The Last Policeman: solving a murder before an asteroid wipes out life on Earth

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29 Responses to “The Last Policeman: solving a murder before an asteroid wipes out life on Earth”

  1. GordonM says:

    Robert Charles Wilson does pre-apocalyptic but doomed society quite well in Spin. And that’s just part of the story.

  2. sockdoll says:

    I have read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and I enjoyed it for what it was. Some who have read both say that it compares favorably to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, with more original content, but I’m pretty much zombied out and have not yet read P&P&Z. I felt that S&S&SM had the right touch of parody and and a nice dose of Verne and/or Wells.

    I look forward to reading The Last Policeman.

  3. Ping Kee says:

    He had me at “There are no more real McDonald’s.” 

  4. Xploder says:

    I have to agree with you, The Postmortal is a fantastic book! Now I have to go find this one and read it too. Thanks for the lead!

  5. Andre Danylevich says:

    So cool!  I heard about this book a few months ago when some friends of mine made the trailer for the book.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaB3Si97v4w

  6. JonS says:

    This reminds me of a short story, that I read years ago, about a guy (in LA?) who one night notices that the moon has suddenly become MUCH brighter. While everyone else is standing around going “derp, look at the moon!” he eventually deduces that the sun has gone nova, and that in about 12 hours, when the earth spins and the supersonic shockwave of superheated boiled seawater arrives, the world is going to get really awful. He keeps this secret to himself and spends the night rushing about getting canned food, finding a place to hunker down that’s high enough to survive the coming tsunami and strong enough to survive the coming shockwave, and fetching his girlfriend(?) and dog(?)

    One detail I particularly remember from the story is the narrator feeling like a fraud as he pays for his shopping via eftpos(?). He knows he has ample credit to cover the purchase, but he also knows that the shopkeeper is never ever going to receive the money.

    Of course, I can’t remember either the author or the name of the story :( I do remember it was good. Does anybody recall it?

  7. jackbird says:

    See also Last Night, starring Sandra Oh.

  8. Justin Sabe says:

    I was just watching Deep Impact as I read this. Kindle time!

  9. It’s a really potent concept: the degree to which humans waste their (and other humans’) time on things that only humans care about in a very short timespan, while there are much bigger things going on in a much bigger universe.

    Anyone else remember that Gary Larson cartoon, when the world is ending, and there are two dogs totally fixated on each other?

  10. Philosophers think about this kind of scenario, and also about the living indefinitely scenario, from time to time. Time is the key concept—as it stands now time plays such an integral role in many of our values. It’s not clear with this kind of radical change that we would even recognize the value systems that would develop. In the “humanity ending” instance, we lose all sense of participating in traditions larger than ourselves. And in the “living indefinitely” scenario, we might not even recognize those beings as fully human anymore; without loss and fear of death and death as a motivator to behavior and all the rest…what would we eventually even care about? I don’t really think we’d stop all desiring, but some thinkers do.

  11. noah django says:

    the idea of a pre-apocalyptic society that knows it’s doomed puts me in the mind of Ron Currie Jr.’s “God Is Dead,” a novel I greatly enjoyed.  The crisis in this case is spiritual, and happens *after* god is actually found in physical form deceased here on earth, but it does entail a societal collapse, and then life goes on to an uncertain fate.  The ways we change and the ways that we stay the same in the face of certain nihilism would seem to be a shared theme in these books.  The scenario of pirate McDonalds and police indifferent about a murder could easily be a chapter from Currie Jr.’s book.  I never hear anything about GID, which is annoying because it felt like a watershed type of book to me.  meh, my two cents.

    • Culturedropout says:

      “Towing Jehovah”, “Blameless in Abaddon”, and “City of Truth” among others by James Morrow are along similar lines, with loads of dark humor.  Might want to throw those on the reading list as well.

  12. Martin says:

    Martin Amis’s short story ‘The Janitor on Mars’ is an interesting take on this premise. An alien computer that’s been placed on Mars suddenly starts transmitting signals, so a delegation of earths VIPs goes out to greet our ‘first contact’. But it turns out that the computer is merely a janitorial presence, placed there to oversee the earth’s upcoming destruction by approaching asteroid, and he has only been activated after that destruction has become inevitable. He tells the delegation of the ascending ranks of intelligences far greater than ours that, he explains, engage in unimaginably destructive wars across the universe, one of which now features the earth as collateral damage. Amis uses the premise to a) illustrate how truly tiny and insignificant the earth is in cosmic terms, and b) to suggest that knowing – really knowing – this, and that we’re all going to die, would remove all of the constraints that keep our basest instincts in check. It’s grim but, as you’d expect, bleakly funny.

  13. Reminds me somewhat of Ben Elton’s most fantastic book, “The First Casualty”, in which a London policeman is sent to the trenches in France during World War I to investigate a murder – all whilst there is wholesale slaughter of those around him happening all the time without anyone batting an eyelid.

  14. Ping Kee says:

    Well, this thread is just adding to my reading list. 

  15. I went through this last night in one sitting; it was an excellent read. Can’t wait for the next installments in the trilogy to arrive.

    I was reminded of how much Raymond Chandler seemed to enjoy bashing around poor Philip Marlowe; Winters was rather cruel to our unfortunate, battered protagonist.

  16. E T says:

    Sounds like a companion to Melancholia by Lars von Trier (Wikipedia:The narrative revolves around two sisters during and shortly after one’s wedding, while Earth is about to collide with an approaching rouge planet.)

  17. RayCornwall says:

    Both this book and The Postmortal are fantastic.

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