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Slow Apocalypse by John Varley

Slow Apocalypse

by John Varley

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Well, 2.5 stars to be kind. I always enjoy reading John Varley, so I grabbed this new novel from the library. However, it was something of a disappointment, not up to the imagination and daring of the '8 worlds' stories or even the 'Titan' trilogy. 'Slow Apocalypse' tells the tale of a family from Los Angeles coping with the aftermath of the destruction of the world's oil reserves by a rogue scientist. followed by a massive earthquake and an uncontrolled wildfire.
The clue is in the title. The pace of the novel is slow, and has no satisfying resolution, there is too much emphasis on the geography of Los Angeles (though might be useful for touring the city in the event of peak oil/earthquake and wildfire occurring simultaneously). Only if you really need another post apocalypse tale. ( )
  orkydd | Feb 2, 2017 |
This appears to be intended for a broader audience than Varley's typical writing. I'm currently reading his [b:Red Lightning|186330|Red Lightning (Red Thunder, #2)|John Varley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348262000s/186330.jpg|817813], where similar post-disaster themes are played out.

I like post-apocalyptic science fiction, and always find it interesting to see how the author outfits his characters, and what they do in their restructured world. For example, in Pfeffer's The Last Survivors series the characters rush to do laundry every time power is briefly restored. In Varley, there's a lot of description of objects (ammunition, hay, canned food) and some preoccupation with not using up food, but surprisingly little concern about using up gasoline, which is a central aspect of the book.

( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
The beginning grabbed me right away, but the rest of the book did seem overly long--but I read it in one day, and enjoyed it overall. I was very impatient with the horse and kept wishing the main characters would ditch it. Good thing they didn't listen to me. Karen's transformation from bitchy wife to helpmate seemed a bit too abrupt. I'd have liked to see more of the daughter Addison. The geographical detail reminded me a lot of "The Californians" sketch on _Saturday Night Live_ (where people gratuitously mention the streets they took to get somewhere)--BUT I did enjoy pulling out my Thomas Guide and discovering that all the streets were real ones, even the street where the protagonist lives. Probably former Angelenos like me enjoy the detail more than someone who is unfamiliar with LA and its landmarks. I'd recommend this book to folks who love reading about L.A. and the end of civilization. ( )
  iBeth | Mar 23, 2013 |
I must agree with other reviewers. This book started off interesting, but it didn't take too long to get annoyed at the specific details regarding the geography of LA. Although you do need some knowledge about the areas where the story takes place, this author went into so much geographical detail that it really detracted from the story. I also didn't particularly find any of the main characters to be sympathetic. I wanted to root for someone and I think that I ended up rooting for Ranger the horse the most. It is a good premise and I did like the author's take on what would happen if the world's oil supply was suddenly volatile and unusable. ( )
  HeatherMS | Nov 4, 2012 |
Bought the book for two reasons: I have liked much prior work by the author and the blurb from SFBC looked neat [I enjoy end of the world technothrillers]. My first problem is that the supposed technothriller segues fairly early into a disaster novel which is not among my favorite genres. It also seems one the author has problems writing. The technothriller beginning sparkled. The disaster main section was readable but not especially interesting. Varley knows his LA geography and the stock characters that populate that landscape. He just doesn't do much especially interesting with it and takes FAR too long to do so. The last section of the book is a second segue into a preachy ode to anti-technology green communitarianism and localism. I don't mind the author's politics shining through. I don't mind politics that disagree with mine. I do mind paying for a political insert so poorly plotted and written that it simply doesn't fit. Poor world building and sloppy writing do not a happy reader make. By the end I was finishing this book out of a sense of duty rather than from enjoyment. Part of the problem is that the POV family has two fairly unsympathetic adults. Yes they are quite recognizable LA types. However it is hard to sustain interest in a novel when you keep hoping the author will kill off his two main POV characters so the far more interesting daughter character can take stage center. ( )
  agingcow2345 | Sep 14, 2012 |
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This Los Angeles book is dedicated to our Los Angeles friends, Jon Mersel and Marion Peters
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The sound of automatic weapons firing made everyone look up.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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After a former U.S. Marine warns him of an impending apocalypse due to a virus that will contaminate the world's fuel supply, Los Angeles screenwriter Dave Marshall must keep his family safe when he discovers the tale is true.

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