For the past few months I have been previewing my forthcoming post-apocalyptic series, Dark Vanishings. It’s high time I delivered a progress update, and I’m pleased to announce the first episode in the Dark Vanishings serial will be released in paperback and on Kindle in May.
Having received a few questions regarding what the story is about and how the series is structured, I decided to put together a small preview to whet your appetite.
Dark Vanishings – The Story
“What would you do if almost everyone on earth suddenly disappeared? Where would you go? What choices would you make?”
The premise of Dark Vanishings begins by asking this question. Would you seek others and try to rebuild some semblance of society? Would you be so grief-stricken that you couldn’t act? All doors are open to you, meaning you can live anywhere and do anything you please.
But there is more at work than meets the eye. The mystery of why everyone disappeared still exists, as does the fear that not everyone left on earth can be trusted.
Think 80s Horror meets Dark Fantasy meets The Stand.
Dark Vanishings is a serial-based series, somewhat in the vein of Stephen King’s Green Mile and The Blackstone Chronicles by John Saul. The first three books will be released approximately one month apart, with Dark Vanishings 1 hitting the shelves in mid to late May, Dark Vanishings 2 being released in late June, and Dark Vanishings 3 coming out in late July. I anticipate four or five books in the series, each between 150 and 200 pages.
The Dark Vanishings concept fits perfectly into the serial format, as it follows different people and groups vying to survive the dangers of a lost world. However I appreciate not everyone will prefer a serial format. For this reason, when all books in the series are written, I will release one large novel encompassing the entire story. You will have a choice to follow along with the serial format, reading the individual books in nice, manageable chunks, or purchasing the compilation.
Dark Vanishings and The Stand
The “Dark Vanishings” series by Dan Padavona delves into a chilling post-apocalyptic world where people suddenly vanish without any discernible pattern or reason. As the global population dwindles, the remaining survivors grapple with the eerie emptiness of once bustling locales. The series balances moments of chilling horror with themes of loss, solitude, and the human instinct for survival. Throughout the narrative, Padavona weaves elements of mystery, raising questions about the nature of the disappearances and whether an external, perhaps supernatural, force is at play.
As the series progresses, Padavona introduces a diverse cast of characters, each bringing their own histories, fears, and aspirations into the desolate world they now inhabit. These individual tales become interconnected threads, painting a complex picture of humanity in the face of incomprehensible loss.
With society’s structures obliterated, some find solace in banding together, forging new makeshift communities in a bid for safety and companionship, while others become nomadic, haunted by their past and the echoing silence of the world.
The tension escalates when traces of sinister forces emerge, hinting at darker truths behind the vanishing phenomenon. This adds layers of psychological dread to the already palpable physical dangers, underscoring the narrative’s exploration of humanity’s resilience and vulnerability in the face of the inexplicable.
Comparison with “The Stand” by Stephen King:
Stephen King’s “The Stand” is often hailed as one of the pinnacle achievements in post-apocalyptic literature. Set in a world decimated by a virulent superflu, it confronts themes of good vs. evil, free will, and societal reconstruction.
While both “Dark Vanishings” and “The Stand” deal with mass human disappearances and the aftermath of an apocalyptic event, their approach and narrative tone differ in distinct ways:
- Cause of Apocalypse: In “The Stand,” the reason for the apocalypse is clear from the outset—a deadly virus. On the other hand, “Dark Vanishings” shrouds the cause of the disappearances in mystery, making the uncertainty a central pillar of the story’s horror element.
- Scale and Scope: King’s work paints a vast canvas, ranging from intimate character portraits to broad sociopolitical themes, weaving an elaborate tale of the struggle between good and evil. Padavona’s series, while also broad in scope, places a greater emphasis on the personal experiences and psychological impacts of survivors.
- Tone and Atmosphere: While both novels lean heavily into their horror roots, “The Stand” has a more epic, sprawling feel, akin to a grand battle between light and darkness. “Dark Vanishings” leans more towards psychological horror, placing characters in unsettling situations and drawing terror from the unknown and the unseen.
- Character Interplay: Both series excel in character development, but where “The Stand” often focuses on the larger collective of survivors banding together, “Dark Vanishings” often zeroes in on individual or smaller group experiences, emphasizing the isolating nature of the event.
While both “Dark Vanishings” and “The Stand” address the aftermath of global cataclysmic events, they offer readers unique perspectives and emotional experiences. King’s work is an intricate tapestry of hope, despair, and the age-old battle between good and evil, whereas Padavona’s series is a haunting exploration of disappearance, desolation, and the psychological horrors of the unknown.
Which should read? Both, of course!
Padavona and King have proven themselves masters of the post-apocalyptic fiction genre, and Dark Vanishings has become a staple series.
In the coming weeks, I will reveal the cover for Dark Vanishings 1, as well as zero in on a release date. I will offer a pre-sale for book 1 at a significant discount as a way of saying thank you to everyone for supporting my journey as an indie horror writer.
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