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A Different Alchemy

(The Great De-evolution)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  55 reviews
As the human population continues to decline, most people travel south to maintain a semblance of the life they know. Entire cities are abandoned. But following a senseless act of violence, one man travels north, toward forgotten lands. Is it possible for a loving husband and father, surrounded by reminders of mankind’s impending extinction, to reclaim what he lost?

Paperback, 249 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Watch The World End Publications (first published January 12th 2014)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  226 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
After reading this amazing dystopian drama, A Different Alchemy by Chris Dietzel, I'm a big fan of dystopian books, and so I'm vouching for more.

Read this review on:

First of all, a huge thanks to the author, Chris Dietzel for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Since I've not read the first book, I googled about the first one and found out that in the first book, it revolves around the idea that since women cannot produce
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first read The Hauntings of Playing God a few years ago and was struck by how unusual a book it was among post-apocalypse novels. It left a lasting impression, and I recommended it to all and sundry. I'm not sure why I waited so long to read the others in the set, but I'm glad I finally did.

There is no huge catastrophe in Dietzel's books: no drought, no radiation, no rival warring tribes, no government guilty of misprision, no starvation, no battle against the elements. There is only homo
I should start by saying I read this book through in one sitting, which I did not expect. I expected the end of the world, but the story itself felt much smaller, and because of that, infinitely more human. The story encompasses the great whimper at the end of civilization, as people's actions become governed by the increasingly inevitable realization that tomorrow isn't coming. Its focus, though, is on one man as he struggles to come to terms with his own personal losses, and his attempt to ...more
Bob Keeney
Oct 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Perhaps one of the most depressing books I've ever read. I kept waiting for something good to happen in this book and it just. never. happens. Stay away from this book if you have a special needs kid.

Essentially it's about a father who abandons his wife after she takes their Block child to a stadium with thousands of other Block children and the place is burned to the ground (along with the kids). Block children are the result of De-evolution and it means the end of humanity since Block kids
Dec 11, 2013 rated it liked it
A Different Alchemy is Chris Dietzel's follow-up to his debut novel, The Man Who Watched the World End , taking place in the same setting (the Great De-evolution) about 50 years prior. The first book focused on an old man coping with the utter finality of the human race's gradual extinction. A Different Alchemy follows Jeffrey, a grieving father who embarks on an unlikely journey through the "wasteland" of the Great De-evolution, as he struggles to come to grips with both the loss of his son ...more
Nov 09, 2014 rated it liked it
If you didn’t have anyone to take care of, it was easy to forget the world was full of people less fortunate than you.

Three and a half stars.

You know, I always felt that our species would end with a whimper rather than a bang. It seemed to be flavour of the decade to end humankind with exotic disasters such as an evil-minded asteroid giving our cute planet the death kiss. Or maybe a supervolcano popping like a megapimple, spewing its pustulence (my own word) across the face of the world. Heck,
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I got an e-mail about this book being on sale and decided to check it out. The reviews were overall positive, and end of world scenarios are usually interesting reads. That was not the case in this book.

Without giving away the major plot points, the main character of the book suffers a personal tragedy very early in the story. The rest of the book rotates between flashbacks of his old life, and the details of his current life moving foward. The flashbacks always go something like this: He and
Jess Probert
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction
I really loved this book.
Dystopian isn't what I usually go for, but there was something that attracted me to 'The Man Who Watched the World End', so I bought a copy and really wasn't disappointed and when Chris asked me if I'd read his second novel early, I was only too happy!
There was no disappointment here either. I love the general setting of both the books and was very pleased to see it return in 'A Different Alchemy' and I loved the physical and mental journey that the main character,
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of a pained father, suffering from a tragedy while trying to make peace with his wife and with the community he once loved. I can understand Jeffry’s agony and could easily see myself in his state of mind if what happens to him happened to me. His two journeys, the one on land and the one of personal growth, were both powerful. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a thought provoking story, regardless of what types of books they normally read.

One of the
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Different Alchemy is an amazing installment in the De-Evolution series of books. It is filled with love, betrayal, anger, discovery, forgiveness, and acceptance. I mentioned in my review of "The Last Teacher" that this book has uncanny parallels to "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin, right down to a bird with a broken wing, and to "The Stranger" by Albert Camus, which basically questions the reason for life.

Alchemy is the supposed magical process of turning lead into gold. Its less well-known
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
NOT Earth Abides

NOT Earth Abides

Ok premise but formulaic and just average apocalyptic fiction. Wanted it to be like Earth Abides but nowhere near it.
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Different Alchemy

Devolution, de-evolution or backward evolution: when species can change into more primitive forms over time. Evolution means progress to more advanced organisms. Each organism becomes more complex in structure and function over time. Evolution is thought or supposed to make species more advanced not primitive. But, some modern species have lost some of their more complex functions that were indicative of their ancestors or forebears and have or might be degenerated forms. The
John Wiltshire
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm about 20% into this novel. Do not read if already depressed would be my advice. This is a beautiful, poignant rendition of mankind winding down. Horrific, compelling and heartbreaking. At last, someone is tackling those tiny questions--not the gore, the cannibalism, the growth in new wacky religious cults which permeate other apocalyptic stories, but when do you just stop going into work? When do you stop maintaining your house? Yourself? When do you just...stop? The MC of this book isn't ...more
Bonnie Dale Keck
Kindle unlimited, though some of his are and some are not; depressing, but then again rather assume these type stories usually are. The one not included is The Last Teacher (The Great De-evolution) {not sure where this one belongs in the order of books} mentioned at end in list of these books, but my mind gets tired after reading so many back to back.

As the human population continues to decline, most people travel south to maintain a semblance of the life they know. Entire cities are abandoned.
I'll probably read the other ones in the series as the premise was very interesting, but not before a long time. It's a very depressing read to be honest, and as someone suffering from depression it didn't put me in a good mental state.

Still this idea of a quiet apocalypse is amazing. Humanity doesn't go off with a bang; it just stops being able to produce a new functional generation, and the consequences are interesting to read about.
Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
another book set in the 'block' world with views from a different angle. the first book followed a man with his block brother, this one follows a father recounting his life with his only son who was born a block. if you liked the first book you will also enjoy this one.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2017-books-read
Another stunning look into the human psyche.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
Modern day Neville Shutes "On the Beach"
Antonio Morales
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Thoughtful but ultimately falls short of the first book - The Man who watched the world end. Great writing style.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was by far my favorite book from the De-Evolution series.
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another chapter on the way to the end of humanity!

I was put in the fortunate position to read this book prior to its official release and to write a candid review in exchange:

Mankind has a problem: At a certain point only children were born, so-called Blocks, who spend their entire lives in a kind of persistent vegetative state. They can breathe and operate metabolism, but that's about it. In particular, these pitiful beings cannot procreate. The logical consequence of this phenomenon: The human
Karyn Folan
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it

A fascinating premise: the kind that makes the reader confront something about what he or she believes about what constitutes "a life" and what we believe about which lives are worth living and which are not.

The story takes place when, for unknown reasons, the entire population begins to have children who are unable to speak or move or procreate. Confined to wheelchairs, silent and catatonic, they are nicknamed "Blocks" because these people can do nothing for themselves. Eventually, society
Bayard West
Sep 28, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
Sub-genre: Post-Apocalyptic (PA)
Conflict: man vs. ??????

POV: 3rd person
Multiple-POV: no
Solid editing/polish:
Fun characters: no
Witty repartee: no
Great "how-it-works" technology descriptions: no
Thought provoking:
Great ending: ?

A Different Alchemy follows a mourning father, Jeffrey, as he makes his way through a post-apocolyptic landscape. Like The Children of Men, mankind is rendered infertile. What would happen to your household, city block and neighborhood if civilization came
Terry Reid
Feb 07, 2014 rated it liked it
A Different Alchemy is author Chris Dietzel’s dabbling into the end-of-the-world dystopian drama. The book revisits an incident briefly mentioned in his previous work - The Man Who Watched the World End.

After Jeffrey learns that his son, who is completely paralysed, has died in a stadium fire along with Philadelphia’s other paraplegics, he steals a tank and heads north to come to terms with his death.
If you have not read the original book, the series revolves around the idea that mankind is
A Different Alchemy by Chris Dietzel is a heartbreaking tour de force. Reminiscent of of Children of Men and On the Road, Chris Dietzel looks at where one man will go to find peace after a devastating loss in his life. This is a road novel where the protagonist, Jeffrey, watches the world as he passes through, noting, but never involving himself. Jeffrey has given up on humanity and just wants to be left alone and find inner peace. The world is ending and the last people are moving south to ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: apocalyptic
Chris Dietzel follows his wonderful "The Man Who Watched The World End" with "A Different Alchemy". I really enjoyed "The Man..", but had some issues with the narrators existencial endeavours. The issues were well outweighed by the story and the really interesting take on The End Of The World. Because in Chris Dietzels De-Evolution, the world doesn't end with a huge bang. Or with zombies eating everything.

It just slowly ends as people grow old and there's nobody to take over, as all newborns
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I dont think I spoiled anything but read my review with a little caution so as to not ruin anything.

Let me start by saying this author has some real talent. I was hooked instantly and found the beginning addictive and thought provoking. I was daydreaming the story as I was reading it. Terrific!

I wish I could give it 4 1/2 stars. But it's not a five....but could have been for me.

I dont want to spoil it. But the awesome story and intersections were so good that I wanted more depth. The table was
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopia
Wow. A Different Alchemy was a powerful book. I was a bit nervous to get started, because the first in this series (The Man Who Watched The World End) punched me in the gut. I had to binge on silly fun for a month after. Balance. I need balance.

So, I finally worked up the courage to read A Different Alchemy. And I'm so glad I did. I enjoyed this so much more than the last, and his experiences really resonate with me. The story flows very well, and just like the first book, I could feel the
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book is amazing!

When I first read the description of this book on Goodreads, it really got my attention. I guess the part of me so anti conforming got intrigued by the idea of a man going on a solo trip north while everyone else were heading South.

I finally bought it and jumped into it. Curious about what will happen to this man. I didn't know what to expect from the author because it was the first time I've heard of him. But seriously, I really loved the way Chris Dietzel wrote this
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Chris graduated from Western Maryland College (McDaniel College). He currently lives in Florida. His dream is to write the same kind of stories that have inspired him over the years.

Sign up for his mailing list to receive updates on future projects and some neat freebies:

In his free time, Chris volunteers for a Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program for feral cats.

Other books in the series

The Great De-evolution (6 books)
  • The Man Who Watched The World End  (The Great De-evolution)
  • The Hauntings of Playing God  (The Great De-evolution)
  • The Great De-evolution: The Complete Collection
  • The Last Teacher (The Great De-evolution)
  • The Last Astronaut (The Great De-evolution)
“Why couldn't he see the tragedy of what was unfolding? Was it because it was too painful, or was it because holding onto hope and dying was better than living if it meant you were forced to see the world for what it was?” 2 likes
“You will find, as you get older, that the key to being happy is being able to turn those bad memories into treasured ones. I used to cringe at the thought of you being angry with us. Now, you couldn't give me all the gold in the world to take that memory away, because it reminds me of the type of person you were and still are.” 1 likes
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