Alden Bell biography and books reviewed

Alden Bell lives in New York with his wife, an Edgar-award-winning novelist.

For the past nine years he has taught high school English at an Upper East Side prep school.

Since 2002, he has also taught literature and cultural studies courses as an adjunct professor at the New School. He graduated from Berkeley with a degree in English and a minor in creative writing. In 2000, he received his Master’s and Ph.D. in English at New York University, specializing in twentieth-century American and British literature.

"I think the cultural fascination of post-apocalyptic literature has a lot to do, interestingly enough, with a longing for freedom and potential. Even though these stories are filled with landscapes of barren despair, nonetheless there’s always a subtext of starting over with a fresh slate. The stories are always much more about building than falling apart: so you get movies like Dawn of the Dead, which is a kind of wish-fulfilment fantasy of being the only person in a massive shopping mall. I think that to a lot of people beset by a world in which they feel oppressed, commonplace or simply unnoticed, the idea of being a survivor of apocalypse gives them the hope of self-reinvention. As a reader of such stories, you begin to imagine all the things you could do in that vast emptiness. That’s why I spend so much time on Temple’s appreciation of the beauty of the devastated world around her: I think she understands better than most the silver lining of the apocalypse."
Alden Bell on why people love a post-apocalyptic setting

August 5th 2010 interview with Alden Bell

Alden Bell lives in New York and has, for the past ten years, taught high school English there. He graduated from Berkeley with a degree in English and a minor in creative writing and, in 2000, received his Master’s and Ph.D. in English from New York University (specialising in twentieth-ce [...]

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Alden Bell reviews

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

God is a slick god. Temple knows. She knows because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe... Older than her years and completely alone, Temple is just trying to live one day at a time in a post-apocalyptic world, where the undead roam endlessly, and the remnant of mankind who have survived, at times, seem to retain little humanity themselves. This is the world she was born into. Temple has known nothing else. Her journey takes her to far-flung places, to people struggling to maintain some semblance of civilization – and to those who have created a new world order for themselves. When she comes across the helpless Maury, she attempts to set one thing right, if she can just get him back to his family in Texas then maybe it will bring redemption for some of the terrible things she's done in her past. Because Temple has had to fight to survive, has done things that she's not proud of and, along the road, she’s made enemies. Now one vengeful man is determined that, in a world gone mad, killing her is the one thing that makes sense…

"The Reapers are the Angels is a real triumph, a literary fantasy where the zombies are mostly window-dressing. This is a novel more concerned with people and their relationships, with the human spirit and all its flaws and frailties. It's a story driven by the characters' needs to establish some sort of order in their lives, some sort of goal to cling to, and all the pitfalls that arise because of this need. It speaks of resilience and belief, of hope and sorrow, and the need to look for the beauty in life, no matter how hard that might be. An instant post-apocalyptic classic." Speculative Horizons

"A haunting and beautifully written vision of fractured humanity that may soon be regarded as a classic within its genre" Fantasy Book Review

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Exit Kingdom by Alden Bell

The Reapers are the Angels was one of my favourite books of 2011, and is indeed one of my favourite books within the entire dystopian/post apocalyptic genre. I have two things to thank its author Alden Bell for: Firstly for writing a book I enjoyed so much and secondly for introducing me to the work of Cormac McCarthy, whose influence on Bell and his writing is evident in both these works. Any who have read McCarthy's The Road and fallen under its sparse and poetic charm will delight in the two books Bell has produced.

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