by Popeye Theophilus Barrnumb
The book is really a novelette, showing us a nightmarish, post-apocalyptic world from the eyes of an innocent child. There’s one very unnerving—creepy might be a better word—scene in which a stranger finds Katy in the night. And while it might be hard to believe a ten-year-old’s response at one point, overall she is written in a very believable manner. Katy is a survivor in time where survival is everything. The epilog gives a satisfying conclusion.
Speaking of time, “After” is what they call the world after the apocalypse. Not After-This or After-That. Just After. As opposed to Before. Really, better names would prevent some confusion.
But that’s a minor quibble. The worst thing in the book is a long and annoying forward in which the author apologizes for the story we are about to read—never an auspicious start. It’s annoying because the author interrupts himself with parenthetical comments in almost every line of the three-page intro. The reader goes into the actual story hoping—praying—this will not be the style of the writing.
Fortunately, it is not. While still jarring in places, the writing is not bad. Along with this story there’s a movie script adapted from the short story. It doesn’t add anything, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt anything either. Two poems on related themes are included.