The Postmortal

The Postmortal

by Drew Magary


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• Finalist for the Philip K. Dick and Arthur C. Clarke Awards 
The gripping first novel by Drew Magary, Deadspin columnist, GQ correspondent, and author of The Hike

"An exciting page turner. . . . Drew Magary is an excellent writer. The Postmortal is . . . even more terrifying than zombie apocalypse." — Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143119821
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/30/2011
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 227,365
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Drew Magary is a correspondent for GQ and a columnist for Deadspin. He is the author of two novels, The Hike and The Postmortal, and the memoir Someone Could Get Hurt. His writing has appeared in MaximNew YorkThe AtlanticBon AppétitThe Huffington Post, the Awl, Gawker, PenthousePlayboyRolling Stone, and on Comedy Central, NPR, NBC, Yahoo!, ESPN, and more. He’s been featured on Good Morning America and has been interviewed by the AV Club, the New York ObserverUSA TodayU.S. News & World Report, and many others. He lives in Maryland with his wife and three kids, and is a Chopped champion.

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From the Publisher

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

Customer Reviews

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The Postmortal: A Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im extremely happy that i stumbled upon this gem of a novel. I couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Postmortal. The only thing I found somewhat lacking was a greater in-depth look to the world Drew Magary was building. As the title mentions, I did think this book was great for a time-killer while I was vacationing at the beach and for the plane ride.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I came upon this book and the idea grabbed me instantly. Such a great book and really makes you think. Towards the end it did seem to drag, and did not like the ending.
ahappybooker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What if a group of scientists found a cure for aging? Would you want it? This cure doesn't encompass any diseases like cancer, AIDS, or even the common flu. So, while anyone receiving the ¿cure¿ would not age, they would still be susceptible to illness or injury. As the book explains, you would only be assured that when you do die, it would not be peacefully in your bed of old age, you pretty much are guaranteed that it will be nothing so easy. There are plenty of other ways to die, and plenty of other people who want to make sure you do. Drew Magary explores these issues and many of the possible results of this so-called "cure" such as overwhelming population growth, the horrific ways people abuse the ¿cure¿, and all of the extreme religious and socio economic repercussions and then presents it in an extremely entertaining and entirely readable narrative.To say I was blown away by The Postmortal would be an understatement. The cartoon-like cover image and back cover blurb did not prepare me for how crazy-good this book actually was. I wasn't expecting it. This was so cleverly written. I was drawn in by the rich dark humor and the blunt, candid way the story is told. I would describe this as the ¿much cooler big brother¿ to all of the other dystopian novels I¿ve read. I can literally picture some of these events happening within my own lifetime. And that is frightening.The Postmortal chronicles one man, John Farrell¿s journey into postmortal life, after receiving the "cure". The story is told via John's personal journal and from some of the news articles and blurbs from various news feeds he included in that journal. John is almost an anti-hero, flawed in so many ways but his story is still so compelling. The news articles keep the reader updated on what is going on throughout the world and then John's journal shows how these things are affecting people on a more personal level, how they are living through and with these changes. I thought it was a very original and effective way to present a story.This world was a terrifyingly realistic place that is all too familiar. The most frightening thing about The Postmortal is that it was so believable. From the strange religious cult to the shady government dealings, and even the mysteriously malevolent "greenies" all of it followed a very conceivable logical sequence. I was both extremely entertained and terrified at the possibility that any of this could actually happen.The Postmortal was easily my favorite read of 2011. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a thrilling dystopian adventure as well as anyone who simply wants to be thoroughly entertained.
justabookreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 2019, the cure for aging is discovered. Three shots and you, barring cancer or mortal injury, can live forever. Utopia has arrived. Well, not so fast. John Farrell all of 29 years-old gets the cure. Always a bit of a self-doubter, but one with curiosity, he¿s more interested in seeing if it works as opposed to thinking seriously about his actions and what the cure means for his city, state, country, or the world.Told through John¿s writings, blog posts, random thoughts, and news clips and feeds, readers are left with a unique, if sometimes, completely un-planned story and it¿s fascinating. It¿s so fascinating in fact it¿s almost believable --- to a degree. Scientific advances are made at astonishing rates and some of the scenarios in this book are not hard to buy-in to and I loved that. Some of it is hard to read and sometimes John is infuriating but either way you want to see the total destruction you know is coming. Magary ends the book in the only way possible and you want to thank him for it because you almost feel the world he created should be destroyed. Over and over again.John is an everyman who re-invests himself to stay alive --- an estate lawyer turned divorce attorney turned globe-trotter turned end specialist. Yes, he kills people for a living but not before offering them estate planning and tax advice. It¿s a sweet touch, really. But John¿s also a person stuck and even after his numerous years on the planet, still doesn¿t know what he wants until the end. Fortunately, it¿s believable from him.Magary has one freak of an imagination and I hope he keeps running with it. The Postmortal is a true ride from start to finish but if you prefer less sociopathic behavior from characters, it might not be for you. However, all that happens here could be attainable in a world with no death, at least not the naturally occurring kind. That¿s what I liked about it. He goes radical, pulls it back, and goes after it again.Do we know everything? No. But neither does the main character so you go with it, sucked in hoping beyond hope he might find his way. I highly recommend this one.
meika on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This topic has been dealt with a few times before, and they all seem to run through the usual moral arguments, and there are few surprises here.A few sections could have done with reworking as they have too much story telling in them to be believeable (the over-lengthy help-me! email from Chan in China springs to mind).
NCRainstorm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Postmortal is a powerful book. Magary takes an honest look at society's reaction to not aging - constant partying, marriages fall apart, the earth's resources are dwindling. We see John Farrell, a wise-cracking lawyer, who's life changes markedly throughout the book as he gets older without aging. His optimism turns to skepticism, even on to hopelessness. The storyline is very dark in this book, but Magary manages to add humor and lighten the mood in just the right places. It's an interesting novel, showing how society slowly disintegrates just as it is granted one of its biggest wishes. The government begins to take total control of everyone's life...and death. This story really makes you think, even as you're being entertained.
JackieBlem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most thought provoking books I've read in a long while. The premise of the book is that it's part of a long lost digital diary of one man shortly after the cure of aging has been discovered and goes through 75ish years, skipping around a bit. I found it absolutely fascinating, not just because the writing is good (it is), but because of all the issues it brought up. I had to stop and ponder so many things. Things like: If no one dies of old age, where are we going to put all the living people? How do we feed, clothe, water and house a constantly growing population on a planet that is already starting to struggle? Could a country actually resort to bombing it's own people as a way to control population? Does it change the concept of families when there are no generations anymore, when great great grandmothers can be giving birth in the room next door to their granddaughters? How would people approach life knowing that it could go on for thousands of years? What about the marriage vow of "until death do we part"? What if you just get tired of living--what's the way out? This book is terrifying and fascinating in equal degrees, and I find myself still pondering many things about it often. You could call this a science fiction book, but really, we're only one small slip in a gene research lab away from this being a very real possibility in the not very distant future.
Bibliotropic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It sounds great. A cure for aging. Something to make sure you get to keep living long past the time you reasonably should have died. It's the sort of thing that's been the subject of everybody's fantasies at one time or another, and Drew Magary brings it all to life in a truly terrifying way.Not for this future are the hordes of immortal zombies bent on eating flesh, but instead we get hordes of people. Undying people in a world that even now is strained when it comes to space and natural resources. Old age can't kill you, but cancer can. You can still be shot, run over, beaten to a bloody pulp. And as the world crumbles, natural resources run out, paranoia runs rampant, those things get increasingly likely.It was fascinating to view such a scientific breakthrough not as an epic adventure of right and wrong, but to see the societal changes, the reactions that different cultures have, the way the cure changed the world and people kept doing what they do best: existing, and getting on with their lives. It thrilled the amateur anthropologist in me, and it was an unexpected take on the situation that made me feel more connected to that possible future than to some grand action-filled tale. This is a future that could all too easy occur, and the realism that Magary handled in this novel was just astounding. One thing leading to another, the "cure for death" heading down a clear path to nuclear war. And one of the most perverse things in that in spite of all the consequences that the cure led directly too, you can't help but think, "If someone offered it to me, I'd take it." This book stripped humanity bare and gave us, if you'll excuse the Simpsons reference, the very essence of "crisitunity."Magary's choice to convey the story through a series of recovered blog posts was superb. That, combined with mentions of technology that's clearly more advanced than what we have now yet familiar enough to be easily identifiable, did wonders to allow the reader to relate to the protagonist. From triumph to tragedy, from breakthroughs to breakdown, you really get into John's mind, and it's hard to want to pull yourself away and step back into the real world.I don't think I can recommend this book enough, especially if you're looking for an amazing piece of speculative fiction that approaches things in a slightly different way. It's engaging, engrossing, and utterly fascinating to read. Drew Magary has most certainly found his immortality on my bookshelf, at least!
irisdovie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book. Not only was it a good read and hard to put down, it touched on the perils of finding vaccines to death and extension of human life, which causes mass extinction of all other life forms. This book follows the main character and how his life and human life changes after the discovery of the vaccine.
eenerd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking and intense look at the world after a cure for aging is found. Once taken, the person stops aging--although they can still die, they can still get ill. The Postmortal explores the good, bad and everything in between and how it would impact Earth, from the point of view of John Farrell, who has a "cure age" of 29. John looses friends, family and eventually himself, until he becomes an "end specialist"--someone who works for the government helping put postmortals out of their ageless misery. There is so much going on here, and some really horrible stuff, and poignant moments as well. This book is really all about loss. A great read.
StephsStacks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So, the story is, John lives in a world (in the not-so-distant future) where with just a few shots, one can defy the aging process for-ev-er! You could still die from accidents or even disease, but not from growing old. Sounds great, right? The world has always actively tried to stop aging, no more so than right now.Well, think again, my friend. With fewer people dying, the world's population (already at a tipping point) becomes a burden on our dwindling resources. Also, the moral and logistical implications of living forever (as long as you are accident and disease free) start to set in. In The Postmortal, anti-cure sects pop up (religious and secular) and it's obvious that not everyone thinks stopping the natural aging process is the best plan ever.I think I love futuristic/dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels because I am intrigued by other people's predictions of how our lives might play out in the future under certain circumstances. In The Postmortal, we are given that vision in spades. One of my favorite aspects of this novel was the theoretical consequences of never aging. Such as: Do you really want to be married forever now that it really means eternity with the same person? No retirement plan? No problem, buddy, because you will be working for the next 400 years or so just to sustain your young lifestyle. Think you're bored now, just imagine hundreds of years spread out before you while you live your little life forever and ever and ever...The Postmortal is not all gloom and doom (at times it's snarky and hilarious), but it does cleverly present concrete arguments against the quest for eternal life. The plot is well-conceived and the pace is frenzied. I found myself caring about John and wanting to know where this world was going to take him. At the end of the book, I still wanted more! The Postmortal also has has the elements of romance, mystery and thriller that kept me glued to the pages. Great book that I would recommend to anyone curious about the consequences if we all stayed forever young. on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book gave me a lot to think about. The premise is that a cure is found for aging. Not for death -- you could still die from cancer, heart disease, accident, etc. Just for aging -- you get the cure and stay the same age until you die.In the world the author has created, when people don't physically age, they also don't seem to mature. The protagonist is stuck forever as the shallow 29-year-old he was when he got the cure, an immature yuppie who lives only for drinking and getting the girl. Except worse, because he knows he'll never grow out of it. Without a retirement to save for, work seems less necessary. Without the prospect of growing old without ever having a family, starting a family seems less necessary. This book raises a fascinating set of questions: How would your priorities change if you knew you would never age? How important are the stages of life to fulfillment or accomplishment? Is there any age at which -- if you stopped aging -- you could be satisfied? Or is the forward motion necessary?Another set of questions: In this novel, did culture just not have enough time to adapt to agelessness before overpopulation overtook the opportunity to create a new way of living? Could agelessness have worked in a bigger world, where resources were not limited? This novel -- as all good novels are -- is firmly rooted in its time, which is the present day, more or less. But what if the cure had been discovered 300 years ago, when the world was much emptier? That would make a good story too.The novel doesn't tell us the answers to any of the questions it raises. It doesn't even say these are what the questions should be. The novel creates the world, the questions raised above are mine alone. Yours might be different.(Some spoilers in the following paragraph.) In his acknowledgements, the author thanks his agent "who challenged me to make the book into a real novel, instead of a masturbatory idea dump. Poor Byrd read this book four times." First of all, good job, Byrd. Second, too bad you didn't have a fifth read left in you, since a few major changes could have made this book great and not just very good: First, I would have gotten rid of the greenies. These guys never made sense to me; nor did the protagonist's actions when he was around them. Second -- although this is a corollary to the first -- I would have changed the supposed turning point where the supposed love of his life is killed when the protagonist goes on an unbelievable, out-of-character attack against the meanies/greenies/whatever they were. If she has to die due to his stupidity, a drunk driving accident would have been more in character and worked as well.Anyhow, highly recommended, even if just as material for a great conversation.
jlparent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Covers what might happen if the cure for aging (not death) were discovered, raising many questions/problems - like - marriage - is it really death till you part?, overcrowding, resource control, what do you do with all that time? when should you get the cure? or should you? And that's just a very few.It's an interesting concept, and our protagonist has a very slow growth, but he does grow from time to time. The reports of the world as it changes are intriguing, as are the responses of the population (new churches, groups against the cure, social policies, etc). It's a pretty good read, tho I felt it did dip in interest a few times, but never to any huge amount. It made me think, I like that. Give it a whirl.
hashford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Suppose someone invented a cure for aging? Simply turns off the gene that makes you get older? What would that do to us all? What would it do to society?Would people want to stay married for maybe a century or more? What about prisoners sentenced to life behind bars ¿ how long can we keep them there? What would it mean for pensions? And social security payments? What would the church say about it?The questions are endless!Drew Magary takes a long hard look at these questions (and many more) in this incredibly inventive and hard hitting book. The story is presented as the diary (via ¿life recorder¿ app) of John Farrell, one of the first people to take ¿the cure¿, interspersed with entries from on-line blogs and news reports. It covers a period of 60 years during which John has a ¿cure age¿ of 29 but (obviously) ages from 29 to 89 in terms of life experience.It is hard to write a more detailed review without giving away spoilers, so let me just say that this is one of the best books I have read this year. It is hard-hitting, thought-provoking ¿ everything I could ask from a sci-fi novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved how real it felt to live forever, the honest side of it - good and bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy, captivating read that creatively brings readers to the realization that life is so sacred, and while short, so very special. 10/10
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I very much like Drew Magary as a comedic blogger on Deadspin, but I think he stumbles in his first attempt to translate that writing style into the novel format. The story itself has a compelling hook (post-mortality), but the novel lacks significant character development and jumps from one superficial plot event to the next without pausing to introspectively contemplate or explain developments in the main character or the world he inhabits. The book is a quick read and the premise of the story is provoking enough to get you through to the finish, but it's just not deep enough to make you really care about the characters or their fates.
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Truly Excellent.