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Vanishing Point

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  49 reviews
It happened one night, without warning: 90% of the human race disappeared without a trace. There were no bodies and no clue as to where they went or whether they would ever return. After years of violence spawned by fear and rage, an uneasy peace is restored. But fanatics still rove the land, trying to discover what caused the Vanishing.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 15th 1994 by Tor Books (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  329 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Karen’s Library
I've read this book numerous times and it's still just as engrossing to me as it was the first time. I love how the Winchester Mystery House feels like it's another character. I finally had the chance to visit the house last week which prompted me to pick this book up again to reread once more. I'm not sure which aspects I enjoy the most; the Post-Apocalyptic storyline, the sci-fi element, the science of the story, the characters, or the house itself. Loved it all!

I just found out that this book
First of all, that book cover is terrible. It screams, "1993!" The novel itself holds up pretty well more than 20 years after publication. Although references to saving everything on disks are dated, overall Roessner doesn't get into too much technology that dates her. (Although possibly if I was more tech-skilled, I would feel differently.)

The book opens 29 years after The Vanishing -- a morning when 10 percent of the global population woke up to find the other 90 percent had simply disappeared
Melissa McCauley
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book kept me up late reading and I was sorry to see it end, I would like to read a sequel to see what becomes of the characters. It is a rarity in the science fiction world: a novel with well-developed characters with believable motives and a realistic look at love and relationships.

Thirty years after most of the world’s population disappeared, a band of survivors inhabiting the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California try to find the cause of the catastrophe and rebuild a society
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
A very absorbing, thoughtful story set 30 years after the mysterious vanishing of 90% of the population. Centered around two main characters, Nesta is the scientist looking for the cause of the Vanishing and Renzie, fearless and confident leader, cope with loss, loneliness and survival in an uncertain world. Recommended.
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
one of my favourite quirky SF novels, reviewed in full here ...more
Not a terrible novel. An interesting premise set in a part of the country (the Bay Area in Northern California) that I have visited many times. The Winchester House (a great place to visit if you ever get the chance) plays a key role in the novel. However ,while it was intriguing, it was weighed down a bit much by the New Age/Hippie ethos and that hurt the story. After a while the story lost me. The author tried to hard to make other dimensions real and how can you make something beyond our comp ...more
Kelsey Cretcher
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of the from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book took me by surprise. I wanted to read it because the idea of it taking place 30 years after 90% of the population disappeared sounded extremely interesting. But it didn't prepare me for one of the most real most apocalyptic worlds I've read. The characters were real and well developed, the society and the different groups that have developed were logical and believable. The story is, on the whole, simple with some
Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What would life be like in a world where 90 percent of the human race disappears overnight? Now what would that world be like 30 years later, when, just as a new generation had asserted itself, aberations and anomalies make that world unstable again? And that's just the beginning of this fine read.

Roessner is a fine word-crafter and an excellent storyteller. The "post-Vanishment" world is well-conceived and believable, and her characters well-developed.

I'd just previously read Susan Randall's
Alex W
Vanishing Point is best described as a "post-post-apocalyptic" novel. Most post-apocalyptic fiction depicts the first period after the cataclysm—scavengers scrabbling around in the dust, that sort of thing. Vanishing Point, however, takes place firmly after this period, presenting a compelling collection of rebuilt communities and (more importantly) the people who live within them.

The novel has two great strengths, and one small weakness.

Vanishing Point's first strength is the setting. The stor
Book Haunt
Vanishing Point was originally published in 1993. This new publication comes at a time when dystopian novels have become the rage.

It’s been 30 years since a huge percentage of the population just Vanished. No trace was left behind. The Vanished took nothing with them and there were no bodies. Those who were alive back then lost many loved ones, and trying to rebuild their lives has not been easy. A lot of them live their lives in fear; not knowing if it will happen again, wondering if their lo
Jul 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
I've become pretty jaded about post-apocalyptic fiction thanks to current trends in YA fiction, simply because the ideas in a lot of it are not particularly striking. But I do love this particularly story when its told well, and Vanishing Point is a great example of that. It's set in my old stomping grounds of Silicon Valley (seriously, about a mile up the street from where I used to live) in the Winchester Mystery House and its environs. I love how it's a multiple generational story, that has a ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ahh I had seen this book on our family bookshelf for so so many years and the cover (I know, I know) drove me away. Then, when I move away, my mother sent me off with a bag of books she was ready to get rid of and I resolved to read them all. This was in there and I'm glad it was so I was finally forced to look beyond the cover. The plot was engaging and realistic enough to suck you in. The end was just way fun and incredibly satisfying. I could have done without the physics, but other than that ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Good up til the physics came in.
Bitchy Ghost
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: worth-rereading
Good book. Damned good book. One of the best ones I've read in awhile. The way the author builds the post apocalyptic world makes you feel like you're there with the main character.

I love the way she described the world developing after the Vanishing ,and how people pulled together in different groups; some to help each other, and some hellbent on destroying the others.

The only reason I didn't give the book 5 stars is the predictability. Within the first 3 chapters you can pretty much see what
May 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
It was dull. The characters were not that interesting, and while I wanted to see what a world would be like if 90% of the population suddenly vanished (an interesting number because that is quite a lot more survivors than most apocalyptic fiction has), it did not answer enough. Roessner seems to explore mostly the psychological effects on the survivors than the physical effects on the world: while she did a good job examining an often overlooked aspect of the apocalypse, it did not exactly make ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-f-spec
A delightful read of speculative sci-fi, imagination and wonderful character development in a plausible post-apocalyptic world where 90% of the world's population vanished 30 years before. Written in 1993, its an original on what is now I see as a worn-out trope of post-apocalyptic sci-fi. The Escherite imagery of the landscapes for a start, will stay with me for a long time. With the characters, I could so relate to the madness, the semi-madness, of the psychological damage, also Escherite, in ...more
Marbea Logan
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There's so much science in this book my head spun with all the science techy talk. If it weren't for some of the story about the adventures and finding out if they can find the Vanishing the story got boring in between. The slits and the continuums and what not were all that kept me interested in the people and they're different tribulations. But nonetheless it was a very thorough and well written book! ...more
Becky Churchman
Meh. It's a neat concept, but the characters are so under-developed that I cared little as to what happened to them. Roessner has multiple character relationships going on, but the characters are one-dimensional so one never really knows them. Also, the dialogue felt very unrealistic. People just don't talk like this. ...more
Brown Robin
One of the few sf novels I have read which is as good a novel as it is science fiction. I love stories about intimidatingly huge buildings, especially houses, and I love the setting, so maybe my judgement is impaired: caveat lector. The backstory of the characters feels authentic. Worth seeking out, though I see it is finally available as an ebook. Delay not!
May 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
I could not finish this book, it jumped around, felt like hard work and I couldn't get a drop of pleasure from it. ...more
Anthony Messina
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Not easy to comprehend, but an interesting take on multidimensional travel
Frederick Gault
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent character development, very interesting ideas. I was particularly impressed with the various types of cults that cropped up to explain the mass disappearance of most of humanity.
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I might actually rate this as 4.5 stars, but I love this book. It is satisfying on a lot of levels. It is one of the few sci fi books that I have read that use children as a major portion of the story without making them too cute. It is primarily sociological (but really, what good science fiction isn't in some way?). It takes an unique view of alternate realities and explores that view.

The author takes an interesting viewpoint: What would happen if most of the people in the world disappeared o
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The premise for Vanishing Point sounded really interesting. One night 90% of the human race just vanishes with no indication of how or why. They were just gone. Civilization as we know it was devastated. No one knows if the vanished will ever return, or if there will be another vanishing. It sounded like a great premise for a story.

Unfortunately, the book did not live up to my hopes. Aside from a few interesting chapters and ideas, the story and the characters were pretty forgettable. At a coupl
Jeff Frane
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Particularly these days, a post-apocalyptic future that isn't dystopian is unusual, and Vanishing Point is nothing if not unusual. Thirty years after 90% of the human race simply disappeared, people are still struggling as much with "what happened?" as "why?" and each community finds different answers. Vanishing Point is set in the remains of San Jose, California, in and around the Winchester Mystery House (which is a real thing).

Some people refuse to leave their crumbling homes, convinced the
Ed Morawski
This is an odd book that scatters some crumbs of a really creepy scenario that ultimately doesn't live up to its possibilities. It's 30 years after most of the population has vanished - and I commend the author for a realistic view of what it would be like for the survivors. For once we have thinking characters that figure out how to function.

Underlying this post apocalyptic story are bizarre incidents that suggest the world (or the universe) is fundamentally changing somehow and some of the sur
Dee Martin
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
there are a lot of interesting pieces in this book. I love dystopian and post-apocalyptic books and it is always fun to discover a new angle, a new world, fresh characters. This book was actually published in 1994 and the place is California - mostly in the Winchester mansion which legend has it, was haunted and the owner had constant construction going on until her death. Construction continues in the story and and a community has grown up in the house. There are other groups of survivors of a ...more
Sep 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
I know it's cliche but I do sometimes pick out books by their cover. When going thru racks at a book fair I often pick up what catches my eye visually, read the description and maybe first page and then decide to buy or not buy. This cover is awesome. Unfortunately the book is not. It started off ok and I was intrigued by some of the characters and future/sci-fi elements. However, as it progressed the details of the science were explained in great detail and took up pages at a time, distracting ...more
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Totally engaging! It's strange....although the storyline was right up my alley, it was the writing that drew me in. I look forward to reading this again in a year or so. It's the kind of book that, even while I was reading it, I knew I would enjoy it even more in subsequent reads! This is rare!
I can't even put my finger on what made this so good; perhaps the dreamy quality it maintained while portraying definitive action. Maybe the pacing just worked exquisitely...a great balance between descri
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure how I missed this one so long. It seems like it's often left out of lists of "survivor" type SF (post-apocalyptic stuff, although this one technically is not post-apocalyptic).

It's a solid story of the small group of people left behind after a mysterious "vanishing" event rebuilding civilization and investigating the uncanny event itself while dealing with less-friendly survivors.

What really sold me was the fact that the Winchester Mansion (unnamed in the book, but will be obvious t
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Michaela-Marie Roessner-Hermann is an American science-fiction writer publishing under the name Michaela Roessner.

Born in San Francisco, Michaela Roessner was raised in (successively) California, New York, Pennsylvania, Thailand, and Oregon. Trained as a visual artist, she holds a BFA in Ceramics from the California College of Arts and Crafts and an MFA in Painting from Lone Mountain College, and

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