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Everything Is Broken

3.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  91 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Twenty-year-old Russ arrives in the northern California town of Freedom to visit his dad. Freedom has peculiarities other than its odd name: the local mayor''s ideas of "decentralization" have left it without normal connections to state or federal government and minimal public services. Russ meets an interesting young woman, Pendra, but before he can get to know much about ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by Prime Books (first published December 22nd 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 08, 2013 Barry rated it it was ok
This had the potential as a nice bit of pulp nihilism. The novel's politics, while central to the story in many regards, are presented with such a lack of subtlety as to actually interfere with the overall mood of the story. Characters declare their stances in asides so forced the reader almost yearns for the more nuanced propaganda of an Ayn Rand. I share the author's disdain for "decentralization" (read: right-leaning libertarianism), I just wish he would have had more confidence in the reader ...more
Jacqui Talbot
Feb 17, 2012 Jacqui Talbot rated it it was amazing
When twenty-year-old Russ arrives in the northern California town of Freedom to visit his dad, he finds a town cut off from state and federal government. Thanks to the local mayor’s ideas of “decentralization,” Freedom enjoys minimal public services including medical care and law enforcement. Before Russ can get to know much about the town and its people – including an interesting young woman named Pendra – a massive tsunami strikes the West Coast, killing most of the town’s inhabitants and leav ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Squee rated it it was ok
This novel depicts a town that is severely damaged by a tsunami. Due to the mayor's expulsion of most of their government-run services (like the police and fire department) in favor of some nebulous free-market private-sector-worshiping magic, the town infrastructure is so crippled that chaos ensues and a lot more people end up dying than should have.

The book is a pretty damning condemnation of certain breeds of "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" libertarianism and conservatism, and that
Jun 27, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book free through a goodreads give away. Overall it isn't my cup of tea. The book came off as a badly done version of the dome by Stephen King. The comparison because they are both about small towns that get cut off, and corrupt city government officials. On the plus side it is an easy read written by someone who has a talent for the written word, and there is a lot of action. It's a good versus evil story that takes place in a small town cut off and devastated by a tidal wave. T ...more
There are way too many characters in this book with odd names. How many people do you know with names like Nella, Sten, Cholo, Liddy, Hilly, etc. etc. Maybe druggie gang members don't go by their given names? I probably just don't have enough experience in the world.

What amused me are the parallels to the worst book ever written - Patriots by James Rawles. Now this book is hundreds of times better than that one but it amuses me that in Patriots the bad guys are the socialistic sheep who wander a
David Agranoff
Everything is Broken by John Shirley
320 pages
Prime Books
It is no secret that John Shirley is my favorite author. I have devoted many posts on my blog to his work. I have been following the progress of this novel from it’s early stages and I am glad to say it lived up to my high expectations. If you follow Shirley’s blog you’ll know that he is not a big fan of Libratarians or the Tea party. Known for his politically charged fiction Shirley is back with a novel that has engaged more than a few
Jun 12, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, thriller
A Compelling Near Future Disaster Novel from John Shirley

One of the great masters of cyberpunk science fiction, John Shirley is also an overlooked, quite compelling, storyteller, whose latest novel, “Everything Is Broken”, is an intelligent, well-written, near future thriller deserving of a substantially larger literary audience. It is one of the best disaster novels I have read, a compulsively compelling account of the aftermath of an earthquake-triggered tsunami on an isolated central Californ
Quite a dark and gritty read! I enjoyed it, though, it was the kind of thing I look for in a disaster scenario novel with the focus on the human side rather than government or something removed from the human element.

There are a lot of POV's going on and it changes every couple of chapters and it doesn't have any sort of order. Sometimes you get Russ's POV in two consecutive chapters, sometimes you go into Dickie or Nella's head at the start of the chapter and then in the middle of the chapter
Jake Owens
May 16, 2014 Jake Owens rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014
I dunno, maybe I just don't like disaster stories, maybe I think wandering in rubble is only entertaining for so long, maybe I think Stephen King did it better. Who knows.

For whatever reason, this book couldn't hold me. One dimensional characters who did a lot of whining, boring premise, just lost interest really quickly.

It's also SUPER preachy. We get it; the Tea Party is a radical extremist fringe group that if allowed to go the full Palin will destroy us all. But c'mon, what happened to subtl
Oct 25, 2012 Steve rated it liked it
Young Russ arrives in the Northern California town of Freedom to stay with his father and reconcile with him. Alas, not long after his arrival, a terrible tsunami strikes California, killing many in Freedom, and isolating it from the rest of the world. A libertarian mayor has come into office recently, and wants to maintain the town's isolation from the rest of the country, to prove the truth of his libertarian principles. It quickly disintegrates into power plays where some gangs attempt to tak ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it
This is a good book that delineates possible scenarios that could happen if a tsunami or other natural disaster occurred in contemporary America. It explores the shortcomings of the extreme right wing's "cowboy" mentality, the childishness of Ayn Rand implications and how centralized services are needed for the general benefit of order in society. The prose is taut throughout with plenty of violence. Many of John's characters are reminiscent of characters in other books. Often in an existential ...more
May 25, 2012 Ali rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who love disaster movies and books
Shelves: fiction, disaster
I almost put this book down for good, I hated the first few pages so much. The characters you are initially introduced to are so unpleasant, I just didn't want to spend a whole book with them! Thankfully, they aren't the main perspective.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE disaster and dystopian fiction, and I will totally admit that I'm not exactly picky. You throw in a volcano, looming asteroid, zombies, tsunami, whatever, and some survival activities, and I'm pretty happy, but I was really happy with this book
John Defrog
Mar 08, 2013 John Defrog rated it liked it
Another thought exercise from Shirley who takes on Ayn Rand fetishists and Tea Party paranoia over Big Govt. The premise: the mayor of Freedom, CA has shrunk the city government to the point of dismissing fire & rescue services and cutting off all federal funding. Then a massive tidal wave hits the California coast, and residents must fend for themselves against local gangs as the mayor goes to deadly extremes to keep FEMA from assisting them. A great idea that’s let down by weak characteriz ...more
Cassaundra Aunna
May 28, 2013 Cassaundra Aunna rated it really liked it
I really didn't think this was going to be a book that I could get into. That tells you how good the author is. I was pulled into the story from the very first page, the very first word. It was one of those stories that you just can't put down. I literally read through a couple days.... entire days, I just couldn't bring myself to put it down. And then I'd be pulled away to something like cooking dinner, and I'd be cooking with the book in my hand. It was an awesome story. Thrilling, sad, with a ...more
Jun 16, 2012 Katrina rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads-win
First read win.

I loved how this book's cover is. It doesn't seem to give anything away but still catches your attention, with the colors and design. First off this book is about a town called Freedom that decides to be cut off from the state and federal government. In my opinion very interesting. Haven't read something with that in the story line at all. In the end a disaster hits. So basically that is the main part but still interesting. But since this was a disaster book.. I just loved it as I
Aug 30, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it
Dystopian vision of the West coast after a tsunami. I found it very compelling.
Jun 30, 2012 Tiffany rated it liked it
I started this book last night and was immediately taken aback by the excessive use of profanity in the first few pages. I am on chapter three, and it has been steadily building suspense with "strange rumblings" beneath the feet of a diverse group of Freedom, CA community members (drug dealers, mayor, writer, life coach, newcomer, old "crazy" meteorologist). This is an edge-of-your-seat, action-packed, realistic thriller- not usually a genre I enjoy, but I was interested for the entire story.
Lisa Eirene
Apr 17, 2012 Lisa Eirene rated it it was ok
The book was about a Tsunami hitting the West Coast and absolutely devastating all of it. It was slightly futuristic, but not specific in the time frame. The small California coastal town where the book takes place is in ruin and some survivors band together. It was kind of a cross between the movie Dante’s Peak and the book Lord of the Flies. The book was good enough, but I was bored by the faction group of survivors that were thugs and meth heads.
May 26, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: politically driven
**Note: I received this book free through a GoodReads give-away. This means it was from the author, publisher, or official representative of the book.**

Full review is in the writing phase and is giving me a hard time. Weather (or something) has given me a few bad migraine days, so it's been lots of fun trying to dig through my brain for the word I meant. Or even a word I can use to FIND the word I meant. But it's coming...
Feb 18, 2015 justablondemoment rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012, reviewed
Really kept me going from beginning to end. An interesting look at a natural disaster and its after effects. In this story we are given what could happen if a community was isolated from the rest of population and some of those citizens are very power hungry. Very "Lord of the Flies" feel but with adults.
Oct 19, 2013 Gabrielle rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was a decent book. It does explore the corruption (to an extreme extent) that can/does happen when natural disasters occur. I was satisfied with the ending and felt the characters got what they deserved. I was a little disappointed that the climax didn't last a little longer. It seemed rushed.
S Jebbett
Jul 15, 2012 S Jebbett rated it liked it
Short and sweet. Apocalyptic tsunami destroys various parts of the USA, so a small town is not going to be the first place FEMA is going to go, especially when the mayor decides to make his own militia of meth-heads and regain power over the people.
Easy and fun.
Nov 19, 2012 John rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1fiction, box8
I'm a fan of this genre, but this one was bad! Flat and predictable - bad libertarians vs. good liberal folks - kinda preachy - talks about the bad tea party people that caused the problem - insults the intelligence
While the storyline was interesting (if bleak), I felt that the characters were pretty one-dimensional and stereotypical.
Dan Sharber
Sep 14, 2013 Dan Sharber rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, own
never dull. a real page turner and a quick real. very enjoyable!
Jul 24, 2013 Quincy added it
Recommended to Quincy by:
Somewhat slow for a post-apocalyse story. Ok, but....
Carla Knoop
Carla Knoop marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2016
Jackie Laroe
Jackie Laroe rated it liked it
Jul 07, 2016
Emily marked it as to-read
Jun 16, 2016
Ben  Shepard
Ben Shepard marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2016
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John Shirley is the author of more than a dozen books, including Demons; Crawlers; City Come A-Walkin’; Really, Really, Really, Really, Weird Stories; and the classic cyberpunk trilogy A Song Called Youth: Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, and Eclipse Corona. He is the recipient of the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award and won the International Horror Guild Award for his collection Black But ...more
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