In The Alas League by Christian-Eric Falardeau, the Earth is experiencing devastation after nations start launching missiles. With mayhem happening around the world and everyone looking for shelter, most of the inhabitants of the small village called Verminus prefer to drink their Guinness. They heed the advice of one of theirs who says: “The only intelligent thing to do is… to do nothing. That way, it will be over quick and easy. If we lock ourselves up, we’re likely to survive.” Life doesn’t stop in Verminus, though. New mysteries begin to surface, including a hut that has an alien interior and the promise of the gift of “The Alas League.” The novel follows characters in this small village as they interpret and respond to the apocalyptic events taking place around them, including the priest, who thinks everything is symbolic, Sylvia, the owner of the only bar in the village, Lens, and many others. Can they wake up from their stupor when they most need to see things as they are?
Christian-Eric Falardeau’s novel is a classic tale that will have an irresistible appeal to fans of Albert Camus’ The Plague. The novel is well-crafted to feature the reactions of different characters toward a devastating event. Readers will enjoy the drama, the quirkiness in most of the characters, and the exalting banter that punctuates the narrative. Written in an episodic style, The Alas League feels like a Philosophical work with an apocalyptic setting, a story that balances the fine elements of science fiction with the author’s deft exploration of quirky characters. Verminus is a village filled with mysteries and while some of them are quickly unraveled, readers can’t help but wonder at the idiosyncrasies of most of the inhabitants. Falardeau has a remarkable gift for writing dramatic scenes that are brimming with humor, and this novel is absolutely hilarious, thought-provoking, and sometimes filled with a strong sense of the tragic and the absurd. It is a delectable read featuring a voice that is powerful and lively. It can be read as a satire of our age where we prefer to drink cool aid than face the disturbing political realities staring us in the face — just like the people of Verminus.