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Emergence (1984)

Emergence (1984)
4.18 of 5 Votes: 1
0553245015 (ISBN13: 9780553245011)
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Emergence (1984)
Emergence (1984)

About book: I did not like this book. I was mostly annoyed throughout. What bugged me? First off, the shorthand, log-entry style of writing was hard to take. I plowed through thinking that surely the author would begin to write complete sentences at some point but I was sorely disappointed. The whole book is a journal of Candidia “Candy” Smith-Foster, an 11 year old super-genius representative of the next step in human evolution, the homo post hominem, man who follows man. Homo post hominems are the only surviving species of mankind after homo sapiens obliterate each other with nuclear/bioweapons attacks. Cool concept but carried out in a boring and functional sort of way. The book reads like a text book on survival techniques – a text book written in Pittman shorthand. Naturally, Candy as super genius has all the answers even at age 11 and seems to be expert at everything as are any other characters who appear. The children are not only precocious but annoyingly precocious. It grates on my nerves after a while. “Oh, Posterity, [note: addresses all but earliest journal entries to “posterity”] please be patient. Probably most difficult entry have ever faced. Emotional control fragile as crystal, unstable as if balanced on pinpoint. Forgive rambling if occurs. Will do best, but subconscious probably try to steer me away from subject.”Unfortunately, rambling occurs. A lot. “Blinked away tears to gaze out over crowd in awe. And as stared, felt unfamiliar stirring: undefinable, comforting. Source eluded identification; but awareness of assemblage somehow expanding, deepening… Shared warmth, togetherness almost tangible.”Sorry, no, not even close to tangible. “Source eluded identification”?? Really??I never felt any of Candy’s emotion in this book until the last 100 pages. She relates everything like a robot. There is nothing to make me feel her pain or emotions at the loss of her father or her teacher or the rest of humanity or her joy at locating any survivors. I just don’t care about her at all. Sorry, but it is a good thing homo sapiens are rare in this book because they would likely want to scratch her eyes out. I sure did. At the halfway point in the book I found myself just scanning pages because it just drags on and on. That is highly unusual behavior for me. Is the new species of mankind really going to be so clinical? This is fine for a history book which this journal is supposed to be but makes for a terrible novel.I've read other books written in first person journaling style like The Road by Cormac McCarthy and The Martian by Andy Weir, and I was completely engaged in those stories. Cormac McCarthy was blunt and stark but lyrical, and Andy Weir, while still explaining how to solve problems of survival on Mars did not present the information like a text book or robot and the character emoted and was genuinely funny and real. We were pulling for him throughout, not wishing he would shut up about it already.I’m not going to say that there are no redeeming qualities in Emergence, but the negatives far outweighed the positives for me. If the entire book had been more like the last 100 pages I might have rated it another star.

Excellent. Candy Foster-Smith is narrating to us in a very clipped manner. The use of some metaphors made me wonder at the incongruity until she tells us that she's saving time and space in this journal by cutting out unnecessary words and writing it in Pitman shorthand. Candy is an eleven year old girl being raised by Dr. Foster after her parents died when she was very young. Mrs. Foster died when she was she was five. At nine years old Soo Kim McDivott moved in next door. He started teaching karate and Candy became his star pupil, she thereafter referring to him as Teacher. Candy is a genius, but her father is trying to give her a normal life. When he goes to Washington Candy takes the opportunity to sneak into the bomb shelter and start reading all the materials that are there, which seem to be everything. While she is just deciding what to read first an alarm sounds. The war has started. She finds out that a biological weapon has been released and it won't be safe to come out for a couple of months. This is when she starts her journal for posterity. She finds it therapeutic. I haven't mentioned Terry yet. Candy refers to the macaw as twin, bird-brained brother and more. Candy after the waiting period plus safety margin decides it's time to leave the shelter. Making forays into town, decides to get a farm up and running. Then goes into Teacher's house and finds a note. She is Homo Post Hominem. There are probably 150,000 alive, divided into groups which he calls AA and AB. The AA's are h. post hominems that have been brought up with directed education, etc. AB have been brought up as normal children. Teacher gives Candy a list of AA addresses and she sets off to find them. I had a little trouble believing that the electrical grid and phone system would remain active for months with no supervision and on the other hand almost all bridges were down or impassible, but it's his world and those were kind of minor. The story was great, the characters likeable and pretty humorous. The climax was very exciting, between lack of sleep, the sun and the story I had tears streaming out of my eyes.
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Tracy Rhodes
I read this book when I was thirteen, about two years older than Candy, the plucky girl-genius protagonist. Palmer rocked the concept of an empowered wonder-girl years before Joss Whedon made them his trademark, and I was blown away by this book's intelligent, quirky, resourceful and funny main character, as well as with the uniqueness of the book's format - a ragingly hyperliterate, shorthand journal written in first person. Major, major suspension-of-disbelief is required to survive some of the plot twists as Candy - who discovers while riding out a nuclear/biological apocalypse in her scientist dad's bomb shelter that she's one of a new breed of humans called homo-post-hominem - navigates the depopulated roads of America in a souped-up conversion van with her devoted pet macaw at her side (yeah, you get the idea), looking for fellow superbreed survivors. Along the way there are enough deus-ex-machina moments to power a hundred Haunted Mansions. Still, it's a fun ride along the same lines as some of Heinlein's quirkier novels. Think Karate Kid-meets-Podkayne From Mars-meets-Road Warrior. Or something like that.
This book is really hard to find, and if you do, it's probably going to be expensive. But- you'll never read anything like it. It's one of my favorite novels of any genre, and I've read lots (and lots) of post-apocalyptic titles. If you are lucky enough to find this, read it. It's just plain fun as well as impossible to put down, so save it for a lonely weekend. Absolutely do not plan to read it out loud to anyone else, because it was written by a court reporter and reads like it was. It was serialized as a novella in "Analog" magazine and there was such a clamor that he lengthened it into a novel by adding an implausable ending, still very entertaining. I'm not sure that it improved the story, however, it did give us more time with the protagonists, who we love despite the story going way, way beyond plausible coincidence. If you get the chance to read this fun piece of "almost everybody else is dead" fiction and can actually find this one, it's well worth your time.
Someone highly recommended this book and I was able to get it from the LA Co Public Library, which is AWESOME for keeping an obscure OLD paperback book available. I am shocked it did not get discarded.There are other books with plot summaries so I'll just cut straight to my impressions. The first time I read it I thought "Sheesh! That ending is over the top. Gimme a break." But then I thumbed through it to reread a "good part" and WHOOSH, I was rereading the book. And I liked it better. And then I found a copy at a library booksale and accidentally ended up reading it again and liked it even more. So... I liked it quite a bit. It was fun and the characters were likable. The plot went by at a good clip with some very nice twists. And it contains a very low-key, very sweet romance.So if you can find it, go read it. Wish it was available in audio so I could hook my brother.
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