Miz Moffatt's Reviews > Blueprints of the Afterlife

Blueprints of the Afterlife by Ryan Boudinot
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Apr 13, 2012

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bookshelves: dystopia, non-linear, post-apocalypse, science-fiction

Full review posted on Across the Litoverse

Welcome to the future, where the apocalypse is a fixed point in the past. Most North American cities have been wiped out by Malaspina, the Roving Glacier of Death, who unleashed its fury in the aftermath of global warming. Medical care is supplied by networked nanotechnology called the Bionet, and human nervous systems can now be hacked and re-programmed at the whim of underground DJs. And we haven't even touched on the Newman armies and human clones who aided the downfall of humankind…

In this post-FUS era, mysterious forces are drawing together an unlikely group of survivors for unknown ends. Abby Fogg is an anachronistic digital film archivist sent to recover an interview transcript from an aging pop star's personal collection. Al Skinner is a former mercenary of the Boeing Army and a recent "forgetfulness junkie, a man who's downloaded his memories to external hard drives in order to forget—but the past never stays silent for long. Woo-jin Kan is a gifted dishwasher with the Hotel and Restaurant Management Olympics medal to prove it. He lives with his foster-sister, Patsy, an obese "pharmer" subsidized by the government to grow various drugs and human tissue transplants within her fat. After Patsy's suddenly air-lifted from his life, Woo-jin is given the task to write a book about how to love people—but where to start?

Over them all hovers a mysterious man named Dirk Bickle who puts people in the right place at the right time—and all of it culminates in a full-scale replica of Manhattan under construction in Puget Sound. Just an average tale from the End of Days, no?

Blueprints of the Afterlife is bursting with plot and, sometimes, even calling it "surreal" seems an understatement. I loved the hard science behind the Bionet, the sinister edge to DJing, and the capabilities of downloading memories; however, I almost bailed on the book due to the first chapter. Dick jokes and excessive cursing can only take one so far. I worry that many readers would jump ship on this book after that intro, despite the fact that second chapter— Part One of Luke Piper's interview transcript—offers a fascinating, well-written antidote to Woo-jin's crass narrative. Also, gotta love the CanCon, even if most of it focuses on the nation's destruction by a sentient glacier. Nice to get a shout-out in a genre where few examples exist.

Overall, quite the tour-de-force when it comes to science-inflected, "End is Nigh" literature, though I do warn readers to proceed with caution (and not just because of the polar bears…)

Ideal for: Post-apocalyptic fans in need of an acid drop; Readers keen on discovering the space where hard science and surrealism collide; CanCon-aholics; Dystopian fans who like their narratives epic.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 1, 2012 – Finished Reading
April 13, 2012 – Shelved
April 17, 2012 –
page 150
36.06% "So glad I stuck with this book after those first 50 pages."
April 24, 2012 – Shelved as: dystopia
April 24, 2012 – Shelved as: non-linear
April 24, 2012 – Shelved as: post-apocalypse
April 24, 2012 – Shelved as: science-fiction

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