Title: Going Gone
Author: Abraham Lopez
Genre: Anthology/Alternate History
Going Gone reads as a collection of short-story snapshots of what happens to a variety of Americans after a pivotal leader in the Middle East is assassinated and the blame is placed on the United States. Covering the despair, power plays, and religious fervor such an event could produce, the author creates a believable “end-of-the-world” scenario that plays out with cold accuracy and just a pinch of hope.
There are a few unanswered questions, like whether some of the politicians who try to use the event in their favor were party to the assassination in the first place, but for the most part, it depicts the fall of the United States while still carrying the story forward.
Readers experience the assassination, the terrorist retaliation, and the nuclear war that follows in relatable ways through the eyes of the characters who are experiencing these events, such as a female investigative reporter infiltrating a religious cult and a seasoned veteran with terminal cancer. There were narrative surprises, like the chapter that shows how the event affects a pop band’s concert tour or how a nascent artificial intelligence exacerbates the situation, but most of the chapters are centered on telling the aftermath of an international crisis.
The overall tone is grim and somewhat pessimistic, indicating that all civilizations will come to an end and suggesting that the end for the United States might not be that far away, despite the fact that this is alternate history. The names and situations are fictional, but they seem intentionally similar to reality in a satirical sort of way, providing social commentary on our own life and times.
The dialogue is believable and somewhat varied, though it’d have been nice to have a greater variety of characters. Though not told in first person, the narrative generally sides with the main characters of each chapter, and, for the most part, these point-of-view characters are men who seem to share the same general background and education level.
Aside from the investigative reporter, there were no women, and the only low-income character was also the only young person (at least, before the devastation made wealth meaningless). For a story of national catastrophe, it feels like it should show how a variety of groups responded and not just the military, the politicians, and the rich.
The novel would benefit from editing polish, as there were places where words were missing or where the flow was confusing, but for the most part, the plot is well-paced and the calamities and complications unfold in a day-by-day, moment-by-moment way.
The story manages to provide its social warning without becoming overly preachy or distracting from the plot. It will keep readers turning pages as they uncover the various contributors to the apocalypse and see how the ruin and destruction plays out. Those who like a story of social commentary with realism, grit, and believable consequences will enjoy this anthology.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Editorial Review written by the Book Review Directory Production Team. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.