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Soft Apocalypse

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  2,180 Ratings  ·  402 Reviews
What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America's previously stable society apart, the "New Normal" is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang. "It's so hard to believe," Colin said as we crossed the steaming, empty parking lot toward the bowling alley. "What?" " ...more
ebook, 218 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Night Shade Books (first published 2011)
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Bought this. 1) "Apocalypse" in the title. 2) Will McIntosh. 3) $0.99 is cheap.

Set more like serial episodes, with significant time and place gaps from chapter to chapter. While each chapter feels satisfying, it does lend itself to treating the book as a set of short stories. I set it down and haven't picked it back up.
May 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting concept. As a student of history I understand that when Human societies have collapsed it takes awhile and it progresses slowly. Meanwhile people continue to live their lives remembering the "good old days" as everything gradually collapses around them.

Nobody really knows if they are living in such a time. Usually every generation, at some point, thinks that it is living in such a time. This time is ours. Just the way my parents viewed the 1970's as that decade was happening.

May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was the most recent Free Friday offering for the Nook. I started reading Friday morning and finished by Monday. It really belongs on an apocalypse bookshelf rather than a post-apocalyptic, but I don't want to add another shelf.

Most literary apocalypses are sudden and unexpected. One day, the characters are going about their normal business, the next they're fighting off zombies or looters to survive. In this bleak novel, the apocalypse is slow and nobody really realizes it's happening even
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Last weekend, our power went out, and this was one of the books that was somehow downloaded to the Kindle app on my iPad, which still had 90% power. It was a bit unnerving to read an apocalypse book during a power outage - how far are any of us from a "soft" apocalypse? In the world of this book, people who have lost their jobs, or are from other places, are suddenly persona non grata, rounded up or pushed out, forced into packs of roamers. The world also has been developing more biological weap ...more
Nenia *The Flagrant Liberal* Campbell

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With Halloween on the horizon, the books I've been reading have definitely taken a dark turn. SOFT APOCALYPSE was a book I added years ago but only purchased fairly recently. I liked the idea of the world ending not quickly and all at once over a single event, but slowly wasting away as we carelessly burn through our resources. Actually - on second thought, maybe liked is the wrong word. Let's say intrigued by, instead.

I read McIntosh's new
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jumpy-Jumps, Dr. Happies, dudes who miss OkCupid in the post-apocalypse
Written in a very plain style that sometimes almost seems to buffer the reader against the horrors being described, this post-apocalyptic novel is, as the title suggests, not about nuclear war or alien invasion or zombie plagues or anything like that bringing down civilization, but a slow slide into the sort of social and economic meltdown that preppers have been warning us is coming for years.

There is no one SHTF event in this near-future world. The narrator, who starts as a formerly middle-cla
Jasper and his tribe of formerly middle class Americans describe themselves as nomadic rather than homeless: they travel around the Southeastern U.S., scraping together the bare minimum to survive by spreading out solar blankets or placing small windmills by the highway to collect energy from passing cars, then trading the filled fuel cells for food. Fewer and fewer people want to deal with the “gypsies” who use up dwindling resources, and often they meet with indifference or even violence. Jasp ...more
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, dystopia
OMG, so much better than Parable of the Sower(/Talents), by Octavia Butler, despite so many similarities in the scope & type of tragedies & journeys they detailed. This book had all the pain and misery and horrors and multiplying levels of humanity being its own worst enemy, but without being so relentlessly grim or turning into torture porn. In fact, despite all the monstrous, painful, difficult things going on in this book, I thought the tone stayed refreshingly light & maintained ...more
Nov 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, that was awful. I mean really, really awful. This novel of the near future could not make up its mind as to what it wanted to be. It started out ripping off journey-style novels like The Road. Then it went into a remnants of civilization type novel where the lead character finds salvation working at a convenience store. Then for a few pages it becomes, of all things, a superhero novel but quickly gives that up. Then we're back on the road when the prototypical Government Crackdown happens. ...more
What happens when our government begins to lose it's authority, disease is rampant and unemployment is the norm, not the exception? A "soft apocalypse", that's what. No asteroids, no nukes, no zombies. Just an agonizingly slow decline into chaos.

This is the story of Jasper and his "tribe" as they make their way through Georgia to Savannah and try to live as "normally" as possible in a world gone a little mad. There are designer viruses and out-of-control militias. There are truly frightening cul
The Captain
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! When I last read a book by this author, I was reminded that I had never read his debut novel. In fact, it was the only one I hadn’t read. That oversight had to be remedied. Apparently this novel was a finalist for both the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel. So I finally snatched up a copy and loved it!

At the start of the novel, the United States is in the midst of an extreme economic depression with unemployment hover
In 1925, T.S. Eliot published his poem "The Hollow Men." The final lines are probably the most quoted from his poetry:

"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."

It is impossible to read "Soft Apocalypse" without recalling that stanza. It is 2023 and world civilization is crumbling. Our protagonists are a tribe of nomadic young people, dissolute, impoverished, and having no destination worthy of reaching.

Will McIntosh
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the very best books with a dystopian theme I have read. I found it very realistic and emotional, and despite some issues here and there that may not be perfect, it made me engage in the story and I keep thinking about several parts of the story after finishing it (which I think a good book should do).

The language is at times "mature", but I found it fitting for the story. The characters where great, their feelings and actions were sometimes expected, sometimes surprising, yet und
Ken Badertscher
Apr 11, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Sadistic and relentlessly grim.

There are two kinds of people in McIntosh’s post-apocalyptic future: evil bastards and really malevolent bastards. The difference is that the merely evil bastards, who the book follows through more than a decade of hopelessly ever-increasing decrepitude, sometimes regret the horrible things they have to do. You have to be an evil bastard to survive, but feeling bad about it makes it okay. Their evil acts and the really malevolent bastards’ horrible deeds gnaw endle
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
A slow burning novel about the end of the world. (Actual rating hovering around 3.5 stars)

I didn’t think I was going to like this book. I thought it was going to be slow and dull, just another book about the end of the world, and not an exciting one at that. Then I remembered I was reading it for book club, the book club I have been a member of for 2 years, that same book club that only reads post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels. I love my book club for a few very good reasons, but somewhere in
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alex Garland
I'm a sucker for a good post-apocalyptic story - I'm one of the three people who liked "The Postman" after all! - so, I'm probably a bit biased. Disclaimer aside, though, I thought Will McIntosh's portrayal of the near-future and the world's downfall was an excellent read.

McIntosh follows Jasper and his "tribe" of friends through the slow destruction of the modern world. Like the frogs who boil alive in the open pot of water, unable to recognize the rising temperature, mankind is stuck in a perp
D.A. Schneider
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Toward the end of this book I was thinking 3 stars, but it had a good ending and i bumped it up one.

To start off; I like the plot of this story. After a second depression hits the world slowly but surely falls into decay. Numerous man-made viruses are infecting millions, the unemployment rate at the beginning of the book is at forty percent and declining, crime is sky rocketing and the police have reached the point where they're not milling to risk their lives for anyone. I can see this as a mor
May 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: absoulutely no one
Recommended to Anne by: libray
When you’re reading a book and wonder why, you are probably reading this one. I picked it up because I find Apocalypse theory books interesting. It’s fun to see what various writers come up with in a format on that topic. As no one knows what will/if it will ever happen, it’s a mystery, and gives an author an opportunity to throw his 2cents into the mix.

The only thing apocalyptic about this book was the “hero” and his attraction to women. It was ridiculous. I can see some interest in finding a
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like "Soft Apocalypse," but I really didn't. I had the hardest time getting through it, even though it was so short. Even skimming it was a hardship.

The author has no talent for imagery and there are huge issues with the passage of time, both within single chapters and between. It seems like he had difficulty gauging how he should transition from scene to scene, so he didn't. In that aspect it's like something written by a child, "They/he/she were/was walking/standing/sitting and so
Cecilia Solis-sublette
I am a fan of apocalptic and post-apocalypstic fiction and, as a fan, I must say this book was quite a ride. It has all of the great qualities of the genre that make it appealing. The reasons for the slow-coming apocalpse are plausable (probably too plausable which is why it is depressing in parts); the responses of individuals and groups are poignant, and both surprising and believable at the same time; the protagonist shows strong development/change as a result of the events, thus proving his ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-my-best-of
Because of the mixed reviews, I thought hard about reading this book. Now I'm very glad I've read it (thanks A.C.). This book is the perfect companion to Jack Womack's Random Acts of Senseless Violence, because unfortunately Soft Apocalypse begins where Randoms Acts ends. From the first chapter we already have a broken world and a homeless main character. It's more like the middle and the end of a slow apocalypse. A beginning with the build up to the no return point, a little less coincidences a ...more
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novela entretenida y con un buen planteamiento, la premisa es chula, pero me han fallado un poco los personajes, están poco definidos, el protagonista es demasiado infantil para mi gusto, y el tema de las relaciones con chicas eclipsa un poco el trasfondo de la historia que es muy interesante pero esta poco desarrollado. En ideas muy bien en desarrollo no tanto.
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
halfway through Soft Apocalypse:
Society collapses. In every chapter (so far), our narrator seeks a date/girlfriend/lay.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Right now, I needed this book. That is a statement one would reserve for having just read a terrific book, which I can not say I just did, but it would be said in response to a string of monotonous reads that was interrupted by a great one, and I find myself in a quite equal-but-opposite manner. That is to say, I am in a continuity of amazing reads, and I needed a palate cleanser to reset my taste. Or maybe palate greaser, as it were. I've absorbed so many other books that I immensely enjoyed, t ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I love tales of the apocalypse. I love whole continents sliding into the sea, epidemics wiping mankind off the face of the Earth in fits of coughing (and the odd buboe). I love the searing flash of the Doomsday bomb, the searing heat and blast of ashes. We're all doomed anyway, in some slow apocalypse in which we all die one at at time... and who will know we were there in a hundred, thousand or hundred-thousand years time? When you think that the oldest piece of Western "modern" art isn't yet a ...more
Elizabeth Olson
As a group of friends survives each stage of civilization's crash, they jettison more and more of what they thought was important to them and even who they thought they were, just to live another day.

According to McIntosh, apocalypse will come upon us so slowly, we won't realize what's happening until it is perhaps too late to survive, much like the story of the frog in a pot of cold water with the heat gradually turned up to boiling -- the change is so incremental the frog, who would have jumpe
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's only a few years in the future (2023-2033). Young people with college degrees, unable to find any form of proper employment, destitute and homeless, form into tribes, living on subsistence rations, and roam in the areas in and around Savanah, GA selling what little power they can produce with their homemade generators. A "soft apocalypse" is one that comes on gradually, yet is no less devastating than an EMP or CME, or a deadly pandemic, or an asteroid slamming into Washington, D.C., or eve ...more
This seemed like pertinent reading during this 'economic downturn.' Unlike other Apocalyptic novels I have read "Soft Apocalypse" starts out in a place that doesn't look too far down the road from our current time. The characters still remember back when they could just "google" things and got to play with Xbox 360s as children.

The book has social, ecological and political stances, but never seems to weigh down the narrative or hit the reader over the head with them.

There are some questions tha
Oct 03, 2012 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
only about three chapters in and i want to stab the protagonist in the face

shut up about your stupid failed relationships and tell me about the damn apocalypse

i couldn't give less of a fuck about your inability to put your dick where you want to put it

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Utopian and Dysto...: Recommendation 1 43 Dec 23, 2011 05:35PM  
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Will McIntosh is a Hugo Award-winning science fiction author, as well as a finalist for eleven other awards. His alien invasion novel Defenders was optioned by Warner Brothers for a feature film, while Love Minus Eighty, was named the best SF novel of 2013 by the American Library Association. Coming in 2016 are his first young adult novel, Burning Midnight (Penguin Random House), about a pair of t ...more
More about Will McIntosh...
“Carpe Diem, just remember that we're partying on the Titanic.” 15 likes
“We sat in silence, staring out into the street, listening to the creak of the porch swing, the crickets, and the occasional gunshot.” 1 likes
More quotes…