Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: After the Apocalypse

After reading an intensely positive review of this short story collection on i09, I was intrigued enough to order a copy. There are so many post-apocalyptic stories out there, and After the Apocalypse sounded right up my alley.

In fact, the first story of the bunch, The Naturalist, hooked me right away. It takes place in a zombie preserve, where felons are sent to serve out their sentences (as long as they can survive the zombies that wander around the area). However, the big questions of why the zombies were kept in the preserve and why the prisoners were sent there were never answered, leaving me feeling a bit dissatisfied at the end.

My dissatisfaction continued with the rest of the stories in the book. Some had hooks as strong as the first (a huge Chinese corporation that could change the world but basically works on a feudal system, a woman who volunteers for medical testing, people who can inexplicably fly and all want to go to France), while others left me with no desire to continue after only a few paragraphs. In fact, there wasn't all that much apocalypse to speak of either. Maybe I would have been happier if the collection had had a different name?

That being said, I really like Maureen McHugh's writing, just not her stories. She has an eloquent way of describing these screwed-up worlds without using exposition. Instead, details are peppered here and there throughout the story that build the world brick by brick. I would get a little bored, and then there would be only a sentence or two that intrigued me enough to continue. I may seek out more of McHugh's work in the future to see if I enjoy it without the expectations put upon it by such a positive review.

Buy After the Apocalypse on Amazon
Buy After the Apocalypse at a local store through Indie Bound

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