Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Resurrection Day mixes two of my favorite genres: Post-apocalypse/speculative history with crime/mystery.
It is the story, set in the 1970s, of a reporter, Carl Langly, a veteran working for a moderately respected Boston newspaper who meets a high-class reporter from the London Times who encourages him to chase down a lead that uncovers a conspiracy so unbelievable it jeopardizes his life and the lives of his friends/acquaintances.
The 'hook' is that the setting is an alternate history: in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated into the Cuban War and ended after the complete annihilation of Russia and the total collapse of the United States. New York, Washington DC, Miami, Omaha, San Diego, and 8 other sites are utterly destroyed by nuclear bombs, JFK and the rest of the Senate and House are obliterated in the first bomb. Great Britain and Canada are supplying the US with relief (troops, supplies, etc).
The Pesthouse is a story of love and circumstance set in a post-apocalyptic America. Cities, roads, and much of the Midwest and East Coast are destroyed, crops will not grow and mechanical objects such as cars are seen as relics, metallic sculptures scattered along the broken and destroyed roadways. Enter Franklin and Mags, they have an unlikely meeting and their fates are intertwined as they make their way to the coast, searching for a promiseland. The parallels between their journey and the tales told in Europe to those emigrating to America during the 1900s are haunting (they dream of European cities with streets paved with gold).
Type of story: Character Study, Love Story, alternate future
Wiki: mediocre, though this book is not so much about the setting as it is a tale of Franklin and Mags, together against an uncertain world
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood is a creepy tale of humanity's end. It follows the narrator, who believes he is the last human on earth, through a series of flashbacks of his childhood and adolescence through to the 'end of the world' bringing the reader to a future without 'humans.'
It is inferred that the story is set in Canada, and chronicles a time in human history when genetic engineering and cloning enable the creation of hybrid animals and humans. The disparity between rich and poor culminates in the creation of security-laden 'compounds' where the scientists and corporations live and operate.
Wiki: The Wikipedia article for Oryx and Crake is well written and extensive.