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Search tags: post-apocalypse-teotwawki-novels
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review 2019-11-25 04:43
The City Where We Once Lived by Eric Barnes
The City Where We Once Lived: A Novel - Eric Barnes

TITLE:  The City Where We Once Lived

 

AUTHOR:  Eric Barnes

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  2018

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DESCRIPTION:

 

"In a near future where climate change has severely affected weather and agriculture, the North End of an unnamed city has long been abandoned in favor of the neighboring South End. Aside from the scavengers steadily stripping the empty city to its bones, only a few thousand people remain, content to live quietly among the crumbling metropolis. Many, like the narrator, are there to try to escape the demons of their past. He spends his time observing and recording the decay around him, attempting to bury memories of what he has lost.

But it eventually becomes clear that things are unraveling elsewhere as well, as strangers, violent and desperate alike, begin to appear in the North End, spreading word of social and political deterioration in the South End and beyond. Faced with a growing disruption to his isolated life, the narrator discovers within himself a surprising need to resist losing the home he has created in this empty place. He and the rest of the citizens of the North End must choose whether to face outsiders as invaders or welcome them as neighbors.

The City Where We Once Lived is a haunting novel of the near future that combines a prescient look at how climate change and industrial flight will shape our world with a deeply personal story of one man running from his past. With glowing prose, Eric Barnes brings into sharp focus questions of how we come to call a place home and what is our capacity for violence when that home becomes threatened.
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REVIEW:

 

This novel starts of slowly and doesn't pick up pace.  The setting was developed very nicely, showing how depressing, bland and pointless - presumably the reflection of the live of the people in the North End, and the main character (narrator) in particular.  The prose is beautiful, but there is very little action in this novel and the plot is weak.  The narrator is a writer/reporter and we get to read about his observations of the North End and his personal issues.  These however, come across as irrelevant, even though they are the stuff of nightmares.  The author's concepts of how climate change, pollution and industrial flight affect a particular community is interesting, but it fades into the background.  I would have liked to have seen this idea explored a little more.  There IS light at the end of this dystopian novel.  The concept of the scavangers and how the people in the North End choose to live, as well as the gardener are all interesting ideas.  What the community chooses to do to survive, instead of devolving into chaos, is also rather different from the usual dystopian stories.  I just wish this book wasn't so bland and that the narrator had a bit more personality.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-03-18 06:20
The Deluge by Mark Morris
The Deluge - Mark Morris

DESCRIPTION:

"It came from nowhere. The only warning was the endless rumbling of a growing earthquake. Then the water came—crashing, rushing water, covering everything. Destroying everything. When it stopped, all that was left was the gentle lapping of waves against the few remaining buildings rising above the surface of the sea.

Will the isolated survivors be able to rebuild their lives, their civilization, when nearly all they knew has been wiped out? It seems hopeless. But what lurks beneath the swirling water, waiting to emerge, is far worse. When the floodwaters finally recede, the true horror will be revealed.
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REVIEW:

This is an unoriginal apocalypse/post-apocalypse novel, that doesn't so much terrify the audience as revolt them with graphic descriptions of [spoiler] corpses [/spoiler], and other ... "things".  The writing was inconsistent with too much exposition and not enough "showing".  I also found the characer's reactions (or rather lack thereof) to the disaster to be unbelievable, especially in this day and age when supposed adults are having melt-downs over some internet persons differing opinions.  There were simply too many unanswered questions not to get annoyed with this book.  We never find out what caused the deluge, or [spoiler] what the slugs are or where they come from, or what happens to Max and what they find when they leave [/spoiler]. The book also doesn't end properly - the author apparently just got bored and stopped. 



NOTE:  I read the ebook which was filled with typos/spelling and grammar errors, along with missing letters, eg. "thru" instead of "through", "arum" instead of arm, "rn" merged into an "m" etc.  I don't know if the text was supposed to be like that but I found it annoying.

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review 2018-02-12 13:11
Nightfall by Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg
Nightfall - Isaac Asimov,Robert Silverberg

From the blurb:

"Imagine living on a planet with six suns that never experiences Darkness. Imagine never having seen the Stars. Then, one by one your suns start to set, gradually leading you into Darkness for the first time ever. Image the terror of such a Nightfall.

Scientists on the planet Kalgash discover that an eclipse - an event that occurs only every 2049 years - is imminent, and that a society unfamiliar with Darkness will be plunged into madness and chaos. They realize that their civilization will end, for the people of Kalgash have a proven fear of Darkness, but they are unable to predict the insanity and destruction that will accompany the awesome splendor of Nightfall."

Originally published in 1970, this book has a pulp feel to it.  This story explores the events before, during and after a total eclipse and resulting complete darkness on a planet with six suns and perpetual light.  The doomsday/apocalypse concept is interesting but the execution falls a bit flat - the characters are a bit two dimensional and some events and their timing are just too convenient.  However, the book is still enjoyable and would make a nice addition to the shelf of an apocalypse fan.

 

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review 2018-01-22 07:27
Dust by Charles Pellegrino
Dust - Charles Pellegrino

From the blurb:

 "In an idyllic Long Island community, paleobiologist Richard Sinclair is one of the first to suspect that the environment has begun to wage bloody, terrifying war on humanity. What initially appear to be random, unrelated events are actually violent eruptions in a worldwide biological chain reaction. Along with a brave group of survivors, Sinclair must learn to understand the catastrophe while it roils around them, slowly crumbling a panicked world and threatening apocalypse. The survival of humankind depends on finding an answer immediately--or else they will face the final, tragic destiny of their species. "

 

This book may not be the best writing on the planet, but it does take a fairly accurate look at what could happen should all the insects disappear - the collapse of ecosystems, food crops, the economy, society and ultimately civilization.  The book is rather interesting, scary and thought provoking.  The author doesn't provide all the answers and the reader needs to pay attention.  It does not have zombies (!!) despite the prions.  It does have some unusual voracious critters. Most of the science discussed in this book is accurate, which is what makes this book so fascinating (to me anyway). 

 

 

 

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review 2017-08-18 17:35
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Seveneves - Neal Stephenson

"The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason."

Seveneves is an entertaining, complex and thought provoking hard-science fiction book that takes a look at humanity, the good and the bad, during an apocalyptic event.

 

The book is split into three sections.  The first sections deals with humanities' preparation for the cataclysm that will result from the split moon.  The second section focuses on the people in space immediately after the cataclysm, who have the task of keeping the human species alive or the duration of the catastrophe.  The third part of the book takes a look at what happens when the Earth is made habitable again five thousand years after the cataclysm.

The author has a fondness for lengthy explanations and descriptions of new environments, but is short of character development.  There is a great deal of focus on hard science in this novel - everything from orbital mechanics, robotics and the physics of keeping a space station in space to genetic engineering and psychology.  However, this story is still enthralling, the world building is fascinating and the character cast entertaining and their interactions complex.  I enjoyed this book immensely, but wish there was more to the second and third sections.  There are some poignant moments, some funny moments, feats of heroics, and then there are the moments where you wish you could toss a particular character out the airlock!  

NOTE:  Seveneves is a palindrome.

 

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