- Paperback: 324 pages
- Publisher: Permuted Press; 2 edition (September 10, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0976555956
- ISBN-13: 978-0976555957
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 70 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,832,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Oblivion Society Paperback – September 10, 2007
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The Oblivion Society is a smart, hip, fun, ride through our worst cold war nightmares. Read it today. You won't be able to put it down. -- Michael Gallant, Editor, QuantumMuse.com
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The book's tone jerks uneasily between comedy and tragedy as the characters trade amusing insults while traveling through the charnel house of a post-apocalyptic America. Some of the action scenes are a little clumsy, as if the author expected the reader to pull out a sheet of graph paper to track characters' positions and movements.
Finally, as the book enters its final chapters you realize that all along it's been a Miss Marple-style mystery--the characters put the clues together and figure out the difference between good and bad mutants. But the only good mutant is an interesting mutant.
The book rewards the patient reader. There's a lot to like here, most notably an affecting geek love story. I look forward to more from the author.
(A couple of notes: According to the author's website, this is the second edition of the book--it's already 31,000 words lighter than the first edition, which must have been unbearable. For no good reason, the book is set in the closing days of 1999.)
- The main protagonist, Vivian, is likable and funny
- Post apocalypse storyline is compelling
- Vivian's struggles are believable and hit the right emotions
- Gritty portrayal gives sense of realism
- All other characters are completely ridiculous and one-sided
- Antagonists are really annoying to read about
- Pacing is uneven. Ranged between "can't put down" and "omg i don't care"
- Ending is ridiculous. Groan-inducing ridiculous
- Flip flops between gritty realism and "hey look everyone has cool mutant powers because radiation"
I really wanted to like this book but I came away pretty disappointed. You can do much worse than this and I have indeed read much worse fiction. I'll just say it's not for everyone. I might recommend it to people who like easy reads but perhaps not picky readers. Again, B. Kaelble's review is much better than mine and I agree with him/her on all points, so look for that person's review if you want something more in-depth than my ramblings.
It was not what I was expecting at all, and was witty, complete and - shock and awe - very well edited. I often have complaints about editing from independent or small presses, but this book was clearly gone over with a fine toothed comb, and I don't recall very many editing/proofreading issues at all.
As others have said, the ending was sort of abrupt, but it wasn't a horrible ending, it's just that it left you wanting more closure.
I definitely look forward to more offerings by Marcus Hart.
Vivian Gray, a supermarket cashier/stocker, and her somewhat lazy mooching brother, Bobby, his bestfriend, Erik, Vivian's co-worker, Sherri, and some random douche that Bobby met at his favorite bar, Trent, are the only survivors of the nuclear holocaust that destroyed their city of Stillwater, Florida. As they set out on their wacky adventure, in search of other survivors and cities that may have escaped the carnage, they encounter the true extent of the unintentional nuclear war.
I got several laughs, a couple of grunts of annoyance, and a few scowls of disbelief from this very funny story. Marcus Hart did a very good job in fleshing out his story and characters-- the only problem with the latter is that he seemed to stick with what he started out with.
The book is more character driven than plot driven, which is great, only that, the characters don't seem to change much (other than physically) from where they started out at. Rather than go through each of the main characters I'll just pick out the one that was so outlandishly unchanged by the end of the story-- despite all that the group had gone through and all that had happened to him and all that he had seen-- it made my stomach hurt with the sheer stupidity of it.
Trent; the douche in the bar. In an effort not to give too much of the story away, I'll just say that when he's first introduced he's portrayed as being a poseur who has no self-awareness and an apparent identity crisis. By the end of the book, he is STILL a poseur with no self-awareness, now entrenched in his identity crisis, and THE most obnoxious and unrealistic character I have ever read. The man just saw the human population descimated and witnessed things that should have made him ball up into a fetal position and yet, STILL, all he can think about is doing one of the girls in the group. Are you serious?!
My other gripe about the book is the style.
I liked the story, I liked the story structure, and despite the apparent faults with some of the character development, I still liked the characters and their interactions with each other, but the way it was put across could have used some serious self-editing.
The author clearly loves adjectives and different ways of saying simple things. Now, I'm paraphrasing, but for example: Instead of simply saying "the deserted road ended at the edge of a crater" he wrote something like "the desolate road terminated at the yawning mouth of the scorched topography of the disintegrating state of Florida."
Can we just keep this simple? Can we just write what we see and not get clever and metaphoric and widesweeping in our descriptions to the point that no one knows what's being described anymore. Can we just say, "the deserted road ended at the edge of a crater?"
I love wonderful prose that evokes a crystal clear image, but if I have to go back over that sentence, or paragraph, or whole page just to figure out what the HELL is happening, we've got problems. And the worst part is that this lovely little gimmick wasn't used sparingly but abundantly and with vigor THROUGH THE ENTIRE BOOK.
Overall...I really did enjoy the book. I did care about the characters and I did want to know what was going to happen to them because the things that happened were so humorous and so off-the-wall. But on the technicality of the writing... this book truly deserves three and half stars. But I would definitely read it again.