Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: The Postmortal

The Postmortal by Drew Magary

Publication Date: August 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Science Fiction/ Dystopian/ Speculative Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 384pp
ISBN-13: 9780143119821
ISBN: 0143119826

(Received for an honest review from Penguin)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Drew Magary on the WEB: website, facebook, twitter

Book Trailer: Middle of the page.


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. 


Drew Magary's latest book, The Postmortal is a cross blend of science fiction, dystopian fiction and fantasy. Readers looking for something different, with a unique style and a fresh voice will find The Postmortal right up their alley. Readers are asked to consider a world where aging has become obsolete, though immortality is still out of reach. What would the consequences of such a "cure" be? How would people exploit the concept and how would it affect society? Magary has created a dark, gritty novel that poses the question... What if I didn't have to grow old?

John Farrell doesn't want to grow old and now he doesn't have to. A "cure" for old age has been developed and is being made available to the general public. But not aging has it's own set of problems. The worlds resources are only finite. Marriage becomes even more impossible to maintain. There is no reason to have children, the species does not need to be perpetuated. You may not age, but you can still die. The government provides euthanasia programs and religious groups and cults form based on the idea that you may never die. Society as a whole is changing rapidly and what John thought was would be a great decision starts to look like the worst thing that could happen.

The Postmortal is written in a very interesting style. The reader learns the story of the "cure" through blog posts and internet news items and John's first person accounts. Magary uses this format to allow the reader to see what the public in his novel was reading and seeing concerning this widespread use of the anti-aging cure. This is a technique that I haven't seen employed successfully very often, but it seems to really work for this author. Considering the authors journalistic background that stands to reason. Bloggers understand how to write for this kind of audience and I think it will appeal to internet savvy readers who get their news in this manner.

I really enjoyed the overall premise of this book. What made it seem so chilling was that I could see something like this happening in the future, with all of the medical breakthroughs in stem cell research and genetics. It was startlingly possible and that's what got my attention. Magary has come up with a concept that will resonate with a lot of readers. Who wants to get old? I can't think of too many people who wouldn't consider eternal youth a good thing, but the author is able to cast a lot of doubt on whether living forever or a really long time is in our best interest. 

I liked the fact that Magary gives the reader so many different scenarios about how this anti-aging cure could go horribly wrong. It essentially changes the entire dynamic of the world. I was fascinated by reading tidbits of the news like the fact that one woman gave her 8 month old baby the cure, causing the child to never grow up. In my mind the moral implications of that were astounding. The descriptions of the Church of Man were also, a bit disconcerting. I felt like I was reading dialogue from a cult leader at some points, the kind of stuff that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up and visions of Guyana dance in head. Definitely scary stuff! But very realistic. Magary literally gives the reader the heebie-geebies, LOL.

The last part of the book was somewhat predictable but I still thought the author was able to balance the book very well. I liked that he used a format not often employed in novels and I think that gives it a very current and edgy kind of feel to the book. Magary is able to use the "cure" to illustrate to readers that the grass is not always greener on the other side. There is a downside or cost when it comes to situations like those described in this novel. I recommend this one to readers who love dystopian and science fiction. This novel is different and I think it will appeal to a wide range of readers. At close to 400 pages it reads easily and quickly, and would be a good weekend read.

The Postmortal is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Drew Magary is a writer for Deadspin, NBC, Maxim and Kissing Suzy Kolber. He's aslo written for GQ, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, ESPN, Yahoo!, Comedy Central, Playboy, Penthouse, and various other media outlets. His first book, Men With Balls, was released in 2008. This is his first novel. He lives in Maryland with his wife and children.