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3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 12.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 April 2012
Winner of the 2012 Nebula Novella Award The year is 2035. After ecological disasters nearly destroyed the Earth, 26 survivors--the last of humanity--are trapped by an alien race in a sterile enclosure known as the Shell. Fifteen-year-old Pete is one of the Six--children who were born deformed or sterile and raised in the Shell. As, one by one, the survivors grow sick and die, Pete and the Six struggle to put aside their anger at the alien Tesslies in order to find the means to rebuild the earth together. Their only hope lies within brief time-portals into the recent past, where they bring back children to replenish their disappearing gene pool. Meanwhile, in 2013, brilliant mathematician Julie Kahn works with the FBI to solve a series of inexplicable kidnappings. Suddenly her predictive algorithms begin to reveal more than just criminal activity. As she begins to realize her role in the impending catastrophe, simultaneously affecting the Earth and the Shell, Julie closes in on the truth. She and Pete are converging in time upon the future of humanity--a future which might never unfold. Weaving three consecutive time lines to unravel both the mystery of the Earth's destruction and the key to its salvation, this taut adventure offers a topical message with a satisfying twist.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Unknown (1 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616960655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616960650
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 530,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This isn't the usual post-environmental apocalypse/alien invasion survival book... Readers of science fiction and those interested in environmental issues will question the current wisdom about our environment and climate science, as well as how much effect humans may--or may not--have on the future." -- School Library Journal (April 2012) "A very impressive and obviously heartfelt work." "It's hard to imagine a better writer of science fiction in America today than Nancy Kress - to call Kress a science-fiction writer seems too limiting. She's one of our best writers." -- Salt Lake Tribune "I highly recommend this book." "A disturbing, lively piece of fiction." "Nebula- and Hugo-winner Kress mixes time travel, global catastrophe, and mysterious aliens in this strong postapocalyptic tale... Kress handles the crisscrossing timelines with cool elegance." -- Publishers Weekly (March 19, 2012) "An elegant novella that combines several wildly different science fiction ideas into a tight package... Expect to see this one on the final ballots of the major awards next year." "A highly intelligent, sublimely understated glimpse into humankind's future - it's comparable in thematic impact to Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s classic A Canticle for Leibowitz ." --Paul Goat Allen,

About the Author

Nancy Kress writes a monthly fiction column for 'Writer's Digest'. She is the author of 18 books and has won three Nebula Awards.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's an entertaining and intriguing read: an audacious plot well supported by excellent characterization. Themes of selfishness, selflessness and necessity provide food for the thoughtful reader, and a coming of age plot is handled deftly. The story is slightly marred (but not spoiled) for me by an environmentalist theme which is disappointingly crude, and jars somewhat in a book that does so much else so very subtly. So a well-deserved 4 stars rather than five, but well worth getting and reading.

I read a sample in Lightspeed Magazine, April 2012, and immediately knew I wanted to read the rest. One plot line is a forensic detective story as statistician Julie closes in on the pattern and meaning behind a bizarre series of child-snatchings and burglaries. The other covers the stresses of a teen, Pete, who lives in the one small remaining community of human survivours after a global environmental disaster. Determined to rebuild the human race at any cost, they now live as guests (or possibly pets, or possibly experiments) of incomprehensible aliens. They are able to emerge from their artificial environment only for brief raids on the past to steal supplies, or children to boost their numbers.

Both sides of the story are well done and thought-provoking. Characters are particularly fine creations. Pete is very believably handled, no mean feat given the very strange environment he's been cast into. His anger and jealousies (and his eventual maturation into someone able to look afresh at his society and make moral choices) give the book a lot of its drive.
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3.0 out of 5 stars good story 27 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like the book. Manage suspense in a very good way. But I would like a better end. IT is a little abrupt. Apart of that a very recommendable reading.
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One of science fiction's greatest literary talents, Nancy Kress, returns in this captivating, beautifully written, novella, " After the Fall, Before the Fall and During the Fall", about the aftermath of a near future ecologically-caused collapse of human civilization, resulting in a mere twenty-four survivors inhabiting "The Shell", an enclosed habitat constructed by aliens, the Tesslies, who have granted the inhabitants the ability to travel briefly backward in time, to kidnap youngsters as additional inhabitants of "The Shell", hoping to increase humanity's slim chance at survival. A brilliant mathematician and FBI consultant, Julie Khan, develops an algorithm predicting when future kidnappings will occur. Her own imminent fate as well as those of "The Shell" inhabitants will converge in surprisingly unexpected ways. Kress has offered a psychologically rich thriller, with characters as rewarding as Julie Khan and Pete, one of six children born within "The Shell". Hers is among the most emotionally gripping and plausible tales of a near future dystopia that I have seen published recently, and one worthy of a wider readership, including one that extends beyond a traditional audience of science fiction fans. Anyone interested in reading or writing dystopian science fiction should view Kress' latest work as required reading.
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