Book Review: Post-Human (Post-Human #2) by David Simpson

Post-HumanPost-Human by David Simpson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:   The future should have been perfect. Microscopic robots known as nans could repair any damage to your body, keep you young by resetting your cellular clocks, and allow you to download upgrades like intelligence, muscle strength, and eyesight. You were supposed to be able to have anything you wanted with a simple thought, to be able to fly without the aid of a machine, to be able to live forever. But when a small group of five terraformers working on Venus return to Earth, they discover that every other human in the solar system has been gruesomely murdered. Now, James Keats and his four companions must discover what happened to the rest of humanity and fight back if they wish to avoid the same, horrifying fate. Welcome to the post-human era.

A quick read because you can't stop turning the pages (or tapping the Kindle). I liked the scifi aspect but didn't much like the characters. Perhaps there wasn't enough time to get to know them & care deeply about them. I spent a lot of time wishing for Thel's demise & James irritated me as well. These two have a romance that renders them juveniles. All rational thought & the experience of their years falls to the wayside & it's not fun to watch. Possibly this is because we're just repeatedly told they're in love but never find out why, so all the desperation, even after an apocalypse, feels hollow & tedious. Additionally, for the majority of the book, there didn't seem to be any other reason for Thel to be, other than to tell James that she couldn't lose him & wouldn't live without him. Don't tarry, Thel. Go! Do! I did buy & enjoy the connection between Old-timer & Alejandra. I was torn on how that ended.

Also, it felt a bit false when everyone in the group, who all have IQs of 149 or so, completely defer all decision making after the catastrophe to James & asked the most banal questions of him. Seriously, none of them but James knew about the existence of maps & atlases? The library? The magnetic field of Mercury? I felt like they should have had more to contribute to the decisions but they really had nothing to offer. I don't care if James is the guy with the additional 50 IQ points, they know they're not imbeciles & are some of the best in their fields. I expected more of them. And James didn't have a perfect record of decision making, so he could have used the input. I suppose I wanted to feel that these people were smarter than me & I would spend a lot of time saying "Ah, yes. I see." when they divulged some prolific idea. Instead I rolled my eyes a lot & thought "Come on guys, break out those brain cells & dazzle me with your brilliance." They seemed to be able to get along well enough when James was incapacitated so why nothing before?

I liked everything with the Purists (though I couldn't understand why the group found the fact that they were meat eaters a problem when it's shown that the first meal James eats in the book is a bagel with a poached egg. Animal products as food, replicated or not, shouldn't be squickifying.). There were some genuine chuckle moments with the barbs both groups tossed at one another. I found Thel, Rich & Djanet really grated on my nerves when they were with the Purists. They were so put off by the Purists & thought themselves so superior I was yelling "But they didn't get their asses handed to them, save five, by the AI, did they?"

The author did excel at giving a sense of place & described the AI to chilling clarity. I very much enjoyed that. The description of the aftermath of the catastrophe was quite vivid & while I don't want to sound like a gory girl, I liked it. I very much enjoyed all the interaction with the AI. Well done. Poor Katherine, but so well done! Altogether, I gave this four stars because even though I had some problems with the main characters, I was compelled to keep reading because I wanted to know how it would resolve. I thought the resolution was a bit too safe & happy but there are worse things in the world. I would have liked deeper reflection from the core group we follow on the flaws inherent in their world, especially after having experienced the Purists.

I would definitely read the next installment because I think the story is one worth following (& there were elements that reminded me of Dune: The Butlerian Jihad & the short lived Caprica series. Joy.).

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