Wednesday, 4 April 2012
The Last Man on Earth Club - Paul R. Hardy
Title: The Last Man on Earth Club
Author: Paul R. Hardy
"The Last Man on Earth Club" by Paul R. Hardy is a thoroughly enjoyable and dark read that should really appeal to anyone who has an interest in apocalyptic scenarios. It isn't a fast paced novel and is quite long but I believe it should hold your attention from start to finish as the various characters stories are slowly revealed.
The premise of the novel is that long distance space flight has been disregarded as impossible and therefore various societies have explored the concept of travelling to parallel universes. Many of these societies have come together in an almost UN sort of grouping called the Interversal Union that works together on various tasks such as saving people from planets in other Universes that are facing some sort of apocalypse.
Sometimes though the Interversal Union doesn't discover an endangered planet in time and therefore finds the society there already dead or in some occasions they only manage to save one final person. Six of these final survivors that are believed to be suffering from PTSD are put together in an attempt to undergo group therapy in the hope that some sort of treatment can be identified that would enable them to join the society built up around the Interversal Union.
Whilst a therapy session for people suffering PTSD may not sound the most interesting of topics to read, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertained I actually became in the story and the struggles of each character to overcome their emotional issues. However, don't believe that Hardy also doesn't know what a lot of his audience will pick the book up for. The various snippets of information that are slowly revealed to the reader about each person's past ensure that the apocalypse junkie in you is kept well and truly hooked if that is what really appeals to you.
I found that the six survivors were all superbly developed with very different and distinct personalities that had all been affected by their past. Whilst the information on the apocalyptic worlds they came from was enjoyable and at times truly touching, it was the interactions between the characters that really drive the story onwards. The quarrels and discussions that occurred were actually really interesting to read and I loved how this brought up the various layers of personality hidden within each character. I found myself sympathetic to each of them and was willing them all on to overcome their inner demons and find a way to live with what had occurred.
In summary the book should appeal to many people just because it touches on many different apocalyptic scenarios, such as nuclear wars or zombie plagues. However, at its heart this is a brilliantly written character-driven story set in a sci-fi setting that really highlights the ability of people to overcome great adversity, tragedy and take the first few steps on a difficult and long healing process. Whilst it has quite a dark premise, I found it to be really engaging, with great characters and an ability to really make the reader think. I quite simply enjoyed it from start to finish and can't recommend it highly enough.
Challenges Book Counts Towards:
Ebook Reading Challenge (The Eclectic Bookshelf)
Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)
Free Reads Challenge
Speculative Fiction Challenge