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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: 2 x 3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 writer for Deadspin, NBC, Maxim, and Kissing Suzy Kolber. He's also written for GQ, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, ESPN, Yahoo!, Comedy Central, Playboy, Penthouse, and various other media outlets. His first book, Men with Balls, was released in 2008. This is his first novel. He lives in Maryland with his wife and children.

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Customer Reviews

It's a very dark story, but very well told.
Amazon Customer
I'm sure the way it happens isn't really plausible, but they made it vague enough that really who knows.
SarahSaysRead
The "cure" for aging has unforseen effects by most of society.
Harry Schalk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 49 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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Misadventure on July 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
It's an okay read, but only sporadically clever. The idea for the story is a good one, and got me intrigued enough to buy the book. The first third or so of the book is probably the best because it deals with postmortalism becoming a new reality. Unfortunately, the story starts skipping long periods of the main character's life after that, and too often glosses over just why indefinite lifespans create the conditions that they do, and how people got together to bring about the dystopian future described. For me, this book lacked an engaging flow with the time gaps and the blog/news story chapters. The main character becomes increasingly unlikable throughout the book. You can decide for yourself whether that matters. Magary is also very very fond of similes. Many are strange and somewhat inspired, but too often the abundance of similes served to make the reading tedious and repetitive feeling. It's a thought provoking book, but in the end it fails to capitalize on its own potential.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader Michelle on August 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
Like other reviewers, I've read a lot of Magary's blog posts. He's generally pretty funny.

I picked up this book because it was sitting all lonely on the library shelf. I'm sure Magary had several people edit the book prior to publication. That's why the plot holes were just so glaring. The worst? When The Most Boring Killer on Earth, John, is given a job to kill some nice suburban lady with a dog because she's just old and needs to go. This is the moment when John sort of develops a conscience although he's still lacking a personality. That portion of the story just doesn't hold up. It makes absolutely no sense that the government would order the "involuntary end" of suburban dog lady while allowing the roadsides to be inhabited by cesspools of humanity that would be much easier, and wiser to ...end. To even get to dog lady's house, John has to drive through and by hordes of homeless. Why would the government not just order their deaths instead of inoffensive dog lady? No, it has to be dog lady because that cute dog might just cause John to grow a feeling.

I guess there had to be ridiculous contrived plot twists to drive the story because the personality of the main character certainly couldn't.

Also, reading the phrase "impossible body" made me think Magary was actually channeling Peter King. Does he not know what the word "impossible" means? I kept imaging that she had a body with six boobs, eight arms, nine eyes, three legs but only one foot. That's more of an impossible body than just some random personality-free hot chick with nice breasts.

I still cringe at memory of the final paragraph of the novel. I keep telling myself that Magary knew how bad that was and he just stuck it in there for irony. Right? Right?
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ray Cornwall on September 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The best speculative fiction takes one or two aspects of the human condition, turns them on their ear, and shows what would happen as a result. You don't need sci-fi guns, fetish costumes, or hulking spaceships to do that (not that I mind any of those elements in a good book!). You just need a ton of imagination, a great idea, and the will to push through to the end. This book has all three.

I was expecting a great treatise on what would happen if mankind couldn't age. What I wasn't expecting was the author's skill at crafting a page-turner. I bought this on a lark and couldn't put it down until it was over. It's a fantastic read.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes the work of Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross, Warren Ellis, and/or John Scalzi.
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