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Literature / The Gordian Event

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The first novel by Lee Deadkeys and book one of the Blue World Wars trilogy, The Gordian Event follows a dynamic group of survivors trying to survive the titular Gordian Event. From the book description on amazon:

The large stone boxes did not rain from the sky. They simply appeared, materializing behind secured doors, in prisons, hospitals and traffic-congested streets across the globe.

The boxes, impenetrable and immovable, leave the world's leaders and local authorities helpless to act, mere spectators to a consuming panic gripping the nations and their peoples.

No one suspected what horrors lay within until the day the boxes opened, unleashing a plague of parasitic alien spores on the unprepared populace. Anyone infected is transformed into a violent maniac with a single goal—Find more hosts!

Soon the cities belong to the infected. Mankind's greatest achievements lay in ruins. Food and water are commodities to be fiercely protected. Shelter is any place that can be defended, and self-preservation is dependent upon skill with weapons. All who are able must escape the cities as the ever-growing hordes of infected humans hunt for new hosts and roving gangs of desperate survivors steal anything of use.

In Phoenix, Arizona, a diverse band of survivors is tested to their limits by this other-worldly plague and the ensuing madness that consumes civilization. Each of the survivors must adapt to overcome the brutal challenges that they face.

As they search for an oasis in the Arizona desert, the close-knit group of survivors are attacked at every turn by victims of the infection and the worst examples of humanity.

With their hard-won haven attained, they allow themselves a fragile moment to bask in relative safety. But like all refugees, they soon discover that not only is sanctuary precious in this harsh new world...it is also fleeting.
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The Gordian Event contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Jess is one of the best prepared survivors, skilled with guns and an excellent scavenger. In spite of getting in her own way, she remains one of the most valuable and active members of the group. Annie also qualifies.
  • Adult Fear: The survivors are all driven from their homes and forced to deal with a world out of control. Annie’s daughter was kidnapped and it’s implied that bad things happened before they could rescue her.
  • After the End: The Gordian Event wipes out most of the world’s population and leaves scattered survivors. Prisoners escape from the asylums and the infected wander in search of hosts, but the world also holds regular people like the protagonists.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Gordians are aggressive, unreasonable and forcibly infect their hosts.
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  • Alien Invasion: The Gordians are said to be unlike anything on earth, and an alien ship arrives in the epilogue.
    Seargent West: Well, we’re not saying it’s aliens…
    Angel: But it’s aliens
  • Dumb Blonde: Delilah stays with Dick against all reason and ends up as one of the first infected.
  • Contagious Laughter: When Mason starts laughing when Jess nearly drops an industrial can of pears on him, everyone joins in.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: Once the survivors get settled in the cabin, they get comfortable with powdered lemonade and fresh game.
    Rudy: [mock horrified] No crumpets?
  • Daylight Horror: Almost every violent or horrific encounter happens during the day. An infected pregnant woman had expelled her fetus due to the parasite, and was dragging it around by its umbilical cord in broad daylight.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: Animals hate the Gordian boxes, gathering around them and attacking anybody that gets close. Humans have to fight through the dogs, rats and birds that guard the boxes to get a look inside.
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  • Fan Disservice: Any scene involving Dick shows a lovely model of the ideal overweight, unwashed man.
  • Gun Porn: Every new firearm that appears gets a loving description,
  • Jerkass: Dick Cropp slaps his girlfriend around, verbally abuses his customers and is mean to dogs. Hostile, insane dogs, but still.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Multiple characters have nightmares. Sam has nightmares based on events in the prison, Mason based on what happened to his neighbor and Rudy has visions of a blue world. Most characters have nightmares in response to trauma.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Gordians take over their host's motor functions, and it's unclear exactly how much influence they have over their mental state. The hosts typically go insane.
  • Parasite Zombie: People infected with the Gordian parasite are effectively zombies, until the parasite matures and drives the host to water to spawn.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sgt. West is a National Guardsman tasked with dispatching those infected and transporting survivors to a FEMA camp. On encountering the protagonists, he doesn't seize their weapons and force them to the camp at Mason's request. Mason explains why he's not taking his group to the overpopulated FEMA camp. West listens and unofficially suggests they hole up someplace outside of town. He even leaves the group with medical supplies and has his medic help their wounded.
  • Transformation Horror: The slow transformation from beginning of infection to the bloated end stage is gruesome and painful, with the host's skin splitting and internal organs digested by the parasite.
  • Would Hurt a Child: It’s implied that Alex was brutalized and raped by the escaped convicts in the desert. They probably hurt Billy and Bailey as well, though it was not specified.
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