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The Postmortal: A Novel [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Drew Magary , Johnny Heller
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 5 2011
John Farrell is about to get "The Cure."

Old age can never kill him now.

The only problem is, everything else still can . . .

Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and—after much political and moral debate—made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems—including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors. Witty, eerie, and full of humanity, The Postmortal is an unforgettable thriller that envisions a pre-apocalyptic world so real that it is completely terrifying.

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Review

"A must-read for fans of postmodern dystopia in the vein of Margaret Atwood, Chuck Palahniuk, and Neil Gaiman" ---Library Journal

Review

"Unnerving. . . . An absorbing picture of dawning apocalypse. . . . A disturbing portrait of a society convinced it's close to utopia when a cure for aging is invented. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't take long for that seeming utopia to dissolve into a planet-overstressed from overpopulation, food and fuel shortages, and general lawlessness-going into systemic failure. . . . The Postmortal is a suitably chilling entry into the 'it's-the-end-of-the-world' canon."
(-The Austin Chronicle )

"Magary's vision of future technology and science is eerily realistic. . . . By the time you finish, you'll want to hold your loved ones close and stockpile bottles of water. If all else fails, you could potentially make a living selling them a few decades from now."
(-The New York Press )

"An exciting page turner. . . . Drew Magary is an excellent writer. This is his first novel but he tells the story masterfully. . . . The most frightening thing about The Postmortal is that this could really happen-it's not a supernatural story, but it's even more terrifying than zombie apocalypse."
(-Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing )

"An exciting page turner. . . . Drew Magary is an excellent writer. This is his first novel but he tells the story masterfully. . . . The most frightening thing about The Postmortal is that this could really happen-it's not a supernatural story, but it's even more terrifying than zombie apocalypse."
(-Booklist )

"The first novel from a popular sports blogger and humorist puts a darkly comic spin on a science fiction premise and hits the sweet spot between Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut. . . . [Magary] understands that satire is most effective when it gives the real world a gently absurd nudge, then lets its characters react much as we ourselves might under the same circumstances."
(-Ron Hogan, Shelf Awareness )

"Immortality has figured in a number of sf novels prior to this one, but never, to my experience, in this way. . . . A very clear-eyed picture, one I don't think has been drawn before. . . . The Postmortal surprised me in a good way."
(-Michelle West, Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine )

"Immortality has figured in a number of sf novels prior to this one, but never, to my experience, in this way. . . . A very clear-eyed picture, one I don't think has been drawn before. . . . The Postmortal surprised me in a good way."
(-Kirkus Reviews )

"The Postmortal is a punchy, fast-paced and endearing story. . . . As the novel progresses, it turns from a snappy morality tale, to a noir- ish revenge fable, to an action movie; complete with guns, rogue religious cults and government-sanctioned hit men. The narrative comes to us through John's blog entries and collections of news bytes and pundit commentary. Through his sixty years as a 29-year-old, he experiences all the love, pain, grief, and terror of a standard lifetime and is still in good enough shape to kick some ass at the end. Like much good dystopian fiction, The Postmortal is an at-times unflattering commentary on human beings, present, past and future, that hits the mark in many ways. . . . For anyone intrigued with Life Extension science, it's a fun examination of our fears and expectations."
(-The Nervous Breakdown )

"The Postmortal is a punchy, fast-paced and endearing story. . . . As the novel progresses, it turns from a snappy morality tale, to a noir- ish revenge fable, to an action movie; complete with guns, rogue religious cults and government-sanctioned hit men. The narrative comes to us through John's blog entries and collections of news bytes and pundit commentary. Through his sixty years as a 29-year-old, he experiences all the love, pain, grief, and terror of a standard lifetime and is still in good enough shape to kick some ass at the end. Like much good dystopian fiction, The Postmortal is an at-times unflattering commentary on human beings, present, past and future, that hits the mark in many ways. . . . For anyone intrigued with Life Extension science, it's a fun examination of our fears and expectations."
(-Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak and A Few Seconds of Panic )

"A darkly comic, totally gonzo, and effectively frightening population- bomb dystopia in the spirit of Logan's Run, Soylent Green, and the best episodes of The Twilight Zone."
(-Neal Pollack, author of Alternadad and Stretch )

"A darkly comic, totally gonzo, and effectively frightening population- bomb dystopia in the spirit of Logan's Run, Soylent Green, and the best episodes of The Twilight Zone."
(-Will Leitch, author of Are We Winning? and God Save The Fan )

"As insanely entertaining as it is ambitious, The Postmortal takes us into an America set in the next few years and coming apart under the onslaught of a dreadful new plague--that of human immortality. Magary possesses an explosive imagination and let loose in The Postmartal, he creates an alternate history of the near future that feels real and is probably inevitable. Read The Postmortal if you want to find out what happened to the human race in our last violent and absurd few years in New York."
(-Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill )

"As insanely entertaining as it is ambitious, The Postmortal takes us into an America set in the next few years and coming apart under the onslaught of a dreadful new plague--that of human immortality. Magary possesses an explosive imagination and let loose in The Postmartal, he creates an alternate history of the near future that feels real and is probably inevitable. Read The Postmortal if you want to find out what happened to the human race in our last violent and absurd few years in New York."
(-L. Jon Wertheim, co-author of Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind Sp )

"As someone who is totally freaked out by the thought of dying, The Postmortal really stood on top of me and peed on my face. It's depiction of the future isn't filled with crappy robots fighting Will Smith. It's filled with eerily realistic portrayals of what the future could look like and does it all in an incredibly entertaining story."
(-Justin Halpern, author of Sh*t My Dad Says ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all. Jan. 24 2012
By Todd
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
1.0 out of 5 stars Why Boing Boing Why? 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophically Thought Provoking Oct. 25 2011
By Jessica Strider TOP 500 REVIEWER
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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  119 reviews
42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 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.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay read, but fails to realize its potential July 1 2012
By Misadventure - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's an okay read, but only sporadically clever. The idea for the story is a good one, and got me intrigued enough to buy the book. The first third or so of the book is probably the best because it deals with postmortalism becoming a new reality. Unfortunately, the story starts skipping long periods of the main character's life after that, and too often glosses over just why indefinite lifespans create the conditions that they do, and how people got together to bring about the dystopian future described. For me, this book lacked an engaging flow with the time gaps and the blog/news story chapters. The main character becomes increasingly unlikable throughout the book. You can decide for yourself whether that matters. Magary is also very very fond of similes. Many are strange and somewhat inspired, but too often the abundance of similes served to make the reading tedious and repetitive feeling. It's a thought provoking book, but in the end it fails to capitalize on its own potential.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I can't get past the plot holes. Aug. 11 2012
By Avid Reader Michelle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Like other reviewers, I've read a lot of Magary's blog posts. He's generally pretty funny.

I picked up this book because it was sitting all lonely on the library shelf. I'm sure Magary had several people edit the book prior to publication. That's why the plot holes were just so glaring. The worst? When The Most Boring Killer on Earth, John, is given a job to kill some nice suburban lady with a dog because she's just old and needs to go. This is the moment when John sort of develops a conscience although he's still lacking a personality. That portion of the story just doesn't hold up. It makes absolutely no sense that the government would order the "involuntary end" of suburban dog lady while allowing the roadsides to be inhabited by cesspools of humanity that would be much easier, and wiser to ...end. To even get to dog lady's house, John has to drive through and by hordes of homeless. Why would the government not just order their deaths instead of inoffensive dog lady? No, it has to be dog lady because that cute dog might just cause John to grow a feeling.

I guess there had to be ridiculous contrived plot twists to drive the story because the personality of the main character certainly couldn't.

Also, reading the phrase "impossible body" made me think Magary was actually channeling Peter King. Does he not know what the word "impossible" means? I kept imaging that she had a body with six boobs, eight arms, nine eyes, three legs but only one foot. That's more of an impossible body than just some random personality-free hot chick with nice breasts.

I still cringe at memory of the final paragraph of the novel. I keep telling myself that Magary knew how bad that was and he just stuck it in there for irony. Right? Right?

What really bothers me is that there is the germ of a good novel in there. Take out the "Kill, Kill, Kill" parts, create a real character with real thoughts and emotions and it could be good, really good. I would really like if in about ten years, Magary took his idea out, dusted it off and tried again.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real surprise- fantastic speculative fiction Sept. 26 2011
By Ray Cornwall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The best speculative fiction takes one or two aspects of the human condition, turns them on their ear, and shows what would happen as a result. You don't need sci-fi guns, fetish costumes, or hulking spaceships to do that (not that I mind any of those elements in a good book!). You just need a ton of imagination, a great idea, and the will to push through to the end. This book has all three.

I was expecting a great treatise on what would happen if mankind couldn't age. What I wasn't expecting was the author's skill at crafting a page-turner. I bought this on a lark and couldn't put it down until it was over. It's a fantastic read.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes the work of Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross, Warren Ellis, and/or John Scalzi.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 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.
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