Soft Apocalypse

  • by Will McIntosh
  • Narrated by Erik Davies
  • 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America's previously stable society apart, the "New Normal" is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang.
"It's so hard to believe," Colin said as we crossed the steaming, empty parking lot toward the bowling alley. "What?" "That we're poor. That we're homeless." "I know." "I mean, we have college degrees," he said. "I know," I said.
There was an ancient miniature golf course choked in weeds alongside the bowling alley. The astroturf had completely rotted away in places. The windmill had one spoke. We looked it over for a minute (both of us had once been avid mini golfers), then continued toward the door. "By the way," I added. "We're not homeless, we're nomads. Keep your labels straight."
New social structures and tribal connections spring up across America, as the previous social structures begin to dissolve. Soft Apocalypse follows the journey across the Southeast of a tribe of formerly middle-class Americans as they struggle to find a place for themselves and their children in a new, dangerous world that still carries the ghostly echoes of their previous lives.


What the Critics Say

"In this moving debut from Hugo-winner McIntosh, the prosperous world of 2023 ends not with a bang but with a crackle, the sound of genetically engineered bamboo growing overnight and destroying roads and buildings.... McIntosh strongly delineates his characters and makes Jasper's struggles very affecting. Though it may be soft, this apocalypse has plenty of sharp edges." (Publishers Weekly)
"Bottom line: If Soft Apocalypse isn't nominated for a Hugo or Nebula Award, I will eat the entire book page by page." (Paul Goat Allen)
"[McIntosh] has written a first novel that's compelling, credible, and relentless, whose best and most disturbing moments will stay with the reader for a long time." (Locus)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not what I expected

While it is a story of a "Soft Apocalypse", it is more about the characters and less about what has/is happening. It seems focused on Jasper getting dates and how unfair the world is. (The haves vs the have nots) I would have enjoyed it more if there was more about how they got to where they are and more of the "color" of what is happening in the larger world. If you enjoy books like "One Second After" or "Lucifer's Hammer" this is not for you. If you enjoyed "Life as we knew it" you will probably like this.
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- Edain "Avid Listener since 2001 - Have a long commute so I enjoy listening to books on the way."

Misleading! JUST a story about a guy's dating life

The focus of this story is MUCH more about the main character's dating life than an apocalypse. In fact it really is just a sort of chronicle of the main character's dating life. I found the main character to be hard to like, and hard to care about. Kind of a wishy washy guy who sort of drifts along bemoaning his love life, while making silly decisions and bouncing from person to person kind of pointlessly... The apocalypse is really just a backdrop for this dating stuff which is the main thrust of the story. It is not, however, a romance, or a love story, or even an exploration of relationships - just a sort of log and commentary on the trials and tribulations of dating...

It is odd - as though the writer was much more interested in exploring the ups and downs of dating than the supposed demise of the world. There is much more commentary about the kind of girl he likes, the kind of girl he doesn't like, etc, than there is about what is happening in the world and why or how it impacts anything. The apocalypse element could have been left out altogether, since it completely had little to no impact on the main story, which is all about this guy's experiences in dating. The dating stuff got to be relentless at times - on and on and on about which woman he will date and going to a dating service, and ex's he's had and... Ugg....

There is little explanation for why the economy is failing, or what is happening in the world or why, and some weird elements seem to be introduced to try to make is seem like an apocalypse. There are unexplained groups forming in society that seem to have no purpose and no explanation but to somehow make this an apocalypse, and viruses popping up for no apparent reason as we are given no explanation of the state of the world, or who would do this, or why, and it does nothing to move the story (which is just DATING) along.

It really got tedious and was a chore to finish this and I wonder why the author doesn't just write a straightforward story about some guy's dating life and all the commentary he clearly wants to expound on about dating for guys (I am sure there is an audience for that), without the premise of the world ending, since the apocalypse is really an afterthought in many ways it seems in this story. Perhaps it would not have been disappointing had I thought is was a character driven story about some ordinary guy going through all the ins and outs and ups and downs of dating, but "soft apocalypse" carries some obvious promises, so I felt this was very misleading... I had to listen to hours of this guy droning on about his feelings about his dating life when I thought this was a slow end of the world story, which it only was a little and only incidentally, it seems.

I know I can return it, but it is pain to do that. So though I hate giving bad reviews, and though it wasn't the worst story I have ever heard, I really felt there was a bait and switch going on here and I feel a mislead...
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- Linda B

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-31-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios