea that my success or failure is up to me and not the whims of the market. From what I see the community is stronger than ever and those in it take it very seriously. Which is a nice change from several years ago.

Fitz: Where can we find your books and do you have any other projects that you are excited about?

Ben: My books are available on Amazon. And many are now available on Audible as well. I’ve got a big year planned with a lot of new releases in the post-apocalyptic series and others. I’m also doing my to best make sure my newsletter doesn’t suck and would love it if people followed my there. There’s a free book in it for them.

You can get your own copy of Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors here!

…And don’t forget to check out M.P. Fitzgerald’s own post-apocalyptic parody, A Happy Bureaucracy!

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My Interview with Benjamin Wallace, creator of Duck and Cover!


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