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Slow Apocalypse Hardcover – September 4, 2012
"A Criminal Magic" by Lee Kelly
THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly's new magical realism, crossover novel and casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties. Learn more
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“John Varley is the best writer in America.”—Tom Clancy
“My life experience of John Varley’s stories has been that the great majority of them are literally unforgettable.”—William Gibson
“There are few writers whose work I love more than John Varley’s, purely love.”—Cory Doctorow
“One of science fiction’s most important writers.”—The Washington Post
“Inventive.”—The New York Times
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Top Customer Reviews
If this is, as one reviewer has stated, the new, improved Varley, I'm sorry, but I want the old one back. One of the things I have always liked about Varley is the clarity of his style, his ability to describe situations, characters and plot developments in terms that create a wonderful involvement in the story for the reader. I never thought I would find myself deliberately skimming paragraph after paragraph in an attempt to find the point where the story line once again emerges from the morass of overwhelming detail that comes perilously close to destroying the entire story.
The basic premise is good - the world supply of petroleum has been rendered unusable; apocalypse ensues, complete with the complication of natural disaster - and very well-handled. Everything else in the story evolves from that. Characterization is excellent, you either like or dislike the main characters depending on your own personal biases. They are both clearly drawn individuals and very recognizable types. They are also very believable. One of the secondary characters, Addison, the daughter of the two major protagonists, is someone I would like to know better, ideally in her own book. Varley is one of a very small handful of male writers who can write from a female point of view and do it well.
Having said all this, then, why aren't I giving this book five stars? It's simple, two chapters into the book, I was already thinking "ENOUGH WITH THE GEOGRAPHY LESSON, ALREADY!" It got worse from there. The only thing I have ever seen of Los Angeles is the airport. Mr.Read more ›
Everything certainly seems plausible, and realistic, and Varley's writing style is just as casual and transparent as it ever has been - a great accomplishment, in my mind, when the ideas conveyed by the printed word are able to serve the story without getting in the way - and having been following the author's online blog for years now, it is easy to see how well-spent his time in Los Angeles was, and how he used the experiences from that period to inform and support this story. I now have an idea of the feelings he had as he made his many walking forays into parts of L.A. that most folks never see, traveling along the L.A. River - a concrete monstrosity more like a canal than anything natural - on foot, and making the most of familiarizing himself with the area. I think I also have some inkling about why he decided to leave L.A. and return to Oregon. These bits of information are pleasant for a fan, and certainly enriched my experience of reading the book.
So what about the book? It wasn't what I wanted to read, but I was continually surprised by the events and ideas he presented in it.Read more ›
The impossible has happened: John Varley has written a mediocre book.
Let's get it out of the way up front: This is a damned depressing novel. A man-made super-bug runs wild and in a matter of days devours every drop of petroleum on and in Earth. Civilization promptly collapses. A pair of what I presume are more or less typical suburban Los Angeles families fight for their lives as they escape the starving, shattered (Varley almost arbitrarily throws in a monster earthquake just to crank the misery up to 11) LA basin to search for relative peace and security in a terrifying new world. Varley's unequalled storytelling prowess makes you feel every bit of the pain and despair his characters experience, to the point where parts of this book are downright hard to get through. You probably will not want to read the whole thing in one sitting.
Now, none of this would be a bad thing if there were an appropriate payoff at the end. It's hard to describe without dropping major spoilers, but the thing is, there really is no payoff - it's ordeal rather than adventure. Our heroes overcome steep odds and eventually find at least temporary sanctuary and... that's it. We learn *nothing* about the plague that started all this - was it deliberately planted, and by whom? Was its global spread by accident or by design? Are those people still around, and are they planning anything else? Mankind is still on a steep slide back to a 19th-century economy, if we're lucky. There is at best a glimmer of hope for the future, and a good chance that even that will be lost.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A plodding attempt to rewrite Lucifer's Hammer for a different disaster, and with so much local color it reads like Frommer's Guide to LA. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Keith Burton
It was good premise to try for the future. I wanted something different from all of the zombie and undead stories I seem to be reading. It was a nice change of pace. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sandra Sinanian
Well, this was a scary read. However, I was a little disappointed at first, that the story primarily takes place in southern California. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Claire Richardson
A slowly developing plot of a counter insurgency on board a colony ship to a new earth.Published 8 months ago by David E. Clark
An interesting take on apocalypse fiction, far more brlievable than the more extremist qua libertarian takes on it (yes hello Niven & pournelle). Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mr. Philip Malthus
I really enjoyed this book. At first, when I read the description before buying, it didn't sound that interesting. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Joey
Google maps helped me to understand what goes on in this book. I have driven through LA one time and developed a dislike for the place right away. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Randle Brashear