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Vanishing Point by Michaela Roessner
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Vanishing Point (1993)

by Michaela Roessner

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269965,022 (3.82)42
"It Happened one night, suddenly, without warning: 90% of the human race disappeared without a trace. Vanished, never to be seen again. There were no portents, no notes, no bodies, no clue as to where they went or whether they would ever come back again. People woke to find their lovers no longer beside them. Children woke to find their parents missing, parents woke to empty cribs. Neighbors found empty houses, empty apartment buildings." "Civilization collapsed." "After a few months of violence spawned by fear and rage, a measure of peace was restored in the Bay Area. Enclaves formed and established defense pacts against the wandering bands of fanatics. They set about surviving, renewing contact with the rest of the world, establishing trading ties with each other, and trying to discover what had caused the Vanishing." "Now, thirty years after the Disappearance, Dr. Easterman is coming across the continent from the Carnegie Institute to work with the Hackers Center in Silicon Valley, continuing a promising line of research on what caused the cataclysmic event. At the House, where a community of survivors has made a good life while continuing to build the Winchester Mansion, a young woman named Renzie is in the middle of the political struggles between various groups in the Valley." "And up in the Oakland Hills a huge band of Heaven Bounders is gathering. The 'Bounders believe that the Vanishing was Judgement Day, and the Vanished have ascended to heaven. They believe that the only thing holding back their own salvation is the disbelief of others - disbelief that is manifested in building houses and growing food. If those others were dead, the Heaven Bounders believe, then Judgement would be fulfilled, and they would join their loved ones in Heaven."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)
  1. 20
    The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy (lquilter)
    lquilter: Murphy's The City, Not Long After is another post-apocalyptic story in a Bay Area setting; both explore Bay Area culture and peculiarities, and treat the setting almost as another character.
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» See also 42 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I got the ebook in an Amazon deal last year, thinking I hadn't read it. When I started reading it, I realised I had; but whether I formerly owned it or borrowed it from the library I can't remember. It's currently in an Amazon deal at the moment.

The story is set in the Winchester Mystery House 30 years after 90% of humanity has inexplicably vanished, and follows a group of survivors and their offspring resident in the House. It's a bit of an odd story - you start out thinking it's a standard post-apocalyptic survivor story but it soon veers into a time slip / parallel universe story as one of the threads deals with trying to find out exactly what happened. To me, it's a bit Primeval meets Time Storm (Gordon R Dickson). Others may see it as being more like S M Stirling's Dies The Fire series (but without the SCA involved and electricity still works).

I still can't decide whether I like the story or not; it's not hard SF by any means and I didn't find it very compelling. At least as an ebook it doesn't take up space on my overloaded shelves.
  Maddz | Aug 6, 2017 |
This was ok but not a real stand-out read for me. Quite a large cast of characters left me not fully connected with any of them. The meta-physical alternate-reality stuff was also rather unfocused. In a fantasy world, (Zelany's Amber, for instance), I am more able to accept that type of thing. When it is being sold as pseudo-science/physics, it needs to be better explained if I am going to go along for the ride. Brasyl by Ian McDonald comes to mind as a SFnal world built on more solid underpinnings than the one found in Vanishing Point. ( )
  ScoLgo | Oct 31, 2016 |
Thirty years ago, 90 percent of the world's population suddenly vanished in the middle of the night, and those who are left are still searching for the cause as well as trying to move on from the catastrophe.

This one was a mixed bag for me. Here's what I enjoyed: It had a strong sense of place, making particularly good use of the well-known Winchester Mystery House and the surrounding environs. The characters were well-done and believable people. It presents a more benevolent view of post-apocalyptic society than most books in the genre, offering a vision of a rather attractive communal society; yes, there are threats, but humankind has not devolved utterly in the face of catastrophe. Solving the mystery of why everyone vanished (no spoilers!) keeps the story moving.

Here's what I didn't enjoy: I found the writing very choppy and in need of editing; in many places, it felt like an early draft rather than a polished work. This is science fiction, and the science seemed--to me, at least, without a lot of technical knowledge of these things--very hand-wavey; I wanted to believe, but a lot of it sounded like gobbledygook. The pacing felt off, too slow at the beginning and then so fast at the end that it was somewhat hard to follow.

So a middling book, likely underread but of interest to those who have plowed through all the well-known titles in the post-apocalyptic genre. ( )
  sturlington | Jul 26, 2016 |
This book kept me up late reading and I was sorry to see it end, I would like to read a sequel to see what becomes of the characters. It is a rarity in the science fiction world: a novel with well-developed characters with believable motives and a realistic look at love and relationships.

Thirty years after most of the world’s population disappeared, a band of survivors inhabiting the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California try to find the cause of the catastrophe and rebuild a society despite the depredations of kamikaze cult members out to destroy them. The author makes you feel as if you are as much a part of the house as the characters who live there, I definitely have added a visit to my “bucket list”. The ending of the book brought to mind Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear.
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
Vanishing Point was originally published in 1993. This new publication comes at a time when dystopian novels have become the rage.

It’s been 30 years since a huge percentage of the population just Vanished. No trace was left behind. The Vanished took nothing with them and there were no bodies. Those who were alive back then lost many loved ones and trying to rebuild their lives has not been easy. A lot of them live their lives in fear; not knowing if it will happen again, wondering if their loved ones will ever return to them.

The population has split into many cult-type communities. The Homers refuse to leave the home they lived in at the time of the Vanishing, thinking their loved ones may come back in The Return. The Watchers spend their time taking shifts to watch over each other in case another Vanishing takes place. The Hackers spend all of their time researching the source of the Vanishing, looking for anomalies that might reveal the early warning signs of another such happening. The Penitents are busy making amends so they aren’t left behind if it happens again. These are just some of the cult-like groups that have formed.

The main focus is on a group who has taken up residence in a house which was a well-known tourist mansion in San Jose, California. Those who live there call it The Home. Legend has it that the old woman who owned The Home was visited by spirits, who told her to keep building on to the house. It is thought that these spirits may have been preparing the way for those who live there now, giving them a safe haven in which to rebuild their future.

The Home now includes a couple of generations born after the Vanishing. The first generation, those approaching 30 years old, were all born with a metallic sheen to their hair. They can see an aurora in the skies that the older generation can’t see. They have been raised without modern conveniences and taught strong survival skills. Although their children were not born with metallic hair and better vision, they are somehow different too. These children speak in a strange slang, they seem more intuitive and they call the Homers “ghosts.”

As in any world, the peaceful societies are threatened by those who have a different agenda. In this case, the threat comes from those known as the ‘Bounders, or the Heaven Bound. The ‘Bounders believe that everyone who Vanished has ascended to Heaven, and that anyone who got left behind must have done or not done something, that excluded them. They also believe that no one person will be allowed to ascend to Heaven, until all have faith and live their lives accordingly. It’s everybody or nobody, and they disapprove of those planning for an earthly future.

When the ‘Bounders become more dangerous with threats of war upon those who stand in the way of their salvation, the other groups must band together to fight back and save what they have built.

Vanishing Point is not fresh material in the heyday of dystopian books, but it probably was at the time it was written, making it somewhat of a classic read. I liked the characters. The main character Renzie, is a tough, independent woman with a bit of hidden loneliness. Nesta is a middle-aged researcher who lived through the Vanishing, and works with the hackers to figure out what caused it. Of course, a lot of the research includes physics, but not too much and nothing that you can’t follow along with or learn from. Interesting premises abound, everything from theories you might have heard about on “Aliens Among Us”, to a time warp, the Left Behind theory…….

No, I won’t give away what it really was! I recommend that you read and find out for yourself:) This is a tightly woven story in which the author paints a broad picture and ties up all the loose ends, leaving us with no unanswered questions.

By the way, "the Home" is based on a real place in San Jose! Go to http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/ to read more.

I want to thank the publisher (Endeavor Press) for providing me with the ARC through Netgalley for an honest review.
1 vote sherribelcher | Apr 13, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Ignorance about people who disappear Undermines the reality of the world - Anonymous, 1990
Dedication
for Richard as I promised
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Although he'd been preparing for days, in the end he could hardly bring himself to go back inside the room to fire it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"It Happened one night, suddenly, without warning: 90% of the human race disappeared without a trace. Vanished, never to be seen again. There were no portents, no notes, no bodies, no clue as to where they went or whether they would ever come back again. People woke to find their lovers no longer beside them. Children woke to find their parents missing, parents woke to empty cribs. Neighbors found empty houses, empty apartment buildings." "Civilization collapsed." "After a few months of violence spawned by fear and rage, a measure of peace was restored in the Bay Area. Enclaves formed and established defense pacts against the wandering bands of fanatics. They set about surviving, renewing contact with the rest of the world, establishing trading ties with each other, and trying to discover what had caused the Vanishing." "Now, thirty years after the Disappearance, Dr. Easterman is coming across the continent from the Carnegie Institute to work with the Hackers Center in Silicon Valley, continuing a promising line of research on what caused the cataclysmic event. At the House, where a community of survivors has made a good life while continuing to build the Winchester Mansion, a young woman named Renzie is in the middle of the political struggles between various groups in the Valley." "And up in the Oakland Hills a huge band of Heaven Bounders is gathering. The 'Bounders believe that the Vanishing was Judgement Day, and the Vanished have ascended to heaven. They believe that the only thing holding back their own salvation is the disbelief of others - disbelief that is manifested in building houses and growing food. If those others were dead, the Heaven Bounders believe, then Judgement would be fulfilled, and they would join their loved ones in Heaven."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)

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