World Made by Hand
In The Long Emergency celebrated social commentator James Howard Kunstler explored how the terminal decline of oil production, combined with climate change, had the potential to put industrial civilization out of business. In World Made by Hand, an astonishing work of speculative fiction, Kunstler brings to life what America might be, a few decades hence, after these catas...more
and yet i still don't have a handle on the tone of this book. most of the postapocalyptic stuff i have read all takes place immediately after the event - like - "oh, shit, now what??" this book is the "now what...more
I fucking get it, you don't like the way the world is. I should have started counting how many times he mentions decaying strip malls and useless stores. I'm not sure if I could count that high though.
There are many post-apocalyptic novels out there. This is another one. For the record, this is another book, one of many that the author has writ...more
the story may reference peak oil issues but it doesn't particularly demonstrate how a declining oil supply effects a culture.
the really bad part is the main character who is sad and everyone in the town is sad and then wakes up, goes on an adventure, kills a guy, sleeps with or is kissed by every married or widowed girl in town, enlivens a whole town, and makes friends with a strange insect-like cult (with no explanation as to why they house a giant queen-bee-like southe...more
I don't think this book even knows what it wanted to be. For the most part, it feels like a satire of post-apocalyptic fiction--flu meets nuclear bomb meets ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, or something--and suddenly upstate New York reverts to the 19th century. (More so than it already has.) None of the timelines add up to anything possible, but you quickly get to ignore that.
Except in between being satirical, it gets bizarrely dark and gruesome a couple of times, and also twists in some kind of strange...more
In short, it's the story of a man dealing with the natural change within a post-apocalyptic community once the worst of it ends and some semblance of society tries to get going again. It's richly and realistically set, and addresses the real challenges and probable situations these people would find themselves in, and finds realistic solutions.
It's perhaps the most 'optimistic' view of dystopia you'll...more
It seems to me that Kunstler really just wanted to write a western, but set it in the time after the apocalypse either for marketing or just to spice it up. It's essentially a western- right down to the cowboy diplomacy and revolvers. We have our heroes in the mayor and the preachers and the last law-abiding folk in a wilderness, and our villains in our tinpot tyrants who gain a little power and turn into dictators at the firs...more
My lovely wife brought me the audiobook of World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler, so we could listen to it together on our way to my 10 year high school reunion. And I have to think back that far to remember I book as terrible as World Made by Hand.
I love post-apocalyptic literature, from the deathly serious, like Lord of the Flies, to anything as glib as Slapstick. I think that this kind of science-fiction...more
The World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler, published by Atlantic Monthly Press in 2008 is a work of post-apocalyptic fiction, that doesn't quite feel apocalyptic.
In some of the post-apocalyptic fiction I've read, humans become cannibalistic, preying upon others, reverting to an animal-like state. Or perhaps, more appropriately, worse than animal state, considering the ability to reason the choices they make to harm or not to harm others. In The Road by Cormac McCarthy, we read about humans...more
Personally I found a lot to like in this story. The main character, Robert Earle, is no hero, a...more
To me, it presented a fairly feasible possible future when the oil finally runs out, but you need to be clear; this is the story of one very isolated little...more
In this story, people avoided the large cities which were no longer...more
The most immediate problem is that Kunstler has populated his novel with flat, unexciting characters. Only the narrator (Robert Earle) is given any sort of depth. The other citizens of Union Grove are utterly two-dimensional; even Brother Jobe, a very interesting character who had enormous poten...more