5 Stars: “The Last Man on Earth Club” by Paul Hardy

Posted: 16th July 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Books
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cover (2)From Amazon.com:

Six people are gathered for a therapy group deep in the countryside. Six people who share a unique and terrible trauma: each one is the last survivor of an apocalypse.

Each of them was rescued from a parallel universe where humanity was wiped out. They’ve survived nuclear war, machine uprisings, mass suicide, the reanimated dead, and more. They’ve been given sanctuary on the homeworld of the Interversal Union and placed with Dr. Asha Singh, a therapist who works with survivors of doomed worlds.

To help them, she’ll have to figure out what they’ve been through, what they’ve suffered, and the secrets they’re hiding. She can’t cure them of being the last man or woman on Earth. But she can help them learn to live with the horrors they survived.

If someone had said to me, “See, there’s this book about this therapist and her PTSD patients. And you’re going to really enjoy it,” I would’ve laughed for days.

Silly, silly me.

The premise of The Last Man on Earth Club is one of parallel universes where the Earth has been damaged/destroyed by various means, and the Interversal Union – a coalition of many of these alternate universes – works to save those refugees that they can from these dying/dead worlds. And in some cases, that’s the very last one of that species of human.

That premise is interesting enough for a die-hard sci-fi geek like me to pick up the book. I read the sample, and thought, “I have to have this.” So I paid my $2.99 and took my chances. And I am so glad that I did.

Hardy’s characters are not what I expected at all: they’re unique, and well-written and so very, very deep and emotionally scarred by what they’ve been through. I felt sorrow and pity for each and every one of them, and found myself cheering them on to get better, to let their inner demons go, to succeed in their therapy. A book about a therapist curing PTSD? And it’s good? Really?

Oh, yes. Very much so.

And Hardy doesn’t just leave us with detailed patients and cardboard cutouts for the others, either. Even the therapist has her own issues, and struggles with them. And all this against the backdrop of a massive universe-sized story going on around them. A back-story that Hardy cleverly works to keep us thinking of as it connects so vitally to each of the characters.

This was a LONG book, too. I kept wondering when the denouement was going to arrive, because there was so much story that I wanted to see what happened next and couldn’t imagine that he could fit it all into one book. He did though, and masterfully.

My only regret is that the book is only available on Kindle and in paperback, because I’d happily pay for an autographed hardcover for my library. What a great book. Highly recommended.

Originally published on moderndayhitchhiker.com.


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