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Love in the time of the Apocalypse Kindle Edition
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Basically, this looks like a rough draft by a creative person who has a very detailed and intense vision of the world he wants to portray, but no technical writing experience.
So, for the good bits: The main character is quite appealing. The different groups we run into over the course of the book are amusing and well drawn. Bits and pieces of the story are engrossing enough to overcome the fact that it looks like it was written by an ESL student.
The moderate bits: The main character is amazingly detached from what is going on around him. He eventually becomes a bit more involved, but it never feels like anything happening in the book really touches him. Potentially this makes sense given the ending of the book, but since it's never actually spelled out, it's not possible to decide if it's an intentional effect, or just mediocre writing.
For the bad bits: It's physically hard to read. You take one look at it and wonder if anyone (including the author) ever edited it. The story is confusing, with an ending so far out in left field that not only are none of the readers expecting it, but you also get the sense the author might have been a bit surprised to see it end that way, too. The love story, which, given the title should have been more central to the plot, may have been cribbed directly from the Odyssey.
It's .99 on the Kindle store, and for that price I'd say it's worth the buy. It's a short little thing, probably about 250 pages in book format, so it's a quick read. For taking to the beach or killing an afternoon, it's worth the price.
The narrative style evokes Kim Stanley Robinson's futuristic sci-fi classic Pacific Edge and its they-could-be-my-neighbors realism, as well as the headlong rush of The Da Vinci Code's opening chapters (a pace maintained here from beginning to end).
Yet Blecha's voice is unequivocally his own. He captures human flaws and failings with bull's-eye farce but also with benevolence and hope. And his vision of the strange bedfellows in the United States' future is uniquely provocative - I may be laughing, but I'm also stocking my underground bunker.
Love in the Time of the Apocalypse is dedicated in part to the author's late brother Bryan - also the name of the novel's hapless yet intrepid, indefatigable, and surprising protagonist. I can only imagine that the real Bryan would be proud to live on in his trouble-prone and endearing namesake who, even as the world plummets toward disaster, keeps on believing in the love that conquers all - including the apocalypse.
Told in first person by Bryan, an ordinary guy living his bourgeoisie lifestyle with his girlfriend Char, and friends Dawn & James, and Jenny & Mark, the book starts at the Amish casino in Vegas - the only casino without electricity. Bryan doesn't always think before opening his mouth to jokes, and when he asks Dawn if she's pregnant his world falls apart. For Dawn is indeed pregnant, which is against the Zero Child Policy enforced by The Abortion Authority. Now his friends and girlfriend flee without him to The Mormon Underground in Utah where its safe to have children. Left alone, Bryan manages to get into all kinds of trouble, but for the life of him he can't figure out why. For some reason, all the strange factions peppering the country are after him.
First kidnapped by The Aryan Nation And Church Of The Creator - Western States, Bryan meets Colonel Bouchet and Sister Julia, with whom he shares stigmata and a mental link. From his home in Tijuana to Fresno, he's then ejected from the Church after a scuffle and sent to Sodom And Gomorrah (San Francisco). Here he's captured by Lawrence Tribe, leader of the Earth Liberation faction. He stays with EL and its unique members until swept into a high rise building and winds out in a board meeting with Augie Craft, who takes him via helicopter to his penthouse. Paranoid of Earth Liberation, Augie flies to Houston, leaving Bryan alone in a hovering helicopter running out of gas.
It gets better. Bryan is kidnapped several times, swims the length of the destroyed Golden Gate Bridge, gets caught up in a crossbow fight in a coffee shop, spends two weeks in solitary confinement, plays with corporate plebes in a boardroom, fights with a group of drugged children protecting opium fields, gets caught up in the breeding programs of the research group for The Department Of Overpopulation, and that's just half of his adventures.
He's passed from faction to faction, including the anarcho-terrorist group Earth Liberation, The Mormon Underground, The Aryan Nation And Church Of The Creator - Western States (where everyone has a "miracle" story about their recruitment), The Federal Bureau Of Worship, The Society Of The Second Chance, the Seedy-See (CDC), and more. From Tijuana to CA to TX to Vatican City, Bryan runs from one faction into the arms of the next, always wondering just what it is about him that attracts the factions. All the while, he pines for his one true love, Char.
'Love In The Time Of The Apocalypse' is a fun, breezy novel filled with twists of humor while following Bryan's rapid pace through the New World. At only 170 pages, it's easy to read in a single day. As a fan of all types of apocalypse books, this novel was a humorously welcome addition to my collection. Highly recommended. Enjoy!
From the reviews, this looked to be right up my alley. But, instead of a fun romp through the end of the world, I found myself plodding through a collapsed US that made little sense (and not in a good way). I was expecting something more along the lines of Matthew Thomas' 'Before and After' Where the entire landscape of the novel is completely over the top.
This novel was a bit fractured as it moved from one community to another. It never really felt like there was a coherent flow. Instead, there were different interestingly odd, funny scenes connected together with awkward segues.
Finally (and perhaps I'm being picky) the author is British and wrote in a British voice. That's not bad in and of itself, but it was distracting reading about Aryan Nation members going to the loo. On the other hand, I learned quite a few new words - so that's a good thing.