Monday, July 9, 2012
After the Fall Before the Fall During the Fall by Nancy Kress
"The year is 2035. After ecological disasters nearly destroyed the Earth, 26 survivors—the last of humanity—are trapped by an alien race in a sterile enclosure known as the Shell. Fifteen-year-old Pete is one of the Six—children who were born deformed or sterile and raised in the Shell. As, one by one, the survivors grow sick and die, Pete and the Six struggle to put aside their anger at the alien Tesslies in order to find the means to rebuild the earth together. Their only hope lies within brief time-portals into the recent past, where they bring back children to replenish their disappearing gene pool. Meanwhile, in 2013, brilliant mathematician Julie Kahn works with the FBI to solve a series of inexplicable kidnappings. Suddenly her predictive algorithms begin to reveal more than just criminal activity. As she begins to realize her role in the impending catastrophe, simultaneously affecting the Earth and the Shell, Julie closes in on the truth. She and Pete are converging in time upon the future of humanity—a future which might never unfold. Weaving three consecutive time lines to unravel both the mystery of the Earth's destruction and the key to its salvation, this taut adventure offers a topical message with a satisfying twist."
Nancy Kress has put together an interesting and frightening book about what we as humans are doing to the Earth. The theme is woven into the story but the words “we did it to ourselves” do not appear until the very end of the book.
I usually have problems with books that flash back and forth in time but in After, Before and During the Fall that format works exceedingly well. By flashing back and forth the entire story is told in just 189 pages. We get to see life in 2035 and the contract with life before 2014.
The characters are interesting. Those after the fall have a different behavior pattern and it makes the story more believable. After, Before and During the Fall is more novella length and is a very quick read. It kept me wondering what had happened until the end.
At the heart of the story is something I have always said when I hear people say that we are destroying the Earth. We are not destroying the Earth. We are only destroying our ability to survive on the Earth. The Earth will go on without us just as it went on after the dinosaurs. Nancy Kress uses this theme to tell a gripping story about what can happen if we are not careful.
Tachyon published After the Fall Before the Fall During theFall by Nancy Kress in 2012.