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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,723 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Candidia Maria Smith-Foster, an eleven-year-old girl, is unaware that she's a Homo post hominem, mankind's next evolutionary step.

With international relations rapidly deteriorating, Candy's father, publicly a small-town pathologist but secretly a government biowarfare expert, is called to Washington. Candy remains at home.

The following day a worldwide attack, featuring a
Mass Market Paperback, 291 pages
Published November 1st 1984 by Bantam Books (first published October 1st 1984)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,723 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the apocalypse, parrots
Recommended to carol. by: was it you, Stephen?
Apocalypse? Hugo nominee? An eleven year-old girl? A pet parrot? Friend recommendation? Sign me up!

The first part of the story was published in 1981 as a novella in Analog Magazine, followed two years later by Part Two. Both, I think, had well-deserved Hugo noms, and the novel itself was nominated for a Hugo and Locus when published in 1984. Quite honestly, I think I would have loved it had I found it then or a few years after. Seriously, why on earth was I reading Piers Anthony when I could hav
Tracy Rhodes
Mar 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: smart kids, word nerds, Heinlein fans
I read this book when I was thirteen, about two years older than Candy, the plucky girl-genius protagonist. Palmer rocked the concept of an empowered wonder-girl years before Joss Whedon made them his trademark, and I was blown away by this book's intelligent, quirky, resourceful and funny main character, as well as with the uniqueness of the book's format - a ragingly hyperliterate, shorthand journal written in first person.

Major, major suspension-of-disbelief is required to survive some of th
Debbie Ohi
May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book so many times that its cover is coming off. I would to have a hardcopy version of this book. This book is part of my "Comfort Reading" shelf -- books that are like old friends and need revisiting at least once a year or whenever I'm feeling off-kilter for whatever reason.
Nov 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book is nearly unreadable because of the style. I've no idea why it has this sort of rating here. It pretty much sucks. Here's a "sentence:" "Means must have farm."

Almost every sentence is like this. Some sentences, it's pronouns that are hated; other sentences, the verb gets the axe. For a genius new hominid, this little girl can't figure out grammar? Do you mind if I doubt her intelligence entirely? I may be the only one who reads this as an unreliable narrator book for this reason.

That s
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Iskreno ovo jedna od onih knjiga koju je tesko oceniti, koja ima puno pluseva i minuseva tako da na kraju ovo je cisto subjektivna ocena. Ko i uvek :P

Imamo postapokalipticnu pricu koja totalno ignorise manje vise sve sto postoji u ovom zanru, hlavnog lika koja je klinka od 11 godina ali posto je manje vise suvi genije (ko rece Pera Kojot :) ) zvuci kao neko ko je daleko stariji. Prica prati njeno prezivljavanje od pocetka apokalipse pa sve do razresenja nase buducnosti i vidimo kolko je neko zna
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was another novel which I had started reading as a series of short stories in either Analog or Asimov's in the early 80's. I was first attracted to it due to the TEOTWAWKI elements, as I adore apocalypse fiction. But the unique writing style, and the delightful lead character has made this a book that I still returned to every few years. I have always thought it a real shame that Palmer never wrote more than two novels, his talent suggested that he was capable of many more great things.
Barbara Brown
Mar 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
I did not like this book. I was mostly annoyed throughout. What bugged me? First off, the shorthand, log-entry style of writing was hard to take. I plowed through thinking that surely the author would begin to write complete sentences at some point but I was sorely disappointed.

The whole book is a journal of Candidia “Candy” Smith-Foster, an 11 year old super-genius representative of the next step in human evolution, the homo post hominem, man who follows man. Homo post hominems are the only su
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
So the protagonist is a supergenius super cute preteen girl who is also a blackbelt in karate and has a talking parrot who can read her thoughts. Everyone around her dies in a plague (except her) and she finds out she's alive because she's the "next rung up the evolutionary ladder" -- Homo Novus. Which explains how she's just totally awesome and stuff.

She meets up with a boy, they have adventures, they run into some bad guys... and then stuff gets interesting. There's no pretense of this being "
4.5 stars. Superior post-apocalyptic science fiction story with an excellent main character and well-written plot. Highly Recommended!!

Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Philip K. Dick Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Gripping, touching, unpredictable. When it's all been done before, this is how you do post-apocalyptic fiction. Add a bird, skip (most of) the stranger danger, and blast off into MFing space!
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Labs! Sākumā grūti pierast pie tā saucamā "short handed" rakstības stila, jo it kā lasam dienasgrāmatu, ko sarakstījis ir 11 gadīgs ģēnijs. Bet pēc laika pierod un ir diezgan interesanta grāmata. Visumā ir pēcapokaliptiskā tēma un uz beigām arī nedaudz velk uz kosmosa SciFi sajūtām.
P.S.: Starp citu "atpalikušais brālis dvīnis" ir galvenās varones papagailis ;) tas tā lai būtu saprotams jau no paša sākuma (man pieleca tikai pēc laba laika)
Jason Markus
Oct 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
Unreadable..... The author uses a stream of consciousness writing style that annoyed me from the first second. Which is too bad because I have heard this is a good book. I can't be the only one who feels this way.
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 5/5
World: 2/5

Consistency. A trait far too often absent from science fiction texts but which is a necessary requisite for any excellent story. Palmer has consistency. An abundance of it. He tries something risky with the writing, giving us a clipped syntax that was rough on even my poorly-trained grammatical senses, but he stays with it. Long after the reader thinks, "this is not really going to keep going this way, is it?" Palmer is consistent. Then th
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is really hard to find, and if you do, it's probably going to be expensive. But- you'll never read anything like it. It's one of my favorite novels of any genre, and I've read lots (and lots) of post-apocalyptic titles. If you are lucky enough to find this, read it. It's just plain fun as well as impossible to put down, so save it for a lonely weekend. Absolutely do not plan to read it out loud to anyone else, because it was written by a court reporter and reads like it was.
It was ser
Julia Doyle
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Years and years ago (when I was in my early teens), David gave me a copy of this and a Heinlein off of his own bookshelf...I'm pretty sure my sci-fi romance started out because of him.

A fun story, with a smart, quirky girl at the core? Who wouldn't love it. It's one I've come back to over and over again. I'm fortunate to have read more of his work than most, and I can't recommend this one quite highly enough. I had to replace my copy a few years ago (paperbacks just don't stand up to heavy readi
Mar 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Might have gotten better score if not for the 30 page exposition why it would be rational for a 45yo creepy dude to do the naughty with the 11yo protagonist. For the rest totally unremarkable.
Elijah Madden
Jan 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
The writing style is super irritating. I rarely quit a book once I've started but I'm done with this one. So annoying. I really hate it. Go ahead, read a couple pages, you'll see what I mean.
Peter Tillman
Review written by Russ Allbery in the style of the book:
"Short story remains simply brilliant, best science fiction short story reviewer has ever read. Book worth high price for first fifty pages alone. Expansion not train wreck feared — faithful expansion of subject material, readable, interesting, engrossing, maintains original tone. Beauty and force of initial narrative not quite sustained, dulled slightly by additional material, words, events, but effe
Maybe an odd choice as a comfort read, but I've loved this book since I was about ten years old and swiped it off my dad's shelves of science fiction when I desperately needed something new to read. Something about the combination of apocalyptic landscape, brilliant and funny eleven-year-old girl, and sciency stuff (even though, looking back, the science is horrible and also now incredibly dated) just hit all the right notes for me then, and even now I pull it off the shelf and reread it every o ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Fairly interesting and creative (certainly original at the time written), although certainly not for anyone looking for excellent literaty prose, as the "shorthand" style of writing isn't that. No more than 4 stars through (maybe 3.5, really) because of the extreme unrealism of the final plot twist(s). Am curious to try to find/download the sequel story though.
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 10, 2008, reread, sf, want-to-reread
This post-apocalyptic tale was published in 1985. Sadly, it is now out of print and both hard and expensive to find. However, Palmer has a "sequel" currently being published over three issues of Analog magazine. Having loved the book when I read it at the behest of a friend a number of years ago (thank you Alison!), as soon as I heard this I rushed off to Fictionwise and bought the first Analog issue. Before starting reading (something I still haven't done as I'm tossing up between reading part ...more
John Loyd
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Candy Foster-Smith is narrating to us in a very clipped manner. The use of some metaphors made me wonder at the incongruity until she tells us that she's saving time and space in this journal by cutting out unnecessary words and writing it in Pitman shorthand. Candy is an eleven year old girl being raised by Dr. Foster after her parents died when she was very young. Mrs. Foster died when she was she was five. At nine years old Soo Kim McDivott moved in next door. He started teaching
C.E. Murphy
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Having unpacked the books we couldn't do without, I picked up one of my all-time favorites, David Palmer's EMERGENCE, to re-read it. As I've no doubt said before, re-reading old favorites is fraught with tension, because what if they don't hold up?

EMERGENCE holds up. It holds up in spades. There are some moments of unintentional amusement and cognitive dissonance, particularly regarding microfiche libraries and Russians as The Bad Guys(TM), but even if you put the book in an absolutely modern co
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I added this book as to-read in November 2011, almost five years ago! Thanks Mom and Dad for the birthday present that is helping my to-read list come true! I'll let you know how it is.

Emergence was not really as I expected it to be, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. The main character is an exceptionally talented, extremely intelligent eleven year old girl. This has the potential to be very annoying, but the author manages to make her more likeable using her humorous self-deprecating narration
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes sci-fi or is interested in the Middle Ages
Recommended to Judy by: n/a
This was a totally fun story. I read it on vacation in Florida last week. It is written as an ongoing journal by Candy Smith-Foster of her experiences after a bionuclear war that destroys nearly everyone. It sounds really depressing, but it's surprisingly up-beat and exciting. Candy is a great character, maybe one of the best teen characters in sci-fi.

The thing that cracked me up is that Spider Robinson was quoted on the cover as comparing this author's work with that of Heinlein's, but I found
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Other, more enthusiastic reviews are I suspect based mainly on nostalgia, but this is as engaging as reading Heinlein's space-cadet books as an adult. The writing is moderately engaging in a naive, old-sci-fi kind of way, but heavily tempered by the preposterous premises, here just beginning with the super-human 11yr-old protagonist.

I suppose if I'd read it as a pre-teen it would've been another fun, ego-centric super-hero romp. At this point though, well after that stage, I found it a bit pain
pRhoni Lake
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The writing style is one of the most unique I've come across. The style itself is an extension of the main character as the story is in the first person perspective. At first it's a bit jarring, but then you get so used to it you don't even notice until... no spoilers.

It's an amazing read, and one of my top ten favorite books. Unfortunately, it's out of print, but it's worth looking for in libraries, or the used section of Amazon.
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed Emergence. Nowadays it would probably be called a YA book, but at the time of publication (1984) it was probably considered straight SF. The story reminds me somewhat of Heinlein's juveniles. In fact, the main protagonist, Candy, is a very Heinleinesque character.
I wanted more, but unfortunately, it seems that David R. Palmer pretty much stopped writing. Sad.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
I have a great fondness for coming of age stories and apocalypse fiction, combine that with a girl as the main character and I'm sold. Excellent story-telling, vivid characters and a terrific side-kick. This is one of those books I go back to read every few years and enjoy as much as I did the first time I read it.
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David R. Palmer is a science fiction author who has been nominated three times for Hugo Awards. He is married and lives in Florida, where he works as a court reporter.
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“We'll beat you yet, you cold-blooded, censored son of a bowdlerized, unprintably expurgated deletion!” 3 likes
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