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Al Steiner's Aftermath

Uwe1860

I am a huge fan of Steiner's, which is not exactly unique as he's an obviously incredible writer. I'm not a fan of dystopian, post-apocalyptic stuff, as it's generally too much of a downer for me to derive enjoyment. For that reason, it took me a while to take up his Greenies stories, but I was very glad that I took that leap.

I just started Aftermath, and it's incredibly depressing to start, as one might expect given the subject matter.

My question to the congregation: does it get better and lighten up a bit? Is there light at the end (or even better, somewhere in the middle) of the tunnel? If it just stays dark, like The Walking Dead for example, I don't want to devote the time to finding out. What made Greenies so satisfying is how it showed a future with genuine hope, like the Star Trek universe.

I have no doubt that, even if it does stay dark, it is a quality work deserving of greater attention like the rest of Steiner's output (which I am extraordinarily grateful to have discovered FOR FREE online), but it just isn't my thing.

Thanks.

Replies:   Bondi Beach  Jim S
Bondi Beach

@Uwe1860

If it just stays dark, like The Walking Dead for example, I don't want to devote the time to finding out.


It's not a spoiler to say Aftermath is not like Walking Dead. Stay with it. It's also not a spoiler to say he's got a couple of wildly overwritten characters in Aftermath, but the story can handle them.

bb

mclark413

Definitely worth continuing, one of my all-time favorites. In fact it might even be at the very top of that list.

Jim S

@Uwe1860

I can't add much more than I put in my review of the story which is available here by clicking on the "review" link in the story syllabus. I'll just reiterate that I think it is incredible and I'll add my vote to the others here in advising you to stay with it.

shinerdrinker

JEALOUSY - thy name is shinerdrinker.

Why do I say that, Uwe1860? You are reading Al Steiner's Aftermath for the first time. Wow. To be able to do that again. JEALOUSY!

Don't give up on it yet. You will not regret it.
Hell, I think I may read it again this weekend instead of write. Well. Nope. I better write at least some. I'll read some of it over the weekend and next week.

Again. Stay reading it. You'll enjoy.

Replies:   Jim S
Jim S

@shinerdrinker

Why do I say that, Uwe1860? You are reading Al Steiner's Aftermath for the first time. Wow. To be able to do that again. JEALOUSY!


Couldn't agree more. I've read it at least five times and get something new out of it each time. Might be due for a repeat soon. Thanks for your post as it tempts me to start....

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Jim S

Couldn't agree more. I've read it at least five times and get something new out of it each time. Might be due for a repeat soon. Thanks for your post as it tempts me to start....


Some stories I keep finding things which make me think or wonder every time I read them. That is what keeps them fresh and Al's stories are in that category. Always something I missed the previous times that make me think.

jimh67

The original poster mentioned Greenies. I'm sure I missed some good stories, but I found the the swearing so rediculous that I stopped reading. I buy books and bookmark stories way faster than I read them so anything that annoys me gets dropped quickly.

Replies:   Grant  sejintenej
Grant

@jimh67

but I found the the swearing so rediculous that I stopped reading.

That's a shame, because the stories are well worth reading.

Replies:   Finbar_Saunders
Uwe1860

To those of you who urged me to stay with the story, thank you. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it, and I am so glad for it. It truly is an incredible story, one that has overcome my usual aversion to the post-apocalyptic genre just as Steiner's Greenies stories gave me a greater appreciation and enjoyment of science fiction than I ever thought I would have.

Thank you again, sincerely.

Uwe1860

Just finished. I can't believe that a writer that talented isn't doing it professionally. Aftermath would make a dynamite screenplay.

Al, if you're out there, I hope you can take up a pen again some time soon. I also hope that your writing gives you as much pleasure as reading it gives me.

Jim S
Updated:


Just finished. I can't believe that a writer that talented isn't doing it professionally. Aftermath would make a dynamite screenplay.


I couldn't agree more as I had the same thought after finishing it the first time. Outside of a dynamite action story, it has nothing technically hard standing in it's way. Set in Northern California -- easily accesible. Minimal equipment needed for the action scenes. Teenage sex for the appeal (although this is likely to run into legal issues nowadays). Plenty of blood and gore. All the makings of an epic. :)

One more point for this topic. Steiner's Greenies was mentioned earlier. I note that it is rated higher than Aftermath, something I could never understand. What is it about Greenies that appeals? First story of the genre? What?

Admittedly, it's a good story. But it has serious flaws. Wish I knew the why of the appeal but, frankly, there is no comparison between the two. While Aftermath isn't perfect, it's head-and-shoulders above Greenies. furshur.

Replies:   Finbar_Saunders
Finbar_Saunders

@Grant

yeah, that was the one part of greenies that I didn't think worked.
The story is obviously a allegory and has some heavily stereotyped characters but the swearing just seemed to be pointless. The worst culprit for that is "A Perfect World" where it simply rang so false. A society which had become so stable and sophisticated simply would not need to use those speech patterns imho.
Other than that, however, I found Greenies to be brilliantly constructed (a signature of Al Steiner's stories) I have read it several times for the feel-good factor.
Aftermath is a gem too. Although some of the characters there were also a bit 2D, they did behave in a realistic manner.

Finbar_Saunders

@Jim S

just random luck I think.
Greenies was a longer serial perhaps? That often affects the rating.
To a certain extent I think the novelty of it being a debate on the evils of globalization and a different, attractive, economic model, made it very popular.

sejintenej
Updated:

@jimh67


The original poster mentioned Greenies. I'm sure I missed some good stories, but I found the the swearing so rediculous that I stopped reading


Greenies is a universe related to the colonisation of Mars; I don't recall much if any swearing in any of the Greenies stories (though there could logically have been some during the war of the worlds). I would recommend the universe and don't expect to see swearing.

Rambulator

You have to understand where the work force in the Greenies/A Perfect World stories came from. In my young life of 69 Years I have been around a lot of Ghetto's and its people and understand a lot of Ghetto talk. If a person can get past the Ghetto talk the stries are very good. Aftermath is in a class by it;s self in post op storis though.

Replies:   Finbar_Saunders
Finbar_Saunders

@Rambulator

It's not a problem with the swearing per se. The jarring, especially in "A Perfect World" is caused by not believing that the brilliant, sophisticated highly educated people would have such a need to swear. They don't have the earthlings to outrage and they obviously don't have any hangups so what is the logical reason for the extra words. If they have been developed for all those years it would be more likely that their speech patterns would have shortened and modified the language.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Finbar_Saunders

If they have been developed for all those years it would be more likely that their speech patterns would have shortened and modified the language.

Which would be a whole lot more difficult to develop another language that we readers could understand & make sense of.
And it's not possible to have people speaking in a certain accent with the written word- without making it impossible for the reader to plow through it.

Hence the use of the swearing.
Think of it as a plot device in lieu of an audible accent. If it were done as an audio book, the swearing could be almost removed completely & the Mars citizens could talk with a accent.
That's the way I read it.

Ernest Bywater

@Grant

And it's not possible to have people speaking in a certain accent with the written word- without making it impossible for the reader to plow through it.


depends on the accent you want, many can be reached via careful spelling of the words so that a person saying them as they spell will speak with the desired accent. But not all accents can be handled this way.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Ernest Bywater

depends on the accent you want, many can be reached via careful spelling of the words so that a person saying them as they spell will speak with the desired accent.

And often results in making it difficult to read what's being said.
Goes back to one of the previous discussions on accents; lay it on as heavily as necessary for the character for the first few sentences, but gradually taper it off back to normal words so that people are able to finish reading the story.
If it's a struggle to read, i'm one of those that won't persevere.
Reading should be enjoyable, not an effort.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  REP
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

Reading should be enjoyable, not an effort.


Tha noos tha's rit, aboot tat.

One option I have used in a story is to simply state, at the start of the large foreign language segment, the language has been translated into English and then left it at that.

REP

@Grant

If it's a struggle to read, i'm one of those that won't persevere.

Reading should be enjoyable, not an effort.


I agree. I recall one story, a year or so ago, where the author wanted his readers to learn key words of the characters language. ? ? ? ? I exited it ASAP

sejintenej

@Grant

Finbar_Saunders
If they have been developed for all those years it would be more likely that their speech patterns would have shortened and modified the language.

Which would be a whole lot more difficult to develop another language that we readers could understand & make sense of.

And it's not possible to have people speaking in a certain accent with the written word- without making it impossible for the reader to plow through it.


This has to be a variant of a previous discussion in this forum which centered on the use of current earthbound foreign languages. Various solutions were offered; translating the foreign language into English as spoken, translating below perhaps in italics and a few more. As for the tone, descriptive words can be used like 'he whispered lovingly' to 'he swore angrily' if you want to avoid swearing

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