Review of The End is Nigh

June 2, 2014
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The End is NighThe End is Nigh (Apocalypse Triptych #1)
Edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey (full author and performer list below)
Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing
Publication Date: 8 April 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 15 hours, 8 minutes

Themes: / apocalypse / destruction / short stories /

Publisher summary:

Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.

But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild.

Table of contents and audiobook narrator listings copied directly from John Joseph Adams’ website. If you want more detailed summaries of each story, I found the review at Tangent very good, particularly because it is so hard to keep track of short stories when you are listening instead of reading!

The audio was an incredible asset to this anthology, although I will probably also need to buy this for my shelf o’ anthologies. The best in audio are Removal Order, BRING HER TO ME, and The Fifth Day of Deer Camp.

My favorite stories were BRING HER TO ME and Goodnight Moon.

I’m most interested in the next installment (so please let there be a next installment) of Removal Order, Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through, and Spores.

What do I mean by next installment? The End is Nigh is the first volume of a triptych. It will be followed by The End is Now and The End Has Come, with some authors contributing linked stories. Very exciting concept, and as the Queen of Apocalypse there is no way I couldn’t read this.

Here are my more detailed impressions, story by story!

Introduction—John Joseph Adams, read by Lex Wilson

“Post-apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that have already burned. Apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that are burning.

The End is Nigh is about the match.”

The Balm and the Wound —Robin Wasserman, narrator Jack Kincaid
End times and a preacher rises up.

Heaven is a Place on Planet X —Desirina Boskovich, narrator Folly Blaine
Aliens forcing humans to be enforcers of their own people, in preparation for a worldwide move to Planet X. You can read this story on Wired.com.

Break! Break! Break! —Charlie Jane Anders, read by James Keller
Teenaged film makers

The Gods Will Not Be Chained —Ken Liu, read by Anaea Lay
Communicating with the past through emoji

Wedding Day —Jake Kerr, read by Folly Blaine
What does it take for gay marriage not to be an issue? How about an earth-destroying asteroid? Sounds campy but isn’t, very present-day pending doom.

Removal Order —Tananarive Due, read by Laurice White
A very sad story that left more questions than answers and I hope it continues in the next anthology of the triptych. The narrator was perfection for the tone of the story.

System Reset —Tobias S. Buckell, read by Jack Kincaid
A post-Snowden, pre-apocalypse hacker wish fulfillment story. :)

This Unkempt World is Falling to Pieces —Jamie Ford, read by Rajan Khanna
Comet story. Honestly I forgot it already!

BRING HER TO ME —Ben H. Winters, performed by a cast that includes Kate Baker, Mur Lafferty, Anaea Lay, Tina Connolly, Rajan Khanna, Lex Wilson, and Jack Kincaid as GOD VOICE
Creepy. I hope God never speaks to me. A must-listen in audio.

In the Air —Hugh Howey, read by Lex Wilson
In the same world as Wool, a father elects not to go to the silo even though he knows the world is ending. This story is the last day with his family. After reading all of the Silo series I appreciated this on-the-ground story.

Goodnight Moon —Annie Bellet, read by Tina Connolly
Astronauts facing certain death. No really, certain. I thought it was lovely.

Dancing with Death in the Land of Nod —Will McIntosh, read by Norm Sherman
A decently interesting virus premise, a drastically mundane setting.

Houses Without Air —Megan Arkenberg, read by Anaea Lay
In this pending apocalypse, the world is running out of oxygen, which will be certain doom. One person’s roommate responds with art.

The Fifth Day of Deer Camp —Scott Sigler, read by Scott Sigler
Oh my gosh, you must get the audio for this one. The author does a great northern Minnesota accent for this of what would make a great story from deer camp if these guys can survive.

Enjoy the Moment —Jack McDevitt, read by Sarah Tolbert
The first of two stories that include a the interruption of the earth’s orbit. This one is more connected with a physicist and an important discovery.

Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through —Nancy Kress, read by Mur Lafferty
A major volcano blew unknown substances across the world 5-6 years before this story takes place. The effects on the unborn children of the time are just now starting to be noticeable. I’m glad the author is continuing the story in future volumes because non-violence doesn’t seem like the end of the world to me! (Except maybe that’s what helps the aliens take over? Will there be aliens?)

Spores —Seanan McGuire, read by the incomparable Kate Baker
The end is near and it is a FUNGUS. Of course. Not quite as creepy as her Parasite novel but has more heart, and really more about living with OCD than it is about the end of the world.

She’s Got a Ticket to Ride —Jonathan Maberry, read by Ralph Walters
Another story about the earth’s orbit, this time with more cults!

Agent Unknown —David Wellington, read by Jack Kincaid
This story feels very much like straight zombies, but okay, we can call it a virus.

Enlightenment —Matthew Mather, read by Kate Baker
This one can only have an emotional response. I was driving when I listened to it and I almost threw up. Horrifying but would have been more believable if the characters had more to them. The relationship between the most important two never made sense.

Shooting the Apocalypse —Paolo Bacigalupi
A story about a reporter and a photographer covering the water crisis on the border between Arizona and Texas, which are now separate countries.

Love Perverts —Sarah Langan, read by Lex Wilson
Mad Max and an apocalypse lottery.

Some of these can be read for free on the Apocalypse Triptych Website.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

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