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on March 26, 2010
Lasting impressions? This book was over too soon! After a lengthy intro into a fascinating world of urban survival reflected in the high plains hunker-down mode that it bred after years of conflict, the book just ends abruptly. The theme of a single man representing a civilizations ideals is very well placed and explored, as is the backlash from said single man's actions to bring these ideals back to the people of post bio-plague America. Unfortunately the last 100 pages or so of the book seems to be missing. Riding off into the sunset saying 'all's well that end's' is just not enough for me.
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VINE VOICEon September 9, 2004
There are many problems with Algis Budrys' "Some Will Not Die" but first and foremost is that the author doesn't seem to be at all sure what it is he wants to write. At some times, Budrys is writing a sort of "future history", at others a political thriller, and still others a rather mundane post-apocalyptic thriller. While the last of these is the primary genre in which one would place the book, the lack of focus results in a thoroughly disjointed novel.

It begins conventionally enough (following a prologue set some years later) with a super-plague, possibly developed by one of the competing parties of the Cold War, tearing through the U.S. and presumably, the rest of the world. The reader follows the path of Matt Garvin, a young survivor who strives to make a life for himself in an emptied on Manhattan. As the book progresses, the reader is offered glimpses of various stages of Matt and his family's life, alternating with the plot line from the prologue. Unfortunately, this approach in a fairly short novel leads to a pronounced lack of character development and plot twists that seem almost random. Moreover, there is only the vaguest connection between the prologue and the main body of the text, which makes for jarring transitions.

To his credit, Budrys does introduce some interesting theories regarding the development of civilization and the allocation of labor, but they are rarely well integrated into the plot, and therefore come across more like lecturing than story telling. Finally, the conclusions of both sections are so overwrought as to be almost laughable.

Ultimately, this isn't a terrible book, but it's not a very good one either. The character development is weak, and breaks off just when it is getting interesting. In addition, there is no unifying theme to the work, and finally, the book is riddled with typos. If you are a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, it may be worth reading if for no other reason than its premise is largely believable, which is rare in a genre riddled with absurdity. If you are indifferent to post-apocalyptic fiction, I would pass on "Some Will Not Die" as it doesn't have anything to offer when removed from the context of the genre.

Jake Mohlman
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on February 18, 2010
If you love novels about the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) then you may be able to wring enjoyment from this dry crust of story. What should you expect? Main characters who kill everyone they meet or see in order to either eat them or steal from them. Main characters who slaughter whole families, including women and children who refuse to bow to their will, their demands, their "organization." These, keep in mind, are the heroes of the story. If you enjoy this military adventure, then read on, but expect no pay off at the end. There is none. The ending is so disjointed that many readers are convinced there are separate stories in the book. In fact, these are the "end" of the novel, such as it is. If it's a great TEOTWAWKI story you want, read Earth Abides or Alas, Babylon or The Furies. This story honestly makes me question the sanity of those who published it. If ever a novel deserved a descent into obscurity, this is one.
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on October 13, 2016
It was just OK.
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on April 23, 2004
Disjointed, flighty, confusing. Good premise, but: Where are we? Who are we? What is going on? Where are we going? Very claustrophobic. Limited to high rise buildings in NYC and a vehicle on the Western plains of the US in different time periods. No definitive characters. Those that were defined, who cares? I'm still trying to figure out the plot. And I don't agree with the author about the chapter from a collection of short stories that he "tacked on" in this later version. This was all done so much better in "Earth Abides". You probably shouldn't waste your time, much less your money.
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on June 3, 2015
bad
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on March 4, 2015
This is a wonderful book, on a frightening topic, which the Ebola crisis only highlights, but which most of us would rather ignore: the possibility of a lethal epidemic which shatters our world and our efforts to civilize ourselves into decent human beings. Yes, you could say it is a mixed-up hodge-podge of a story (as many reviewers have said), but the tale of the collapse of our society, and the man who devotes himself to rebuilding it, is very moving and in many ways, the story of each of us, for who has not had his or her world collapse and been faced with the daunting task of building a new life in its stead? This is not just a story, it is a metaphor for the need for personal integrity and the willingness to stand for something you believe in.
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on September 28, 2016
A dark look at post-apocalyptic life after a disease wipes out most of humanity. The story starts with a "prologue" which takes place in the mid-west. The "prologue" gets revisited several times in the book and apparently takes place after the events in the rest of the book.

The second chapter starts in New York after humanity has been reduced to a small percentage of the original. People are killing each other over food and other resources. Each person or family is alone and pitted against the human wolves who kill anything that moves so they can loot the body for food or whatever the person was carrying. Snipers are a big problem. The main character starts to change that after he learns how to survive on his own.

Okay, there are some problems with the story. No dead bodies to dispose of (remember the plague?) or at least no attempt to do so. Most people were confined to their apartments, so that makes some sense. In that case, rats should have been a major problem along with the stench. But this is a small problem and doesn't detract from the plot unless you start wondering -- like I did.

It's a dark yarn with few high points and that kind of depressed me (I prefer more positive stories, even if there's a challenge that has to be overcome (and this is a BIG challenge). The author was trying to portray a realistic long-term problem, so this isn't the type of story that would make a good movie with a happy-ever-after ending.

My mass-market paperback copy was published in 1961 and is falling apart (cheap paper and glue?). I think I read it a decade or so ago, but I probably won't do so again -- if only for the problem of keeping the pages from falling out.
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on December 7, 2004
Algis Budrys is a great SF writer, and he brings fresh insight to every subject he touches. This novel is set in a future that will be familiar to most SF readers: after a catastrophic plague that wiped out nine-tenths of humanity, the survivors are faced with a choice of rebuilding civilisation or fighting each other for the ever-diminishing supplies of food and other essentials. One man accepts the crushing responsibility of using all necessary force to reunite the Republic, with the inevitable violence and loss of life. Is he right? Or is he just a bloodstained butcher, driven by his own lust for power? Decades after, his very name can make or unmake governments - one of which eventually sends an armoured expedition to seek him out or confirm his death.

Budrys has written only a few books, because he is very selective about the topics he chooses. Each book makes a statement that he felt to be important and worthwhile - and this one is no exception. Some Will Not Die is very well written, although poorly edited, and shows clear signs that the author was well acquainted with the grim realities of military life. Perhaps because it was assembled from independently-written sections, it adopts a flashback format that leaves a rather disjointed impression. Nevertheless, it is a book you will surely remember - both for its action and its ideas.
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on November 20, 2011
Algis Budrys, perhaps the less known among the classical SF masters, always was at his best in short stories rather than in novels. This book makes no exception, particularly as a consequence of a loose plot, with several, not well connected, sequences, centered around the creation of a new American republic after a plague that killed 90% of the population; and the search in the remote countryside, 30 years after, for the man who once led the Unification Army, who might or might not be dead.
Altough this idea is not very vell developed in the book, especially towards the end (where the author included an already published novella which is even more loosely connected than the rest), the novel deserves to be read for a couple of good reasons.
First, Budrys is able to provide a psychological insight in his characters, that was not common among the SF writers of his era.
Secondly, his version of post-apocalyptic history is quite original. Unlike most stories of its kind, this novel is focused on a hobbesian war of all against all: not only nation against nation, but city against city, block against block, and even apartment against apartment. In this situation, only a Leviathan (represented by the character of Theodore Berendtsen) can reunite people through military strength. Quite interestingly, in Budrys' vision the new republic can survive only as far as the Unification Army retains the monopoly on the use of weapons. Once Berendtsen is betrayed (no spoiling here, since this is revealed already at the beginning of the book) and the arms are redistributed to the civilians, the republic crumbles in fragments (and only the myth of the original Leviathan, Berendtsen, seems to be able to put it together again). Probably this view is not surprising in a man grown up during World War II, and forced to exile by the Soviet occupation of his homeland. However, it gives the novel a touch which was not common 50 years ago.
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