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The Postmortal: A Novel MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (Dec 5 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452655324
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452655321
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Todd on Jan. 24 2012
Format: Paperback
I finished the book in 2 days. I was excited to read it as I really enjoy the author's online pieces. His first novel is not without problems but I quite enjoyed everything about it. The way that new information is introduced about the world collapsing around the protagonist reminded me of The Children of Men. Events happen around him rather than him being central to all events such as in most blockbusters.

It was a great quick read for anyone who enjoys post-apocolypitc novels. I would have no problem recommending this book and I could definitely see a movie being made of it.

Edit: I came back to edit my review and change from 3 to 5 stars. I am constantly thinking about some of the scenes in the book and the theme has very much stuck with me. I have recommended it almost as much as Vonnegut.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By shanell papp on Oct. 6 2011
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book for my Birthday, based on a Boing boing book review, it sounded good. I recently finished reading the road and I was looking for another thoughtful post-apocalyptic book. Unfortunately this is not the book for me. I find the dialogue inane and the development of the characters is flat/uninteresting. I'm sad that this was my birthday book.....I am going to leave it on the city bus today. Hopefully someone will take it away and be able to enjoy it. [...]
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By Jessica Hillier on Nov. 1 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this on a whim and was amazed by how much it touched me. The little reaper guy on the front gives an impression that this may be light-hearted- it's absolutely not. Great read!
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By Jessica Strider TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 25 2011
Format: Paperback
Pros: thought provoking, philosophical without being moralistic, good mix of personal intensity and world affairs, good mix of horror and humour

Cons:

This is John Farrell's account of the years during which the cure for aging is legalized. It is discovered several years after the cure (and most documentation regarding that period) has been destroyed. This frame story gives the novel a similar feel to Max Brooks' World War Z. The reader knows how the book will end, and wants - desperately - to understand how the world came to this horrible place. And don't let the cover fool you, this book has more in common with Cormac McCarthy's The Road than it does with Christopher Moore's humorous satires.

Farrell is 29 when he gets the cure, and for the next few decades parties and enjoys life. He's a lawyer when the idea of cycle marriages (which end after 40 years) become the vogue and is often at the wrong place at the wrong time when it comes to protests and reactionary thinking. Because not everyone thinks the cure is a good thing. And the novel is VERY clear that the wrong place is everywhere. Farrell's experiences are not unique.

From protesters who want the cure legalized, pro-death terrorists, trolls who decide the internet isn't good enough for mischief - they want to maim those who are crowding their space-, to cure hotels in Vegas and the very real consequences of a population that can still catch diseases and die, but can't age beyond their treatment dates, this book covers a lot of philosophical issues. It's impressive that Magary manages to not pass judgement on his characters, showing the different sides of the cure and how humans react to it - or even the promise of it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 121 reviews
44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Dystopian humor Aug. 30 2011
By TChris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In 2019, the "cure for aging" -- gene therapy -- is legal in only four countries, but immortality can be purchased on the black market. The issue is divisive: gene therapy's opponents use terrorist tactics to attack the black market while protests in favor of legalizing the cure turn ugly. The desire to cheat death ultimately triumphs.

John Farrell takes the cure without devoting much thought to its downside: If you stop aging, retirement isn't an option and you can forget about social security. If your parents don't die, you don't inherit. If you live forever, you never experience eternal respite from annoying relatives and politicians, it's less easy to ignore future threats like global warming, and the escape clause from your marital vows -- until death do us part -- becomes a nullity. Couples often say they marry so they can grow old together. Would they bother with marriage if eternal youth made possible an eternal choice of partners? On a more serious note, the pressures of overpopulation would dramatically increase the already unsustainable consumption of finite resources, a predicament that would initially lead to hoarding, then to war, and ultimately to a barren planet.

Beginning in 2019, Farrell blogs about the impact gene therapy has on his life and the world. The introduction to The Postmortal advises us that Farrell's text files are discovered in 2090. Through Farrell's eyes, we watch the escalating disaster: the rise of pro-death pressure, the burgeoning prison populations resulting from life sentences that last forever, the harsh measures China imposes to assure that its citizens forego the cure, the glorification of suicide, the fracturing of society. Some blog entries reproduce news stories, political punditry, and advertisements (including a FAQ promoting a new religion). Some of Farrell's entries are observational, others are personal.

Postmortal is not immortal; death still occurs from injury and disease, suicide and murder. Death is a frequent subject of Farrell's blog as people close to him are killed. After a few decades, Farrell becomes an end specialist (sort of a futuristic Kevorkian, except that the government not only approves of assisted suicide but rewards it with a tax rebate). It is difficult to fault Farrell's role in the postmortal future. Compared, at least, to the roving street gangs, organ thieves, and religious charlatans, Farrell's job seems both necessary and altruistic.

Although Drew Magary describes a terrifying future, he keeps the tone light -- perhaps too light. The Postmortal works surprisingly well as a dystopian comedy (if there is such a thing), but the incongruity of laughter and disaster robs the story of its potential power. In the novel's third act, after an event called "the correction" occurs, the story appears to take a more serious course. The disconnect between humor and horror at that point becomes jarring; it is not a line Magary straddles comfortably. Viewed as a cautionary tale about the consequences of overpopulation, the comedy seems misplaced; viewed as a farcical take on the desire for immortality, the drama overshadows the farce.

Those reservations aside, I have no qualms about recommending The Postmortal to readers who aren't put off by dark comedy. While I got a kick out of Magary's humor (his dialog is both realistic and insanely funny), I also enjoyed pondering the issues he raises. Magary obviously gave considerable imaginative thought to the consequences of a genetic cure for aging (including its impact on home run records). There were times when I thought the story went off course, but there was never a moment when my interest in the novel waned. In the end, Magary tells us, there is only the inevitable end. If you can accept that -- even more, if you can laugh about it -- I suspect you'll like The Postmortal.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly vapid and boring Oct. 13 2011
By J. Olson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book came to me with high recommendations, and was a moderate, if not major, disappointment. The idea is great- a cure for aging that will render humans immortal. There is a lot of potential in this topic for a book with amazing characters and deep philosophical exploration. This book offers neither. Instead, we get a somewhat hastily-thrown-together dystopian planet which is poorly developed, and we follow the story line of a vapid main character, who experiences many tragedies and adventures. They don't make much of an impression on him, and they don't make much of an impression on the reader either. None of the events or characters do, in fact. There are a few smart moments- such as a glimpse into what emergency rooms might look like twenty (or five) years from now, but with a concept this radical there could have been much more. This book might amaze you if you've never read Philip K. Dick books or any decent science fiction. But if you have, I think you're in for a letdown.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Depressing, disturbing, compelling, captivating read April 6 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a disturbing, depressing, compelling, captivating read. I have no experience with Magary's other writings. Perhaps that is why I found no humor in the book as other's have said they found. As I read this book, I kept thinking of Lord of the Flies.

The book begins with an account of the discovery of 60 years of John Farell's "text files" containing an account of his life and the world within which he lived. We are told that these materials are being presented as "incontrovertible evidence that the cure for aging must never again be legalized".

Farell describes his decision to seek the "cure" as an obsession: "I instantly wanted it more than I had ever wanted anything....It was a want. A hunger. A naked compulsion that was bullet proof to logic and reason."

The doctor who gives Farell the cure, describes the people who come to him as vane and obsessive:

"When people come through my door, the first and only thing they think about is, `Oh boy, I'm gonna live forever.' But they don't stop to consider what that means. They want to live forever, but they don't think about what they're going to have to live with. What they'll have to carry with them. And whether or not that's something they really, truly want."

The doctor also tells Farell he can never "die a natural, peaceful death". To which Farell responds.

"I don't think most people die natural, peaceful deaths," I said. "All the loved ones I've seen die have been sick, frail, and helpless. Undergoing chemo. Lying in hospitals. Soiling their beds. Two of my grandparents died alone, with no one to talk to. I don't think natural death offers much in the way of gentle relief. I think it's a slow, wrenching thing I'd like to try to get far, far away from."

When Farell's roommate points out that he can never retire and asks "Did you consider that?", Farell tells us "I had, but I'd placed it squarely in the `things I prefer not to think about' pile."

Farell also shares a rant by a Rush Limbaugh-like, libertarian pundit, who supports the cure. The pundit, criticizes opposition to the cure as "liberal thinking at it's absolute worst. They don't want to give you the opportunity to make your own choices." Farell tells us, "I think a lot of what he says is perfectly reasonable - but he delivered a diatribe yesterday that was pretty nuts."

In short, there is a lot to chew on here. While you are chewing, try substituting other social and political changes confronting us in today's world.

This is not the best book I've ever read. But it was good enough. For me it was a page turner, despite the fact that it disturbed and depressed me. I'm glad I read it and I recommend it.

If you want great speculative writing on the peril's of genetic engineering and its consequences, try Margaret Attwood's Oryx and Crake, and the sequel, Year of the Flood. If you want a great feel-good read set in a post apocalyptic world, where people use virtual reality to escape the dark world they actually live in, try Ernest Cline's Ready Player One.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great idea, bummer about the actual writing. Nov. 30 2011
By eyecore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Three stars = average for the genre... and it seems fair for this book, though it certainly had potential to be GREAT. Part of the problem is the book doesn't know what it wants to be - at times, it seems like a full narration of what is happening. Other times, it's just some brief "news clips" and thoughts like what you'd see on a blog. And that part makes sense, since the intro to the book starts with:
"... Stored inside the device's hard drive was a digital library containing sixy years worth of text files written by a man who went by the screen name of John Farrell. The text files appear to have been written as posts for a blog or online journal. ..."

Okay, that makes sense, but only if the rest of the book follows, which it does not. And because of the way its written, the main character is perhaps the only one that is actually developed enough to where the reader knows much about, but he can be summed up as "an indifferent guy who doesn't know what he wants in life."

While the story does progress in a fashion that holds some attention (and honestly, is entertaining), world events happen almost completely without context. Suddenly bombs are going off, everyone is [...sorry, don't want to include spoilers..]...basically, there is very little knowledge of WHY things happen, they just start happening.

I don't doubt the author is talented, but I do doubt the intentions of this book - it would have been much more interesting and effective had it been a "story" rather than a bunch of disjointed "text files" (but it wasn't even that)...but it would have been a more difficult book to write as well.

The idea and parts of the book could've made it 5 stars - top of the crop for the genre. Unfortunately, its several flaws knock it down to about average. Worth reading if you're out of material, but not something to race and get above others.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great premise - not sure the finished product tracked my expectations though... Dec 15 2011
By Jill-Elizabeth (Jill Franclemont) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I love the premise of this book - in our world in the not-so-distant future, a cure for aging has been discovered. The President has banned it in the U.S., but it is available on the black market. John Farrell, a bit of an Everyman who happens to be a divorce lawyer, has a connection and decides to take The Cure.

Initially, mayhem and madness ensue, in the best possible ways. John's future world is one of snarkiness, dark gallows humor, Shocking Revelations, and more than a few unexpected twists and turns. At least, it is in the first handful of chapters. After that, well, it becomes a lot darker and the gallows humor becomes more gallows and less humor. Random acts of violence, bitterness, resentment, ennui, and the decline of all forms of faith, hope and love are apparently the name of the game in the future. If we really are in for that kind of future, I am in no rush to sign up - let alone to extend my stay with a late check-out.

In other words, eek, she said.

The book started out terrifically, laugh-out-loud funny. And then shifted, on a dime, to horrifically, cry-out-loud depressing.

The subject matter is heavy - I get it. Issues of resource management, over-population, who "deserves" to be kept alive, and our obligations to one another in society are weighty topics. So is the concept of death. They deserve to be treated with respect - although I'm also fairly certain that they deserve to be treated with mockery and sarcasm because we don't want to take ourselves too seriously, now do we?

There are a lot of take-home platitudinous messages in the book because of the weight of the topics covered. "Be careful what you wish for" is, obviously, prime among them. But "nothing good lasts forever," "to everything there is a season," and "only the good die young" have their places in the sun too. And for the most part, Magary uses them well - they serve to demonstrate the ridiculousness and hypocrisy of many characters and situations, and to provide a nice reminder every now and then about the dangers of over-thinking and under-feeling.

There are also a lot of great lines and darkly funny situations. That's how the book was billed, and the author (Drew Magary) did deliver. This is what I expected the major focus of the book to be, actually, given Magary's other writing credits. I mean, hello, how can you not expect great things from a man whose other book is titled "Men With Balls: The Professional Athlete's Handbook" and who also writes for Deadspin, Maxim, and has contributed to Comedy Central, Playboy, and Penthouse? So humor - dark, odd, random, man-focused humor I expected - especially after reading Magary's own take on his book on Deadspin.

But then he went off on a dystopian "the future is scary!" tangent or two (or six or twelve). And that I found a tad wearing after a while...

Again, I get it. The book is a combo entertainment/cautionary tale. But the existential angst surrounding John Farrell and his family/friends was entertaining for a while, then it got a little heavy-handed to my tastes. Personally, I don't know that I see all that much appeal in a cure for aging. From the beginning, I rather fell in line with the pro-death traditionalists (and John's father) when they pointed out that everything good must come to an end - and that this is not necessarily a bad thing or something to avoid, but just a necessary part of life and the appreciation of what we have. This is, ultimately, the message Magary sends us away with - and it's a good one. But frankly, I think he could have delivered it without quite as many participants in the parade of horribles that poor John Farrell had to deal with along the way...

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