Al's Reviews > After the Apocalypse

After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh
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's review
Nov 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: favorites
Read in November, 2011

Nine tales of neoliberal dread. Topics include: pandemics, infrastructural collapse, AI, a zombie-filled penal colony (in Cleveland, no less), medical testing, dirty bombs, and employment as indentured servitude. At times it calls to mind Dirty Projectors' Temecula Sunrise, or a drive east of High St. on 161, with all the strange empty husks of chain restaurants. These aren't trendy stories of dystopia or voyeuristic "ruin porn," but of systemic failure, of everything just falling apart at once. Central to each story is the question of morality; how does an individual behave morally when society does not, or when society ceases to even exist? At that point, does moral behavior even matter?
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Alison (new)

Alison Short answer: yes.

message 2: by Al (last edited Nov 23, 2011 08:00PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Al Well, right. I think she SORT of leaves it an open question, but for anyone who's not a nihilist or objectivist or something equally odious, the answer is pretty clear.

message 3: by Alison (new)

Alison Do you think that nihilism is as reprehensible as objectivism? I mean, obviously, they are both kind of embarrassingly undergraduate, but at least nihilism is a variation of existentialism and not related at all to Ayn Rand. Like at least I can empathize with the fundamental tenets of nihilism.

message 4: by Al (new) - rated it 4 stars

Al Oh, I don't know. I was just saying that they're both kind of crappy and of questionable and/or a- morality. Don't make me choose! (ie. Don't make me look them up on Wikipedia so I can pretend I even know what I'm talking about.)

message 5: by Al (new) - rated it 4 stars

Al BUT I would rather be friends with a nihilist than an objectivist, which I guess says something. Mainly that the latter would be way more self-righteous and altogether intolerable.

message 6: by Alison (new)

Alison YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE. ie., you have to make me stop watching "Paris is Burning" with my sister who has never seen it so that we can have this conversation, which we should maybe have some other time when I'm not addled by apple pie and scotch.

message 7: by Alison (new)

Alison And yes, all I'm saying is that given the choice I'd take nihilists over the other. Cause they are farther away in their six degrees of Kevin Bacon from Tea Party activists than the other, who are like directly affiliated with FreedomWorks.

message 8: by Mandy (new)

Mandy I've never met an actual nihilist. I would like to, so I can steal from them without recourse

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