Silly, silly me.
The premise of The Last Man on Earth Club is one of parallel universes where the Earth has been damaged/destroyed by various means, and the Interversal Union – a coalition of many of these alternate universes – works to save those refugees that they can from these dying/dead worlds. And in some cases, that’s the very last one of that species of human.
That premise is interesting enough for a die-hard sci-fi geek like me to pick up the book. I read the sample, and thought, “I have to have this.” So I paid my $2.99 and took my chances. And I am so glad that I did.
Paul R. Hardy’s characters are not what I expected at all: they’re unique and well-written and so very, very deep and emotionally scarred by what they’ve been through. I felt sorrow and pity for each and every one of them, and found myself cheering them on to get better, to let their inner demons go, to succeed in their therapy. A book about a therapist curing PTSD? And it’s good? Really?
Oh, yes. Very much so.
And Hardy doesn’t just leave us with detailed patients and cardboard cutouts for the others, either. Even the therapist has her own issues, and struggles with them. And all this against the backdrop of a massive universe-sized story going on around them. A back-story that Hardy cleverly works to keep us thinking of as it connects so vitally to each of the characters.
This was a LONG book, too. I kept wondering when the denouement was going to arrive, because there was so much story that I wanted to see what happened next and couldn’t imagine that he could fit it all into one book. He did though, and masterfully.
My only regret is that the book is only available in ebook format, because I’d happily pay for an autographed hardcover for my library. What a great book. Highly recommended.