“After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall” by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications, 2012)

Before the Fall

In Nancy Kress’ short, new science fiction novel she combines two very interesting subjects for the genre – time travel and ecological disaster – weaving the story together from three different timelines.  After the fall takes place in 2035 when the world is in a very different place environmentally; before the fall is 2013 when the minor events that will become devastating are just beginning; and during the fall is in 2014 as the events are happening beneath the surface of the planet.

The future is told from the viewpoint of 15 year-old Pete, who is living in the Shell with the others of the Six.  Each of them will eventually get sick and die in this ravaged world.  They aren’t allowed outside and their anger for the Tesselies who created all this grows daily.  Their only hope is passing through a time portal into the past where they kidnap children to keep their population alive.

Meanwhile, in 2013 things are just starting to turn bad for the planet, though no one really knows or comprehends this yet, except for one brilliant mathematician, Julie Kahn, who has been working on her algorithms for the FBI, charting these recent strange child kidnappings and trying to predict when and where the next one will occur.  She is also pregnant herself and can imagine how terrible this would be for the parents.

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall seems like an experimental book that doesn’t quite reach the correct solution in what it was trying to do.  The separate timelines are interesting, but feel rushed and limited in the confines of the short book, making Kress’ original intention with the book not completely clear.  Nevertheless, the story is definitely an interesting one that makes the reader think and wonder.

Originally written on May 14, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

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4 thoughts on ““After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall” by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications, 2012)

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