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The Last Generation Paperback – September 5, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steffan Postaer is Chief Creative Officer at LBWorks, a Leo Burnett company. A copywriter by trade, he is perhaps best known for his provocative work on behalf of Altoids, the "Curiously Strong Mints." While he has accumulated numerous industry awards for this campaign (including a "Gold Lion" at Cannes and the prestigious "Kelly" award for best print campaign in North America), the author recognizes it is merely advertising.

Other moments in his career include co-authoring the infamous "Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile" campaign for General Motors and penning a 60-second commercial for Heinz catsup wherein a teen-aged Matt LaBlanc plants and catches the slow pouring hero product from atop a New York brownstone.

He is a desired speaker and has traveled all over the world giving diverse and often provocative talks related to his profession. Understandably, a favorite topic is the "Untold Story Behind the Scenes of Altoids."

A creative writing and film major at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he wrote for both the right and left-wing campus newspapers and was Features Editor for the "Mad City Music Mirror."

A writer of numerous short stories, he has won honorable mentions and later First Place in the national competition of "New Voices in American Fiction."

"The Last Generation" is the first of three novels he has written to be published.

Ironically, given the story, he has three children.

Steffan, his wife Susan, and the girls live in downtown Chicago, the city where he was born.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

No one was giving up. Still, the symposiums and think tanks, so rigorously attended at first, were beginning to show signs of petering out. Lacking new information, there was nothing to discuss. No real point. As one beleaguered physician said, "There were a million other ways to ruin a week and only so many more weeks left to ruin."

Doctors needed a culprit. Something evil to slay. A virus. A contagion. As of yet, they had no takers. Not a goddamn clue.

"Like trying to save snowflakes as they fall," is how a renowned biologist from Pakistan put it. "Watching. That’s all we do," said another, as one developing human being after another… died.

Obviously, in vitro fertilization had been attempted. Year after year, it remained the most common medical procedure. But the same thing happened to new human life, whether it started outside a womb or in: Embryo Fatality Syndrome. An egg could be fertilized without difficulty. They’d been doing that forever. Bringing it to term just didn’t happen. Cells divided in the usual manner, forming a discernible embryo with a minuscule heart intact and palpitating. Then gill slits. The slight bending of a tailbone. The blunt protrusions that three hundred million times before had become arm and leg.

But no more than that.

Death came swiftly, the epidermal membranes collapsing into the liquid around it. The effect was not unlike that of a paper towel absorbing water, then breaking down. As documented so thoroughly, the embryo dissolved, becoming vague, disappearing, all in a matter of seconds. The life inside these women had been a mirage. There, then wavy, then gone. Not real anymore.

EFS had been filmed and analyzed in microscopic detail, every cell observed, from start to bloody finish. There was nothing gleaned except for the obvious–obliteration quiet and quick.

EFS happened in the host wombs of chimpanzees. Gorillas. Orangutans. Even cows.

Below the sea. High above the atmosphere.

In different temperature extremes, under varying pressures.

Even in cyberspace.

Their embryos went in a heartbeat, existing humanity had become like the rented palm plants ubiquitous to office buildings: unable to reproduce, biding time, in a corner by the elevator.

Waiting to die.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Inkwater Press (September 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592990339
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592990337
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,486,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fellow Creatives, like many of you I have been writing all of my life. Especially advertising copy. But not only advertising copy.

In high school, I was Features editor for the Lane Tech Warrior as well wrote a column on popular music. My first story was about Judas Priest.

At the University of Wisconsin, I majored in film and creative writing, as well as wrote for the university's conservative and liberal newspapers. Anything for a byline, right?

My short stories have appeared in past editions of New Voices in Poetry and Prose. My first novel, The Last Generation, was published by Inkwater Press. The story was later optioned by Touchstone Television for a TV series.

My latest novel, published in 2008 (Inkwater), The Happy Soul Industry is a modern fable about good and evil. In it, God hires an advertising agency to market Heaven and all hell breaks loose!

Please visit my blog, Gods of Advertising or my twitter address.

As Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Euro RSCG Chicago, my clients include Barilla, Kraft, Valspar Paint, Jim Beam and more. I'm responsible for the overall creative leadership and quality of the creative product.

Prior to joining Euro RSCG, I was Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of LBWorks (a Leo Burnett company), overseeing creative for their full client roster including Altoids, Gateway, Lexmark and Maytag. Before that I served as Executive Vice President and Executive Creative Director at Leo Burnett USA, and was a member of Leo Burnett's Creative Management Board.

I am the proud (and lucky) recipient of advertising's most prestigious awards including a Kelly Award, Best of Show in the Addys and gold and silver Lion at Cannes.

A copywriter by trade, I'm perhaps best known for my work on behalf of Altoids, The Curiously Strong Mints.

Other moments in my career include co-authoring the "Not your father's Oldsmobile" campaign for General Motors and penning a commercial for Heinz catsup featuring a teen-aged Matt LaBlanc. The spot won a gold lion at Cannes.

In 2008, I received Hall of Fame honors for the Altoid's campaign at the Obie Awards in Miami.

Advertising runs in my family. My father, Larry Postaer is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of RPA in Los Angeles. My brother, Jeremy last served as Group Creative Director at JWT in New York. My mother, Christine Montet did time at FCB (art buyer) before retiring in 2004.

I live in Chicago with my wife, Susan and three young daughters. We have two dogs: Bo & Mo. My eldest daughter wants a horse.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert Huffstedtler VINE VOICE on April 24, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Post-apocalyptic novels are almost their own genre. Almost all follow certain conventions already well established in the well known entries in the field like The Stand, The Postman, Lucifer's Hammer, and so on. The Last Generation honours some of those basic conventions (for instance, a very large cast of characters who initially seem completely disconnected from each other, but who turn out to be bound together in some way) but departs from the pattern in some very innovative and interesting ways.
The most significant is that the disaster in question is a condition which suddenly arose that prevented any pregnancy from being carried to term. So, rather than a story about civilization being almost instantaneously wiped out, we have the story of a group of folks from the last generation that was born trying to find some meaning in life as the human race slowly grinds down to an inevitable end and culture unravels with no future upon which to pin its hopes.
The novel is gen-X literature through and through. The chapters are mostly short, and consist of the sort of short declarative sentences and sentence fragments that typified Hemingway's writing. Whether intentionally or not, the bleak gen-X view of the world is blatant, and the way in which the characters deal with the problem is mostly an expose of the banality of post-modern life. References to current pop-culture, filtered through the viewpoint of the last generation are replete. This works surprisingly well, but I think it will impair the ability of the novel to speak to future readers.
As someone else has pointed out, this book doesn't have the usual happy ending. With few exceptions (I am Legend, Soylent Green), postapocalyptic fiction generally has a happy ending.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brett Sneed on March 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
I was very impressed with Mr. Postaer's first book. He took a very simple 'what if' concept and explored the idea in a number of different intelligent ways that all rang true. His main focus on the individual characters really kept me invovled in the story and the little snippets that looked at society in the bigger picture were all very clever and evocative.
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By chicago fan on September 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
The writer is inventive, articulate and lots of fun.
I highly recommend the book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vito Sabsay on October 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
For those who love people watching in real life, this is a great character book. The scenario is so believable, that you can not help but imagine yourself in similar situation. What would you do? How would you live the rest of your life? This book is thought-provoking, fun and easy to read. Get it. You'll love it.
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