Another pickup off the New Books shelf at the library - With my interest in post-apocalyptic fiction, I thought I'd see how Dartnell approaches how we...moreAnother pickup off the New Books shelf at the library - With my interest in post-apocalyptic fiction, I thought I'd see how Dartnell approaches how we might pick up the pieces after a worldwide catastrophe. After addressing several common scenarios (meteorite, nuclear war, global warming) - he chooses the deadly epidemic scenario. He then proceeds to walk the reader thru how to rebuild society, starting with the necessities of food and shelter. He touches on quite a bit of history, and science in this realistic look at how we got to where we are now and how we might return to a similar lifestyle after an apocalypse.
While he refers repeatedly to this work being a "quick-start guide", it's more an overview than a step by step manual; a thought experiment versus a how to. Nonetheless, I quite enjoyed his well-researched exploration of humanity's trip towards technology and found his insights into what steps we might skip over next time quite intriguing. (less)
While this novel is as well-written as the first two in the trilogy, it just didn't quite grab me in the same way.
Maybe there was too much going on &...moreWhile this novel is as well-written as the first two in the trilogy, it just didn't quite grab me in the same way.
Maybe there was too much going on & too many threads to wrap up from the first two novels. Not surprisingly, it was pretty bleak (duh - worldwide annihilation in about a week!) - I prefer at least a glimpse of hope in my apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction. I did like the scenes set in the Amish community (if not how Hank got there in the first place).
I can see re-reading The Last Policeman, but am not sure I'll return to the other two novels - tho they were worth reading once.(less)
I'm currently captivated by the audiobook of this novel, which I checked out from the library after seeing C.S.'s 5 star review.
Carolyn McCormick (wh...moreI'm currently captivated by the audiobook of this novel, which I checked out from the library after seeing C.S.'s 5 star review.
Carolyn McCormick (who also narrated The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset trilogy) is striking just the right tone with the protagonist, a rather unreliable narrator herself.
I'm loving the whole un-real feel of the story so far ... The protagonist is part of the 12th expedition into Area X, a no-mans-land abandoned some 30 years previously for an officially undisclosed reason; previous expeditions weren't necessarily successful.
She and her compatriots (no names, just roles- she is the Biologist) have discovered a feature not on their maps... a tunnel (no, a Tower) that leads underground. We learn the story, as well as the Biologist's background bit by bit... and the tension is building nicely. I'm glad I didn't know/remember a lot about the story before I started - most everything has been a surprise so far.(less)
Another seasonally thematic read - I picked up this YA vampire novel from the local library after reading about it last month in Amazon's Sep 4 Omnivo...moreAnother seasonally thematic read - I picked up this YA vampire novel from the local library after reading about it last month in Amazon's Sep 4 Omnivoracious blog.
I'm no fangbanger, in fact, I tend to get a bit ::rolleyes:: regarding the modern/YA take on vampires. Nevertheless, the worldbuilding in this novel intrigued me - not only the Coldtowns where vampires and the infected (along with starstruck wannabes) are quarantined, but the fact that once bitten, you aren't necessarily doomed. If the infected can be kept from consuming human blood for 88 days, they are safe. They can consume regular food (and, oddly enough, vampire blood) during this time However, their overwhelming craving usually overcomes the best intentions of family and friends.
Tana was an occasionally infuriating protagonist - making stupid, teenage decisions, for example, but still projected a strong, indomitable spirit. Gavriel had an intriguing backstory, and I can totally see how younger readers would swoon over him. I can also see something like the Eternal Ball and the Coldtowns overall becoming an internet media hit, with live feeds and umpteen bloggers discussing the "Cold" lifestyle.
I enjoyed the novel for what it was - while I probably won't be returning to it specifically, I may see what other Holly Black novels are available thru the library. (less)
I finally got around to reading this SF classic, courtesy of the Kindle Daily Deal back in February.
A very bleak novel that I guess is more dystopian...moreI finally got around to reading this SF classic, courtesy of the Kindle Daily Deal back in February.
A very bleak novel that I guess is more dystopian than post-apocalyptic, as there wasn't a specific disaster, just a population explosion. Is it just me, or does the story play a secondary role to the world-building and philosophical points Harrison was trying to make? In that respect, it felt a lot like a Heinlein novel, but without quite as engaging a story. It also felt dated, but I can't quite put my finger on how at the moment.
I agree with my GoodReads friends that the ending was anti-climactic, and (tho I don't know if I've ever seen the entire film) has very little to do with Soylent Green, the film supposedly based on the novel. Recommended as a freebie/library read, for its role in SF history, but I doubt I'll return to it anytime soon. (less)
I picked this up on Kindle in March after getting a few reccos (SDMB:Zjastika & sinjin). I was expecting the premise [the sole survivors of planet...moreI picked this up on Kindle in March after getting a few reccos (SDMB:Zjastika & sinjin). I was expecting the premise [the sole survivors of planet-wide catastrophes being brought together in therapy sessions] to be played a bit for laughs, but Hardy treated it pretty straight, with the survivors exhibiting varied PTSD symptoms and the therapist (herself a survivor) struggling to address their needs while dealing with her own personal issues.
The world building (both the central Hub and each characters' home dimension/world) is well done, and the characters have depth to them. I wasn't as impressed with the overarching story, preferring the character's stories - Olivia (a doctor who faced a zombie apocalypse) and Pew (victim of genocide) in particular intrigued me. Hardy has done his homework in terms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and some of the scenarios seem to (uncomfortably) reflect dark episodes in human history.
I would recommend it to anyone interested in apocalyptic scenarios and the emotional and psychological fallout of such. (less)
Read this very powerful novel over the past week. It's post-apocalytic magical realism set in war-torn northwest Africa; the title character (Onyesonw...moreRead this very powerful novel over the past week. It's post-apocalytic magical realism set in war-torn northwest Africa; the title character (Onyesonwu) is a mixed-race child born of rape and destined for greatness. The novel follows her life as she learns of her magical powers and heritage. The horrors of genocide loom large as she and a small group of friends strike out across the desert to try to defeat a great sorceror who is forming an army to finally conquer her people.
It's a difficult read in some respects: rape, female genital mutilation and other horrors are described in detail, but not gratuitously so. The characters are richly written, the plot entrancing and heartbreaking, and the writing lyrical. It was a fascinating look into a cultural foreign to me, thru the lens of of a genre very familiar (science fiction/post apocalyptic fiction). It seems a bit odd to say I enjoyed a novel with so much violence and despair, but it did move me. (less)
I'd read about this novel in the Shelf Awareness newsletter last December, and went as far as DL'ing the Kindle sample, but didn't pull the trigger un...moreI'd read about this novel in the Shelf Awareness newsletter last December, and went as far as DL'ing the Kindle sample, but didn't pull the trigger until I found it was available as part of Amazon Prime's Lending Library.
It reminds me a bit of James Blish's short story "Surface Tension" with a touch of George R.R. Martin's "Sandkings" - in a post-apocalyptic world, humankind has shrunk to insect-size, and has domesticated certain species (ants & roaches) to live in a symbiotic relationship. Society has reverted to a primitive level of technology - with a caste system in place in some ways almost as rigid as that of their hillmates. However, one young half-caste man - Anand - dares to dream of something different.
The story is basically sword and sandal - no real magic (some mystic elements are explained by science, kinda-sorta), but still quite compelling within the established world. Carlton seems to have done his research on the insect world; ant society in particular - and the action adventure elements, along with the court intrigue, kept my interest nicely. There are multiple tribes - each well-described and believable within the world-building and the characters are engaging. It felt in some ways like a Robert E. Howard story, set in an alien environment. I enjoyed it, and may re-read it someday in the future - supposedly there are plans to make this into a motion picture trilogy - I'd go see it. (less)
I decided to check Warm Bodies out after hearing about the upcoming film based on the novel. I spent a couple of engrossing (though not very gross) ho...moreI decided to check Warm Bodies out after hearing about the upcoming film based on the novel. I spent a couple of engrossing (though not very gross) hours reading through it. The novel is told from the viewpoint of R - a sentient zombie. While he and his fellow Dead can't remember much about who or what they were before, they form a society of sorts, living (oops - I mean, residing) at an airport and interacting with one another.
They can speak a few syllables at a time, with R and his buddy M being the most verbal of the group. The zombies form hunting parties to bring back parts of their kills for the young and the old/decrepit ones - known as Boneys. There's even a religion of sorts, run by the Boneys. R gets "married" to a fellow zombie and they are given two child zombies to care for.
Things get interesting when R goes on a hunting party, and we learn what benefit they get from eating brains. I won't spoil this, as it plays a large part of the plot of the story. During this hunt, R meets Julie - a Living girl to whom he feels strangely attracted. So he brings her back to the airport... alive.
The rest of the novel focuses on their interactions, and how R seems to become more alive the more time he spends with Julie. We also learn more about how the Living are surviving in this post-apocalyptic world once they return to the city....and she sneaks him in.
While the novel plays things a little more straight than the movie adaptation seems to, Marion still adds touches of dry humor to the story. For example, R provides a bit of exposition as follows:
"Eating is not a pleasant business. I chew off a man's arm, and I hate it. Of course if I don't eat all of him, if I spare his brain, he'll rise up and follow me back to the airport, and that might make me feel better. I'll introduce him to everyone, and maybe we'll stand around and groan for a while."
The characters are very well drawn and R's humanity shines through - he is not a monster. It wasn't until I read another review of this novel that I got the Romeo & Juliet references. R is Romeo and Julie is ... well. yeah! Remember R's best friend M Yep - he's Mercutio and Paris and the Nurse fit in the story, too. I assume the warring Capulet and Montague families are obvious as well!
The plot is not as action-driven as a lot of the zombie fiction out there, but there are several fight scenes, especially closer to the end of the novel. There are some gory moments, too, but nothing compared to American Psycho, which I also just read. For what it's worth, Patrick Bateman was much more of a zombie than R ever was!
But back to this Warm Bodies. Sure, you have to suspend disbelief at times - Julie is a awfully resilient, and the climax of the story is a bit anti-climactic, to be honest. I can see where the romance element might turn some potential readers off, but this novel really is about more than the love story. It's about what makes us human, and how memories and interaction are as much the key to survival as ammo and barricades.
This novel is on my Christmas wish list and I'm looking forward to seeing the film in February. (less)
I picked up this novel from the library thanks to Little Nemo's recco over at the SDMB as well as being a fan of the author.
However, this felt like a...moreI picked up this novel from the library thanks to Little Nemo's recco over at the SDMB as well as being a fan of the author.
However, this felt like a bit of a departure for Varley - the only SF element was a bioengineered bacterium that converts crude oil into an unusable sludge. The protagonist, a TV writer living in LA with a semi-estranged wife and daughter, fortuitously learns of the impending disaster and prepares accordingly.
I'm not sure the title is quite applicable, as natural disasters force the family into making life-altering (and hopefully -saving) decisions rather quickly. The characters are well-drawn and the plot is exciting, if a bit full of coincidental moments. The world building - describing the consequences of the loss of all petroleum products seemed pretty solid, in terms of economics & sociology. (I could have done without the turn-by-turn navigation of the greater SoCal area, tho...)
If you have an interest in the genre, it's worth reading at least once. I'd also recommend James Howard Kunstler's World Made by Hand as perhaps a better example of "slow apocalypse". (less)