Geoff North’s book tells a story of survival by a few humans in a post-apocalyptic world.

How the World Ends, published in November, 2019, is the latest of Geoff North’s 11 epic horror fantasies. This fictitious book set in Canada, is a story about survivors of nuclear bombs from a second Cold War, who become exposed to radiation sickness and horrendous experiments with tick swarms. 

North’s books depict apocalyptic disasters. Vengeance and brutality are central to this story, as the author makes us believe that world war and pandemic disease will bring the end of the world. 

In the first chapter, we are told about thousands of nuclear bombs that were released for the first time in the 21st century. This new Cold War sees countries such as North Korea, Pakistan and India going all out to kill people in Canada. North makes us believe in the “history repeats itself” cliché. 

In the author’s world, “The Disease Study Centre [in Winnipeg, Canada] produced numerous epidemic diseases such as ebola, smallpox and bubonic plague to destroy the world.” This time the centre is responsible for a lyme disease carried by deer ticks that were released by a scientist from the centre, Louie Finkbank. 

According to North, the lyme disease was hardly life-threatening, but in the climax of the story, we hear that airborne species of ticks migrated to the south of the country, leaving thousands of bloated zombies in their wake. The disease became pandemic because all scientists who knew how to stop its spread were killed by Finkbank. 

The setting is in a city in southern Canada. The protagonists are farmer Hayden Gooding and his son Nicholas, Angela Bennet, an accountant who survived a murder and rape attack by a bloodthirsty teenager, and the Fulger twins, Amanda and Michael. The twins, 11, escaped a threat from a mysterious man, later revealed as Roy Rodger, the antagonist of the story.

“The world’s ended, pal. There was a big war, and everybody lost. Get up and start taking care of yourself,” Rodger delivers this threat after killing a man. 

Those that were not killed by the nuclear bombs nor murdered by intruders in their homes for food and water had to deal with the swarm of deer ticks that transformed them to zombies. The protagonists have to find ways to escape the city and head north to seek new adventures. 

With books such as Lost Contact and Children of Extinction, North is known for dark horror themes that place humans in the centre of torture. This book’s story line is also about torture and brutality, threaded with North’s dark and epic fantasies. 

Inspired by horror, suspense and fantasy specialist Stephen King from an early age, North has written horror comic books. In a 2014 interview on Judy Goodwin’s wordpress blog, North said, “I’m not a fan of slasher, a bucket of blood and senseless torture. I like a nice, slow supernatural build that unsettles my readers along the way.”

It’s the unsolved mystery and terror in North’s writing that draws the reader and interests those who love to read conspiracy novels.  The book took me out of the abyss of lockdown boredom, as the title of the book intrigued me to want to know how the world would end. 

The book follows a simple narrative structure using simple language. The author teaches us about the importance of standing up for ourselves when the world turns against us.

From the massive radiation plague resulting from the nuclear bomb waste to the deadly swarming ticks that turn people into zombies, I was left with vivid and traumatic visions.

However, after building up to an interesting climax with the protagonists surviving the bombs and ticks, I found North’s conclusion weak as it left me with questions about what happens to the rest of the characters in the book.

For a horror story, he failed to show if and how the world indeed ended. Perhaps he was leaving the space open for his next book so he can explore another episode of this enduring theme of a series of apocalypses.

Vuvu Rating: 5/10

FEATURED IMAGE: The cover of How the World Ends. Photo: