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Review: The Postmortal - A Unique Dystopia

By: Dev Menghrajani


The Postmortal by Drew Magary is yet another great dystopian read.

What’s the unique twist to this dystopian novel? The cure to aging has been found, and everyone scrambles to get it, without thinking or caring about the consequences of it all. Magary predicts that this will be the demise of the world, as overpopulation and a lack of resources leads to utter chaos. The Postmortal doesn't just provide a unique viewpoint to society, but helps us realize the value of life and how important it is to make the most out of it.

Focused in the late 2010s and skipping 10-20 years twice, The Postmortal focuses on the life of John Farrell, a young lawyer in New York City. John is your typical lawyer: wealthy and young. As soon as John hears of the new “cure” for aging, he rushes to get it. Soon after John gets the cure and realizes that he is trapped in his body forever, he is desperate for change. John spends the next 20 or so years traveling the world with a man named Keith, whom John randomly met at a bar.

After coming home, John is out of money and a job, so he decides to become an End Specialist. An End Specialist is someone who kills people that no longer want to live anymore as a result of taking the cure. When asked why he wanted to become an End Specialist, John said, “I don’t want people to go out that way if they don’t want to. I want to help”.

In addition to a great storyline, The Postmortal offers some unique takes on the future. Magary predicts that the price of gasoline skyrockets, due to scarcity, and there are no affordable alternatives: “The total round trip ticket, not including baggage, of course, was $12,230 ”. Another interesting forecast Magary makes is that China would outlaw the cure, and in order to maintain this, the population was to be branded (including newborn babies). These interesting takes not only offer a unique view of the future, but make us question what a dystopian future would hold.

One thing I did dislike about The Postmortal was that it was too pessimistic and gruesome for my taste. John slowly loses everyone he has, such as his father, Allison, Sonia, Katy, David, and finally himself. John’s life spirals downwards and never really sees the light at the end of the tunnel. This should be expected, however, as a dystopian novel is never cheerful and happy.

The Postmortal teaches us the true value of life, and why we should truly make the most of it. The main thing I pulled from this novel is that death is really what makes our life valuable. If we never died, what motivation do we have to be great, and why should we care about anything if life keeps going? Since we are here for a limited amount of time, we must make the most of it in the little time we are given. Magary was really great at giving us his subliminal message.

The beauty of the book is that it can invoke all kinds of emotions: it can make you laugh, inspire you, or even lead you to write your own dystopian novel. Whether it’s proving a unique viewpoint, predicting the demise of our world, or motivating us to be great, The Postmortal is a book I would recommend everyone to get their hands on.

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