I found this in the Sci-Fi section at my local library. Thought that was kind of odd - sort of like putting Edgar Allen Poe and Dante Alighieri in theI found this in the Sci-Fi section at my local library. Thought that was kind of odd - sort of like putting Edgar Allen Poe and Dante Alighieri in the Horror section, isn't it? I wonder of librarians break out in fights over which section to place a book...
Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed this work and read it cover-to-cover over the course of an afternoon. If Bradbury's dystopian future isn't frightening enough, one could always read his essay, "Coda", which was added as an afterword to my copy of Farenheit 451. Coda was a response to editors and others who attempted to censor Bradbury's book on the dangers of censorship. People never cease to amaze, do they?
Some five years back, the editors of yet another anthology for school readers put together a volume with some 400 (count 'em) short stories in it. How do you cram 400 short stories by Twain, Irving, Poe, Maupassant and Bierce into one book?
Simplicity itself. Skin, debone, demarrow, scarify, melt, render down and destroy. Every adjective that counted, every verb that moved, every metaphor that weighed more than a mosquito - out! Every simile that would have made a sub-moron's mouth twitch - gone! Any aside that explained the two-bit philosophy of a first-rate writer - lost!
Every story, slenderized, starved, bluepenciled, leeched and bled white, resembled every other story. Twain read like Poe read like Shakespeare read like Dostoevsky read like - in the finale - Edgar Guest. Every word of more than three syllables had been razored. Every image that demanded so much as one instant's attention - shot dead.
Do you begin to get the damned and incredible picture?
How did I react to all of the above?
By "firing" the whole lot.
By sending them rejection slips to each and every one.
By ticketing the assembly of idiots to the far reaches of hell.
The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. ...more
I certainly see why this book is considered to be an icon of post-apocalypse fiction; it covered every aspect of the subject; scientific probability,I certainly see why this book is considered to be an icon of post-apocalypse fiction; it covered every aspect of the subject; scientific probability, mind-numbing global devastation, the production of unlikely heroes and villains, starvation, disease, brutality, man's inhumanity to man, courage, preparation, salvage, invention, even cannibalism. I'd nominate it for required reading for anyone interested in the subject.
I thought it started out kind of slow because the destruction doesn't really get started until 200 pages in, but I'm more interested in the survival chapters than the wind-up anyways. It does give plenty of time to round out all of the characters very well, and there are a lot of them - so many that Nevin includes a dramatis personae list at the start of the novel. I think he could have done the same work with fewer people, but I'm not complaining.
Nevin may have suffered from some writer's block during the creation of this novel, because I think I found the chapter where he pushed wildly through it. Just for fun, perhaps the strangest, most out of place line in the book:
"The wind acted like a horde of catnip-maddened kittens."
Don't worry, the rest of the book can be taken quite seriously....more