In The Long Emergency, celebrated social commentator James Howard Kunstler explored how the terminal decline of oil production combined with climate change had the potential to put industrial civilization out of business. In World Made by Hand, an astonishing work of speculative fiction, Kunstler brings to life what America might be, a few decades hence, after these catastrophes converge.
The electricity has flickered out. The automobile age is over. In Union Grove, a little town in upstate New York, the future is nothing like people thought it would be. Life is hard and close to the bone. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president, and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure. The townspeople’s challenges play out in a dazzling, fully realized world of abandoned highways and empty houses, horses working the fields and rivers, no longer polluted, and replenished with fish.
This is the story of Robert Earle and his fellow townspeople and what happens to them one summer in a country that has changed profoundly. A powerful tale of love, loss, violence, and desperation, World Made by Hand is also lyrical and tender, a surprising story of a new America struggling to be born - a story more relevant now than ever.
“Richly imagined.” (O, The Oprah Magazine)
“Far from a typical postapocalyptic novel…An impassioned and invigorating tale whose ultimate message is one of hope, not despair.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Brilliant.” (Chicago Tribune)
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A wonderfully vivid vision of a post oil world.
End of the World meets Frontier Country
Although the Author has a definite political agenda (left of centre) I didn't feel it was being constantly rammed down my throat as is often the case with this genre. I enjoyed not being told everything at once. How did the world stop why is it the way it is now? This was drip fed on an almost need to know basis which kept me wanting more. I will definitely buy more in the series. As an atheist I tend to be wary when religion pops up in any book. However, in this book I found the use of religion interesting in the binding together of a community. A new religion moving in on an established faith and the possible outcomes. There are other underlying issues mentioned in the book that may be looked at later; the number of children being born; the issues of race and ethnicity; and a nascent serf system developing under a benevolent liege lord
There are no set pieces so it is difficult to say. However, I found the visit to Carpville to serve an arrest warrant reminiscent of scenes from westerns, or a visit to an off-world market from a science fiction film. Bizarre and creepy with enough tension to make you concerned for the main protagonists. .
I have not listened to Jim Meskimen before, so have nothing to compare it to. However, I did enjoy his performance and at no point did it grate, although being English I would have issues over some pronunciations.
Killing is messy and the law is notional idea in this world of the future. We have characters who want to uphold and use the law, but also realise that sometimes you have to just kill people. It's not cartoon violence. When people die you are surprised and in some cases sorrowful.
It is nice to read a book in this genre where sex is okay and sex outside of marriage is a given. No mention yet of same sex relationships, but I live in hope.