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Aftermath Mass Market Paperback – August 3, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Honestly, the book began well. Unfortunately, within the first 100 pages, the plot had become a morass of sub-plots, characters and ideas that were never destined to be fleshed out. A big problem was that there were far too many sub-plots that went nowhere as the book progressed. (For example, sub-plots involving either White House aid or that involved a former Presidential mistress that just faded into nothing. Rule: If a sub-plot goes nowhere, kill it.)
However, even when a sub-plot was played out to the bitter end, it concluded with a contrived yet feel good device. (The escape of Dr. Death.) Worse yet, the main plotline involved the President of the U.S. and even that ended with a device stolen from any of a hundred 'B' movie made in the fifties.
The problem seems to be that Mr. Sheffield lost track of what he was writing about some half-way through the novel. Perhaps he was thinking series but only got paid for the one book. With so much going on and less than 50 or so pages used to tie it all together, Mr. Sheffield is forced to fall back on some very weak devices to get it done. If the last 70 or so pages were cut from this book and re-written as a sequel, Mr. Sheffield would have produced a much better work. As it is, the ending is far too contrived to be satisfying.
Overall, Mr. Sheffield took on an idea that was far bigger than the book he produced, inevitabley leaving the reader a bit disappointed.
There's the matter of survivors and they're not your next door neighbors. Group 1 is a cult that worships a lady who has been arrested and placed in a penitential coma (think "Minority Report"). Group 2- three cancer victims who just happened to need the help of someone who - guess what? - is also in a coma. Then there is a scientist and a madman joined in a symbiotic relationship. Where are the real people you and I know???
It gets worse. The "science" is, well, take one random selection: Millions of chips are found in a mountain hideout but are too old to use. So some guy "slaps a bunch together in parallel" and now they can create holograms. Right, and I'm Elvis Presley. President Steinmetz gets in on the action with a lot of fake dialogue...politics as usual. He tries to hold the world together and sure enough, gets the advice he needs at the last minute to save the day. But no, at the end we discover that the REAL danger is not here yet - "energy particles that can rip through both skin and the flimsy shield we've constructed. What to do, what to do? Oh well, the sequel will provide all the answers.
So why didn't I just put the book down and walk away?
Because some of the science was fascinating, and because one always holds out hope that the author will bring everything together by the end of the book. Sheffield does not do this. Instead, there are hints at what could come in the sequel: a technology-crashed planet, a supposedly impossible super nova that may not be a natural phenomenon after all, and a massive project in space to help shield the Earth from the super nova's effects. The mind already races ahead-three, four, five books into the future-to see the possibilities of this series, but what about these characters in the here and now? Will their mundane journeys parlay into something more interesting? It is obvious that some of these run of the mill characters will discover that they have radically extended life spans and so could fit into stories that must leap far into the future, but couldn't Sheffield have show us that in this first book?
So the real question is: Move on to the sequel-take that chance-or just drop the whole thing here?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This books was a surprise to me. I read a lot of post-apocalypric fiction & expected the usual, chaos & the struggle to survive. There was very little of that. Read morePublished 9 months ago by S. Griffith
Other reviews for this book are all over the board, some love it, some hate it. Here's the deal. If you have read other titles by Charles Sheffield and enjoyed them, you'll enjoy... Read morePublished on February 10, 2014 by Paul D. Cobbs
For most of the book, we get to follow Art and Dana, though we do get snippets of other people like the astronauts, the US President, the leader of the militant sect, etc. Read morePublished on June 28, 2013 by S
Post holocaust type SF novel that has a touch of Allen Drury 1960's style political intrigue. The beginning is intriguing and fast paced, then the story settles down some. Read morePublished on July 25, 2012 by Watson McFestus
Science fiction writers often base a plot on changing one variable in a set that readers simply accept as universal givens. Read morePublished on July 9, 2008 by Martin Asiner
Fantastic book, one of the best I ever read. I started reading it, and being is it is so interesting, lost track of time and 5 hours went by, it's THAT good. Read morePublished on January 27, 2008 by John Hancock
The problem with this one is that it has LOTS of different lil subplots and doesn't really center on Any of them. Read morePublished on March 2, 2007 by Brandt Goetz
I have to echo a number of other reviews, this was a decent book. My biggest gripe was that the author skipped over some interesting plotlines to finish the book. Read morePublished on January 22, 2007 by mr sachmo
(Written for Worm's Sci Fi Haven by Dagny Taggart, more of her reviews can be read here: [...])
Everyone has heard the line "repent! The end of the world is near! Read more