A sharply topical and well-researched apocalypse narrative that shifts among black humor, grisly details, and moments of...

HAPPY DOOMSDAY

Sosnowski (Vamped, 2004) follows three teenage survivors of a global apocalypse as they struggle through a ravaged America empty of other humans.

Dev is an autistic teenager fascinated by vacuum cleaners, astronomy, and other things that make more sense to him than humiliating interactions with other people. Mohammad is a star football player who nevertheless feels out of place in Trump's America—enough so that he listens to Internet “friends” seeking to radicalize him. Lucy is a pregnant teen mourning the death of her best—and only—friend, the baby's father. The only thing they have in common? They were all preparing to kill themselves when everyone else died first. For Dev, the sudden and unexplained demise of seemingly every other human on the planet is a relief and a blessing; for Mohammad it's a wake-up call that rouses him harshly from his uncertain martyr's faith, prompting him to change his name to Marcus. And for Lucy, it's a desperate hope that perhaps she was spared for a higher purpose. Initially alone, each of these troubled teenagers works to survive the challenges of a world filled with such hazards as wild animals, food spoilage, freezing winter storms...and body decomposition on a massive scale. Part dystopian survival novel and part coming-of-age journey, the tale weaves back and forth between the three leads as they try to make sense of the catastrophe and create a new normal for themselves. Marcus and Lucy meet first, but will Dev welcome these intruders into his blissful solitude or treat them as interrupters of his own personal heaven? Are there other survivors out there? Will these three be humanity's last dying gasp or the creators of a new, more humane world?

A sharply topical and well-researched apocalypse narrative that shifts among black humor, grisly details, and moments of poignancy.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5039-0130-8

Page Count: 459

Publisher: 47North

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and...

DUNE

This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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