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The Postmortal Paperback – August 30, 2011
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“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 Postmortal, 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
“I suppose you could wait for the inevitable Postmortal movie. But then you might miss Magary’s rendering, his word play, his singular sense of humor. A book that is, at once bracingly funny and—get this, Deadspin Nation—unmistakably poignant.”
—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. He is the author of two novels, The Hike and The Postmortal, and the memoir Someone Could Get Hurt. His writing has appeared in Maxim, New York, The Atlantic, Bon Appétit, The Huffington Post, the Awl, Gawker, Penthouse, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and on Comedy Central, NPR, NBC, Yahoo!, ESPN, and more. He’s been featured on Good Morning America and has been interviewed by the AV Club, the New York Observer, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, and many others. He lives in Maryland with his wife and three kids, and is a Chopped champion.
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People still die due to sickness and disease but in the beginning aging is ended. Farther on in the story, the extension of lifespan leads to the development of a nanite-based miracle cure, really ending sickness and death.
Long ago, stories would see the elimination of aging and sickness as the dawn of utopia. Today, we take a much darker view. Mothers who keep their baby as a baby forever, toddlers who will never grow up and farm animals who never get old. Externally managed metabolism turns people into roving crowds that strip fields of plants, eat animals and even other humans in a never-ending search for more calories.
As over-population sets in, the rapid decline of the worth of an individual is made all the more chilling by the obvious extension of present and past cultural reactions to over-population.
Sometimes a journal, sometimes a traditional story, sometimes a collection of media releases. This seems to detract at times from the flow.
This is not a happy story. The book wavers between what could be dark humor and just plain tragic. One thing that is done well is the gradual build-up of tension throughout the book to the final end. As others have noted, Soylent Green would be a good comparison.
As I visit the area often, I liked seeing how the story has Eden Center, 7 Corners and the Four Sisters restaurant turn out. Sadly, I think Four Sisters has closed.
One problem is that the book's premise for the cure is very, very weak. Also, the explanation for how and why the cure was dispensed was not really explored and that would have been an interesting topic. What happened in the third world countries? Why is there an infinite supply of this stuff?
The book gets weaker and weaker as you progress through it. By the time you get to the end, there is no justification for anything. Major developments simply have no explanation.
I debated between giving this three or four stars.
On top of that, the book could be 100 pages LESS, and still get a solid point across. About 152 pages into the book I kept wondering where the story was going. Apparently the author didn't have a clue either, since the book ends without any clear ending whatsoever-be prepared to sigh in disgust at the last ten pages, to put the book down with a look of disgust, and be happy you are done reading it.
So, I give the book three stars for making me think in the first half, but I could just as easily give it two stars for being scattered, and not able to pull itself together in the middle and end.
Another favorite of mine is oryx and crake by Margaret Atwood. This book was somewhat relatable I thought, in that they both offer a dark futuristic warning to scientific methods we strive to attain today.
Magary has an interesting premise and the first half of the book chugs along nicely, but the last act is awful and the ending is worse than Joe Paterno's.
I was hoping for more. The book had a lot of promise. SAD.