This sci-fi short story is set in a future world where books and paper have been obsolete for decades, teachers have been replaced by IFs (instructional facilitators) that remotely monitor students, smartphones are also obsolete (replaced by APDs — All Purpose Devices), interplanetary travel is common, Mars is colonized, space vacations are commonplace, and a new form of energy fuels everything.
But it’s also a future where nothing works without the internet. Everyone and everything is plugged into and dependent upon the internet 24/7. Until suddenly they’re not.
Simeon wakes up to find a strange message and an entirely different world. There’s no internet, nothing works, and the message says wait for instructions. His girlfriend Karina and roommate Mess confirm this isn’t a nightmare — it’s real, and their carefully constructed lives begin to crumble.
What’s really interesting about this story is the author’s careful and smart observations about society and the potential pitfalls to being “plugged in” 24/7. He pits his young star-crossed lovers/protagonists against a seemingly impossible situation that is vividly imagined and all too plausible.
I highly recommend this short story for science fiction and short story readers: 5/5 stars. Use this affiliate link to read more about author Bart Hopkins and World Wide Gone on Amazon.
I’m annoyed that the product description is misleading. It says: “The president of the United States stands on an outdoor stage, flanked by powerful members of his administration and party. Television crews are preparing for broadcast. High above the stage, on a nearby rooftop, a decorated sniper adjusts the scope on his rifle. Afterwards, America will never be the same.”
However, that scene isn’t in the book and nothing of the sort even happens. In truth, it’s not even a Jake Grafton novel — he’s a minor figure in the first 80% of the book, and when he does emerge near the end it’s for some really silly fight sequence / dialogue.
The book is really a “what-if” that has Texas declaring its independence after an Obama-esque president oversteps his authority. If you lean left politically then you’ll hate this book — but if you like conspiracy theories interspersed with action then give it a read.
I did think the concept was entertaining and enjoyed reading much of the parts set in Texas — however, I read this book because it was marketed as Grafton / Carmellini … but it’s such a departure from other titles in the series that I’m left to wonder how Coonts could return to these great characters again in the future. It would have been much better had this been a standalone book with completely new characters.
I know there is an audience for the author’s message, but as a novel it’s just 3/5 stars for me. Use this affiliate link to read more about Liberty’s Last Stand on Amazon.
Stephen King got everything right with this book: the pace, dialogue, plot, and a brilliant blend of supernatural creepiness and rational detective work. It adds up to his best book in a long time, and easily the best of this trilogy.
Hodges, Holly and Jerome are back to face Mr. Mercedes — Brady Hartsfield — one last time. Weird things have been happening in the traumatic brain injury unit where Hartsfield lives his days trapped inside his body. But surely he is an impotent monster, right?
King is at his absolute horror-minded best — and the result is a Mr. Mercedes who is supernatural, otherworldly, and more deadly than ever. The plot is chilling, the action is frenetic, and the protagonists are truly heroic characters.
I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery / thriller / horror novels: 5/5 stars
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