Apocalypse by Neanderthal? I just couldn't get my head around it.
The world comes to a standstill after a series of Electro-Magnetic-Pulses and solar flares. In true apocalyptic fashion it's survival of the fittest and in this case it would seem that a person's survival efficiency is dependent upon the colour of their skin and/or where they rank on the autistic spectrum. When some of the survivors started communicating by 'singing', I'm afraid that was game over for me.
It seemed to take a long time to get going and longer still to bring all the characters and stories together and by the time it did I had lost interest. I never really connected with any of the characters and didn't really care if it all worked out for them or not. I'm disappointed. It sounded so good, in theory, and had 'my kinda book' stamped all over it.
It seems like a lot of thought and research has gone into this and it's definitely a unique new direction in Apocalyptic fiction...I just couldn't warm to it.
on 1 January 2014
There was just too much going on in this book for my liking. If you like fast action Sci-Fi movies, well then this book may be for you, but really I found it too hard going and generally boring.
As the mother of an autistic son (Asperger's Syndrome), unlike one reviewer, I didn't feel that it was insulting to people with ASD, but I did find it expoitative. This would have been okay if there had been some relevant and useful purpose for it, but there wasn't and the ending was rushed, and you were simply left feeling "what was the point?".
on 11 August 2013
Tried this book after reading the reviews from other kindle users. Basic premise is that solar flares turn everyone into neanderthals or earlier homo sapiens. It uses some really ridiculous science to back it up and what really p*ssed me off was a nod towards the validity of creationism. The most stupid part of the book was that when everyone initially became caveman, they separated into groups of blacks, whites and Hispanics and wouldn't mix with each, which to me felt like the writer was saying that we are all inherently racist. Stupid book. Don't bother.
on 12 October 2013
The main characters were poorly written with rubbish back and ongoing stories and just didn't develop in themselves or add to the overall book/story other than to irritate.
The author would have you believe that devastating solar flares are just going to suddenly happen with no warning, despite all the boringly illogical science that is thrown at you in the early chapters, so much so I felt like I was cramming for my science exams. Oh, and said flares make us revert back to Neanderthals (which is so inaccurate) or if you have ASD you will be come "normal". (dont even go there, it got worse)
Marcus, the astronomer, got right on my pip with his constant whining about his son and his random brain farts, and what was all the rampant sex about, it was not even good! It was hinted at with stupid lines like as she put her hand down expecting blood (seriously what sex do you have where there is blood!) and only found her own excitement - shudder.
For someone supposedly so smart he was still trying to start a car after a worldwide EMP, that he knew about and was trying to predict! Oh and he was also an expert on gene therapy!!?!
The other main character, Emily; a gene therapy labrat, who is also an expert on solar flares (imagine that!), cant decide whether she is in love with her stunningly gorgeous boyfriend or just boinking him to piss her mother off. She bangs on (and on) about being able to develop a gene therapy that will "cure" the autistic & Neanderthal people, whilst the Earth is slowly being cooked and all of nature is being torn asunder, with a mere blood test and microscope - Amazing!
She drove me up the wall with her racist comments and "trial observations". She noted that groups of people divided in to colours (oh yes) because that is what happened at the start of our evolution!, she was able to diagnose autism with a conversation (wow what a skill) and then goes on to happily abuse and lie to those that she finds, and when she spots a group of feral men with weapons covered in blood she invites them into her hiding space as she feels sorry for them, huh. Oh and she thought wearing a computer cover on head would shield her from solar flares.
The over the top bashing at the start re all the technical jargon was really hard going, but only served to highlight the lack of medical information, you can't just jab a needle in someone in the middle of a war zone and get a blood sample.
The military element was provided by a one dimensional jet pilot who was such a hardened military man that he fell for his boss in just one kiss - what! and wanted to "get back out there", in his jet and kill all the Chinese, er EMP? even though he had keratitis from the solar flares and couldn't see a power-point presentation (whoops suspend belief again as THAT pc works!), oh yeah that's so safe!
And then there was this weird Chinese issue? Is it just USA and China on the planet then?
And the shoe issues?
I stopped at 46% as the diatribe regarding autism vs retardedness, the obvious racial comments and stupidity regarding evolution/validity of creationism had me wanting to fling my Kindle at the wall.
First published in July of 2013, US author, Jeff Carlson's, novel 'Interrupt' embraced yet another post-apocalyptic plot.
In Los Angeles, twenty-seven-year-old biologist, Dr Emily Flint, had just given the presentation that could well have ended her career had she followed her instincts and spoken out about the full possibilities of her research into autism. But suddenly none of that mattered when the sun started to emit massive electromagnetic pulses, turning almost the entire world's population into either scared and incapable shells of their former selves or savage Neanderthal warriors - taking down anyone that they encounter.
Technology has pretty much been laid to waste under the devastating effects of the solar storms. Outside in the streets, people are lost in this new world and running around scared. However, amongst the desperate, a few are thriving in this collapsing environment. With their hard-wired minds wiped clean of their modern-day lives and reverted to their primitive roots - the Neanderthals are taking the world for their own.
Meanwhile, the senior astronomer at the Hoffman Square Kilometer Field, Marcus Wolsinger, has found himself trapped inside the towering satellite receivers located within the isolated high ground of Northern California. But with his seventeen-year-old son, Roell, caught outside the complex when the sun's pulses reset everyone's brains, the astronomer knows he has a tough decision to face.
Elsewhere, thirty-three-year-old Navy pilot and ROMEO agent, Lieutenant Commander Andrew Haldane, finds himself fearing for a nuclear attack from China when the Earth's magnetic field was struck by the x-class solar flares, resulting in the sustained worldwide EMP. However, before the fighting can go too far between the two sides, an uneasy stand-off is met - with the realisation that the EMPs may not actually be a manmade affront.
However, after seeing her eight-year-old nephew, Peter Joshua (P.J.), leading a band of these Neanderthals through the streets of Los Angeles, Emily believes she may have an idea what is responsible in deciding who will turn Neanderthal. As she desperately tries to collect together whatever samples she can from those around her, the biologist is becoming increasingly convinced that she may just have uncovered a genetic timebomb that was just waiting to happen.
Around them all, the world is faced with a force that has lain dormant since the primitives walked the Earth. And in the blink of an eye humankind has found itself on the brink of utter collapse - the Neanderthals are the new warriors of the world - and those left clinging on to what's left of mankind will need to hide and fight in order to survive the violence within the new world that has emerged...
Jeff Carlson is certainly no stranger to writing post-apocalyptic fiction; after already having the likes of 'Plague Year' (2007), 'Plague War' (2008) and 'Plague Zone' (2009) under his belt. And it's somewhat nice to see Carlson venturing outside of the standard run-of-the-mill premises in order to bring about his collapse of mankind.
That said, although Carlson's novel utilises a very similar plot to that of Guy N Smith's startlingly-original pulp novel 'Throwback' (1985), sadly Carlson's offering lacks in any of the urgency and 'get-stuck-in' pace of Smith's return to Neanderthals. Indeed, along with the post-apocalyptic-cum-primitive-man plot, Carlson interweaves a painfully dominant scientific foundation to the entire story that pretty much overwhelms any hope of a flowing pace. If you took Smith's `Throwback' and ramped up the elaborate explanation behind it all until the vast majority of the novel is bogged down with in-depth scientific mumbo-jumbo, then you'd be on your way to having an idea of what 'Interrupt' offers.
Not that utilising well-researched and intrinsic science behind a plot is a bad thing. Indeed, Simon Clark pulled off some outstanding novels which were rich in such science. However, where Clark kept the explanations in the likes of 'King Blood' (1997) or 'Blood Crazy' (1995) to a reasonably restrained level - not wanting to detract from the overall pace of the tale - Carlson has completely and utterly missed this (potentially) vital rule of thumb.
Okay, so not everyone's going to mind such over-explanations constantly adding layer upon layer to the basis of the plot throughout the entirety of the tale. As with all novels - it's a case of horses for courses. But how many figurative horses are going to enjoy this degree of a mind-numbing trudge through the veritable complexities of solar storms and our genetic past? I'm certainly not convinced.
Nevertheless, it isn't all bad. With a tense chapter or two that are vaguely reminiscent of Carpenter's 'Assault On Precinct 13' (1976), Carlson does manage to get some energy behind the spiralling Neanderthal madness that is supposedly taking place. And, like with the aforementioned scientific malarkey, these scenes are similarly laced with clever well-thought-through details that successfully paint them with a well-crafted brush of realism.
Sadly, characterisation is quite a haphazard affair throughout the novel. It's hard to sympathise or really connect with any of the characters - even the handful who take the lead in the storyline. Each one seems only vaguely sketched out, their personalities left for the reader to fabricate how they see fit. And as such it doesn't really work. To be honest, I found it hard to care if any or all of them popped their clogs at any given time. A situation that doesn't help with keeping the reader gripped with the storyline.
The novel is what it is. Carlson's clearly put a heck of a lot of time into researching the premise and creating a monumentally elaborate plot ingrained in entirely believable 'Michael Crichton-esque' science. But clearly a balance needs to be made between laying down a clever concept for a tale and delivering an entertaining and gripping story. And unfortunately Carlson's novel has sacrificed too much of the actual entrainment-factor, unfortunately resulting in it just becoming an overly-tedious science-heavy-endurance-test.
The novel runs for a total of 460 pages.