Steven Gould is the author of many short stories and novels, including Jumper, which was turned into a movie (a fun flick worth seeing if you haven't already). His story in the Ellen Datlow/Terri Windling anthology After is a heartwarming (pun intended) story of family survival.
It starts off with the main character, Jeremy, watching what – at first – seems to be normal beetle-like bugs crawling across a soda can. But they are not ordinary bugs; they are metal-eating insects, devouring any and all metal they can find.
Jeremy and his family – father, mother and sister – set out on leaving their home, going to a safe-zone in order to avoid the creatures. But they miscalculate and find themselves (and their car) deep within a swarm.
Since the creatures are only interested in metal, it would seem that humans are safe. Unless they have fillings or, say, a pacemaker... which the father has. And these determined little “buggers” will eat through anything to get to the metal underneath.
After the car breaks down, what follows is an interesting tale of ingenuity, courage and patience. Lots of patience.
While all of the tales in After deal with life after an apocalypse of some sort, this one stood out because of the way the normal characters dealt with an extraordinary situation. They're a family like any other, with their quirks and flaws, but they maintain a balance that carries the story through. Definitely a good read, and great addition to the anthology.
Nancy O. Greene started writing at the age of nine. Her short story collection, Portraits in the Dark, received a brief mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007. Other works have appeared or will appear in ChiZine; Lovecraft eZine; Cemetery Dance; Tales of Blood and Roses; Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror; Shroud Publishing's The Terror at Miskatonic Falls; Dark Recesses; Flames Rising; Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! and others. She has a BA in Cinema (Critical Studies) and a minor in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern California, and is a Fellow of Film Independent's Project:Involve.