Review : The End Specialist / The Postmortal by Drew Magary

John Farrell is about to get "The Cure." Old age can never kill him now. The only problem is, everything else still can . . . Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and-after much political and moral debate-made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems-including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors. Witty, eerie, and full of humanity, The Postmortal is an unforgettable thriller that envisions a pre-apocalyptic world so real that it is completely terrifying.

The End Specialist

Drew Magary's first novel is a very interesting read. The premise is the 'What if' question of immortality. What would happen if we discovered the cure of aging ? How would the world be affected ?

We discover the ramifications of the cure through POV of John Farrell, an ex-lawyer turned end specialist and it turns out they aren't too good. The best thing about the book is about how easily Magary makes us believe in the pre-apocalyptic world. His writing makes a world of immortals feel real. The initial hesitation of the government, the people's jubilation and the start of the apocalyptic society, all have a well-thought out feel to them.

John Farrell, our protagonist, is a damaged man trying to stick to his principles in a world where the normal rules of morality don't apply anymore. His transition from carefree, slightly arrogant man to a passive, aimless individual and the later reemergence of passion, his dilemma over euthanizing people, sadness over losing his friend and trying to find love - all have a dark charm to them.

The story is narrated via a series of text files found in the future of John's personal writings and media excerpts. The excerpts, in particular, are used very well. Every sort of change you might think the cure for aging will cause does have a passing reference in the book.On a purely intellectual level, you might love the book for how it explores, what seems like a bleak (but practical) view of an undead future, but on an emotional level, the book is depressing. Its the most grim work of fiction I have ever read but very compelling nevertheless.

If you are in the mood for some splendidly written speculative fiction and dark thrills, 'The End Specialist' should be at the top of your list.

Note : 'The End Specialist' and 'The Postmortal' are the UK and US editions of the same novel by Drew Magary and will be published by Penguin and Harper Voyager respectively. Thanks to Harper Voyager for providing me with a copy for review.