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Reviews Written by
Andy Phillips (Leicestershire, UK)

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All You Need is Kill
All You Need is Kill
by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sci-Fi/Action Book, 13 Mar. 2016
This review is from: All You Need is Kill (Paperback)
This is the book that inspired the film 'The Edge of Tomorrow', but the book and film only share a few basic concepts. Both are great in their own right, in my opinion.

Earth has been invaded by a powerful alien race and a war to defeat them has been going on for years. All of Earth's nations are devoted to the war and the story is centred around a Japanese unit of power armoured soldiers. In particular, one new recruit is killed and through that event becomes stuck in a loop where he is forced to repeat the same day again and again, fighting the same battle over and over. His efforts to break out of the loop, the style of writing and the exciting action scenes kept me reading so that I barely put the book down. Thoroughly enjoyable.


Reclamation (Rapid Assault Warfare Book 1)
Reclamation (Rapid Assault Warfare Book 1)
Price: £2.07

2.0 out of 5 stars High Octane Mindlessness, 13 Mar. 2016
A team of remotely controlled robotic fighting machines leave on a mission to fight their way across Europe and most of Asia to reach a meteor that is the source of an alien infection that has taken over half the world. Fair enough.

Things I didn't like about the book:
1) The book is littered with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, misused words and so on.
2) There are a couple of massive plot holes that I won't go into to avoid spoilers.
3) Some of the plot elements that _are_ explained don't make sense.
4) The characters are barely described and don't feel real. Of the 6 or 8 main characters, only 2 really do anything.
5) There are random switches between past and present tense.
6) There is no 'rapid assault' involving the expected airborne exo-armoured troops. In fact, 'walk quite slowly' assault is more accurate.

Things I liked:
1) It's fairly fast paced and there's a lot of action.
2) It isn't a bad idea for a sci-fi/action book.

If the author ever reads this, I would happily proof-read the expected sequel for free if that would help. Decent editing would help the book greatly.


Davy
Davy
by Edgar Pangborn
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Post apocalyptic New England, 9 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Davy (Mass Market Paperback)
The story of Davy is told in the form of a man's memoirs of his adventures in New England around 375 years after The Confusion (which I understood to me a limited nuclear war but I'm not sure it was ever spelled out). Some of the story is the old Davy writing the book, but most of it is essentially a flashback to the action when he was a youth and young man. The region has reverted to a sort of medieval society with the church ruling over a series of warring states. There are aspects of the pre-disaster world that are remembered, but the story might as well have been set in 1200 AD for most purposes.

The story itself is fine, but I seem to be in the minority of people who didn't really enjoy it that much. I got to the end and wondered what the point of it all was. It was all just a bit slow for me, although the characters are interesting and there are some interesting incidents along the way.


Time Enough at Last
Time Enough at Last
by Lyn Venable
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars VERY short version of the 'Twilight Zone' story, 24 Jan. 2016
This review is from: Time Enough at Last (Paperback)
This is a nice little short story about a man who has no time to himself, but receives it through the chance survival of a nuclear attack.

Note that this is a very short story that took me a few minutes to finish. It's available as legal downloads elsewhere and is the basis for the 'Twilight Zone' episode of the same name (which I also found on the internet somewhere once).


Last American
Last American
by W. Heine
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Also published as 'The Last Canadian', 22 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Last American (Paperback)
This novel was written during the cold war and shows it in places, but that doesn't spoil the story at all. It's well written and made me want to keep reading until the end.

An American living in Canada becomes worried about a mysterious plague that kills extremely quickly and is able to drift on the wind, and hence spread rapidly. He flies his wife and two sons to a remote camp and prepares to wait it out and avoid infection. The only beneficial aspect of the quickly lethal plague is that it cannot spread beyond North and South America as carriers do not have time to travel oversees. An interesting story of survival then follows while the family try to survive. I thought that was the bulk of the book before reading it, but actually that's really just the beginning. A lot more happens involving the main characters, and we also get to see events unfold from the perspectives of other characters such as a reporter and world leaders. A great book if you like apocalyptic fiction without any crazy gimmicks or zombies.

Note that the book is quite hard to find when published as 'The Last Canadian' but I found this version (which apparently has one paragraph changed) much easier to obtain. It has also been published as 'Death Wind'


The Last Canadian
The Last Canadian

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent old school apocalyptic fiction, 22 Jan. 2016
This review is from: The Last Canadian (Paperback)
This novel was written during the cold war and shows it in places, but that doesn't spoil the story at all. It's well written and made me want to keep reading until the end.

An American living in Canada becomes worried about a mysterious plague that kills extremely quickly and is able to drift on the wind, and hence spread rapidly. He flies his wife and two sons to a remote camp and prepares to wait it out and avoid infection. The only beneficial aspect of the quickly lethal plague is that it cannot spread beyond North and South America as carriers do not have time to travel oversees. An interesting story of survival then follows while the family try to survive. I thought that was the bulk of the book before reading it, but actually that's really just the beginning. A lot more happens involving the main characters, and we also get to see events unfold from the perspectives of other characters such as a reporter and world leaders. A great book if you like apocalyptic fiction without any crazy gimmicks or zombies.

Note that the book is quite hard to find, but it has also been published as 'Death Wind' and 'The Last American' (which apparently has one paragraph changed but I found much easier to obtain).


No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars Read the first book before this one, 22 Jan. 2016
This is a sequel to 'Twilight of the Dead' and I would recommend reading that book first as the story carries on directly. I quite enjoyed the first book but I thought this one was pretty average. There's nothing really terrible about it, but it's nothing original and the writing feels a bit clumsy at times. It features the fortified town of Eastpointe and some of the characters from the original story with a number of storylines that come together towards the end of the book. I won't spoil the details, but you can more or less guess what happens if you have ever read any zombie books.


The Apocalypse Reader
The Apocalypse Reader
by Justin Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't do what it says on the tin, 14 Nov. 2015
This review is from: The Apocalypse Reader (Paperback)
This book was a huge disappointment. It contains 34 short stories supposedly on the theme of the end of the world. I have read a few collections like this and knew that it's unreasonable to expect to like every story, but I can honestly say that I found at least 30 of them confusing and/or a chore to finish. Almost none of them have any understandable link to an apocalypse of any sort, and some of them made no sense at all to me. I literally couldn't understand what the story was about. I kept thinking that the next story would be better and that it didn't matter if one story was bad because most of them are so short, but I was wrong - the next one was rarely any more enjoyable. Some of the stories aren't terrible as stories in their own right, but they simply aren't apocalyptic fiction in the sense that most people would expect.


Sun Bleached Winter
Sun Bleached Winter
by D. Robert Grixti
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.86

4.0 out of 5 stars 'The Road' with punctuation, 10 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Sun Bleached Winter (Paperback)
I felt that this book read a bit like 'The Road' but with punctuation. There are a lot of similarities: the world as we know it has come to an end, we don't exactly know why, everything is grey and cold, there's little food or water, there aren't many people left who won't kill you for your supplied, two people are making a journey, and so on.

The story is fairly short but well written and full of atmosphere. It's a lot better than most apocalyptic fiction. The atmosphere is pretty grim, but not totally unbelievable. I would have given the book 5 stars if it were a bit longer and the story was developed a bit further.


Oryx And Crake
Oryx And Crake
by Margaret Atwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Biological apocalypse, 2 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Oryx And Crake (Paperback)
Snowman is the last of his kind, living in a tree to avoid genetically engineered animals and scavenging through ruins to feed himself. He keeps watch over a tribe of people living a simple lifestyle in a forest, at one with nature. He tries to make sense of their ways while they regard him as a kind of prophet for their 'gods' Oryx and Crake. He has fabricated a whole mythology around these two characters in order to answer their constant questions and to persuade them to do as he wishes (both for his benefit and theirs).

Most of the book is told in flashback to explain how this situation arose. Snowman grew up with Crake (both nicknames) and both were integral to the disaster that led to civilisation as we know it breaking down. The build up to the catastrophe kept me wanting to read more as each chapter explains a bit more of what happened. The book is beautifully written and the characters are very well depicted. I was a bit worried that the book would become a bit mystical and too poetic, but actually it didn't and it reads like a straightforward story (although I'm sure there's a lot of subtlety that I didn't pick up on). My one criticism is the slightly open ending when it felt like a build up to a great conclusion.


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