Illustrator, author and podcast host Ben Tallon has released his take on suburban horror with Stories for the Apocalypse #1, an anthology collection about coping and capitulation in a rabid consumerist society. And to help bring the tales to life, Ben has been captured by photographer Daniel Allison for a series of spooky posters.
Straddling both black comedy and suburban horror, Stories for the Apocalypse #1 lives up to its cheery name by containing seven character-driven stories about medical distrust, gluttony in western culture, social media etiquette, ghost discrimination, misconceptions, and extreme taboo-busting.
Aiming to dig deep into the human psyche and examine how people cope in the modern world, the collection of tales is a pertinent reflection of how we're coping with the escalating mania which has risen in a post-COVID world.
Despite its timing, though, Stories for the Apocalypse #1 isn't as tied to the coronavirus as you may think. "My use of the term 'Apocalypse' was never about the COVID-19 pandemic," Ben explains.
"I began to see people all around me behaving in increasingly desperate ways, teetering on all kinds of private collapse because of the messed-up way we consume and project false happiness incessantly, while the world quite literally burns," he adds.
"Myself included, we're all struggling to keep up with the ferocity and insanity of modern life; something we recognise, on some spiritual level, as our looming demise. Society's wheels have come loose. I saw people escaping, screaming, shouting, crying and behaving in increasingly extreme ways, so I began to write characters who embodied that rising mania. This is the first batch."
Delivered through "unnerving and brutally comedic" prose, Talon us readers to characters including feeder pensioners, a spirit-prejudiced TV psychic, a bank manager with a bizarre fetish, and parents prepared to go to any lengths for rest. Presented in an array of thought-provoking styles, these narratives promise to be a merciless skewering of 21st-century culture.