Tag Archives: post-apocolyptic

Y the Last Man

ythelastman

Vaughn, B.K. (2002). Y the last man. New York: DC Comics. Print.

Note: Y the Last Man is part of a series. The entire series is included in the collection.

Reader’s Annotation

When Yorick Brown woke up this morning he was one of millions of men on the planet. By noon he’s the only one. Follow along with Yorick, Amperstand and Agent 355 and they seek out the one woman who may be able to solve this mystery while everyone works to protect (or procreate with) the one man left on the planet.

Plot Summary

What would happen if tomorrow morning you woke up and you were the only male left on the earth? Say that tomorrow a mysterious disease has wiped out all y-chromosone carriers on the planet, and you were the only one left, what would you do? You might find that like Yorick Brown, and his pet monkey Ampersand that you’d be disguising yourself as a woman, defending yourself from your own gun toting sister and on a mad quest to find your girlfriend and figure out what the hell happened to the other half of the world’s population. Good luck with that.

Evaluation

Y the Last Man is a great comic. The main character, Yorick, is a total dork who fumbles his way into all kinds of troublesome situations. The story is good too, you’re sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to find out if Yorick is going to find Beth; if 355 is going to have to save is ass again; and most importantly of what the hell wiped out all the y-chromosome carrying mammals on the planet.

Author Information

Brain K. Vaughn is critically acclaimed author of graphic novels. He did his undergraduate work at New York University and received his big break participating in Marvel’s Stanhattan Project, a workshop for comic book writers.

Vaugh’s first graphic novel, Pride of Baghdad, was released in 2006 and follows the story of four lions that escaped from the Baghdad Zoo after the so called “shock and awe” bombing during the war. He has also authored the graphic novels Runaways, and Ex Machina. Vaughn currrently lives in LA with his wife while working the film adaptations of some of his novels.

Genre

post apocalyptic, biological adventure, graphic novel

Curriculum Ties

n/a

Booktalk Ideas

In the first book when Yorick proposes to Beth over the phone, do you think she says yes? Why or why not?

Why does Hero join the Amazons?

Reading Level/Interest Age 

Challenge Issues

Reason for inclusion

References

Ship Breaker

Bacigalupi, P. (2010). Ship Breaker. New York:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Print.

Reader’s Annotation

Nailer leads a rough life, stripping rusted out oil tankers of their copper wiring, with the constant threat of injury, starvation, or death hanging over him like a dark cloud. What Nailer needs is a bit of luck. When he finds a luxury yacht, seemingly abandoned by her crew after a city-killing hurricane, it seems he’s found his big payoff. Little does he know that what’s will change his life forever.

Plot Summary

Nailer lives in dystopian future that is not too hard to imagine. Earth has been ravaged by her has to occupants, her natural resources all but used up, the ice caps melted and huge swathes of the country are underwater. Nailer lives on the Gulf Coast, scavenging copper wire from old oil tankers. For now he’s perfect for it; his small, light body can wriggle into tight spaces and that allows him to make quota- and thus survive- another day. Nailer has to wonder though, how much longer will his luck hold up? What he needs is some big luck.

After a city-killer hurricane wipes out practically his whole town Nailer isn’t sure if his luck will hold at all. He and his pal Prima decide to go rustle up some of good fortune of their own and scour the coast for salvageable wreckage. As the day wanes on Nailer and Prima stumble across the biggest score they could imagine, a luxury yacht off the coast, seemingly abandoned by capitan and crew. This is considered Big Luck by the superstitious duo and they board the ship ready to strip it of all it’s valuables and cash it all in for a major payoff. What they don’t expect to find is the injured girl in the lower cabins. Now Nailer needs to decide if he’s going to kill her and make a fortune from his find or if he should try and help her get back to her people.

Nailer’s choice puts everyone he cares about in serious danger as he and the rescued, Lucky Girl, sneak off to Orleans II and seek a ship back to safety. They’ve got to negotiate a world of enemies and thieves, to get where they’re going and Nailer’s only hope is that he, and his luck, will hold.

 Critical Evaluation

What makes Ship Breaker worth reading is Nailer’s humanity. He’s living in a brutal world, where friends die or become enemies at the drop of a pin; his own father is own of the books biggest villans. Despite all that though Nailer proves himself to be thoughtful and demonstratively appreciative of the value on human life. Namely he weighs his choices and decides that rather than getting rich enough so that he and Pima can stop scavenging ships, he’s going to save this privileged girl he knows little and less about. If any other character in the book, well maybe not Pima’s mom, had found Lucky Girl they would have made quick work of her and cashed in for the big payoff, but Nailer demonstrates a remarkable bit of humanity in the face of the daily horrors he faces as a shipbreaker and this act of selflessness really set him apart from the majority of the characters in the book, leaving the reader to wonder whether morality is something that we’re taught or that we’re born with.

Author Information

Paolo Bacigalupi is from Colorado Springs, Colorado and achieved a BA from Oberlin College in 1994. He’s an author and journalist, his first novel The Windup Girl was published in 2009 and most recently has published a sequel to Ship Breaker called The Drowned Cities, it is not included in this collection.

Bacigalupi writes mainly adult science fiction. He’s been nominated for Nebula and Victor Hugo Awards several time and his work has been anthologized in several “best of” series, Ship Breaker was nominated for a National Book Award in 2010. He’s written six novels, two of which are YA fiction.

Genre

Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Dystopia, Post-Apocolyptic

Curriculum Ties

Science, global warming, philosophical questions of right and wrong

Booktalk Ideas

What do you think of the world Bacigalupi has created? Is this a kind of future you can imagine?

Nailer has to make a tough decision when it comes to saving Nita, what would you do in his position?

Reading Level/Interest Age 

14+

Challenge Issues

This is a pretty dark novel, the world that Nailer lives in is not a nice place. Some parents may object to their children being exposed to this kind of post-apocalyptic world, but a collection development policy that clearly states the library’s support for the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and  every reader’s freedom to read should offer the library some protection from over protective parents. This book is intended for children over the age of 14, those young people should be old enough to discuss with their parents what they should and shouldn’t be reading.

Reason for inclusion

My collection is rather lacking in male leads. I included this book to help fill that gap.

References

Paolo Bacigalupi. (2012). In Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CH1000201369&v=2.1&u=csusj&it=r&p=LitRC&sw=w

Birthmarked (Birthmarked, #1)

O’Brien, C.M. (2010). Birthmarked. New York: Roaring Book Press. Print.

Reader’s Annotation

Gaia is a fully trained midwife, taught by her mother, who has just completed her first solo delivery. She returns home eager to tell her parents of the successful delivery only to discover that they’ve been arrested and are being held in the Enclave for questioning. Now Gaia has got to figure out how to rescue her parents without arising the suspicions of the Protectorate, and everyone’s life is on the line.

Plot Summary

In a distant dystopian future the classes are separated into two categories, those who live in the Enclave and those who live without. The people have lived this way since the collapse of civilization and for a long time it worked, that is until inbreeding weakened the blood lines of those living within the Enclave. Now the first three babies born in every district on the outside is advanced into the Enclave where the will be raised with all the privileges befitting those within: most importantly enough food to eat, water to drink and a warm, dry place to sleep every night.

Gaia’s family lives outside the enclave where her mother works as a midwife and her father works as a tailor. A facial disfigurement has kept Gaia safe with her parents her whole life and now she is fully trained as a midwife, able to perform deliveries without the guidance of her mother. After Gaia advances her first baby to the Enclave, she returns back to her home ready to report the events of the evening, only to be warned by her mother’s assistant that her parents have been arrested, the assistant gives Gaia a coded message from her mother and urges her to find her long lost grandmother, rumored to have made way for a mysterious wood no one is entirely sure actually exists.

Instead Gaia enlists the help of family friends and sneaks into the Enclave, hoping to break her parents out of jail. Now Gaia has got to figure out how to rescue her parents before it’s too late, and when it becomes clear that will be impossible she has to decide who is trust worthy and who is working against her before it’s too late.

Critical Evaluation

This book was solidly mediocre. Indeed it was so mediocre that I haven’t got a whole lot of opinion on it at all. It takes place 300 years in the future, and the world O’Brien has created is bleak and without a great deal of hope. The most interesting portions of the book, in my opinion, were the birth scenes, which were described vividly and with surprising accuracy for a book for intended for teen readers.

Author Information

Genre

YA Fiction, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic

Curriculum Ties

n/a

Booktalk Ideas

 

Reading Level/Interest Age 

14+

Challenge Issues

Reason for inclusion