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Nature's End: The Consequences of the Twentieth Century Hardcover – April, 1986

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4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA As in Warday (Holt, 1984), Strieber and Kunetka combine scientific facts with projections of scientific probability in their speculative fiction of the near future. It is 2025 and the planet is rapidly approaching environmental death. Dr. Gupta Singh, a Hindu guru with a Jim Jones-like following, has proposed the suicide, by lottery, of one-third of the world's population. His followers have elected a Depopulationist majority in Congress. Led by journalist John Sinclair, a small group hopes to prove that Singh is a fraud. Singh is a formidable enemy: he cancels the medical-cosmetological treatment that the 72-year-old Sinclair (who looks 46 due to the treatment) receives, causing Sinclair to age rapidly. Singh sets the feared tax police after Sinclair, alters his records, and wipes out his wealth. Tension mounts as Sinclair stalks Singh and gains access to his "conviction"an electronic document into Singh's true identity and character. While this is less straightforward and slower to start than Warday, it is just as sobering in its tragic possibilities. Diana Hirsch, PGCMLS, Md.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The authors of the best seller Warday ( LJ 4/1/84) depict in powerful detail a 21st-century Earth with devastated environment and rampant overpopulation. A rich and comfortable elite coexists with malnourished, pitiful billions, "the victim generation." The rich enjoy youth preservation treatments and other biomedical wonders while the rest just endure the toxicity and pollution. Hero John Sinclair and a few rich companies fight to thwart the leader of a burgeoning Depopulation Movement that would have each third person poisoned to "solve" the population crisis. Readers will follow with grim fascination these struggles to survive in a dying world. Sobering message eclipses story, and the book should strike home with a variety of informed citizens. Strongly recommended. William A. Donovan, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; 1st edition (April 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044651344X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446513449
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books that is quite literally unforgettable. It is set circa 2025. In this future, the world is horrendously overpopulated, and has been devastated by ecological havoc and neglect to the point where Earth's biosphere is in jeopardy of collapse. A new world politician, Gupta Singh, believes he has the answer: the "Draft." Under this proposal, which has been secretly adopted by the United States and other countries, on a certain day all human beings would be required to simultaneously take a drug. One third of the doses will be fatal, thereby reducing the world's population by a third in a single day, alleviating the world's population problems.
The authors do a wonderful job projecting current technology and ecological trends in a manner that projects a nightmarish future American and world society. The rich enjoy extended life spans, penthouse living, and the benefits of high technology including sentient laptop computers and refrigerators that talk. The rest of the world including most of America (which seems largely to be comprised of illegal aliens) lives in grinding poverty supported by a government dole. Freedom is largely a thing of the past, the Tax Police have the power to effect summary arrests, and society in general is teetering on collapse.
This novel is intended to be a cautionary novel warning us against neglect of the world's ecology, and it delivers this message successfully, and in my opinion, devastatingly. I am a conservative Republican, (a school of thought not always noted for its ecological conciousness) but nevertheless I admit that this novel heightened my concern for our preservation of the world's forests, oceans, and ecology.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kim Boykin on April 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
In 2025 the environment is on its way to being unable to support human life, and the Depopulationists are campaigning for a plan of voluntary suicide of a third of the people on earth. The air in some cities actually suffocates people. Trees are a rarity. The American Midwest is mostly desert. The gap between rich and poor has widened even further. Gerontology has developed to the point where seventy-year-olds can look and feel thirty--if they have the money. Trans-atmospheric vehicles can get you from L.A. to New York in half an hour--if you have the money. We've been tinkering with chimps, apes, and human children to enhance their intelligence, with mixed results. Drugs are available to induce any mood.

The book occasionally got a bit too pedantic and polemic, and I wished the pieces of the story had been woven together more smoothly, but all in all I found it an interesting and thought-provoking read.

(I also recommend Strieber and Kunetka's "Warday," which I liked even better, about the aftermath of a "limited" nuclear war.)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Baez on January 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If we continue to consume and destroy as we have in the 20th century, we may face the hell that Strieber and Kunetka describe in the 21st in Nature's End. The book's dramatic elements are exciting, and the story of fugitves on the run from a sort of mutated Ghandi/Hitler hybrid is fun and though-provoking, but it is the depictions of everyday life in the 2020s with the terrifying consequences of over 100 years of environmental degradation that both enthrall and alarm. This book should be made into a movie by Steven Spielberg and star Tom Hanks. Maybe the attention it would thus receive will serve as a warning call to the world that we may be entering a time of living (or more likely, dying) in a poisoned planet unless we do something about it. An amazing and shocking vision of what may await us all in a few decades, many of the predictions of events in this book (written in the 80s) have come to pass with alarming accuracy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Schaub on January 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really liked this book. I read it many years ago, and picked it up again last year to read once again. It was written back in the early 80's, but set in the near future. I enjoyed how the authors would take real excerpts from newspapers and put them at the beginning of every chapter. It was also interesting how they would add their own articles for the events that happened later (ie: they would have more excerpts that would be from the year 1990, or 2000, or 2010, etc. etc.) They painted a dark image of how the world may end up, but I think they did a fantastic job of keeping you interested and wanting to read more and more. If you like Fiction that's got a swirl of truth, than you will love Nature's End.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1996
Format: Paperback
In this book, Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka attempted to warn readers of how
Mankind's remorseless corrupting of nature would come back to haunt us. Not only
did he show how perhaps one day pollution and deforestation and political gridlock over
the environment would nealy nullify the planet, he also provided something not often seen
in this type of book: He provided suspense. Unlike WARDAY (The pair's previous novel)
There was a reason that the people traveled where and how they did. This book is a few years
old, but IT more than any Commercial, fact, or group scared me into worrying about the status
of Nature itself. Imagine a place where cities are so pollutted that smog is black and thicker
than any fog you have ever been in. Imagine a place where the MAPLE Tree has become extinct.
Imagine a place where once the greatest forest on the planet was, there is now a desert as
large as the Sahara. This impossible menagerie of horrors is what Whitley Streiber and
James Kunetka have concocted. Read it and realize that anything is possible.

Review by Martin J. Zmiejko
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