Book Review

After the End by Joshua Scher

Publisher: Aethon Books | Genre: Dystopia, Post-apocalyptic, Sci-Fi

With the slew of dystopian and post apocalyptic novels coming out, you can only imagine how refreshing it is to stumble upon a truly refreshing, incredibly well created novel about a killer virus. This book is such a visually powerful but slow methodical reading experience.

Title: After the End: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Novel

Author: Joshua Scher

Publisher: Aethon Books

Genre: Dystopia, Post-apocalyptic, Sci-Fi

First Publication: 2021

Language: English

 

Book Summary: After the End by Joshua Scher

As a Doomsday prepper, he’s ready to survive the apocalypse. But what about the men hunting him?

It turns out Addison was right: the world as he knew it did come to an end by means of a killer virus.

He’s by himself now near what was Sicily, Oklahoma, tending to a wilted vegetable garden, foraging for rabbits, and eking out not quite enough water from a dried-up well. It’s time to move. His Uncle Izzy, whom he’s decided to seek out in his survivalist cabin hundreds of miles away, had prepared him well for an apocalypse – all but for the loneliness.

The plan is simple. Gun. Bow. Bike. Go.

If he could just make it across the state, then maybe…

But the virus didn’t quite kill everybody. And humanity isn’t all that humane anymore.

Ransacked and run-down, Addison learns all too quickly that hope is the enemy and trust is a liability. Survival has its costs.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man might be king, but in the land of the dead, he’s bait.

Book Review: After the End by Joshua Scher

With the slew of dystopian and post apocalyptic novels coming out, you can only imagine how refreshing it is to stumble upon a truly refreshing, incredibly well created novel about a killer virus. After the End by Joshua Scher is such a visually powerful but slow methodical reading experience.

The story is simple but the words pack a punch, it’s about survival in this bleak desolate post apocalyptic world, about a kid named Addison who is trying desperately to keep himself alive and protect against the elements and the frightening prospects of encountering other living humans.

As Addison strives to find ways to survive, he learns and adapts to the new environment, but he faces many challenges. Left to survive on his instincts and what he’s learned from his uncle Izzy about apocalypse, Addison ponders over his lonely situation and deals with many emotions.

The setting is grim from the start and it just gets more and more grimmer with impending doom descending onto the pages until you want some kind of relief…. and then that ending! So very wonderful and sombre but beautifully written, After the End by Joshua Scher is a wonderful reading experience.

This is a book about fear, death and utter devastation in every sense; it’s about a very real struggle for survival and about the shocking cruelty of life, the world and its inhabitants. Ultimately however it’s the story of life, hope and kindness; it’s about the human spirit and the quest for survival. Despite and in spite of the devastated world in which this is depicted, it is a story about living in the ‘here and now’ and ultimately redemption.

Joshua Scher has a simple formula for his novel. The writer is able to create a relationship that is both heartwarming and innocent, and shows remarkable skill in eliciting protective love for his characters so quickly and effectively. Then he leads his characters out into a world of malevolent danger. This malevolent danger reaches its apotheosis in the dystopian world he creates in this novel where any stranger encountered is likely to be a murderous cannibal because not all survived humans are humane.

Authors often exploit a post-apocalyptic setting for heroic vigilante action or to demonstrate human hubris. Joshua Scher steers clear of these usual genre conventions. Using it as a scalpel, he peels off the layers that define humanity. The legal, social, cultural, philosophical, and religious systems are all gone! What remains after you remove all that veneer? Even the will to survive is an inadequate answer.

The novel ‘After the End’ is simple in its dynamic – we’re kept on constant tenterhooks about the safety of Addison. The big surprise is how much life affirming beauty Joshua Scher manages to extract from this bleak futuristic vision. What you get at the end is a compelling story, a grand thought experiment simplified and put into narrative form, made all the more intense out comes as it does in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which has laid bare and obvious so many structural inequalities of all kinds. Highly recommended.

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