Customer Reviews for

Soft Apocalypse

Average Rating 3.5
( 1183 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(284)

4 Star

(350)

3 Star

(251)

2 Star

(138)

1 Star

(160)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

40 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

Going to Hell in a Handbasket: Will McIntosh's Debut Novel an Apocalyptic Fiction Tour de Force

Apocalyptic fiction fans looking for the next big read need look no further than Soft Apocalypse, the stellar debut novel from Will McIntosh. (For those of you not yet familiar with McIntosh - a psychology professor at Georgia Southern University - he is a supremely tal...
Apocalyptic fiction fans looking for the next big read need look no further than Soft Apocalypse, the stellar debut novel from Will McIntosh. (For those of you not yet familiar with McIntosh - a psychology professor at Georgia Southern University - he is a supremely talented young writer, having already written some exceptional short fiction, including the Hugo Award winning "Bridesicle.")

Many apocalyptic novels are set in a world devastated by a sudden, unexpected cataclysm - a nuclear war, a meteor strike, a pandemic, etc. - but McIntosh's end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it is decidedly soft. Set in and around a near-future Savannah, Georgia, the end of humanity arrives slowly, almost unnoticed by a populace too preoccupied by surviving in an America beleaguered by an almost 60 percent unemployment rate, frequent blackouts, water shortages, eco-terrorism, etc.

The story is narrated by Jasper, a destitute college graduate (sociology major) who is having a difficult time coming to grips with his radically changing environment. (".we're not homeless, we're nomads.") Living on the streets with his tribe of college-educated contemporaries, Jasper is more concerned with finding a girlfriend than in plotting a course for his long-term survival.

Written in a series of vignettes, Soft Apocalypse follows Jasper as he and his tribemates navigate a world slowly but surely going to Hell in a handbasket. After he finds work in a convenience store and gets a place to live, Jasper continues to slip back into his pre-Decline mindset, fixated with finding someone to share his life with. And the question persists: "What does love look like when the world is falling apart?"

But finally, after a decade of living in a kind of existential denial, Jasper finally sees his reality for what it is - and with the world literally falling apart, he must make some brutal decisions about his future.

The reason I loved this book is because I can so easily envision this happening - millions of people at home playing Xbox or getting high or obsessively watching reality television totally apathetic about the future of humankind. Who cares about the budget deficit or that the Middle East is on the brink of a bloodbath of biblical proportions, Jersey Shore is on! McIntosh's vision of the future is so compelling because it's narrative seeds are firmed planted in reality.

The thematic undercurrents and overall tone of McIntosh's debut are very much reminiscent of another apocalyptic novel, Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s classic A Canticle for Leibowitz:

"What do we need to survive? We don't need more hands, or two heads, or to fly. We need to be healed. Our violence, our sadness, our loneliness, our fear. they are a sickness that is killing us."

Replete with extraordinary post-apocalyptic images (dogs pulling the skeleton of a car with a cardboard Taxi sign taped on the front) and provocative subject matter (a virus causing euphoria called Doctor Happy, bioengineered bamboo forests, etc.), McIntosh's debut is a distinctly unique apocalyptic novel - with an equally unique ending that is ripe for speculation and/or discussion.

Bottom line: If Soft Apocalypse isn't nominated for a Hugo or Nebula Award, I will eat the entire book page by page.

posted by paulgoatallen on April 29, 2011

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

23 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

Just couldn't get into it

My version is an ebook. I got this as free Friday read from Barnes and Noble and didn't even make it 100 pages. Most of those pages I skipped. Finally gave up when one of the sicker bastards turned a woman's dog into a bomb, got infected with a Happy Virus and gave t...
My version is an ebook. I got this as free Friday read from Barnes and Noble and didn't even make it 100 pages. Most of those pages I skipped. Finally gave up when one of the sicker bastards turned a woman's dog into a bomb, got infected with a Happy Virus and gave the same woman a puppy.

I love apocalypse and disaster films and books but the characters need to be engaging. If after almost 100 pages I wasn't sympathetic to the 1st person narrator's, Jasper, POV I know I was going to get there.

The actual writing was good, the idea is awesome, editing was good but in the end it just wasn't for me. Might work for someone else and maybe it gets better but I didn't care enough about the characters or the story to hang in there and find out.

posted by Galora_K on April 30, 2011

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 350 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 18
  • Posted May 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Heart breaking and eye opening

    The story line literally scared me because i can totally imigane this. A must read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 6, 2011

    Enjoyed it!

    Good read. Really enjoyed it. Not smutty. Not hard to read, but not written for children, either. Lots of good concepts and leaves you with something to think about.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2011

    A nightmare that is all too possible

    Will McIntosh provides a glimpse into a world of the future. The world he pictures in Soft Apocalype is one that we are creating for ourselves and our children now. Read it and weep. Or better, do something about it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 17, 2011

    Great read - GET INTO IT!

    Another reviewer wrote that he/she put it away when he/she couldn't get it. That's part of the intrigue and allure, and, may I submit, part of the story. A "Soft Apocolypse" irrevocably changes the world, yet nobody knew it was coming or even happening. Likewise, the story of the apocalypse is revealed subtly, almost casually. No report of earth changing event, but a series of dark discoveries and occurences.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 4, 2011

    Best free ebook yet.

    For fans of Alas,Babylon; A Canticle for Liebowitz; Earth Abides; Lucifer's Hammer; etc. This book grabs from the beginning in it's grim view of society coming apart as the world decays from the economy winding down. Disease and decay are inevitable as the ability to provide resources disappears and governments take action to retain what they have left while taking steps to decrease the population. Those in danger of being decreased fight back however they can. Stark in view; and matter-of-fact in it's telling. This one will stay with you. Touches of Cormac McCarthy's The Road and even shades of Atlas Shrugged. You have to forgive some poor editing , but otherwise thoroughly satisfying. I'm on my second read-through and will likely repeat often in years to come.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 26, 2011

    Kept my attention

    I'm not a science fiction fan usually and started this on a fluke. I really liked it. Shows the U.S. in the future if things get as bad as people think they might. No gas, no middle class, people in gated communities living the high life or the homeless and people living a few to a dumpy apartment. I recognized a lot of things I wouldn't be surprised to see in a post apocalypse U.S. with people abusing those weaker than them and others hoarding what they have. Also tribes of people that decide to take care of each other and make a better life under the cirumstances. The main character was your average middle class guy and ends up without a job and on the street. He lucks into a "good job" at a convenience store and lives with a few of his buddies. He mentions water riots in AZ when his parents were killed, gas riots in Atlanta and other chaos. There are drugs such as "God Flash". An angry rockstar Deidre who performs at raves, a "happy pill" in the form of blood injected that makes the survivor blissful no matter the circumstances. I hope to never live to see this time, but it's interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    this book rocked!

    absolutely wrong, WHAT would you do? Will MR. McIntosh thankyou for sharing this dark-hopeful- i dont know piece of what if? loved it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2011

    An excellent read!

    I love anything regarding disaster, end of the world, post-apocalyptic (or in this case during an apocalypse), and this book totally hit the spot. What's great is that the author took a genre and went with an idea that was new to me (as opposed to the usual zombies, nuclear war, etc.) and executed it very well. The slow collapse of a nation felt realistic and the author portrayed it at various stages which really drew me in. It's a fast-paced and intense story. The characters felt solid and were easy to connect with. I'm glad that I read this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 14, 2011

    Interestimg read

    This book was well thought out anf intriuging. Not happy with the ending the book build up so much hope for the characters i wish i knew how their decision affected them. Overall i highly recommend.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting read - I'd recommend it!

    This a great novel, however horrific and disgusting it can be at times. It's definitely a downer, but I couldn't help but continue reading it. It's a fast paced book, since it skips months or sometimes years at a time. The characters have a lot of depth to them, especially the main character. It's interesting to see how they react to their situations as the book progresses. I'm surprised by the ending! It's not at all what I had expected.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 12, 2011

    Soft Apocalypse

    Great read. You should check it out.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 11, 2011

    Bad Ending

    I loved this book... except for the ending. The book builds up to this ending and their choice, and you don't even know if it was a good choice. Possible spoiler here without trying to be. But were they just afraid of change? Or were their fears justfied bc the virus was an easy way to control the human population into someone's idea of the ideal? Much like a dictator would try to control a population. The virus becomes chemical dictator in someone's mind. It's interesting for thought.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 10, 2011

    Good stuff

    Dark...dark...and dark! Enjoyable and possible. This book is sad but happy also. Thank you bn for the entertaining read with a twisted ending!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    BANG!

    After reading this book I feel as though I should have paid for it.

    I really enjoyed not only the character development, but the thought provoking questions and quandaries that the author sprinkles liberally throughout. I can see our world as we know it dissolving in much the same fashion as it does in Soft Apocalypse. The main question is: are you a survivor or easy prey?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2011

    Kept me reading

    Started kinda slow, but wanted to finish it to see how it ended. Seemed to be believable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    very pleasantly surprised

    a Friday freebie from Nook and I am loving it...end of the world as we know it stuff seems like it could really happen and the characters are so believable like you might get to know them, especially the main guy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2011

    Dystopian warning

    A brief dystopian story that is, frighteningly, not outlandish. I think the author wanted to emphasize his main character's search for love during a civil breakdown. Unfortunately his vivid description of a not-too-difficult to imagine end of civilization as we know it grabs all the attention. This novella does make you think.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 1, 2013

    Honestly, more like a 4.5.  Read it if you like this genre!

    Honestly, more like a 4.5.  Read it if you like this genre!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2012

    Great book for discussion

    Better than I expected. Would suggest it to my book club!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    A Rare Good Adventure

    The world didn't end with a nuclear bomb necessarilly. The economy just kept getting worse until no one had a job, a home, clothing, and food to eat. I love "end of the world as we know it" adventures and this one delivers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 350 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 18