Something clever I'll change later

I like fantasy. The end.
After the Apocalypse - Maureen F. McHugh As seen on Stumptown Books.

I have a love/hate relationship with short stories.

I love how much originality it requires to write a really good short story. Character development, scene development, all of it has to take place so quickly, and just when you get comfortable, the story is over. Unfortunately, that is also why I hate short stories. To me, the sign of a good short story is that I would drop everything to read a novel that takes place inside the story. That is exactly what happens in After the Apocalypse - I wanted more than the stories gave me.

Each story was rife with promise. Any one of them could have been the pitch for novels, and I would have read all of them. It is frustrating that they are only in short story format, but that's all we're given, so we might as well enjoy what we can. Each story was incredibly vivid by the end, every character and setting clearly defined.

I went into it thinking that every story would be about an apocalypse of some sort, and that was the wrong way to look at it. It's just what the title made me think. Even so, the stories still have traces of strange futures, or some sort of apocalyptic feature. For example, in one story, the one feature is bird flu. In another, it's zombies. There may not be a nuclear bomb going off in every story, but the account of a woman surviving on her farm through an economic downturn is applicable not only to the near future, but also today.

Of the collection, my favorite stories were the first and last - which were both straight up apocalypse stories. The first, "The Naturalist," was an intriguing take on zombies. I am SO curious about the zombies in that little universe now. I really wish I could have a novel set there, it was so interesting! The last, "After the Apocalypse," is horrifying in a completely personal way. Very little of the horror is because of the apocalypse, but what happens AFTER.

And that is what this entire book is about. Not just what happens after the apocalypse, but what we do after we're done reading. For me, it's to not stop thinking about these extremely poignant stories.

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