Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Review: The End Specialist
The story unfolds in the form of blog entries (or an online journal) written over the span of sixty years by a lawyer called John Ferrall. It chronicles his life in meticulous detail as he receives the cure at age 29 and the struggles he has to face as a Postmortal. In later life John becomes an End Specialist, a sanctioned killer for the US government tasked with assisting those people who choose to bring an end to their lives. As the situation worsens the End Specialists are forced to become sanctioned executioners of criminals, pro-death terrorists and those deemed too “old”.
While the story follows the life of John Ferrall it is primarily about exploring the consequences the cure has on society. Marriages become rare and everyone wants to get a divorce. Nobody wants to be tied down to one person when “until death do us part” could mean thousands of years. The old generation never makes way for the new generation. Unemployment skyrockets, lifetime achievements become meaningless, resources become increasingly scarce and outrageously expensive as the worldwide population spirals out of control. Pro-death terrorists create havoc planting bombs and scaring or mutilating those who have received the cure. Mothers even go so far as creating Peter Pan babies, curing their babies so they can stay cute and cuddly forever. It is clear things can’t end well…
I really enjoyed how well-thought-out the far-reaching consequences of the cure was. Drew Magary has a talent for extrapolating a vast and believable world from a seemingly basic concept. There were lots of things I would never even have considered and some of them are quite disturbing.
The blog post format really works well and makes for a compelling read. The last chapter really stood out for me. It was very well-written and I really didn’t expect the dark, bittersweet ending.
I really enjoyed The End Specialist. It was funny, tragic and surreal at times, but thought-provoking throughout. The ending is spectacular and took me by surprise. This is definitely worth a read!
The Rating: 7/10 (Good)