The Postmortal, by Drew Magary

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Author’s website
Publication date – August 30, 2011

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) John Farrell is about to get “The Cure.”
Old age can never kill him now.
The only problem is, everything else still can . . .

Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and-after much political and moral debate-made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems-including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors. Witty, eerie, and full of humanity, The Postmortal is an unforgettable thriller that envisions a pre-apocalyptic world so real that it is completely terrifying.

Thoughts: It sounds great. A cure for aging. Something to make sure you get to keep living long past the time you reasonably should have died. It’s the sort of thing that’s been the subject of everybody’s fantasies at one time or another, and Drew Magary brings it all to life in a truly terrifying way.

Not for this future are the hordes of immortal zombies bent on eating flesh, but instead we get hordes of people. Undying people in a world that even now is strained when it comes to space and natural resources. Old age can’t kill you, but cancer can. You can still be shot, run over, beaten to a bloody pulp. And as the world crumbles, natural resources run out, paranoia runs rampant, those things get increasingly likely.

It was fascinating to view such a scientific breakthrough not as an epic adventure of right and wrong, but to see the societal changes, the reactions that different cultures have, the way the cure changed the world and people kept doing what they do best: existing, and getting on with their lives. It thrilled the amateur anthropologist in me, and it was an unexpected take on the situation that made me feel more connected to that possible future than to some grand action-filled tale. This is a future that could all too easy occur, and the realism that Magary handled in this novel was just astounding. One thing leading to another, the “cure for death” heading down a clear path to nuclear war. And one of the most perverse things in that in spite of all the consequences that the cure led directly too, you can’t help but think, “If someone offered it to me, I’d take it.” This book stripped humanity bare and gave us, if you’ll excuse the Simpsons reference, the very essence of “crisitunity.”

Magary’s choice to convey the story through a series of recovered blog posts was superb. That, combined with mentions of technology that’s clearly more advanced than what we have now yet familiar enough to be easily identifiable, did wonders to allow the reader to relate to the protagonist. From triumph to tragedy, from breakthroughs to breakdown, you really get into John’s mind, and it’s hard to want to pull yourself away and step back into the real world.

I don’t think I can recommend this book enough, especially if you’re looking for an amazing piece of speculative fiction that approaches things in a slightly different way. It’s engaging, engrossing, and utterly fascinating to read. Drew Magary has most certainly found his immortality on my bookshelf, at least!

(Book provided for review by the publisher.)

3 comments on “The Postmortal, by Drew Magary

  1. This is actually one of those books that would draw me in via the cover. A striking image, a punchy title and a bizarre premise… rather intriguing. Good to know that there's a good story behind the cover as well!

  2. Pingback: In My Mailbox « Bibliotropic

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