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Ariel (Change #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  1,597 Ratings  ·  246 Reviews
Magic has returned to our world, and nothing will ever be the same. Follow the adventures of a young man and his miraculous traveling companion on a dark and dangerous odyssey through a world where fantasy and reality have collided.
ebook, 335 pages
Published December 11th 2000 by Scorpius Digital Publishing (first published December 1st 1983)
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The Stand by Stephen KingThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsWorld War Z by Max Brooks1984 by George Orwell
Best Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
365th out of 860 books — 2,857 voters
The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Odyssey by HomerOn the Road by Jack KerouacThe Road by Cormac McCarthy
Road Trip
255th out of 315 books — 199 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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N.K. Jemisin
Jul 11, 2015 N.K. Jemisin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book as a teenager. Read it to pieces, then could never find another copy. Fortunately it has been reissued, after far too long! It holds up incredibly well -- there are a few minor Handwavium (tm) moments in the plot that I never noticed before, and I can't help laughing now at all these geeky white guys playing samurai, but everything else is perfect. The characterization, the humor, the dreamy apocalyptic beauty of this Changed world... it's all as wonderful as I remem ...more
Postapocalypse with unicorn. Ok, I'll bite, especially since I've been hearing about this book from people like Cory Doctorow ever since it was reprinted earlier this year. Apparently little Cory's imagination got rocked by Ariel when he was an adolescent.

And I could see that. Written by a nineteen-year-old boy in 1983 or so, Ariel features a classic love triangle: a beautiful, accomplished, perfect untouchable blonde who for some reason hangs around with our weedy twenty-year-old protagonist; a
Oct 28, 2015 Shadowdenizen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Originally published in the early 1980's, this is an overlooked gem of a novel that deserves a wider audience. I first read this as a young child, and it stuck with me through the years, despite my misplacing my copy and not being able to find a new one until years later.

I've re-read this a handful of times in the long years since, and (like a select few other books) it never fails to bring back that same sense of wonder any time I read it.

Objectively, it holds up (for the most part) pretty wel
Nov 27, 2011 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't read too much in the number of stars I gave this novel. The fact of the matter is, having finished this almost a week ago, I'm still not quite sure what to think of it.

In fact, I'll go one step further. I could easily justify any number of stars for this book: (*mild spoilers abound, particularly in the poorer reviews*)

5 stars: A brutal, but sympathetic, look at innocence, growing up, friendship, and sex that has the good fortune to sit on top of a rollicking post-apocalyptic action-adve
When the apocalypse comes, it will be not with a bang, but a whisper. And it will change everything...

Boyett concerns himself with the world after, and in this story, a boy and his unicorn. It is an adolescent coming-of-age story, and would read well to the 14 - 18 crowd, as its author admits.

What can I say? The ending is as inevitable here as it was in Peter Pan, and in some ways was poorly-handled. While some might suggest that the sex was graphic, having worked with teenaged boys, I can say
It took me a while, but I finally finished Ariel, by Steven R.Boyett.

As the story begins, six years ago the world underwent a Change. At least, no one's said anything about the world outside the US, but since no one seems to have come along and tried to colonize the country from a stronger base the presumption is that it was a global thing. At 4:30one afternoon, everything mechanical stopped working, from battery-operated watches to cars to telephones toguns. And for various reasons lots of peop
Jennifer Connolly
If you like SM Stirling's Change novels, you'll probably like Ariel as it seems Stirling cribbed heavily from this book in order to come up with his own "Change".

There are just as many inconsistencies in Boyett's book about how the Change works, but it is mostly easy to ignore. What's nice is it isn't loaded with all of the remarkably favorable coincidences that appear in Stirling's Dies the Fire (and presumably his other Change books in that same series, that I refuse to read).

Boyett's book is
Arial Burnz
Sep 16, 2013 Arial Burnz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely adored this novel when I read it back in high school and I'm reading it to my husband now and I still love it. I liked the totally unique take on the post-apocalyptic world Boyett created where magical beings emerged from the shadows and technology ceased to function. The rules had changed...and unicorns could not only talk, Ariel actually cusses! LOL! It's a wonderful story of fantasy, friendship, survival and battling the odds. In fact, I loved this book so much, it's where I got ...more
I fucking hate unicorns, turns out, so this book was a bit of a challenge. Though if you ignore the unicorn, it is a smooth/fun enough read, the world-building is missing a few important details. Ah well. This book is important to post-apocalyptic lit for two other reasons: it was an inspiration for SM Stirling's Change/Emberverse series, and it is one of the very few magical apocalypses out there.
S. K. Pentecost
Jul 07, 2015 S. K. Pentecost rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't take the coming apocalypse too deadly seriously
There is a re-release of the original Inglorious Basterds with an extra feature tacked on where Quentin Terantino (suspiciously jittery and coked up looking,) unwittingly insults the polite old Italian man who directed the original by listing all of the things that sucked so gloriously about the Italian movie.

My review of this book would go something like that.

I love this brilliantly imagined, 70's kung fu disaster of a book precisely because of its unselfconscious suckery.

Don't dig too deep. Do
I'd recommend this book for mature-ish 15/16 year old boys. It's gory and sex-filled. However, it reads better if you think of Pete as a 16 year old boy rather than a 20 year old. It doesn't quite qualify as Young Adult, but it comes close. Pete is a good Young Adult hero, what doesn't make it Young Adult is the length, sex and gore. The writing style even puts it at borderline Young Adult.

I'm pretty sure I just read a 400 page metaphor for a boy going through puberty; either that or it's a 400
Mike (the Paladin)
Interesting little book. It's an odd sort of dated post apocalypse (if you can call it an apocalypse) book. The "Change" took place a few years ago and the story depends on a world where libraries still have card catalogs...smoking is more common..the Trade Towers still stand and a few other things.

I found the story, "okay". It was a little disappointing with lightly drawn characters who often behave in an illogical manner (view spoiler)
Dec 08, 2010 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the mash-up
Recommended to Alan by: I was a teenager, and still unicorn-friendly, the first time; 'nuff said
Just another story of a kid and his foul-mouthed unicorn, at least these days... but when it originally came out back in 1983, Ariel was a small treasure, a groundbreaking step in the reimagining of fantasy tropes that has since become such a major industry, and I loved it. The 2009 edition has only been slightly retconned (retroactively updated for continuity); Boyett explains why that is, in a brief Author's Note and an extensive Afterword (which is, to my mind, a major selling point of this e ...more
Read the "restored" reissue (2009) edition. I found the protagonist, Pete, a compelling character -- a 20-year-old loner wandering post-apocolyptic America-- an honest and original young man finding his way in the big, strange world of adults and serious consequences. (He cries alot, oddly. But that touch of anti-machismo perfectly suits him. So rarely do male authors let their male lead characters just have a good, honest cry!) This should be unsurprising, considering the author wrote this at 1 ...more
May 02, 2009 Wayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci Fi/Fantasy
What I love most about this book is the interaction Steven Boyette creates between the main characters Ariel and Pete Garey. These two banter about as life long companion while the world around them are in awe he travels with a unicorn. It still pains me in the end when Garey loses Ariel, though I no longer curse the woman who took away this privilege.
I also like books in which the mythical/mystical somehow affect the real world, I guess this stems from my D&D days as a kid.
There are two
Aug 20, 2013 Darcie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ariel... Oh how I love this book! I picked this book up off of a display at the book store because I liked the cover. I had never heard of it or Steven Boyett. I read what it was about and was interested right away.

Because I usually do not purchase books, I spend about a week trying to find it at our local libraries. I couldn’t wait to read it.

Unicorns are real?!?! WHAT! and magic really exists! I am hooked already. I love the badassness the main character brings. Wielding a Samurai sword, fig
Nov 06, 2014 Merzbau rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
cool concept and there's some great stuff here but i just couldn't get beyond the fact that this was basically a coming of age tale about a dude who wants to have sex with a unicorn
Roger Eschbacher
Very readable yet, ultimately, unsatisfying. Set in current times after "the change" (when virtually all but the most primitive technology stops working and magical creatures start showing up), Ariel features a dull and wimpy main character who teams up with a talking unicorn to battle an evil necromancer.

Elegy Beach, the sequel is MUCH better and definitely recommended.

Little is done to explain anything at all about The Change -- it just happened and we should get over it, apparently -- and th
1983 cover
Ye Original 1983 Cover, versus darker 2009 version.
My, how our future visionings have changed.

First Line: I was bathing in a lake when I saw the unicorn.

ARIEL was first published in 1983, by a young Steven Boyett. It was his first published book, which sometimes shows -- but not as often as you might think. The 2009 version is slightly revised with some "restored" material, and a new afterword by Boyett.

ARIEL might casually be described as a lite version of Stephen King's The Stand: a journey/q
Tanya Simon
Apr 08, 2014 Tanya Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book, wow! First, I was horrified by what was happening to us all, then Bam! I am in a love story, so hopeless it breaks your heart, then I was tossed into a quest novel, with a little action, suspense and angst! The book was a roller coaster ride, that haunted me. I re-read books until I need new copies, but I have to space re-readings of Ariel out, because it is so beautifully heartbreaking.
Apocalyptic fiction meets fantasy. The protagonist journeys up the Eastern Coast of a changed United States. No guns, no electricity since "The Change" happened five years prior. Oh, and also magical creatures are the norm in this new world . . . but not _that_ much of the norm, because our hero has a unicorn friend named Ariel and the baddies want to get their hands on her power (the horn, guys, its magical).

Obviously I HAD to read this book. But it is rather juvenile, I am afraid. And sexist
Michael Haydel
Dec 02, 2009 Michael Haydel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up Ariel for about $1 at a local Half Price Books, along with Desolation Road, after hearing about both of them via Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing.

I was really excited to give fiction another go, and I knew that of the two, Ariel sounded more appealing to me. So, I tackled Desolation Road first, and failed. I got about 160 pages in, and just couldn't do it. So, I took a bit of a break from fiction, read two non-fiction books, and then decided to try my hand at Ariel.

It went a lot better.

Jan 24, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“As the author says in his afterward, this is the kind of book that first-time readers of a certain age (teenager/early 20s) will love. I can totally see what he means by that. It's a coming-of-age novel, in a world where dragons and manticores live, where our modern technology has died, and where Pete and his unicorn Ariel fight to survive.

There's a lot here that people could really get into. The fantasy aspect is solid, with sword-and-sorcery popping up everywhere. And there's also a good dea
Oct 26, 2009 Denis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, novel
What a huge disappointment. It got high praise from several authors whose taste I generally respect, but their judgment must have been clouded by nostalgia. If I was reading this at age 14 I might have loved it just for the strong action scenes and interesting concept, but reading it as an adult I can't get over how poorly written it is. It's a teenage writer's first novel, and it reads like the work of an amateur. I couldn't help laughing at the author's comment in the afterword that he's "big ...more
Lars J. Nilsson
This is by no means a bad book. Only, I probably approached it incorrectly. The author does mention himself, in the edition I have, that it is probably best suited for 13-18 year olds. And that makes sense, it reads like a teenage book. A teenage book with quite a lot of violence and sex though.

So the fact that it is fairly easy to figure out how it going to end, that the setup is largely cliche might not mean so much in the end.

I did like some of the characters, and some of the pacing. Also, he
Nov 03, 2011 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was horrible. The ending is pretty good but everything up to the last 20 pages is awful. The main character makes bad choice after bad choice.

I'm not into the apocolyptic everyone that survives is evil thing anyway. Every civilization started some where but they all became civilizations not anarchies.

Just exactly why had the residents of his little neighborhood become marauding bandits within 4 hours of a power outage anyway? Mabye in the author's mind he explained this but i
Dec 30, 2010 Karissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book looked really interesting and I have read good things about it so I decided to give it a go. It was an enjoyable read, although there are a few things in the book which irked me a bit. This book was originally released in the early 80's and this is a re-release of it.

This story takes place in the post-Change world of the United States. The Change happened one day and suddenly all electricity/technology stopped working and magical creatures began roaming the earth. Humanity was left to
Alisa Kester
Okay...this book was...different. First off, I absolutely, totally adore end-of-civilization-type novels where most of humanity is killed off in some sort of plague/disaster, and the survivors wander the desolated streets, trying to scavenge supplies. I don't know why this scenario hits such a chord with me, but there really is no other type of fiction I find so...appealing. Ariel has lots of this. Unfortunately, civilization is destroyed in a completely illogical way that makes no sense. Everyt ...more
Mr. DeLay
Mar 24, 2010 Mr. DeLay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I had never heard of this book until I stumbled onto it's sequel "Elegy Beach" in the library and suddenly I was in a world of unicorns and magic. The idea of "Ariel" is that for whatever reason (it's never really explained which I love) the world suddenly stopped being real. Technology, weapons, electricity and just about everything man created that moved, whistled and beeped no longer works.

Guns don't work. You can load it and fire it. Nothing happens. The titular character of this book
Oct 20, 2009 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part fantasy epic, part post-apocolyptic science fiction, part bildungsroman, part American road trip. A cross between The Last Unicorn, The Neverending Story, and The Stand. The protagonist's voice didn't ring true to me at first, but I was hooked by his relationship with the unicorn Ariel. Maybe I should have put bildungsroman first, actually; Pete goes from "annoying little shit" to "person I would probably tolerate", but despite my personal dislike for him, I enjoyed reading about his growth ...more
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  • Emergence
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  • The Last Page (Caliph Howl, #1)
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  • The Drought
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  • Vanishing Point
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Steven R. Boyett is the author of Ariel, Elegy Beach, Mortality Bridge, and numerous stories, articles, comic books, and screenplays.

As a DJ he has played clubs, conventions, parties, Burning Man, and sporting events, and produces two of the world’s most popular music podcasts: Podrunner and Groovelectric.

Steve has also been a martial arts instructor, professional paper marbler, advertising copywr
More about Steven R. Boyett...

Other Books in the Series

Change (2 books)
  • Elegy Beach

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