Mark Menikos

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Mark Menikos

Mark Menikos’s book reviews



\"render myself worthy of the friendship of Adrian\",
rather than \"Adrian\'s friendship\", or \"the spirits of Raymond were unbounded\", rather than \"Raymond\'s spirits were unbounded\". I have read many English novels from far earlier periods than this book—Jonathan Swift, for example— and have not seen this type of phrase used to this extent. There are other such quirks as well.
Nevertheless, I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys Mary Shelley, 19th to early 20th-century British science
fiction and fantasy, or is an end-of-the-world fan.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Man">
I had never heard of this book until it showed up here on Manybooks. Because I think Frankenstein is definitely one of the classics of English literature, and because I thoroughly enjoyed another of her novels—The Invisible Girl—I was eager to read another science fiction book by Mary Shelley.This book (first published in 1826) tells the story of a plague that gradually wipes out all humankind save for one man. Interestingly, it begins in the year 2073, although I cannot recall anything in the book that introduces any technology or dramatic changes that require making it happen in the far future.
The story is told in the first person by Lionel Verney, the orphaned son of an impoverished English nobleman (and may represent an autobiographical reference to Mary Shelley herself).
There is an excellent page on Wikepedia that describes the book in detail. Rather than merely parrot the facts, I thought that—this being a review, after all—that I would relate what I thought of it.
Since I read this book in e-book form, numbers of pages are somewhat irrelevant, but it felt long.
The book is truly epic in scope, spanning at least 25 years, and is the chronicle of the end of mankind. There are some wonderfully funny moments, but generally it is grim, not surprisingly.
I suppose that the biggest flaw I found in The Last Man is that of the writing style, which seemed ponderous, excessively wordy and formal, as well as overly dramatic.
An example: the (nearly as I can remember) invariable use of the grammatical structure \"the *quality or thing* of *someone*\", as in

\"render myself worthy of the friendship of Adrian\",
rather than \"Adrian\'s friendship\", or \"the spirits of Raymond were unbounded\", rather than \"Raymond\'s spirits were unbounded\". I have read many English novels from far earlier periods than this book—Jonathan Swift, for example— and have
not seen this type of phrase used to this extent. There are other such quirks as well.
Nevertheless, I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys Mary Shelley, 19th to early 20th-century British science
fiction and fantasy, or is an end-of-the-world fan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Man
10/13/2012
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You will probably not be able to admire these people. You almost certainly won't "like" them. (I didn't). But you will be moved by them.

I had never heard of Leslie Burton Blades, and would have missed the opportunity to become familiar with his work, which—as far as I can tell—appears to be limited to this novel, and a comedy play he co-authored with Milo Hastings.

This is an astonishingly powerful story. I was completely immersed in it. The premise appears at the top of this page. It should not spoil anything for anyone to say that a third character appears later on, and that the entire story revolves just around these three people. I was not surprised to discover that Blades worked on a play, because the emotional intensity and narrow focus make it easy to visualize the story on the stage, or indeed—as a movie.

Born of mining people in Colorado, Blades lost two fingers and the sight in both eyes at age 9 when on a dare from some playmates he set off a giant firecracker. This comes as no surprise when the complex and flawed personality of the blind "hero" of the story is gradually made clearer throughout.

You will probably not be able to admire these people. You almost certainly won't "like" them. (I didn't). But you will be moved by them.
11/02/2009
William David Ellis - When Dragons Blow Into a Sleepy Texas Town
FEATURED AUTHOR - William David Ellis is a storyteller. And an award winning author. Whether it’s weaving an old narrative into an entertaining and illuminating yarn or fashioning something brand new from wisps of legend, he can tell a story. Other than that, he is the son of an English teacher, the husband of an English teacher, and the father of an English teacher. In spite of them, he occasionally punctuates. He also is a beekeeper, a blackberry farmer, and the faithful guardian a sentient German shepherd. As… Read more