New on Fantastic Reviews is Aaron's positive review of Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt (along with a lukewarm review of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, see previous post). The Road is more widely known, but Aaron found Summer of the Apocalypse to be the more compelling book.
From Aaron's review of Summer of the Apocalypse:
"...Today, the best writers in the science fiction and fantasy genre are equal or superior to their mainstream colleagues at the craft of writing. To illustrate the point, compare The Road with Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt. These two novels share a strikingly similar premise: an older man and young companion(s) travel on foot over a derelict highway through a ruined America. Consistent with Cormac McCarthy's sterling literary reputation, The Road won the Pulitzer Prize and has spent much of the past year on all the national best-seller lists. In contrast, as befits James Van Pelt's lowly status as a mid-list writer in the science fiction genre, Summer of the Apocalypse was entirely ignored by the mainstream press."
"Yet Summer of the Apocalypse is the far better novel. The writing of Summer of the Apocalypse is subtle where The Road is only brash. Summer of the Apocalypse develops believable, three-dimensional characters; the characters in The Road are nameless (literally) figureheads. In The Road, Cormac McCarthy attempts to compensate for awkward writing, lack of characterization, and an aimless plot by dazzling readers with the utter bleakness of his vision of the future. Summer of the Apocalypse is also very bleak at times, but in the framework of a compelling story...."
"...James Van Pelt's Summer of the Apocalypse alternates between two different cross-country trips. In the earliest, set in the very near future, 15-year-old Eric travels across the western slope of Colorado in search of his father, shortly after nearly all of mankind has been wiped out in a pandemic. The second journey takes place sixty years later, as 75-year-old Eric retraces his earlier trip while leading his 10- and 12-year-old grandson and friend to a greatly altered Boulder."
To read the entire review -> Summer of the Apocalypse