Ahoy there me mateys! When I last read a book by this author, I was reminded that I had never read his debut novel. In fact, it was the only one I hadn’t read. That oversight had to be remedied. Apparently this novel was a finalist for both the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel. So I finally snatched up a copy and loved it!
At the start of the novel, the United States is in the midst of an extreme economic depression with unemployment hovering at 40%. To put this in perspective the highest period of unemployment to date in the U.S. was 25% in 1933.
At the start, the protagonist, Jasper, is an out of work, homeless sociologist who is traveling with his “tribe.” The tribe is a random collection of folks who are helping each other out while waiting for society to improve. And for Jasper and certain members of his tribe, life does seem to get better in small increments. But what happens when the apocalypse doesn’t arrive in one large explosion but rather in small seemingly incremental changes?
Well ye get this delight of a book. It takes place over 10 years. We follow Jasper and through his eyes watch the world slowly crumble. Bad things happen. People adapt. Jasper’s life improves. More bad things happen. Jasper’s life gets worse. There is action in this book but it is a slow burn of overall destruction.
While watching the consequences of the world slowly imploding, ye get to see Jasper’s relationships and personality evolve and his ideas on love and survival change. This book takes place mostly in and around the environs of Savannah. The author certainly seemed extremely familiar with the area. I adored the format, the writing, the characters, and well, everything.
As usual if ye haven’t read anything by the author, I suggest ye hoist those sails and get moving!
Side note: While researching fer this blog, I discovered that Mr. McIntosh had a book come out in June and has another coming out in October! Arrrrr!!! I must get me hands on the booty!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America’s previously stable society apart, the “New Normal” is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang. New social structures and tribal connections spring up across America, as the previous social structures begin to dissolve . . . Soft Apocalypse follows the journey across the Southeast of a tribe of formerly middle class Americans as they struggle to find a place for themselves and their children in a new, dangerous world that still carries the ghostly echoes of their previous lives.
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Previous Log Entries for this Author
burning midnight (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)
hitchers (Dead Men Tell No Tales)
faller (On the Horizon – Sci-Fi eArc)