Dystopian

I Would Not Thrive in a Post Apocalyptic Society

 

You may have noticed that posting has been sparse these last few days. That is because I have been enduring the pain of an infected and decaying wisdom tooth. I will not say it is a pain worse than child birth, because that is a feeling like none other and thoroughly indescribable to those who have not experienced it. I will say that I lasted far longer without medication during active labor than I have with this tooth. The sharp, radiating pain that has taken over the entire left side of my face has left me exhausted, irritable, and generally unwilling to participate in life unless heavily medicated with ibuprofen during the day and a nightcap of Vicodin before bed. It has also taught me that I am not a good candidate for a post apocalyptic heroine.

I’m sure I am not the only one who has imagined what it would be like to live in the worlds of our favorite stories. Prior to this event, I imagined I would do all right. I wouldn’t be the hero of the story, but I would survive. After all, I am a hard worker and I don’t often let a bit of pain or a lingering illness knock me down. However, while on the train home from work yesterday, while I sat through waves of pain that made me feel as if someone was drilling into my jaw bone, my brain took me to a very strange place where I began to list the reasons why I would not do well.

Reasons I Would Not Survive in a Post Apocalyptic Society

  • Pain from a decaying tooth is debilitating to me, and there would be little to no dental care. On top of that, if I can’t handle the tooth pain, it does not bode well for broken bones and other such mishaps.
  • I become both hangry and depressed if I go without food for much longer than four hours.
  • I doubt I could shoot even a zombie to kill it, and on top of that, I would need to learn how to use a gun.
  • Speaking of zombies… <shudder>
  • An intense fear of snakes and spiders makes living in the wilderness a difficult prospect.
  • I catch every cold that goes around, so you can say goodbye to me during the plague that brings on the apocalypse.

How do you think you would fare? What would do you in? If you need some material to help jog your brain, here are some post apocalyptic novels that I love:

Six Post Apocalyptic Novels I Love

  • Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
  • Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Let me know in the comments what your favorites are!

#TBT Book Memories: Galax-Arena

Every Thursday my Facebook feed is filled with grainy old photos from way, way, back. Some show smiling toddler version of my friends. Some show the high school faces I remember fondly. It’s always nice to reminisce about our pasts on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help us keep up with our friend’s presents, but on Thursdays, they also offer us a walk down memory lane. For book geeks, our trips to the Shire, to Hogwarts, and beyond through little black letter printed on paper and sandwiched between cardboard are as much a part of our past as vacations to Disneyland and birthday parties in the park. So, every Thursday on All Night Reading I want to share a book that had an impact on me, or a memory surrounding literature and reading.

Today I have chosen Galax-Arena by Gillian Rubinstein. Galax-Arena was the first book I can remember reading that had cursing in it. I know that is a strange thing to remember about a book, but as a goody-two-shoes in middle school, I was slightly scandalized. I wondered if the librarian knew such a book was on the shelf for tender 11-year-olds like myself to pick up. I vowed I would not tell and continued reading.

What I read was an interesting glimpse into science fiction and a dystopian world where young children were kidnapped and forced to perform acrobatics for a mysterious group of aliens. They were treated like circus pets, forced to perform, and sometimes given affection, but never treated as fully thinking and individual human beings. A twist at the end showed me that not everything in the world was as it seemed. It left me wanting more (and I just found out there was a sequel!) When I look back, Galax-Arena was likely the book that spurned a lifelong love affair with dystopian science fiction, anime and manga, and more.

I read it so long ago that the small details are a bit fuzzy, so I plan on picking it up again after I get through the ARCs on my shelf. I wonder how much more I will understand now that I am a bit older, and now that I know the secret at the end? Has anyone else read Galax-Arena? What did you think?

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Hugh Howey’s Half Way Home

3.5 Stars out of 5

Howey strikes again with a unique futuristic world colored with shades of dystopia. In this world, life is cheap. Interspatial exploration is driven by corporate needs, and patents are are so highly valued that they are worth killing for. His world is engrossing and unique. I don’t think I have seen one quite like it before. And there, I think, is the biggest problem I had with this book. I found “Half Way Home” to be an easy read. I sped through it. But, I wanted more. I wanted to intimately understand the motivations of a society who would spend millions of dollars mounting an expedition that more often than not would result in the total and deliberate destruction of all equipment and human capital associated with the mission. Instead, the story focused mostly on the main character, Porter, and his group of friends as they struggled to find  the reason for their existence.

I normally love a good character driven space drama. Unfortunately, the characters in “Half Way Home” fell a bit flat for me. I never felt connected to Porter or his cohorts. Their vocabulary and actions were at odds with circumstances of their birth and creation as explained at the beginning of the novel. They seemed almost too contemporary. There was also some uncomfortable gender stereotyping peppered throughout the novel that also did not seem to fit into the world Howey created.

Overall, the problems I had were not enough to completely diminish my enjoyment of the book. I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to know what happened in the end. Most of all, II wanted an answer to the mystery. I enjoyed the setting. And, as usual, I enjoyed Howey’s writing style. Fans of Wool and Sand might be underwhelmed. Young adult readers, and those looking for a quick and enjoyable sci-fi that they don’t need to think too much about will find it right up their alley.

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