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10
3.6 out of 5 stars
The Oblivion Society
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on 18 December 2013
As per the subject, I've subtracted a star for the appalling, immersion-destroying Kindle formatting. There are no visual POV (point of view) indicators in the eBook at all, so a character can say something and the very next line will be related to an entirely different scene, which you of course don't realise until you've read a few more sentences. You then have to go back to make sense of it all.
This is so jarring it almost made me give up, and is such a basic error I'm surprised it was published like this.

So, I really can't recommend this Kindle edition on that basis alone.

This is a shame, as the actual story was quite entertaining. I will echo other reviews by pointing out that playing a sexual predator for laughs isn't an easy trick to pull off and this book doesn't really manage it. Even before the "rape scene" I found myself wondering repeatedly why the group were putting up with Trent, as he had no redeeming features. Then you get to the rape and the comedic tone is just awkward. I didn't find it offensive, it just didn't work, and as this is the climactic scene that detracts from the story as a whole.

The fact that I did persevere to the end in spite of the formatting problems should hopefully show that the book has its good points. The banter between the characters is genuinely amusing and it's fun to read a post-apocalyptic novel with geeks and a foul-mouthed goth as the protagonists. It's definitely a solid three stars.

Special mention should be given to the excellent foreword by David Wong. I haven't read any of his books yet but they are on my wishlist. He does a great job of humourously building goodwill for the plight of indie authors and their need for support from their readership. I wholeheartedly endorse this point of view - but goodwill alone can't make up for annoyingly formatted books, sorry.
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on 11 September 2013
I didn't enjoy this very much, but that's not to say it isn't any good, or that it doesn't have any redeeming factors whatsoever. It's not terrible, but it's not brilliant either. I found some of it offensive (another reviewer refers to the rape scene at the end as being "almost played for laughs"; and I've got to say, I agree with this view. Indeed, in my opinion there was a bit too much emphasis on sex throughout the book, and a bit too much gratuitous, schoolboy innuendo, which doesn't add to the story.) Another fault, I found, is that it's overlong. The introductory section is far too long - it could do with a good edit and a bit of paring down to make it a more punchy story. In fact, it could do with a lot more polish being put into the work - there isn't much of the craft of writing in this. It lumbers from violent action scene to violent action scene; and these aren't told particularly well. At its most frenzied, I nearly gave up on it altogether, because the action was coming so fast, I just couldn't keep pace with it. As a reader, I was unable to visualise what was supposed to be unfolding before my eyes.

There ARE some good one-liners in this. I loved the character of Erik, and Scary Sherri was quite good too. Trent was two-dimensional, Bobby was a parody of the fat boy geek, and Vivian was overworked. I liked Erik's geeky explanations of what was occurring by comparing nearly everything to a film from the 80s. I also liked how everyone fell into two apocalpytic camps - zombies or mutants. In fact, I felt that this was the best bit about the book. If you like your action frenzied and comic-book style, this might be the thing for you. If you like your books a little more thoughtful and crafted, avoid this one like the zombie apocalpyse. Enough said.
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on 9 July 2012
To start with, I'll give a few warnings (please note, these are nothing against the book, just a few things surrounding it which may be a bit misleading). Firstly, David Wong is listed as a co-author, when he actually just did the foreword (although if you're looking at this because you like the works of Mr. Wong, then I would certainly recommend this book); secondly, the foreword may give the impression that this book contains Unicorns, it does not (although this sin't a problem with the book, I think unicorns may have detracted a bit); thirdly, the kindle port (at least the one I had), does not have proper paragraph breaks, which is a bit of a pain.

Now onto the book itself. This book is a true wonder to read, and I cannot recommend it highly enough, the humour is sublimely merged with the sci-fi events throughout, and it's packed full of story such that you always want to be reading it. I found myself reading the climax/conclusion of the book whilst stood up, as I couldn't bring myself too stop reading long enough to find a chair, I was that engrossed. So, this is a book which I would strongly suggest to anyone who likes enjoyable, weird sci-fi, and who doesn't have an important task to do which requires their full attention.
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on 22 March 2011
As said, this is a DC-styled comic sans the pictures, but it doesn't need any pictures at all; the author is very capable to describe in minutious detail every little characteristic of the protagonists.

Take the "X-Men", add a dose of "Braindead", a bit of Taraninesque "From Dusk Till Dawn" and lots of comical Steve Jackson roleplay allure, and you are almost there.

But what sets this book apart from other wanna-be modern humourous fantasy-horror is the fact that you just don't want to put the book down, every page something else is happening, one thing even more hilarious or grotesque than the other. Just as you think it cannot get any worse, there's the next over-the-top mutation happening...

Which shows the writers' ability to make a cohesive fantasy story that is almost, for all its incredulous happenings, oddly believable...

IZ.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I'm going to start by saying author Marcus Alexander Hart can turn a phrase like almost no other. I would be so bold as to call his talent almost Twain-like - had Twain written comical post-apocalyptic satire. You know, the cover of the novel (which, in case it changes for a later edition, features a cute geeky redhead sporting bat wings and riding a rocket) puts me in mind of Dr. Strangelove, and maybe that is as it should be because this story has more than a few moments that approach the ironic wit displayed so brilliantly in that dark comedy classic.

The Oblivion Society is a most exclusive little club; to be a member, you have to accidentally survive a nuclear apocalypse, complain constantly like Fred Sanford on a really bad day, learn to accept and hopefully make use of whatever horrible mutations your body might manifest at the hands of atomic mutant attacks, and somehow endure ungodly amounts of pain and suffering on numerous occasions. The charter society members are, as far as they know, the only five people alive. First and foremost, there's Vivian Gray, who thought life couldn't possibly get worse after being fired by her idiot boss at the local market (she was quite wrong, obviously). Then there's Vivian's brother Bobby and his best bud Erik, two paragons of lazy geekdom; Vivian's bitterly cynical, constantly high and/or drunk former co-worker Sherri; and Trent, the outsider in this little circle. Trent is one of those guys you really don't want to be stuck with in an apocalyptic scenario (or any other scenario) - when he's not describing the nuclear holocaust in Biblical terms, he's trying to hook up with Vivian, who's having none of it.

With what's left of their hometown enshrouded in a disquieting red haze, the gang decides to head out and look for other survivors, sure that help and healing for their assorted, potentially grievous wounds can't be far away. Just getting on their way is hard enough, with virtually all vehicles having been rendered inoperative by the nuclear explosion, but the uncertain journey proves even harder. Not only do our heroes find nothing but further destruction wherever they go, they have a number of run-ins with frighteningly mutated creatures - and, as you might guess, nothing good comes from being clawed, scratched, and bitten by radioactive house-sized cats, gigantic spiders, and other mutant creatures.

Some people say this novel has no real plot, no destination. I don't agree, but this is definitely a case where the journey is what really matters. The dialogue between these characters is a cornucopia of fast and furious zingers, but Hart takes things even farther, penning some of the most brilliantly witty descriptions you're likely to find. The end result is a wickedly funny novel from start to finish.
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I was led to this by recommendations from the author and readers of John Dies at the End - but this isn't in the same league at all. The humour is puerile, mean-spirited and fixated on sex (culminating in an attempted rape that almost gets played for laughs). It is almost a quarter of the way through before anything beyond rambling, nerdy conversations happens, and the way various characters survive the oblivion is telegraphed in such a way that the subsequent explanations drag the story back even more. I struggled to finish it, quite frankly, and am agog ( suspicious?) at all the 5 star ratings on here.
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on 5 November 2013
Spoiler alert. I have to agree with the other reviewers about the bad editing, or need of editing. I could not make it to the end of the book and indeed only read the end to see if I was missing out on some incredible ending. I hadn't. Really? A scorpion penis rape chapter? And it was supposed to funny?
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on 14 July 2013
A post apocalyptic tale with a great comedy tone attached. A nice easy read that had me laughing through most of it, and bonding with the characters for the rest of the time.
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on 28 September 2013
The crazy story and characters had me hooked from the first page to the end. If the end of the world comes this is how it should happen. I recommend highly
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on 29 August 2013
Great book, I'm not much of a reader normally but I'm half way through and can't seem to put it down.....
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