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When All Else Fails

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“ALWAYS REMEMBER, LIES CAN BE JUST AS POWERFUL AS THE TRUTH.” As the door slid open to the high-security section of the Royal Library, Professor Yor Vanderlord recalled how his great-grandfather Yorlik’s words led him to this moment.

Over a century and a half ago, planetary scientists predicted an environmental crisis threatening to annihilate Koda's humanoid population so the SEEDER program was developed, launching deep-space missions to discover habitable worlds. When no livable planet was found, the SEEDER program was scrapped and the DOME project was initiated. The global economy became focused on placing domes over only the most prominent cities to insure a portion of the population’s survival.

That’s when Yorlik Vanderlord (aka Yorlik the Great), who was thought lost in space, returned from his century-long SEEDER mission, but the details of his voyage were shrouded in mystery and never told.

What happened on his great-grandfather’s epic voyage? What did those cryptic words mean? Now, as Yor entered the library, he was more determined than ever to discover the truth.

464 pages, Paperback

Published September 12, 2017

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About the author

Howard Libes

2 books14 followers
Howard Libes is currently tapping into his lifelong obsession with science fiction and writing the SEEDER series. Currently the first two volumes of the series—WHEN ALL ELSE FAIL, FORSEEABLE FUTURE— are available on Amazon. The third book, WHAT YOU WILL, is scheduled for Fall 2023.

Howard has been a writer for over 30 years and is a graduate of the University of Oregon Creative Writing Program. He edited the 2,300-page manuscript of If They Move … Kill’em: The Life and Times of Sam Peckinpah by David Weddle (Atlantic/Grove Press) and worked as a collaborator — writer and interviewer — on Among the Mansions of Eden: Tales of Love, Lust, and Land in Beverly Hills by David Weddle (William Morrow/HarperCollins). He has been a freelance writer for many publications including Los Angeles Times Magazine.

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Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews
February 20, 2018
If you appreciate interesting political commentary, fine adventure mixed with a bit of mystery, lovely imagery, credible characters, and a story of family, love, compassion, and the greed and nastiness that can destroy those things....WAEF is the book for you.
This is science fiction that can even be enjoyed by those who don't love science fiction. It is relatable on so many levels.
I had a hard time putting it down.
And once I got blasted into space, all I could think was....hell...when is the next book coming out!!!

January 6, 2018
Loved the book and highly recommend it. In this extraordinary first novel, a three generation tale is told with intelligence, rich detail and full-blooded characters. The author is a skilled storyteller who combines the excitement of a compulsively readable novel and some surprising plot twists with a quiet meditation on the roles of government, citizens and how stealthily freedoms and quality of life can be lost. I certainly look forward to the next in series.
Profile Image for Dan Jones.
4 reviews2 followers
February 17, 2018
This is excellent social science fiction describing a world damaged (and precariously maintained) by technology. The story is grounded in issues we face today: climate change, technocracy, and denialism driven by greed. It is also foregrounded in thoughtfully drawn family relationships and friendships, which keeps it human and intimate. I look forward to the second installment after a high octane wind-up and ending that really got the pages turning in the last quarter of the book.
March 13, 2018
A meticulously crafted story of a world not so different than our own: the environment has crumbled, government and private industry collude to bilk the general population, science and intellectualism are under fire. Our hero and his family and friends, including a benevolent and eccentric tech guru (sound familiar?) are fighting for the truth against a dystopian government bent on totalitarian control masquerading as a system of domes to protect the population of Koda from the planet's failed ecology. But at what cost? And for how long? And when it comes to the domes who gets in and who's left out? Expect space adventure and political intrigue in this inter-generational saga. The book's scope is broad, from domestic life on planet Koda to the farthest reaches of the known universe, but Libes is the master of his tale with often clean and efficient prose and several well-executed plot twists.
2 reviews
January 29, 2018
I just finished Howard Libes' sci-fi novel, "When All Else Fails", the first book of The Seeder Series. I found it hard to put it down except for annoying interruptions like sleeping and eating and work. I can't wait to read the second volume which I'm hoping is being written at this very moment. I loved the characters, the story, and it is so visual that I think it would be a great movie. The only bad thing about it is that the planet Koda sounds chillingly like earth and seems to be inhabited by an eerily similar governing class. I guess that's what we call a cautionary tale. This is a heck of a good tale. I want more!
Profile Image for David Nagle.
4 reviews
July 13, 2019
What a read! Great heroes and villains battle for the future of a planet on the brink of environmental collapse. The book had me deeply absorbed in the extraterrestrial story and reminded me of the escapism & elation I experience with well-imagined science fiction. However, it also regularly brought me back to Earth. It parallels how we treat our own planet and how those with the most control over resources use corruption, disinformation, and subjugation to keep it. “When all else fails” is the cry of hope for the people of Kodan. The mantra of those trying to maintain power there and on Earth might be, “By any means necessary.” Bring on book 2!
2 reviews
May 19, 2018
Howard Libes spins an electrifying and engrossing tale of a parallel society facing extinction.
Will the proactive and adventurous forces for good find an inhabitable new planet in time, or will the global government, chained to myopic and self-interested mechanisms, be able to suppress their efforts to discover the salvation of the species?
Full of intrigue and suspense, and several explosive reveals, this tale left me wanting more. I can’t wait to find out what happens next for our heroes, and how deep this rabbit hole goes.
Profile Image for Sarah.
3 reviews
September 9, 2018
Overall, When All Else Fails is an enjoyable read with some thought provoking parallels to the environmental problems we currently face in real life.

However, I found the first chapter to be fairly clunky and the use of Yorlick the Great's amazing planning abilities pretty heavy-handed to the point where it got a little tedious.

I was also a little startled by the abrupt ending, but I'm assuming that's being used as an invitation to read the next book.

I am definitely curious to see where the story is headed in book two.
1 review1 follower
May 5, 2018
In line with other science fiction classics, this is a tale set in an entirely different world than our own, yet succeeds in rendering an unflinchingly deep perspective on the current human experience. Well-defined characters and an absorbing plot keep this well constructed story building steam at an ideal momentum. If this is a series, I'm ready for the next one! Oh, and I also nominate WAEF a prime candidate for a film adaptation.
1 review1 follower
November 12, 2018
A great read! The journey of the Vanderlord family across three generations is immersive. There are stark lessons here for our own world here in relation to climate, inequality, and authoritarianism. These characters are truth tellers in a society that doesn't want to hear it. Along the way, there are some fun twists and turns that you don't see coming at all. When All Else Fails keeps you guessing and very much looking forward to the continuation of the Seeder Series.
Profile Image for Kim Harper-Kennedy.
2 reviews4 followers
March 7, 2018
Reminiscent of classic 1950s SciFi, When All Else Fails tells a story that is both futuristic and surprisingly familiar. Howard Libes' vivid descriptions of a planet in peril and the people trying to save it are engrossing. There is adventure, mystery, and political intrigue that carries the story to a climatic cliff-hanger. I can't wait to find out what happens next!
Profile Image for Curt.
5 reviews
December 13, 2018
Great first novel. Compelling story, characters and an amazing ending! Can’t wait for the next one!!
1 review
March 20, 2018
I really enjoyed this engrossing dystopian story (close to truth!) and its surprises... I'm looking forward to the next book!
2 reviews
May 8, 2018
I haven’t been this into sci-fi since The Lord of the Rings! Howard Libes seamlessly blends time and space in his tale of a nihilistic world, eerily akin to our own. The brave and brilliant Vanderlord family leads the struggle against an increasingly Orwellian system in the first installment of the Seeder series. These pages reveal a bleak outlook on civilization’s “progress”, shot through with characters of such valor and intelligence, you feel better knowing they exist, if only on paper. I only hope this series is a long one!
Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews

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