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After the Apocalypse: Stories
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Published:
Small Beer Press 2011
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Description

Publishers Weekly Top 10 Best of the Year

In her new collection, Story Prize finalist Maureen F. McHugh delves into the dark heart of contemporary life and life five minutes from now and how easy it is to mix up one with the other. Her stories are post-bird flu, in the middle of medical trials, wondering if our computers are smarter than us, wondering when our jobs are going to be outsourced overseas, wondering if we are who we say we are, and not sure what we'd do to survive the coming zombie plague.

Praise for Maureen F. McHugh:

"Gorgeously crafted stories."—Nancy Pearl, NPR

"Hauntingly beautiful."—Booklist

"Unpredictable and poetic work."—The Plain Dealer

Maureen F. McHugh has lived in New York; Shijiazhuang, China; Ohio; Austin, Texas; and now lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of a Story Prize finalist collection, Mothers & Other Monsters, and four novels, including Tiptree Award-winner China Mountain Zhang and New York Times editor's choice Nekropolis. McHugh has also worked on alternate reality games for Halo 2, The Watchmen, and Nine Inch Nails, among others.

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Street Date:
11/08/2011
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781931520355
ASIN:
B005T17MEM
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APA Citation (style guide)

Maureen F. McHugh. (2011). After the Apocalypse: Stories. Small Beer Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Maureen F. McHugh. 2011. After the Apocalypse: Stories. Small Beer Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Maureen F. McHugh, After the Apocalypse: Stories. Small Beer Press, 2011.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Maureen F. McHugh. After the Apocalypse: Stories. Small Beer Press, 2011.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Maureen F. McHugh: Maureen F. McHugh has lived in NYC, Shijiazhuang, China, Ohio, Austin, Texas, and now lives in Los Angeles. She is the author of a collection, Mothers & Other Monsters (Story Prize finalist), and four novels, including China Mountain Zhang (Tiptree Award winner) and Nekropolis (a New York Times Editor’s Choice). McHugh has also worked on alternate reality games for Halo 2, The Watchmen, and Nine Inch Nails, among others.

      • name: Maureen F. McHugh
publishDate
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title
After the Apocalypse
fullDescription

Publishers Weekly Top 10 Best of the Year

In her new collection, Story Prize finalist Maureen F. McHugh delves into the dark heart of contemporary life and life five minutes from now and how easy it is to mix up one with the other. Her stories are post-bird flu, in the middle of medical trials, wondering if our computers are smarter than us, wondering when our jobs are going to be outsourced overseas, wondering if we are who we say we are, and not sure what we'd do to survive the coming zombie plague.

Praise for Maureen F. McHugh:

"Gorgeously crafted stories."—Nancy Pearl, NPR

"Hauntingly beautiful."—Booklist

"Unpredictable and poetic work."—The Plain Dealer

Maureen F. McHugh has lived in New York; Shijiazhuang, China; Ohio; Austin, Texas; and now lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of a Story Prize finalist collection, Mothers & Other Monsters, and four novels, including Tiptree Award-winner China Mountain Zhang and New York Times editor's choice Nekropolis. McHugh has also worked on alternate reality games for Halo 2, The Watchmen, and Nine Inch Nails, among others.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly Top 10 Best of the Year
      • content: "Incisive, contemporary, and always surprising, McHugh's second collection confronts near-future life with an ironic and particular eye. Her characters live with zombies, struggle to make ends meet on the Arizona–Mexico border, and cope with China's descent into capitalism in stories that stretch the boundaries of imagination."
      • premium: False
      • source: Wall Street Journal
      • content: "Superb.... Against backdrops of sheer terror, Ms. McHugh's characters insist on investing themselves in flirtations, friendships and jobs. They keep their innocent curiosity for the world even as it falls to pieces."
      • premium: False
      • source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
      • content: “McHugh brings a subtle grittiness to the end of days. There is no post-apocalyptic glamour in these post-apocalyptic tales."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Magazine
      • content: “The best stories in this mesmerizing collection from the L.A. writer are the ones that elude categorization--the struggles of a troubled doll maker in “Useless Things," the fantasies of an impulsive man in “Going to France." It's the ordinary and everyday that we should be afraid of, not the prospect of big explosions and world-ending catastrophes. This is a pro stretching a genre to its limits--subverting, inverting, perverting, disturbing."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly (*starred review*)
      • content: “Hugo-winner McHugh (Mothers & Other Monsters) puts a human face on global disaster in nine fierce, wry, stark, beautiful stories. . . . As McHugh's entirely ordinary characters begin to understand how their lives have been transformed by events far beyond their control, some shrink in horror while others are “matter of fact as a heart attack," but there is no suicidal drama, and the overall effect is optimistic: we may wreck our planet, our economies, and our bodies, but every apocalypse will have an “after" in which people find their own peculiar ways of getting by."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist (*starred review*)
      • content: “Like George Saunders (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, 1996), McHugh displays an uncanny ability to hook into our prevailing end-of-the-world paranoia and feed it back to us in refreshingly original and frequently funny stories. In these nine apocalyptic tales, people facing catastrophes, from a zombie plague to a fatal illness contracted from eating chicken nuggets, do their best to cope. In “Useless Things," perhaps the most affecting story in the collection, a resourceful sculptor, worried about drought and money in a time of high unemployment and increasing lawlessness, turns her exquisite crafstmanship to fashioning sex toys and selling them on the Internet with the hope of making enough money to pay her property taxes. In “Honeymoon," a participant in a medical trial that goes horribly wrong watches in horror as six men are hospitalzed in critical condition; she uses her payment to take a vacation because, when all was said and done, she “wanted to dance. It didn't seem like a bad choice." That survival instinct is what makes McHugh's collection a surprisingly sunny read in spite of the global disasters that threaten at every turn. An imaginative homage to the human ability to endure."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from August 1, 2011
        Hugo-winner McHugh (Mothers and Other Monsters) puts a human face on global disaster in nine fierce, wry, stark, beautiful stories. An impoverished artist in drought-stricken Arizona is reduced to sculpting sex toys in "Useless Things." In a near-future China ravaged by bird flu and capitalism, two young women escape wage slavery with the help of a naïve activist in "Special Economics." A teenage girl trapped in American suburbia grimly watches one of her mothers succumb to a brain-destroying disease carried by processed chicken nuggets in "The Effect of Centrifugal Forces." As McHugh's entirely ordinary characters begin to understand how their lives have been transformed by events far beyond their control, some shrink in horror while others are "matter of fact as a heart attack," but there is no suicidal drama, and the overall effect is optimistic: we may wreck our planet, our economies, and our bodies, but every apocalypse will have an "after" in which people find their own peculiar ways of getting by.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 15, 2011

        All our worst dystopian fears are realized in this grim collection.

        McHugh's stories (many previously published in SF and fantasy magazines) depict the many faces of social collapse. Worst-case scenarios abound: bird flu epidemics, dirty bombs, plagues spread by chicken nuggets, Mexican drug cartels and computer systems morphing into something sentient and malign. "The Naturalist" is set in the zombie preserve formerly known as Cleveland, where, during another Supreme Court retrenchment of constitutional protections for prison inmates, convicts are dumped to fend for themselves. The story's protagonist, Cahill, finds he actually enjoys feeding his fellow prisoners to the zombies, like a bemused birder setting out suet. "Special Economics" takes the plight of Chinese factory workers to extreme lengths—they have to moonlight illegally to pay off their ever-mounting debt to their employer. The rather wan "Going to France" loses momentum after a few Francophiles take wing without benefit of aircraft. "The Kingdom of the Blind" is merely tedious, mimicking David Foster Wallace with none of his complexity or humor, and "After the Apocalypse" and "The Naturalist" cover George Saunders territory without his excoriating wit. The stories are more poignant when their premises are less speculative. In "Useless Things," a sculptor living hand to mouth in Albuquerque discovers that the hobo code is now online and that fashioning dildos is a more profitable e-business than creating life-like infant dolls—her life off the grid is dictated by the present-day economy rather than by disaster or pestilence. In "Honeymoon," a woman who narrowly misses settling for marriage to a loser confronts the vagaries of chance when she volunteers for a deadly drug trial. Although an imaginary (for now) food-borne disease is the catalyst for "The Effect of Centrifugal Forces," the real catharsis inheres in the conflicting intentions of Irene, the daughter of an estranged lesbian couple, and her mother's new partner Alice, a hoarder.

        An uneven collection whose flashes of profundity are too often doused by dispassion.

        (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from October 1, 2011
        Like George Saunders (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, 1996), McHugh displays an uncanny ability to hook into our prevailing end-of-the-world paranoia and feed it back to us in refreshingly original and frequently funny stories. In these nine apocalyptic tales, people facing catastrophes, from a zombie plague to a fatal illness contracted from eating chicken nuggets, do their best to cope. In Useless Things, perhaps the most affecting story in the collection, a resourceful sculptor, worried about drought and money in a time of high unemployment and increasing lawlessness, turns her exquisite crafstmanship to fashioning sex toys and selling them on the Internet with the hope of making enough money to pay her property taxes. In Honeymoon, a participant in a medical trial that goes horribly wrong watches in horror as six men are hospitalzed in critical condition; she uses her payment to take a vacation because, when all was said and done, she wanted to dance. It didn't seem like a bad choice. That survival instinct is what makes McHugh's collection a surprisingly sunny read in spite of the global disasters that threaten at every turn. An imaginative homage to the human ability to endure.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 15, 2011

        All our worst dystopian fears are realized in this grim collection.

        McHugh's stories (many previously published in SF and fantasy magazines) depict the many faces of social collapse. Worst-case scenarios abound: bird flu epidemics, dirty bombs, plagues spread by chicken nuggets, Mexican drug cartels and computer systems morphing into something sentient and malign. "The Naturalist" is set in the zombie preserve formerly known as Cleveland, where, during another Supreme Court retrenchment of constitutional protections for prison inmates, convicts are dumped to fend for themselves. The story's protagonist, Cahill, finds he actually enjoys feeding his fellow prisoners to the zombies, like a bemused birder setting out suet. "Special Economics" takes the plight of Chinese factory workers to extreme lengths--they have to moonlight illegally to pay off their ever-mounting debt to their employer. The rather wan "Going to France" loses momentum after a few Francophiles take wing without benefit of aircraft. "The Kingdom of the Blind" is merely tedious, mimicking David Foster Wallace with none of his complexity or humor, and "After the Apocalypse" and "The Naturalist" cover George Saunders territory without his excoriating wit. The stories are more poignant when their premises are less speculative. In "Useless Things," a sculptor living hand to mouth in Albuquerque discovers that the hobo code is now online and that fashioning dildos is a more profitable e-business than creating life-like infant dolls--her life off the grid is dictated by the present-day economy rather than by disaster or pestilence. In "Honeymoon," a woman who narrowly misses settling for marriage to a loser confronts the vagaries of chance when she volunteers for a deadly drug trial. Although an imaginary (for now) food-borne disease is the catalyst for "The Effect of Centrifugal Forces," the real catharsis inheres in the conflicting intentions of Irene, the daughter of an estranged lesbian couple, and her mother's new partner Alice, a hoarder.

        An uneven collection whose flashes of profundity are too often doused by dispassion.

        (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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Publishers Weekly Top 10 Best of the Year

In her new collection, Story Prize finalist Maureen F. McHugh delves into the dark heart of contemporary life and life five minutes from now and how easy it is to mix up one with the other. Her stories are post-bird flu, in the middle of medical trials, wondering if our computers are smarter than us, wondering when our jobs are going to be outsourced overseas, wondering if we are who we say we are, and not sure what we'd do to survive the coming zombie plague.

Praise for Maureen F. McHugh:

"Gorgeously crafted stories."—Nancy Pearl, NPR

"Hauntingly beautiful."—Booklist

"Unpredictable and poetic work."—The Plain Dealer

Maureen F. McHugh has lived in New York; Shijiazhuang, China; Ohio; Austin, Texas; and now lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of a Story Prize finalist collection, Mothers & Other Monsters, and four novels, including...

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tableOfContents

The Naturalist
Special Economics
Useless Things
The Lost Boy: A Reporter at Large
The Kingdom of the Blind
Going to France
Honeymoon
The Effect of Centrifugal Forces
After the Apocalypse

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      • description: Fiction / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
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      • description: Fiction / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic