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The Postmortal Paperback – August 30, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Unnerving. . . . An absorbing picture of dawning apocalypse. . . . A disturbing portrait of a society convinced it's close to utopia when a cure for aging is invented. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't take long for that seeming utopia to dissolve into a planet-overstressed from overpopulation, food and fuel shortages, and general lawlessness-going into systemic failure. . . . The Postmortal is a suitably chilling entry into the 'it's-the-end-of-the-world' canon." — The Austin Chronicle

"Magary's vision of future technology and science is eerily realistic. . . . By the time you finish, you'll want to hold your loved ones close and stockpile bottles of water. If all else fails, you could potentially make a living selling them a few decades from now." — The New York Press

"An exciting page turner. . . . Drew Magary is an excellent writer. This is his first novel but he tells the story masterfully. . . . The most frightening thing about The Postmortal is that this could really happen-it's not a supernatural story, but it's even more terrifying than zombie apocalypse." — Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing

"The first novel from a popular sports blogger and humorist puts a darkly comic spin on a science fiction premise and hits the sweet spot between Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut. . . . [Magary] understands that satire is most effective when it gives the real world a gently absurd nudge, then lets its characters react much as we ourselves might under the same circumstances." — Ron Hogan, Shelf Awareness

"Immortality has figured in a number of sf novels prior to this one, but never, to my experience, in this way. . . . A very clear-eyed picture, one I don't think has been drawn before. . . . The Postmortal surprised me in a good way." — Michelle West, Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine

"The Postmortal is a punchy, fast-paced and endearing story. . . . As the novel progresses, it turns from a snappy morality tale, to a noir- ish revenge fable, to an action movie; complete with guns, rogue religious cults and government-sanctioned hit men. The narrative comes to us through John's blog entries and collections of news bytes and pundit commentary. Through his sixty years as a 29-year-old, he experiences all the love, pain, grief, and terror of a standard lifetime and is still in good enough shape to kick some ass at the end. Like much good dystopian fiction, The Postmortal is an at-times unflattering commentary on human beings, present, past and future, that hits the mark in many ways. . . . For anyone intrigued with Life Extension science, it's a fun examination of our fears and expectations." — The Nervous Breakdown

"A darkly comic, totally gonzo, and effectively frightening population- bomb dystopia in the spirit of Logan's Run, Soylent Green, and the best episodes of The Twilight Zone." — Neal Pollack, author of Alternadad and Stretch

"As insanely entertaining as it is ambitious, The Postmortal takes us into an America set in the next few years and coming apart under the onslaught of a dreadful new plague--that of human immortality. Magary possesses an explosive imagination and let loose in The Postmartal, he creates an alternate history of the near future that feels real and is probably inevitable. Read The Postmortal if you want to find out what happened to the human race in our last violent and absurd few years in New York." — Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill

“As insanely entertaining as it is ambitious, The Postmortal takes us into an America set in the next few years and coming apart under the onslaught of a dreadful new plague—that of human immortality. Magary possesses an explosive imagination and let loose in The Postmartal, he creates an alternate history of the near future that feels real and is probably inevitable. Read The Postmortal if you want to find out what happened to the human race in our last violent and absurd few years in New York.” — L. Jon Wertheim, coauthor of Scorecasting

"As someone who is totally freaked out by the thought of dying, The Postmortal really stood on top of me and peed on my face. It's depiction of the future isn't filled with crappy robots fighting Will Smith. It's filled with eerily realistic portrayals of what the future could look like and does it all in an incredibly entertaining story." — Justin Halpern, author of Sh*t My Dad Says

About the Author

Drew Magary is a correspondent for GQ and a columnist for Deadspin and Gawker. He’s also the author of the critically acclaimed novels Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood, and Men with Balls: The Professional Athlete’s Handbook. He lives in Maryland with his wife and three kids.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780143119821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143119821
  • ASIN: 0143119826
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Despite the cons, this book is still very well worth picking up, just to read through Magary's ideas.
Ken
I guess there had to be ridiculous contrived plot twists to drive the story because the personality of the main character certainly couldn't.
Avid Reader Michelle
I'm sure the way it happens isn't really plausible, but they made it vague enough that really who knows.
SarahSaysRead

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 56 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
In 2019, the "cure for aging" -- gene therapy -- is legal in only four countries, but immortality can be purchased on the black market. The issue is divisive: gene therapy's opponents use terrorist tactics to attack the black market while protests in favor of legalizing the cure turn ugly. The desire to cheat death ultimately triumphs.

John Farrell takes the cure without devoting much thought to its downside: If you stop aging, retirement isn't an option and you can forget about social security. If your parents don't die, you don't inherit. If you live forever, you never experience eternal respite from annoying relatives and politicians, it's less easy to ignore future threats like global warming, and the escape clause from your marital vows -- until death do us part -- becomes a nullity. Couples often say they marry so they can grow old together. Would they bother with marriage if eternal youth made possible an eternal choice of partners? On a more serious note, the pressures of overpopulation would dramatically increase the already unsustainable consumption of finite resources, a predicament that would initially lead to hoarding, then to war, and ultimately to a barren planet.

Beginning in 2019, Farrell blogs about the impact gene therapy has on his life and the world. The introduction to The Postmortal advises us that Farrell's text files are discovered in 2090. Through Farrell's eyes, we watch the escalating disaster: the rise of pro-death pressure, the burgeoning prison populations resulting from life sentences that last forever, the harsh measures China imposes to assure that its citizens forego the cure, the glorification of suicide, the fracturing of society.
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Format: Paperback
I love the premise of this book - in our world in the not-so-distant future, a cure for aging has been discovered. The President has banned it in the U.S., but it is available on the black market. John Farrell, a bit of an Everyman who happens to be a divorce lawyer, has a connection and decides to take The Cure.

Initially, mayhem and madness ensue, in the best possible ways. John's future world is one of snarkiness, dark gallows humor, Shocking Revelations, and more than a few unexpected twists and turns. At least, it is in the first handful of chapters. After that, well, it becomes a lot darker and the gallows humor becomes more gallows and less humor. Random acts of violence, bitterness, resentment, ennui, and the decline of all forms of faith, hope and love are apparently the name of the game in the future. If we really are in for that kind of future, I am in no rush to sign up - let alone to extend my stay with a late check-out.

In other words, eek, she said.

The book started out terrifically, laugh-out-loud funny. And then shifted, on a dime, to horrifically, cry-out-loud depressing.

The subject matter is heavy - I get it. Issues of resource management, over-population, who "deserves" to be kept alive, and our obligations to one another in society are weighty topics. So is the concept of death. They deserve to be treated with respect - although I'm also fairly certain that they deserve to be treated with mockery and sarcasm because we don't want to take ourselves too seriously, now do we?

There are a lot of take-home platitudinous messages in the book because of the weight of the topics covered. "Be careful what you wish for" is, obviously, prime among them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Melundie on September 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
*This review contains spoilers.*

The Postmortal is distopian novel about an average, if not flat-out loathsome guy; one who is neither a hero nor a victim I could empathize with. John is a shallow lead with no real aspirations. There were glaring holes in the plot and decades between the various parts. It felt like I was always waiting for the book to "get good" and really hook me, but it never did. There is no character development to speak of and I didn't buy any of the relationships John had with other characters. Most of the novel was tedious to read, but there were a few scenes that were engaging. The most interesting part of the entire book for me was when John meets the guy in the bar who is traveling to every country...Throughout the rest of the book, I found my mind wandering back to him and his story. Overall I thought the story was pretty anticlimactic. By the time I got to the last few chapters I was ready for John to die just so the book would end.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J.O. on October 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book came to me with high recommendations, and was a moderate, if not major, disappointment. The idea is great- a cure for aging that will render humans immortal. There is a lot of potential in this topic for a book with amazing characters and deep philosophical exploration. This book offers neither. Instead, we get a somewhat hastily-thrown-together dystopian planet which is poorly developed, and we follow the story line of a vapid main character, who experiences many tragedies and adventures. They don't make much of an impression on him, and they don't make much of an impression on the reader either. None of the events or characters do, in fact. There are a few smart moments- such as a glimpse into what emergency rooms might look like twenty (or five) years from now, but with a concept this radical there could have been much more. This book might amaze you if you've never read Philip K. Dick books or any decent science fiction. But if you have, I think you're in for a letdown.
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