After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress
Published by Tachyon Publications
Published 1 April 2012
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
The year is 2035. After ecological disasters nearly destroyed the Earth, 26 survivors—the last of humanity—are trapped by an alien race in a sterile enclosure known as the Shell. Fifteen-year-old Pete is one of the Six—children who were born deformed or sterile and raised in the Shell. As, one by one, the survivors grow sick and die, Pete and the Six struggle to put aside their anger at the alien Tesslies in order to find the means to rebuild the earth together. Their only hope lies within brief time-portals into the recent past, where they bring back children to replenish their disappearing gene pool. Meanwhile, in 2013, brilliant mathematician Julie Kahn works with the FBI to solve a series of inexplicable kidnappings. Suddenly her predictive algorithms begin to reveal more than just criminal activity. As she begins to realize her role in the impending catastrophe, simultaneously affecting the Earth and the Shell, Julie closes in on the truth. She and Pete are converging in time upon the future of humanity—a future which might never unfold. Weaving three consecutive time lines to unravel both the mystery of the Earth’s destruction and the key to its salvation, this taut adventure offers a topical message with a satisfying twist.
It wasn’t dark and it wasn’t light. It wasn’t anything except cold. I’m dead, Pete thought, but of course he wasn’t. Every time he thought that, all the way back to his first time when McAllister had warned him: ‘The transition may seem to last forever’.
WHAT I THOUGHT
I enjoyed After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall. I thought the story was quite original for post-apocalyptic fiction. I liked the structure of this novella, alternating between 2035 and the struggle to rebuild humanity and 2013 and the investigation into the kidnappings. The only thing that didn’t work is the lack of world building. I got very little sense of life in 2035, what society is like, what the aliens are like. I would have liked if this had been a bit more developed. There are random chapters that focus on how the earth is affected by events in 2035. I liked this as well. I did enjoy this novella even though some things didn’t quite work. I’d recommend it.