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After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia Hardcover – October 9, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Eighteen stories and one poem by both popular and lesser-known authors. There are stories ranging from the nightmarish-Steven Gould's "Rust With Wings" about metal-eating bugs that will devour anything, including a pacemaker-to the comical-Matthew Kressel's "The Great Game at the End of the World," about a game of baseball played as Earth is being destroyed by strange alien creatures. Jeffrey Ford's "Blood Drive" strikes an ominous, "too close to home" note given recent events in the news: it is a frank depiction of a world in which everyone over 18, including teachers and students, is armed with guns. Though the subject matter is bleak, many stories end on a note of hope or provide moments of reflection. While not every entry is strong, there is much here to savor, and fans of dystopias won't be disappointed.-Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This engrossing collection of short stories tackles a single question: What happens to humanity following a disaster that causes calamitous, fundamental, and long-lasting change? Nineteen authors answer in stories that tackle political upheaval (Reunion, by Susan Beth Pfeffer); ecological disaster (Visiting Nelson, by Katherine Langrish); doomsday cults (All I Know of Freedom, by Carol Emshwiller); and inexplicable phenomena (The Easthound, by Nalo Hopkinson). The editors have forgone purist definitions of dystopia—by also including stories of an apocalyptic nature—in an attempt to recognize the range of dystoptian fiction being written today. A brief history of the development of dys-lit concludes the collection. Fans of the genre will naturally gravitate toward After and find much to enjoy. Others may simply be attracted to the names Jane Yolen, Garth Nix, Gregory Maguire, Beth Revis, Cecil Castellucci, and Carrie Ryan; even if they come for their favorites, they’ll want to stick around for the rest. Grades 9-12. --Kara Dean

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; First Edition edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423146190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423146193
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,174,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am not usually a fan of anthologies. I prefer full sized books. I want my characters flushed out, full of action, and usually if I'm going to commit to something then I want it to just be longer in general.

So the real question the becomes why should you buy this anthology?

The answer is simple, because of the authors.

Anthologies offer readers a chance to enter the worlds and writing styles of readers they've never tried before, giving them a sample of the authors works without feeling the obligation to finish or buy a new book by a new author.

And this anthology has taken some pretty incredible authors and put them together here. Garth Nix, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Ryan, Beth Revis, and Jane Yolen are some of the biggest names in the field of dystopian YA. There stories are fantastic and great reads for fans of their work.

My personal favorite short story in this anthology is Faint Heart by Sarah Rees Brennan. It didn't feel like a short story, instead it felt like the first few chapters of a fantastic new novel. A novel that I really hope she finishes. The premise of the story is that the world was thrown into chaos for years, and the light that brought civilization back out of the darkness was the creation of the perfect woman. Every 25 years all of the single male population is rounded up and forced to compete against one another in a series of challenges that leaves only 1 man alive. This winner receives the hand of his perfect queen and the power to rule over all. This has been going on for years and seems to work relatively well.
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Format: Kindle Edition

After is an anthology of 19 post-apocalypse and Dystopia short stories, many written by well-known YA authors. While it’s not uncommon for stories to vary in quality in such a collection, After in particular had quite a smattering of both really great stories and boring and/or illogical stories. While reading, I assigned each short story a rating from 1 to 5, and after reading I averaged my ratings out. Those ratings averaged to exactly a 2.5, which is about what I had suspected. While there were some great post-apocalyptic stories in After, most of them were rather uninspired. There are several stories in After worth reading, but not enough that to justify buying the complete collection.

The Stories:

1. The Segment by Genevieve Valentine
This was definitely one of the best stories in the collection. The news is manufactured by big companies, designed to pull on the heartstrings and purse strings of the still-wealthy. There might not actually be a war in a third world country, but the agencies want you to believe that. The main character has been cast in a segment featuring child soldiers, and a slightly older and “retired”(now teacher) actress is trying to warn her away from it, but won’t say why. There’s a sense of foreboding that invades the entire piece and is everything a short story should be. When the twist happens towards the end, it’s shocking enough to be effective but also it’s easy to see how the entire story had been building up to that point. 4 stars, would recommend.

2. After the Cure by Carrie Ryan
After the Cure takes place after a zombie apocalypse, when scientist have discovered a cure for the zombie virus, and have been able to turn several once-monsters back into humans in a rehabilitated state.
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Format: Hardcover
If there's one form of literature that truly frightens me, it's anthologies. Why? Because I personally find that when it comes to anthologies, I get really wrapped up in the plots only to find myself being cut off. The end. Done. Never mind how attached I got to the characters in the short story or how I expected a big plot, they just end and leave everything to the imagination. That's why I love novels, because they usually tie everything up nicely. Like a ribbon on a Christmas present; Wrapped up nicely (Howdy, holiday reference).

The thing about After that sounded so interesting was the fact that it's a series of short stories about life after the apocalypse. And yes, I did see what they did there. Anyhow, I was interested to begin reading After especially since the list of authors that they have seemed pretty impressive (I personally was excited to see what author Beth Revis had written). After not only shows all the possible outcomes of the apocalypse (should our world legitimately end, be destroyed by war or get ravaged by supernatural beasts) and for the most part, I enjoyed every moment of it.

From the starting story, The Segment, by author Genevieve Valentine to The Marker by author Cecil Castellucci, After was an anthology that has given me enough dystopia to never need to read another dystopian novel ever again. I mean really, almost every single possible topic and plot point was reached in the anthology. The only thing that I don't think I got to read about was zombies, but even then, it's not a major disappointment (however I was secretly hoping that Carrie Ryan would give me a final taste of her zombie universe).

My absolute favorite short story in After was Beth Revis' The Other Elder.
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