A few weeks ago we looked at some books about the future of humanity, assuming that the world isn’t going to end anytime soon. But what if it we got it wrong and the end is right around the corner? Fortunately, there are plenty of books about that too. Whether it’s robots, nuclear war, the Mayan calendar, zombies, or the Rapture, someone has written a book exploring the possibilities of civilization's downfall. Today we’re looking at one of these titles and pointing the way toward a few more.
The Last Policeman
By Ben H. Winters
When astronomers discover an asteroid headed for Earth, no one worries at first. Surely it's just a close call like all the other times. But as the rock hurtles closer, people come to accept the truth. The asteroid is destined for a collision with the planet. Scientists agree the affects will be devastating. Billions could die. We've got six months.
For Detective Hank Palace the news produces a different realization: "the end of the world changes everything, from a law-enforcement perspective." As he investigates the apparent suicide of an insurance salesman, he wonders if he's the last one who cares about finding the truth. Most of his fellow officers want him to drop the case. Solving crimes seems like a waste of energy when everyone is doomed.
The first in a planned trilogy, this book reads like a classic Noir, with the addition of an apocalyptic pall over the proceedings. The book describes not only the crime and the suspects, but the atmosphere of a planet in crisis. Some people have given up, some people are chasing their dreams, and a few are still doing their jobs. Detective Hank Palace is one of the latter, and he has no patience with those who are letting the world fall apart.
If you'd prefer a look at some of the different options for our planet's destruction, you might try Megacatastrophes: Nine Weird Ways the World Could End. Of course, there are several titles that can give you the scoop on the rumored Mayan Apocalypse. Or if you'd like to browse for something else that tickles your post-Apocalyptic fancy, scroll through our list of End of the World Fiction.
Click on the title or the cover of any book mentioned in this review to find it in our catalog.
Review by Danny Hanbery