Authors: Brian Clevinger
Tags: #General Fiction
by Brian Clevinger
NUKLEAR AGE copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. Nuklear Age, the Nuklear Age logo, and all characters, likeness and situations featured herein are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Brian Clevinger. Except for review purposes, no portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the express written permission of Brian Clevinger. All names, characters, locations and events in this publication are fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events, institutions, or locales, without satiric intent, is coincidental.
I’d like to thank all the brilliant pulp and comics writers of the previous century. You guys were just a bunch of charlatans and hucksters trying to make a few bucks, but somewhere along the line you screwed up and left us with a legacy of wonderful and absurd stories that will be forever lodged in our subconsciousness. We are richer for it. I’ll be lucky to fulfill just the charlatan/huckster part and get a hot meal out of this line of work.
Preface to the 2012 Digital Edition
So, me and this book, we got a history.
I started writing it in the summer of 1996 and finished it in December of 2000. It was "my life's work" at the ripe old age of twenty-two.
Of course, sitting here today at the ripe older age of thirty-four, it's obviously the clumsy work of an amateur. I feel a pang of embarrassment every time someone hands me a copy to sign. But, y'know, that's okay. This is what I was writing back when I was too young and inexperienced to know I couldn't write. It was the age of dial-up modems and Grunge music being more-or-less "in." It was an embarrassing time for all of us!
And the fact that
to this day
I'm still asked to sign well-worn copies of this thing at conventions speaks to something about the book. Yeah, it's flawed. The prose is purple and the craft is clunky. Also it’s a million pages long. But people found a way to connect to it and to love it anyway.
So, what the hell. I'll be a little embarrassed and a little proud.
Addendum to the Preface Because I'm Dumb
Oh, hey! I almost forgot.
Okay, so, folks have been asking/begging me to write the sequel, Atomik Age, for years. And, guys, I tried. I did. There's fragments of four or five attempts at Atomik Age on my hard drive right now. I got as far as one-third of the way through once. All I can say is the magic wasn't there, and I'm doing you a favor by not subjecting you to it anyway just to turn a quick buck.
I can give you guys a taste of it. This edition of Nuklear Age contains the
never before published
final chapter of Atomik Age. Yes, it's true. Since I tend to figure out the endings of stories before starting them, I wrote the final chapter before I wrote the stuff that would lead to it.
While I can't give you the sequel, but I can give you its ending.
It's a little trippy!
Issue 1 – Giant Sized Special Deluxe Gold Foil Embossed Holographic Variant Cover Collector’s Edition
High caliber machine-gun fire tore across the city. Debris and shards of glass spilled over the streets as an explosion rocked the earth and gave way to a cacophony of screams that mixed into a tumultuous cocktail of civic chaos.
“It must be Tuesday,” Nuklear Man said to himself as he soared over the downtown spires of Metroville. He made a wide golden loop around the roof of an office building that had all the harsh angles and weird geometry of a modern skyscraper. Another volley of heavy arms fire barked up at him from the streets. Scores of bullets zipped by like furious bees. Nuklear Man’s highly advanced mind buzzed with intelligence. It was a simple matter of calculating a series of trigonometric equations to pinpoint the gunfire’s exact origin in the streets beneath him and rocket into justice.
Nuklear Man stumbled out of the demolished rubble of what had been a very large bank lobby. He groggily shook the dust out of his hair. “Wish I knew trigonometry.” He coughed up a puff of plaster.
The street was full of abandoned traffic and the sidewalks were devoid of humanity. The citizens of Metroville were used to things like this and they knew how and when to clear an area. The Eyewitness Action on the Spot Breaking News Force team was already setting up along nearby storefronts and behind the larger parked and overturned cars. Since they were news anchors, the area was
devoid of humanity.
Nuklear Man examined the filthy state of his outfit. Its sun-themed yellows and oranges were a soup of masonry gray. The trademark Nuklear Style N with little electron orbits displayed on his chest was completely obscured and he certainly wasn’t going to have any of that. The state of his cape wouldn’t bear mentioning at all. He closed his eyes and concentrated. A glow emanated from his body as his ever-present Plazma Aura intensified. It grew, slowly at first, then burst like a hundred simultaneous camera flashes. He was clean once more.
Nuklear Man could see the news crew making a fuss on the other side of the street. There was a lot of pointing and other excited gesticulations in his general direction.
“Geez, you’d think they never saw a
handsome Hero before.”
object of their attentions then turned the corner.
A two ton walking gun platform, it was some sort of robot, presumably of the Military Prototype Gone Horribly Awry variety. It was built with one very simple design philosophy: bullets kill people. Each of Mechanikill’s arms were five Gatling guns. They were already spinning up as Nuklear Man’s light speed reflexes kicked in.
“Hey, Mechanikill!” he would have said, if not for the hail of bullets that blasted him out the side of the ruined bank and into the street. His superhero outfit was a dusty shambles all over again.
Nuklear Man was flat on his back in the middle of the street. Half a dozen vehicles had been pushed aside or knocked over on his way there. “Well, that wasn’t fair,” he said while raising himself up on his elbows.
“Fair?!” Mechanikill’s speakers spat with digital surround sound ire. “Don’t talk to me about being fair!” It waddled over to Nuklear Man smashing chunks of debris with every robotic step.
“For the love of Liberty’s cape,” Nuklear Man muttered as he stood. “You don’t talk to
Nuklear Man’s verbal riposte scrambled Mechanikill’s logic circuits for an instant. This happened at least once every time they clashed and it would have been the perfect time for Nuklear Man to follow up with a devastating barrage of attacks to subdue the Metallic Menace by way of complete destruction.
He saw the news crew scrambling into position to get good shots of this new battlefield. He reflexively Plazma Burst his costume clean. It wasn’t that he was vain, he just couldn’t live in a universe where he wasn’t beautiful. He turned back to Mechanikill.
“I don’t spend several hundred dollars a month on dry cleaning so that my spiffy outfit can take this kind of abuse from the likes of you!” Nuklear Man said as Mechanikill’s digital senses returned.
"You just cleaned yourself!" the robot spat.
Nuklear Man stomped over to the robot and shoved an accusatory finger in the vicinity of its optical sensors. He often found the best way to deal with things like accusations and the truth was to ignore them entirely and forge ahead undaunted. "And I most certainly don’t take a good
minutes from my busy schedule of eating, sleeping, eating again, and watching cartoons to patrol the city for acts of villainy—so I can perpetuate the illusion that I’m actually doing my job while being given license to dispense justice by completely disposing
justice—only to have
pop up and delay my return to the sweet, sweet couch where I can continue my eating, sleeping, cartoon cycle!” He gave Mechanikill a shove that knocked him back a few heavy steps. “So don’t
talk to me about fair!”
“You said that already.”
“Don’t you said that to
There was an audible pop as Mechanikill’s logic circuits, already strained beyond their Reasonable Limit, finally blew. The robot shuddered as the final nuances of sanity coursed out of its intelligence matrix. It made a sickly whine like a smoke detector in a blackout. It teetered, hovering between vertical and horizontal alignment for an eternal moment, and collapsed backwards in slow motion.
Nuklear Man took a deliberate step away from the fallen beast. “It was self-defense!” His eyes darted back and forth. “Yes. And since he’s not in any condition to testify otherwise, I’ll get away with it! Again!” He turned to walk away as casually as a man running away in blind terror can. He took three panicked strides from the slain husk and froze. A bolt of terror ripped up his spine and strangled his brain stem. The Eyewitness Action on the Spot Breaking News Force team had captured the whole dirty murder on tape.“Way to go Nuklear Man!” the sound man cheered.
“Yeah! We got it all on tape!” the cameraman pumped his fist enthusiastically.
“This’ll get me the top story for sure!” the anchorman said to his cell phone.
“Curses!” Nuklear Man cursed under his breath. He shrugged. “Well, I suppose it was going to come to this eventually.” Fusion-like energy rippled from his clenched fists. “I must eliminate
witnesses: actual, potential,
imaginary! The Purging will be swift and without remorse.”