Soft Apocalypse

Soft Apocalypse

by Will McIntosh


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What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America's previously stable society apart, the "New Normal" is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang. New social structures and tribal connections spring up across America, as the previous social structures begin to dissolve.

Locus Award finalist and John W. Campbell Memorial Award finalist Soft Apocalypse follows the journey across the Southeast of a tribe of formerly middle class Americans as they struggle to find a place for themselves and their children in a new, dangerous world that still carries the ghostly echoes of their previous lives.

"It's so hard to believe," Colin said as we crossed the steaming, empty parking lot toward the bowling alley.


"That we're poor. That we're homeless."

"I know."

"I mean, we have college degrees," he said.

"I know," I said.

There was an ancient miniature golf course choked in weeds alongside the bowling alley. The astroturf had completely rotted away in places. The windmill had one spoke. We looked it over for a minute (both of us had once been avid mini golfers), then continued toward the door.

"By the way," I added. "We're not homeless, we're nomads. Keep your labels straight."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597802765
Publisher: Night Shade
Publication date: 04/01/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 680,777
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

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Soft Apocalypse 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1192 reviews.
paulgoatallen More than 1 year ago
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.
mark429 More than 1 year ago
2 chapters in and I had to put my nook down to write this review. if you liked AMC's epic series The Walking Dead, you should download this right now and start reading. While not a zombie story exactly there are some flesh eating viruses and scarier diseases popping up all over the place and the world has become a generally scary place. All in all this is a romance set in a wasteland but it's the first fictional book I've had the patience to read in 10 years. There is drama, suspense,comedy,horror,love,hate,hope and despair in this story and I've only just finished chapter 2! It has a nice quick pace to it and I actually stopped breathing and could feel my chest pounding with anticipation during a particularly tense scene starting on page 26. bottom line? DOWNLOAD THIS BOOK!! FYI this review is written from the perspective of a 30 year old male IT worker from upstate NY. I would give this a NC17 rating if it were a movie. hope this this helps someone... back to my nook =)
enjae More than 1 year ago
Fantastically dark. One of the best-imagined end-of-the-world scenarios I've ever read. The slow disintegration of society and humanity rings so true, I kind of want to go out and start learning some survivalist skills. And yet, it's not all doom and despair. There are bright points throughout. I couldn't put this down. I have the feeling I'll be thinking on it for a while.
Galora_K More than 1 year ago
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.
bibliophilic_felinophile More than 1 year ago
As other reviewers have noted, this is not always an easy read and is a bit uneven at times. However, those caveats aside, I found this book to be powerful, believable, and exceedingly thought-provoking. The author makes a good case (IMO) for the breakdown of society given limited resources, increasingly unsustainable overpopulation, inevitably escalated conflict between the HAVE and the HAVE-NOT classes, inflamed prejudices against perceived "less-than" groups of people who have been forced into a nomadic existence, the capriciousness of mob mentality, and the overreaction of military might directed by a disintegrating political structure. This is a stunning novel, seeded with only-too-real possibilities that await societal breakdown, should our current version of "civilization" spin out of control. I hope there is a sequel, and SOON!
Annika Lundberg More than 1 year ago
This book is more than good at free. It is worth like ten dollars! It iis worth it to buy this book, it is a great book, and worth it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Part of what made this book exceptional was the way the "Apocalypse" occured. Not with a meteor strike, or war, but rather an outgrowth of what could be happening today...the collapse of the world economy over an extended period of time creating an "every man for himself" mindset. The characters are well written and you really feel for what they're going through. Although several times the story was contrived (a few too many coincidences), it was still believeable. I could see society becoming as it was described. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. Survival and companionship become the only goals. The best way I can judge the quality of a book (or movie) is by whether or not I keep thinking about it after I'm done, and I can say that almost a week after I finished, I still think about the story and how it unfolded.
Klem_Kadiddlehopper More than 1 year ago
If you like the lead to be a hero this is NOT for you. Depressing and gloomy but in a strange way intresting.
BuckRogers2000 More than 1 year ago
Sometimes, the best things in life are free. This Free Friday book for example. In the infinite possiblities of how mankind will fare, Will McIntosh has brought a good possibility into sharp focus. Some of his imaginings may even come to pass - let's just hope they don't!
Mindyloves3n1 More than 1 year ago
The story line literally scared me because i can totally imigane this. A must read!
rc76 More than 1 year ago
Interesting premise and the story could have been more interesting [for me] had it been developed from a different perspective. Instead this book reads like a dime romance novel. It tells in detail of mainly the romantic/sexual escapades of the main character, with only incidental mention of societal changes and decay. I can't say much more, I gave up on this book in the third chapter. To be fair I sampled later chapters, but read nothing that caused me to believe that this was much more than some futuristic soap opera. If you're looking for something interesting, the caliber of say Wells', "War of the Worlds", or maybe Vonnegut's, "Piano Player"--this is probably not what you're looking for.
middleagedlady More than 1 year ago
If you liked reading Earth Abides, The Road you will find this book even better. I could picture my co-workers , neighbors in these characters. Just regular people trying to live their life, not JUST survive as civilization crumbles. I noticed some people complaining that the story was "grim" or " foul language was used". Indeed this book is not a romance novel or fun romp, but if you like this type of story it is FANTASTIC.
Ijustwanttoread More than 1 year ago
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.
etmoser More than 1 year ago
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!
Mississippi_Rob More than 1 year ago
The world ends in a whimper. This is a fresh, and I think realistic, take on apocalyptic literature. The writing is great. The charaters are interesting, drawing you into the story and making your concerned for their well being. The concept is horrific and compeling. This is a quick read, and well worth the time if you like apocalyptic type stories.
amber76 More than 1 year ago
This was a very good read for me, I would have paid for this one! I would and have, recommended this one to friends and family. It does make you think...whether that's good or bad, is for you to decide, it is free after all...
jazzbass12 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this read. Im not a big SciFI fan but, this had a touch of realism to it. It kept me engaged and I looked forward to picking up where I had left off. I do feel it had me feeling melancholic from time to time. I think a good book should have an effect on your feelings.
MikeUnderwood More than 1 year ago
Setting aside the fact that 2023 may be a bit early for designer viruses), Soft Apocalypse is frighteningly plausible, telling the tale of a world going out with a whimper, not a bang. Character relationships and the main character's love life are central to this book, since if the world's falling to pieces around you, it's really easy to collapse your desires to 'don't die' and 'have someone to love.' McIntosh's knowledge of Savannah gives the book a distinct flavor. The book is short, but it reads fast, with strong pacing and complex characters. My money puts this as a Hugo/Nebula contender for the 2011 season.
Christopher Ellis More than 1 year ago
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.
Katydid587 More than 1 year ago
This book was an amazing read! It had everything; danger, suspense, romance and some just downright crazy stuff! I had a hard time putting it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This usually isn't the type of book I read, but it kept my attention. There are a few parts that go into detail, so beware if your swismish. The only part I didn't like was how the main character kept running into all his old girlfriends. But overall worth reading.
Michele Johnson More than 1 year ago
Its a meandering story that kept me interrested even if just to see what would happen next. I cared about all of the characters. At times i did feel it was unstructured... but that sorta fits with the type of story being told, so i didn't mind. I live in the Savannah area, so i liked reading about familiar places too. Overall I liked this book and read through it happily.
Cltreader More than 1 year ago
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.
rkotish More than 1 year ago
as i read this book, i kept asking myself why am i reading this. halfway through i had even forgot the main characters name and if he had done so too, the author started to use his name repetitively. a long boring read.
Pixie52 More than 1 year ago
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.