The Alas League is an entertaining humorous series made up of episodes ranging from 80 to 140 pages each. Brief “interlude” short stories are inserted between instalments, adding increasingly funny new angles to the new Worlds they live in.
Episode 1: Purgatory
In the small village of Verminus lives Mayor Monica Boisse, her son Peter, Father Ferdinand Paradise, the owner of the only bar Sylvia Thomac, the garbage man Mario Sax, the police officer Mable Hudgeon and the computer scientist Sophia Ware. With them are the rich Reginald Verrywiz, his secretary Alice, an old couple Alberic and Adelaide with their grand-daughter Julia and the trade unionist Andrew Bank. We must not forget Gerard Piston the civil engineer, and Vincent Lens the astronomer! And is Mimi van Dame truly a dressmaker or is she a retired world champion mud-wrestler? In fact, there are (or rather, were) many more inhabitants in the small village, but the coming of a great cataclysm drove them to take refuge on the mountain. Now, are those left behind going to be the first happy victims or are they condemned to survive? And in that last eventuality, will it be that terrible or is the movie “The Day After” exaggerating? And what about this mysterious and courteous “Alas League”?
Episode 2: The Dragons of Verminus
Our villagers, having barely begun to familiarize themselves with their new environment, meet with Sully Citor, a mediocre merchant with a certain flair for golden opportunities. Meanwhile, late-payment notices cross paths with subscription cancellation threats. Only one thing can explain the situation, but they don’t discover it until the end!
Strange things are afoot in Verminus, and they’ll only get stranger, though Falardeau offers answers at a steady clip—albeit answers that, in turn, stir more questions. Split into two halves, The Alas League at first mines its mysteries for thoughtful comedy, as the chatty residents interpret everything through their blinkered perspectives: “It’s symbolic,” insists the town priest, when challenged on a finer point of his interpretation of Revelation. “Don’t get hung up in the details.” That priest, in “The Dragons of Verminus,” the novel’s surprising second half, will be known as Pope Ferdinand I, as the story takes on time-displacement, a Galactic Bank, and the fate of Earth’s survivors, who now—well, it would be churlish to spoil the mysteries.
“The Dragons of Verminus” continues the local-color comedy (“They’re full of gas and hot-dogs,” someone warns of the titular dragons) while leaning into the science fiction aspects and setting up several books to come. Readers who like their apocalyptic adventures smart and funny—but not a joke—will find much here that’s inventive, bonkers, true-to-life, and narratively satisfying.
Takeaway: This amusing apocalyptic novel imagines a small village somehow persisting after the bombs fall.
Great for fans of: Terry Pratchett, Becky Chambers.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B