Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.
But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild. THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH will tell their stories.
Edited by acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Hugh Howey, THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH is a series of three anthologies of apocalyptic fiction. THE END IS NIGH focuses on life before the apocalypse. THE END IS NOW turns its attention to life during the apocalypse. And THE END HAS COME focuses on life after the apocalypse.
Post-apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that have already burned. Apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that are burning. THE END IS NIGH is about the match.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: Introduction by John Joseph Adams | The Balm and the Wound by Robin Wasserman | Heaven is a Place on Planet X by Desirina Boskovich | Break! Break! Break! by Charlie Jane Anders | The Gods Will Not Be Chained by Ken Liu | Wedding Day by Jake Kerr | Removal Order by Tananarive Due | System Reset by Tobias S. Buckell | This Unkempt World is Falling to Pieces by Jamie Ford | BRING HER TO ME by Ben H. Winters | In the Air by Hugh Howey | Goodnight Moon by Annie Bellet | Dancing with Death in the Land of Nod by Will McIntosh | Houses Without Air by Megan Arkenberg | The Fifth Day of Deer Camp by Scott Sigler | Enjoy the Moment by Jack McDevitt | Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through by Nancy Kress | Spores by Seanan McGuire | She's Got a Ticket to Ride by Jonathan Maberry | Agent Unknown by David Wellington | Enlightenment by Matthew Mather | Shooting the Apocalypse by Paolo Bacigalupi | Love Perverts by Sarah Langan.
©2014 John Joseph Adams & Hugh Howey (P)2014 John Joseph Adams & Hugh Howey
This is one of my favorite audio books, and I have listened to quite a few. I prefer short story anthologies and every single piece in this book was a new gem.
I loved that so many of these stories came at the apocalypse premise from unusual directions. Every time the world is going to end in a different way, and the character viewpoints are also very different so each new story brings a different perspective. Sometimes the protagonists are likely to live, sometimes they don't make it to the last paragraph. As a reader, the uncertainty makes each story exciting.
It was great to hear famous podcast voices such as Mur Lafferty, Tina Connolly, Kate Baker, Jack Kincaid, Norm Sherman and others who consistently deliver clear, evocative story narrations - these are artists at the top of their craft delivering excellently edited performances.
John Joseph Adams compiled a GREAT set of stories in this anthology. I can't wait for the next book in this series to be released!
Geeky, photography-loving stitcher. Hobbits, zombies, space cowboys, agents, avengers, & clones are welcome in my post-apocalyptic dystopia.
Absolutely. Another wonderfully edited anthology of stories by John Joseph Adams.
Stories about the world’s end should prompt the reader to ask tough questions. How do you pick who gets to survive? At what point is it okay to give up on survival? Is society worth saving in the first place? To what lengths would you go to survive? Do you deserve to survive if you’re the reason the world has ended in the first place? Along with all of these questions, The End is Nigh highlights a wide variety of social issues, including same-sex marriage, global warming, euthanasia, genetic manipulation, human medical testing, and eating disorders, to name a few. The End is Nigh tackles these questions head on, and frequently the resulting answer is appropriately unsettling.
The menu of characters is similarly varied: con men; cult members; tech-savvy teenagers; scientists with OCD; artists; unfaithful husbands; computer hackers; grandmothers; and astronauts (astronauts who are also grandmothers). Good people doing good things, good people doing horrible things. Horrible people doing horrible things, horrible people doing good things.
Additionally, I was very pleased with the character diversity, whether it was with regard to ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Women written by men and men written by women.
The strongest stories in this collection are anchored by these strong, complex characters and issues and tack on the utter destruction of everything as a side note. My honorable mentions are:
- “Wedding Day”—Follows a same-sex wedding that is left too late, and the resulting conflict around the characters' ability to save legal family members.
- “Removal Order”—Brings us a responsible teenage girl trying to care for her terminally ill grandmother as the world burns around her.
- “Spores”—Introduces one of the more unique characters I’ve met in the apocalypse; a laboratory scientist with severe OCD who is tasked with surviving the outbreak of a genetically engineered fungus. (This story also gets my award for most disturbingly icky plague.)
- “The Fifth Day of Dear Camp”—Imagine the guys from the SNL “Bill Swerski’s Superfans” sketches encountering an alien invasion while hunting in the woods. Lovable, but deadly.
I listened to the Jake Kincaid-produced audiobook as my primary reading experience and found this experience to be fairly hit or miss. A number of the performances were so overly emoted as to be practically unlistenable. In the case of “The Balm and the Wound,” I found the interpretation of the main character to be completely off. (Would you follow a spiritual cult leader, if he sounded like mob lackey from The Jersey Shore?) On the flip side, the accents in “The Fifth Day of Dear Camp” were performed very admirably and added nicely to the story. And, those stories that were treated more as unacted narrations were generally well done.
This is similar to JJA's anthology Wastelands, though I believe Wastelands to be superior. That being said, this anthology is a good fix for you apocalypse junkies. I am also very much looking forward to the continuations of some of these stories in the next anthology that Hugh and John are doing: The End Has Come.
I am musician and mom of several little musicians. Love good narrators. Love good stories. Love Audible.
I came to this book cause I listen to John Joseph Adams' Lightspeed podcasts. Who did this production? As an anthology the stories I managed to listen to, are good. The editor knows what he's doing. His selections are historically dynamite. The writing is solid. But as a listening experience I don't think there was a guiding hand, it felt patched together, because the reading styles and effects are all over the place, which made it horrifyingly distracting in most cases.
Never made it to the end. I'm buying the book.
Who are these readers? I listen to lots of podcasts and short stories. And there's always inconsistencies in talent. But this is an audiobook. I'm assuming this was a new production, not a grab bag podcast. The ClarkesWorld narrators did well in this one (Kate Baker?) drawing me in, but where were the Lightspeed folks? There were tremendous inconsistencies in style and talent levels. You've got Jack Kincaid doing over-the-top Radio Style, and then You've got fake-oh FX effects of God's Voice in the middle of a woman's narrative; then what I call "Barnes and Noble" author-type-reads which are barely comprehensible. Who are these people? Genre fiction needs the best; we're picky. ;0) We get spoiled by productions like Cascadia and Ender's Game Alive, and RipOff and World War Z and V-Wars. Howey is certainly capable of demanding a certain level of production, no??? He's one of the big boys now, no? Sigler and Mur were good, but they're veteran readers. The rest? Yikes.
I don't want to be unkind here. But I jumped around, listened to the first minutes of each story; only a few pulled me in; the rest I skipped. Didn't feel I was in good story-teller hands. Didn't make it to the end. I plan to buy the book and read it. Maybe. The authors were not well served here. Variety's good when the narrator supports the story; but when they detract ... not good.
Seems from what he says in the intro that John Joseph Adams, the anthologer had a good grip on arc and concept on paper; but no follow through on the production. I was disappointed in the Hugh Howey narrator choice on a previous audio and thought I'd try this one cause of Adams does a great job on Lightspeed, but was once again let down by the casting. Makes one wonder who was in charge here. If anyone.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
I have enjoyed enough anthologies to realize that not all short stories (and not all narrators) are equal. This anthology is no different. While most stories are above average, a couple fall short in quality of narrative and narrator to bring down the overall quality of this collection, ever so slightly.
I use anthologies as a method of discovering good authors. I enjoy zombie and end of the world books and hadn't read any of these authors so I eagerly scooped this up when it came up on a sale. After struggling through the entire thing, only Scott Sigler and Jonathon Maberry aren't ending up on my "Never Buy" list. Turgid, slow, tedious, vapid, and forgettable are the majority of the stories contained here. Narrators are hit and miss, like most anthologies.
How will our demise come let me count the stars or read this great concept, cook book for end of days appetites. Ultimately the end of days comes to everyone by way of illness, natural disasters, accidents & don't even start on man made causes. Then there is God who has tried the extermination route, no rehab for those folks, & since we don't seem to learn our lessons there is a rumor were in for another dose of end times from the Creator. We shoud not be blamed if it all makes us feel like the bug that gets zapped on TV by a can of "R__d". like the song say's "Our day will come", so while were waiting, smile & say hi to a stranger, smell some flowers & listen to this book.
Audiobooks are the greatest invention ever!
I wanted to like this book. I read good things about it and the topic is in my wheelhouse. I could handle that they were short stories. I like short stories. I could handle that they addressed the first part of an end of the world story only. I just didn't enjoy the stories. I found my mind frequently drifting and when I pulled into the driveway I realized that the story didn't hold my interest and I wasn't listening to it.
If you like these stories I am happy for you. I didn't.
There’s a lot to love about this collection. First, the concept of three anthologies that look at the apocalypse from before, during, and after is bold. And I gotta say I’m looking forward to the next two installments, to see how some of these concepts are grown. I listened to the audiobook, and the production was top notch. For free podcast samples, pop over to EscapePod and listen to “Enjoy the Moment” and Drabblecast for “Heaven is a Place on Planet X”.
I was pleasantly (?) surprised at the variety of apocalyptic visions for our world. While the killer asteroid was the most represented, it was nowhere close to the preponderance. I think the only thing I can think of in the popular consciousness that didn’t make it was the collapse of the food system through the death of pollinators. We even got a zombie story (“Agent Unknown”), although the fungus one (“Spores”) was even more effective body horror than zombies ever could. There are so many I could talk about (like Bachigalupi’s return to the world of The Tamarisk Hunter) but I’m going to restrict myself to the ones that made the deepest craters in my psyche.
The two narrations that really blew me away were Laurice White reading “Removal Order” and Tina Connolly reading “Goodnight Moon”. Both performances really delivered pathos and made the individual tragedies of the characters all the more impactful.
I thought the opening of the collection with “The Balm and the Wound” was great. It felt a lot like a cultier version of Hensley’s “Lord Randy, My Son” which is one of my favorite Dangerous Visions. The other cult story’s noir tone (“She’s Got a Ticket to Ride”) really set it apart, while subverting the style by having the brooding hero be rescued by the damsel in distress.
Probably the most subtle of the stories is the soft apocalypse in Nancy Kress’s “Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through”. I’ve picked up her novel Beggars in Spain and I can see a similar nod to the themes set there. This is probably the one story I’m most looking forward to seeing how it evolves.
"A very enjoyable start to the Apocalypse"
The first book in a trilogy of short series based around the apocalypse. This book concentrates on before the apocalypse (whatever it will be).
There were some really high calibre stories in this anthology. The following are all my 4 stars and above. Rarely do i get this many high ratings in an anthology.
“Heaven is a Place on Planet X” by Desirina Boskovich
“The Gods Will Not Be Chained” by Ken Liu
“Wedding Day” by Jake Kerr
“In the Air” by Hugh Howey
“Spores” by Seanan McGuire
“She’s Got a Ticket to Ride” by Jonathan Maberry
As always where will be some stories that do nothing for me. The following were all rated 1.
“Removal Order” by Tananarive Due
“Love Perverts” by Sarah Langan.
There were a couple of 2 stars as well, but the rest were inbetween.
The narration was generally of high calibre. There was 1 bad narration (Removal Order) and this could have impacted on my verdict for the 1 star.
Looking forward to the second book, which i will read/listen to nearer the release of the third book.
This and its sister books are a complete triumph - I was concerned that I might not like the short story format but it works soooo well.
One or two of the books are a little weak but others are incredibly good and I think what works and doesn't will vary between readers but this series is definitely worth every penny.
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