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Summer of the Apocalypse Paperback – November 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Fairwood Press, Inc; First Edition edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974657387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974657387
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,158,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After a deadly virus annihilates most of the world's population, 15-year-old Eric undertakes a perilous trek across a devastated Colorado landscape to find his missing father. Forging through a wasteland of abandoned autos and dead bodies, Eric survives crazed looters, wildfires, and a hangman's noose before joining a ragtag community of fellow survivors. Six decades later, after watching his brethren fall prey to illiteracy and a scavenger lifestyle, Eric embarks on another journey through a vastly transformed America, with the objective of rescuing lost knowledge from an abandoned library. His adversaries this time include wolves, feral children, and brutal survivalists. His encounters with the nastier side of human nature paradoxically provoke recognition of humanity's inherent goodness and give him hope for the inevitable renewal of civilization. Van Pelt's first novel is a solidly written, if somewhat routine, contribution to apocalyptic fiction, whose redeeming qualities arise from Van Pelt's deft subversion of contemporary, disaster-driven fears to forge a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Author

Hi, I'm James Van Pelt, the author of Summer of the Apocalypse. By releasing the book in its Kindle edition, I've finally entered the 21st Century! Unfortunately, right now, the Kindle Edition listing doesn't include the reviews the hard copy of the book has already garnered.

If you'd like to see what folks have already said about the book, you can read them at the print edition listing at Summer of the Apocalypse

Oh, as a part of this posting, I gave my book five stars. I didn't have an option of not ranking it, and I didn't want to default to NO stars. The real-paper version of the book has been reviewed 44 times on Amazon as I write this, and it has averaged 4.5 stars. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

More About the Author

James Van Pelt teaches high school and college English in western Colorado. He has been publishing fiction since 1990, with numerous appearances in most of the major science fiction and fantasy magazines, including , Talebones, Realms of Fantasy, Analog, Asimov's, Weird Tales, SCIFI.COM, and many anthologies, including several "year's best" collections. His first collection of stories, Strangers and Beggars was released in 2002, and was recognized as a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association. His second collection, The Last of the O-Forms and Other Stories, which includes the Nebula finalist title story, was released in August 2005 and was a finalist for the Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award. His novel, Summer of the Apocalypse was released November, 2006. The Radio Magician and Other Stories appeared in September of 2009 and received the Colorado Book Award in 2010. His newest collection, Flying in the Heart of the Lafayette Escadrille, will be available in November of 1012.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this to those who enjoy dystopian fiction.
Nina Harmes
I wasn't disappointed in the ending and actually thought it closed out very well, with the main character coming to terms with important issues in his life.
If you like a well written, well thought out storyline that is post apocalyptic, then you should like this story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Patrick S. Dorazio VINE VOICE on October 24, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book based on Amazon connecting the dots: I like apocalyptic fiction and this book obviously qualifies, so they recommended it to me. Often I prefer a darker vision than the author had here, but the author's vision of the future did not disappoint. I was very glad I took a chance on this one.

You know the story if you have read the description above and the other reviews. We are introduced to Eric, both the boy and the man, who has experienced two book end journeys through the apocalypse as a boy of fifteen and a elderly man of seventy five and we are told the story of both in alternating chapters. But as Amy, a previous reviewer, mentioned this is a book about fathers and sons and the relationships that define them as much as it is about the breakdown of society and one man's journey through it. Through Eric's eyes we see the generational differences and similarities that both seperate and bind.

Eric as a teen tries to come to grips with both the world falling apart at the seams and a father who he does not completely understand. A father who is at the same time both distant and somewhat cold and yet caring and warm in his own way. Eric as a seventy five year old man is trying to come to grips with a world that is resistant to discovering ways of rebuilding and a son who he feels has never understood him and who, perhaps, he might have failed as a child. There is hidden resentments, failed gestures, and yet a profound understanding, in the end, that what binds them all together is a love that is deep and overshadows everything else.

A good storyteller not only plunges you into a story with compelling elements and a good plot but lets you identify, on some level, with his or her characters.
Read more ›
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Gaddy Bergmann on November 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book offers a great, surrealistic view of the commonplace. When a pandemic virus wipes out most of mankind, the survivors find themselves not only traveling by foot through the metropolis and suburbs of Denver, Colorado, but also trying to survive. This book has many captivating scenes. Some feature ferocious wild and feral animals, while others involve some creepy people who come out of the woodwork when society breaks down. There are some great debates between characters about the pros and cons of the "Gone Times" and the new times. And there are some interesting ideas about how people would survive an apocalypse, and where they would go thereafter. There are a handful of scenes where the cause of the action is not apparent, but overall the story is easy to follow and get involved in. But this book is mostly about one teenage boy who survives the apocalypse and then lives to become an old man in the new, post-apocalyptic world. It's the story of his perspective, his relationships, and his legacy to his family and friends. This book is exciting and thought-provoking, and I'm glad I read it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amy on October 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Summer of the Apocalypse" is categorized as sci-fi -- and it is -- but it's also a wonderful story of fathers and sons. The world's population is decimated by a virus. The remaining people struggle on, with the younger ones arguing for learning how to scavenge and live off the land more successfully. The "Gone Timers," those who lived before the plague, argue that humans must learn how to rebuild civilization, and books hold the key. The ensuing struggle is the backdrop for Eric to discover how his relationship with his father has affected the one he has with his son and his grandson. This is a beautiful story, with poetic themes and gripping action. It transcends the genre, and readers will not have to care for sci-fi to truly enjoy this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on March 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
I love end-of-the-world fiction. Ever since I first laid eyes on "The Stand" and "On the Beach" while in high school, I've been hooked. That said, many end-of-the-world books are poorly conceived and poorly written.

But every now and then a superior example of the genre comes around, and James Van Pelt knows how to string his sentences together. The story unfolds over a 60-year stretch following a virus that wipes out most of humanity. The depictions of society crumbling, as seen through the eyes of a teenaged boy, are chillingly believable. Intertwined is the story of the boy at the other end of his life trying to keep the flame of civilization alive. He embarks on a journey through the changed world, finding some things that might be expected (a crazed militia) and some unexpected (a tribe evolved from feral children).

For all of the death and destruction, however, this is a surprisingly humane novel, and it builds to the kind of emotional climax that only "On the Beach" has achieved within the genre.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Allan Lappin on February 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This novel is part Cliff Simak meets _Canticle for Leibowitz_, part Heinlein meets _The Postman_. While largely a "How Do We Survive This?" novel, it is far more. Because of the structure of the book, we get to see the protagonist both as a 15 year old coming to terms with his father, and as a 75 year old doing the same with his son (and grandson).

For dessert, you get a confrontation between Librarians and New Barbarians. Who could ask for more?
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