New at the library
Have you been wondering what the end of the Mayan calendar will mean? Many notable writers have been pondering the same thing and have written a batch of books about post-apocalyptic America that may pique your interest.
Ashes of the Earth: a Mystery of Post-Apocalyptic America by Eliot Pattison – Thirty years after a nuclear holocaust, a group of survivors have formed a colony named Carthage on the edge of what was once Lake Ontario. Ruled by a governor with absolute power, this fragile community is threatened by secret crimes, government censorship, tension between generations, and has a history of banishing those suffering from radiation sickness. Once a revered colony founder, Hadrian Boone investigates a murder that reveals criminal elements and unsettling secrets. Pattison’s story highlights the need for societies to salvage ideas and values (instead of material riches) in order to rise up from the ashes.
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway – London clock repairman Joe Spork finds himself in deep trouble after a friend asks him to fix an old machine that turns out to be a doomsday device linked to his father’s gangster past. Pursued by monks, government agents, a serial killer and an Asian drug lord, Joe soon realizes he’ll need the help of Edie Banister, an elderly WWII superspy, to save the world from annihilation. As the story unfolds we gradually learn the doomsday machine was built to bring world peace by forcing us to speak only the truth. In the wrong hands, however, truth-telling can be deadly.
The Children of Men by P. D. James – Set in England in the year 2021, P. D. James’ novel suggests a bleak future devoid of children that is filled with despair and violence. Central to the story is Theo Faron, an Oxford history professor who is approached by a group of dissidents who harbor a dangerous and marvelous secret: a young woman’s hidden pregnancy.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller – Heller’s debut novel features a pilot named Hig who is about to embark on a journey of discovery. After a flu pandemic has killed nearly everyone he knows, Hig has co-existed with his dog and a loner named Bangley for nine years at an abandoned airport in Colorado. When he hears a voice on the radio, Hig becomes haunted by the thought of finding other survivors and sets out on a six-week trip. Flying a 1956 Cessna with his dog as his co-pilot, Hig gains insights along the way about the importance of love, connection and grace.
Flood by Stephen Baxter -Stephen Baxter’s daring novel is a postapocalyptic story about a world where rising tides mean high ground is rapidly becoming a rare and precious commodity. Set in the year 2016, this story follows the attempts of four political prisoners freed from captivity in Barcelona who search desperately for solutions to the world’s rising ocean levels.
The Omega Point: Beyond 2012 by Whitley Strieber – Dec. 21, 2012, has come and gone without incident. The year is now 2020 and energy from a supernova is disrupting the sun, creating solar storms that are ravaging the earth. Even as the wealthy of the world hide in huge bunkers underground, they know they can’t survive long without some sort of miracle. The world’s hope seems to lie with one man, David Ford, a psychologist at the exclusive Acton Clinic. He and many of his patients were once classmates at a center which preceded the clinic. There Herbert Acton taught them a science so ancient its truths have passed into the realm of mysticism. Esoteric knowledge brought by time travelers from an ancient civilization may prove crucial to the world’s survival.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler – Set in the year 2025, this novel portrays a world in decline overwhelmed by pressures of global warming, pollution, ethnic conflict and other problems. Young, black, 18-year-old Lauren Olamina flees her walled Californian community when it is overrun by a desperate mob of pyro addicts called “paints” who seek water and work. Joining other refugees who are flooding north, Lauren is buoyed by her faith in a philosophy/religion called Earthseed, which she believes will one day carry people up to the stars.
When She Woke: A Novel by Hillary Jordan – In a novel reminiscent of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, Hillary Jordan’s story is set in an alternate future America where people convicted of crimes are injected with a virus that changes the color of their skin to match their crimes. Convicted of murder for choosing to abort her unborn child instead of revealing the father’s identity, Hannah Payne, the main character, has been sentenced to 14 years living as a “Red”. Fleeing from an abusive halfway house, Hannah goes on the run in an attempt to live in a society that is increasingly hostile and dangerous to women.
– Lisa Shirtz