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Soft Apocalypse

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  1,513 ratings  ·  327 reviews
What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America's previously stable society apart, the New Normal is a "Soft Apocalypse." This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang.
"It's so hard to believe, Colin said as we crossed the steaming, empty parking lot toward the bowling alley.
ebook, 218 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Night Shade Books (first published 2011)
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This was the most recent Free Friday offering for the Nook. I started reading Friday morning and finished by Monday. It really belongs on an apocalypse bookshelf rather than a post-apocalyptic, but I don't want to add another shelf.

Most literary apocalypses are sudden and unexpected. One day, the characters are going about their normal business, the next they're fighting off zombies or looters to survive. In this bleak novel, the apocalypse is slow and nobody really realizes it's happening even
An interesting concept. As a student of history I understand that when Human societies have collapsed it takes awhile and it progresses slowly. Meanwhile people continue to live their lives remembering the "good old days" as everything gradually collapses around them.

Nobody really knows if they are living in such a time. Usually every generation, at some point, thinks that it is living in such a time. This time is ours. Just the way my parents viewed the 1970's as that decade was happening.

Well, that was awful. I mean really, really awful. This novel of the near future could not make up its mind as to what it wanted to be. It started out ripping off journey-style novels like The Road. Then it went into a remnants of civilization type novel where the lead character finds salvation working at a convenience store. Then for a few pages it becomes, of all things, a superhero novel but quickly gives that up. Then we're back on the road when the prototypical Government Crackdown happens. ...more
What happens when our government begins to lose it's authority, disease is rampant and unemployment is the norm, not the exception? A "soft apocalypse", that's what. No asteroids, no nukes, no zombies. Just an agonizingly slow decline into chaos.

This is the story of Jasper and his "tribe" as they make their way through Georgia to Savannah and try to live as "normally" as possible in a world gone a little mad. There are designer viruses and out-of-control militias. There are truly frightening cul
OMG, so much better than Parable of the Sower(/Talents), by Octavia Butler, despite so many similarities in the scope & type of tragedies & journeys they detailed. This book had all the pain and misery and horrors and multiplying levels of humanity being its own worst enemy, but without being so relentlessly grim or turning into torture porn. In fact, despite all the monstrous, painful, difficult things going on in this book, I thought the tone stayed refreshingly light & maintained ...more
This was one of the very best books with a dystopian theme I have read. I found it very realistic and emotional, and despite some issues here and there that may not be perfect, it made me engage in the story and I keep thinking about several parts of the story after finishing it (which I think a good book should do).

The language is at times "mature", but I found it fitting for the story. The characters where great, their feelings and actions were sometimes expected, sometimes surprising, yet und
Jasper and his tribe of formerly middle class Americans describe themselves as nomadic rather than homeless: they travel around the Southeastern U.S., scraping together the bare minimum to survive by spreading out solar blankets or placing small windmills by the highway to collect energy from passing cars, then trading the filled fuel cells for food. Fewer and fewer people want to deal with the “gypsies” who use up dwindling resources, and often they meet with indifference or even violence. Jasp ...more
In 1925, T.S. Eliot published his poem "The Hollow Men." The final lines are probably the most quoted from his poetry:

"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."

It is impossible to read "Soft Apocalypse" without recalling that stanza. It is 2023 and world civilization is crumbling. Our protagonists are a tribe of nomadic young people, dissolute, impoverished, and having no destination worthy of reaching.

Will McIntosh
Cecilia Solis-sublette
I am a fan of apocalptic and post-apocalypstic fiction and, as a fan, I must say this book was quite a ride. It has all of the great qualities of the genre that make it appealing. The reasons for the slow-coming apocalpse are plausable (probably too plausable which is why it is depressing in parts); the responses of individuals and groups are poignant, and both surprising and believable at the same time; the protagonist shows strong development/change as a result of the events, thus proving his ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Because of the mixed reviews, I thought hard about reading this book. Now I'm very glad I've read it (thanks A.C.). This book is the perfect companion to Jack Womack's Random Acts of Senseless Violence, because unfortunately Soft Apocalypse begins where Randoms Acts ends. From the first chapter we already have a broken world and a homeless main character. It's more like the middle and the end of a slow apocalypse. A beginning with the build up to the no return point, a little less coincidences a ...more
Jul 05, 2011 Richie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alex Garland
I'm a sucker for a good post-apocalyptic story - I'm one of the three people who liked "The Postman" after all! - so, I'm probably a bit biased. Disclaimer aside, though, I thought Will McIntosh's portrayal of the near-future and the world's downfall was an excellent read.

McIntosh follows Jasper and his "tribe" of friends through the slow destruction of the modern world. Like the frogs who boil alive in the open pot of water, unable to recognize the rising temperature, mankind is stuck in a perp
Derek Schneider
Toward the end of this book I was thinking 3 stars, but it had a good ending and i bumped it up one.

To start off; I like the plot of this story. After a second depression hits the world slowly but surely falls into decay. Numerous man-made viruses are infecting millions, the unemployment rate at the beginning of the book is at forty percent and declining, crime is sky rocketing and the police have reached the point where they're not milling to risk their lives for anyone. I can see this as a mor
I wanted to like "Soft Apocalypse," but I really didn't. I had the hardest time getting through it, even though it was so short. Even skimming it was a hardship.

The author has no talent for imagery and there are huge issues with the passage of time, both within single chapters and between. It seems like he had difficulty gauging how he should transition from scene to scene, so he didn't. In that aspect it's like something written by a child, "They/he/she were/was walking/standing/sitting and so
Ken Badertscher
Sadistic and relentlessly grim.

There are two kinds of people in McIntosh’s post-apocalyptic future: evil bastards and really malevolent bastards. The difference is that the merely evil bastards, who the book follows through more than a decade of hopelessly ever-increasing decrepitude, sometimes regret the horrible things they have to do. You have to be an evil bastard to survive, but feeling bad about it makes it okay. Their evil acts and the really malevolent bastards’ horrible deeds gnaw endle
May 26, 2011 Anne rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: absoulutely no one
Recommended to Anne by: libray
When you’re reading a book and wonder why, you are probably reading this one. I picked it up because I find Apocalypse theory books interesting. It’s fun to see what various writers come up with in a format on that topic. As no one knows what will/if it will ever happen, it’s a mystery, and gives an author an opportunity to throw his 2cents into the mix.

The only thing apocalyptic about this book was the “hero” and his attraction to women. It was ridiculous. I can see some interest in finding a
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I love tales of the apocalypse. I love whole continents sliding into the sea, epidemics wiping mankind off the face of the Earth in fits of coughing (and the odd buboe). I love the searing flash of the Doomsday bomb, the searing heat and blast of ashes. We're all doomed anyway, in some slow apocalypse in which we all die one at at time... and who will know we were there in a hundred, thousand or hundred-thousand years time? When you think that the oldest piece of Western "modern" art isn't yet a ...more
Right now, I needed this book. That is a statement one would reserve for having just read a terrific book, which I can not say I just did, but it would be said in response to a string of monotonous reads that was interrupted by a great one, and I find myself in a quite equal-but-opposite manner. That is to say, I am in a continuity of amazing reads, and I needed a palate cleanser to reset my taste. Or maybe palate greaser, as it were. I've absorbed so many other books that I immensely enjoyed, t ...more
Elizabeth Olson
As a group of friends survives each stage of civilization's crash, they jettison more and more of what they thought was important to them and even who they thought they were, just to live another day.

According to McIntosh, apocalypse will come upon us so slowly, we won't realize what's happening until it is perhaps too late to survive, much like the story of the frog in a pot of cold water with the heat gradually turned up to boiling -- the change is so incremental the frog, who would have jumpe
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

An end-of-the-world-as-we-know it story in the spirit of Margaret Atwood's Oryx & Crake and The Year of the Flood. We follow a small cast of characters who throw their lot together in a post-financial-collapse USA, sometime in the 2030s. Unemployment is over 50%; when we first meet this group of young, educated, professional but currently unemployed men and women, they're part of a nomadic commune wandering around the American south, sleeping in tents and moving from
Even though I only gave it four stars, this may end up as one of my favorite books read this year. I picked it up because of an online review, which praised it up and down. It took me a while to read it, because these types of novels aren't my usual thing. But wow.

I think what I loved about this book was the realistic narrator. He was an everyday guy, not an action hero. He did the best he could in increasingly horrible situations. And even in a soft apocalypse, human beings are driven by the ne
Not for the faint of heart! Anyone picking up this book should be aware that there are a number of horrific, violent scenes; if you don't care to read that kind of thing, this book isn't for you.

That said, I found it surprisingly compelling. The tension and suspense was such that I was half holding my breath through most of the book. I was invested in the characters and relationships almost right from the beginning, and I thought the author did an excellent job of depicting the struggle not only
It feels wrong to say that I "enjoyed" this book since it's dark, gritty and often depressing. Horrific things happen to a few of the characters too. So I'll just say I appreciated it.

Unlike other post-apocalypse books I've read, this one doesn't take us into an already established setting well after the collapse, or the collapse itself isn't some quick catastrophic event. This book is more Apocalypse-In-Progress.

When I first started reading, I thought I wouldn't like the book as it seemed too d
It's not hard for me to suspend my belief for a good read, especially if the genre is science fiction. And Will McIntosh's basic premise of the future breakup of society as we know it due to a meltdown of the world's economies intrigued me. Unfortunately, the details provided in McIntosh's novel were very fuzzy. In the beginning, we know that about 40% of all Americans are unemployed, and therefore there are large numbers of homeless people drifting around like gypsies, trading with each other t ...more
I picked this up as a Free Friday selection from Barnes & Noble. I am a fan of novels set in a dystopian future, so I was happy to see this made available as part of the Free Friday program.

Soft Apocalypse begins in the spring of 2023 in Savannah, Georgia, as a group of homeless twenty somethings scrape for food and money to get by. Throughout the book we get glimpses of this "tribe" who observe the slow decline of society over the course of ten years. We see all of this through the eyes of

Perhaps the best part of "Soft Apocalypse" is the idea itself, for once in the speculative end of the world, struggling to survive isn't fun. The characters aren't people to be jealous of, they are starving, dying, scared and at a loss for what to do. There 'exciting' world isn't the ideal one that's often portrayed, they aren't walking around being a law onto themselves, raiding wide-open grocery stores and saving damsels in distress. They are literally starving to death, they are on the run fr
C.V. Hunt
Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh isn’t a book that I normal read. There were no zombies, vampires, werewolves, or even a ghost that went bump in the night within its pages. The story is scary for reasons that monsters cannot compete with. The horror that lays in wait in this book is so close to reality, it’s scary.

The story starts in the year 2023, and follows a single male named Jasper just over the course of ten years, as the economy tanks, society falls apart, and the unemployment rate jumps
Three and a half stars.

This isn't so much post-apocalyptic as during the apocalypse. As the title suggests, this is a soft apocalypse, i.e., there's no one apocalyptic event, there's a series of smaller events that cumulatively lead to the disintegration of society. It's an interesting premise but there are some problems with it.

I was hoping it would start with the present day but the first chapter takes place a little over a decade into the future. Each chapter is 6 months or more in the futur
This was definitely a thought provoking, may I say frightening, read. It did not take much for me to identify with the 20-something liberal arts majors, the works central figures, who found themselves in increasingly dire circumstances in the 2020s, after American and world society had slowly disintegrated over the last few decades. Centered in the city of Savannah, Georgia, we watch helplessly as conditions deteriorate steadily over the years, but life goes on for the citizens. The “soft apocal ...more
Jasper is an easy going guy. Unfortunately, the world is melting down as it suffers from environmental, financial and political collapse. So instead of smoking weed, he's stuck wandering from place to place, just trying to survive in a screwed up world. He does still manage to scope out babes and find some attractive ones, despite the lack of hygiene products available in the future.

Jasper's story is reasonably enjoyable, but never really seems to dive into anything meaty. Part of the problem is
This book tells the story about a group of survivors during the long, slow demise of civilization. When the book starts, unemployment is around 40% in the US and many people have become gypsies looking for work and selling what they can to get by. The story follows the pattern of describing a few months when something pivotal happens to the main character, a man in his mid-20s, and then the story jumps forward about 2 years. This writing style allows the reader to understand the gradual undoing ...more
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Utopian and Dysto...: Recommendation 1 41 Dec 23, 2011 05:35PM  
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Will McIntosh is a Hugo Award -winning science fiction author. He has published dozens of short stories in magazines such as Asimov's Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, and Interzone. His stories are also frequently reprinted in different "Year's Best" anthologies.

McIntosh's first novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, a Locus Award,
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