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Are We Alone, by William J. O'Neal
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Xlibris
Published: 2011
Review Posted: 5/22/2015
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Are We Alone, by William J. O'Neal

Book Review by Michael D. Griffiths

Have you read this book?

Are We Alone by William J. O'Neal is a post-apocalyptic novel with a dash of science fiction thrown in.  O'Neal keeps things highly realistic and focuses on the micro picture and more likely to outline how the character's dinner is being cooked over why the nukes were dropped onto the United States and have destroyed nearly all life. The story centers around three men and three women that have made it into a fallout shelter only moments before bombs covered the world and create a radioactive nightmare.

The first third of the book and the first two years of narrative follow these six people as they bravely preserve through the hardships and tedium of living within a small fallout shelter with limited resources. Soon the convenient ratio of males to females fosters romance and all the couple marry.

Things get interesting when a group of marauders tries to force themselves into the fallout shelter. Then later, somewhat randomly, the group determines they can go outside. They assemble to military jeeps and set out to explore the ravaged world.  Soon they discover journals within raided shelters that outline attacks by horrible groups that rape and kill everyone they come across. Add to this the mindless gangs of cannibals that lurk in almost every town and city and the world has become a very dangerous place.

The book itself feels a little green. The ideas are sound, but the writer gets caught up in telling the complete story down to the smallest detail, instead of focusing more on keeping the excitement level up. Also although some of the characters are likable, they feel a little flat as does the dialog.

Other downsides include things going almost too smooth for the characters. I appreciate how intelligent and careful the characters were. I would want to be the same way in their place, but nothing ever went wrong. They would be fighting a force three times their size and come out well every time.

I tend to favor plot and ideas over craft much of the time, but this book was a bit lacking in both.  It was entertaining and had interesting plot twists, but in the end some of its flat writing tended to distract me from the plot line.
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