The Suicide Collectors

The Suicide CollectorsThis book makes no sense.While in some respects the premise of all post apocalyptic fiction makes no sense in real terms, a good novel will create a world or a sense of mystery that is both interesting and internally consistent The Suicide Collectors does not accomplish this.The premise of this book is that a mysterious Despair has overtaken the world which leads people in the billions to commit suicide Robed Collectors then arrive to steal the bodies of the suicides No one knows where the Collectors come from, how they know about these suicides, what they do with the bodies, and why they do not collect the bodies of people who die naturally.The main character is Norman, a man who resists the Collectors by killing one when his wife commits suicide He is heralded for his moment of resistance, but somehow I was never able to get particularly excited about this moment In the end the book is based around Norman s quest to get from Florida where he lives to Seattle, where he has heard that there is an actual community of people who are working on a cure for the Despair Perhaps I ask too much from my fiction, but there is no logical consistency in the consequences shown from the almost complete depopulation of the country The Despair has been going on for at least five years, but somehow there is still running water in Norman s home in Florida There s somehow enough accessible gas for Norman to fly from Florida to Kansas and then drive from Kansas to Oregon in his quest to go to Seattle There are all sorts of other oddities which basically allow Norman to move across the country from strange group of people to strange group, but without having any struggle to acquire resources or actually survive He seems to survive by magic Perhaps the story should be retitled Deus Ex Machina.Once he arrives in Seattle, you expect to find out who the Collectors are and what the Despair is It seems that the Despair is a cosmic bug zapper called the Source giving out really bad vibes from a hole in the ground and the Collectors are psychically connected to it in some bizarre way But they can snap out of it Maria, a female character who makes a cameo in the story in order to 1 explain how Collectors can be detached from the Source and 2 sleep with the hero, is a former Collector.Really.The ending of this book is almost exactly the same as the ending of The Road The ending of The Road was not very satisfying as an ending, but at least that was beautifully written.This is not a good book There is an idea here that could have been formed into something a bitelegant and complex, but misses the mark. The Suicide Collectors is a good book full of horrible things I mulled it over, and that s really the only way to describe it.In Oppegaard s dystopian world, the entire planet has been gripped by an epidemic called The Despair Ninety percent of the Earth s population has committed suicide in the past five years since the disease started to spread, leaving the remaining survivors left to deal with the crumbling society and the most ominous force of all the Suicide Collectors, shrouded figures that appear to collect the bodies of those that have died in The Despair The premise of this book is right up my alley I love a good disaster end of the world story, and this one is very original But I had a hard time getting through it at times because of some of the stark horrors Oppegaard hides like Easter eggs throughout the text They aren t gratuitous they really paint a true picture of the atrocities of life in this new world but many were hard to deal with I wouldn t categorize The Suicide Collectors as a horror novel, but it s defininatly not for the squeamish Rather than drawing attention to the most appauling things in this new world, Oppegaard slides them in casually and without any fanfare, reinforcing the feeling that this is the way the world is now So deal with it I give the book three stars because, for me, personally it was a little grim The ending also made me anxious for the fate of one of my favorite characters rather than hopeful, and that s not the way I like to end a story. There s going to be some varying opinions on this book Mr Oppegaard spins a pretty interesting tale and paints well with words He tells a tale here of human civilization in the decline, several years in the grip of a world wide loss of heart known as The Despair , and the Collectors who gather those who have taken their own lives, but mostly he tells of a small odyssey of three misfits in search, first of a cure and later of different sort of ending to the Despair.I guess, being a hard science fiction sort of person, I expected things have a little bit better grounding in, well, reality I ll let you find your own examples, but I think you ll wind up agreeing that the author knows how make scenes, and stitch them into a story, but just didn t have the knack yet on this one, of making the story into a coherent path that carries you somewhere awesome I think he ll figure it out. When I read that The Suicide Collectors was the story of a post apocalyptic world ravaged by The Despair, which drove billions of humans to death by their own hands, I thought, Whiz BANG And that s exactly what I expected I expected a world that went out with a bang And I expected bangs to greet me throughout the book and a nice big bang to end the book None of those bangs came From beginning to end, The Suicide Collectors is a tale of a whimper There were promised moments of action and mayhem that were solved by relationship building and talk a rather novel and welcome approach Other bits of action were seen in the aftermath of burning cities or half conscious escape attempts And the only moments of action the characters actually engaged in were a barely rousing fight against wild dogs and a couple of moments at the explosive end of a missile All decidedly whimperous But this isn t necessarily a condemnation One can t help wondering if David Oppegaard had T.S Eliot s The Hollow Men in mind while he was writing The Suicide Collectors This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper.If he did have Eliot in mind, Oppegaard achieved the whimper in his debut novel, and the intention can t really be argued with There are too many post apocalyptic novels that are about the bang, and it is important to consider the possibility that a whimper is likely Much of what gives The Suicide Collectors its whimperousness is its main characters Norman, Pops and Zero aren t the sort of people to seek the bang as their first resort to solving problems Norman is capable of the bang, as we see with the opening act that sends him on his journey, but he d rather choose diplomacy or running to any sort of violent resolution There is no Schwarzenegger style, gung ho, action hero, and even when that sort of thing becomes a possibility it is delivered without bangs literally Unfortunately, there isn t enough going on to support Oppegaard s whimper A whimper requireswork than a bang, both in reality and in fiction, but Oppegaard s pacing, characterization and tempo offer a classic example of how to support a bang rather than a whimper Oppegaard s The Suicide Collectors feels like a Hollywood action film only without the pizzazz and pop.For The Suicide Collector s whimper to be fully successful we neededabout Norman his background, his thoughts, his motivations, his relationships we neededtime with Zero,time in each of Oppegaard s five lands,time in Seattle with Dr Brigg s, andtime at every turn of the tale to find our footing and truly engage with the whimper Oppegaard doesn t give us that, and he lets us down There is so much potential in The Suicide Collectors, so much that needed to be said, but little of it ever was With a minor adjustment or two, I can see The Suicide Collectors making an outstanding sci fi movie, one that will best the book for quality, and that s a shame because Oppegaard s plans were sound It was the execution that let him down. I wanted to really like this book just because the premise was so fascinating But I think this dude had a deadline he was about to miss because he ended it very abruptly, without explaining anything, and it just didn t gel with the rest of the book It was a little like drinking a decent cup of coffee It s doing its job, it tastes pretty good, but you put it down for a minute and when you pick it back up it is cold andbitter than you thought previously So you stop drinking it and get another cup I m ready for my next book. What a book David Oppegaard takes the dystopian novel and manages to create something new and horrifying In the not so distant future, few people are left in the world due to wide spread epidemic called the Despair There is no cure and no known reason why the majority of the human race succumbs to the Despair which results in suicide To add to the creepy factor, Suicide Collectors show up to retrieve any body that died from a result of a suicide How the Suicide Collectors know about the suicides, why they collect only the bodies of the Despair victims, and where they take the bodies are part of the mystery of the story Be warned, though If you want answers or a story with a tidy ending, you will not find it in this book Instead, you get a story like the Odyssey, one of a journey both physical and emotional Like Odysseus, Norman, the protagonist, faces monsters and receives assistance, while fighting his way to Seattle where rumors abound that a doctor has found a cure for the Despair Oppegaard s writing is crisp and clean and he writes only what is necessary He successfully juggles adventure, love, horror, and suspense without sacrificing great writing. Read October, 2010 and December , 2015 Bumping it up to five stars It earned it. You guys already know this about me, but I m not a huge fan of science fiction, or dystopian fiction There is actually very little of either genre that I tend to enjoy, but when I do, I love them I think I can still count on two hands, the total number of books or series that I enjoy from either genre I first read The Suicide Collectors back in 2009, when it first came out I hadn t started blogging yet, hence I ve never written a review for it before, and since I decided to dust it off, and give it another go, this is the perfect opportunity for me to convince you that you really do need to read this book.It actually came to my attention because of the Barnes Noble Book Clubs, which sadly are now defunct They used to be a lively and engaging group of message boards, covering a wide swath of topics It was on the Fantasy Board that this book was first introduced as a monthly read, and I jumped a the chance to get my hands on it The cover was extraordinary, the synopsis had me hooked, the moderator seemed to be really excited about it thanks Paul , and the author was from my home state of Minnesota As soon as the book was released, I took a trip to Barnes Noble, paid for the book, and had it read in one sitting I was actually hoping to link that old discussion for you guys to read through it, but sadly they decided to not even keep the archives up.I really don t want to go into too many plot points or character studies You guys know that I normally don t really have that much of an issue doing that, but this is one of those books that you really do need to discover on your own, and it would be so easy for me to spoil something for you I am willing to say, and it s evenso now that I ve done a second reading, that Norman is one of those character that you can t help but fall in love with There is an inner strength to him, one that is not forced or contrived He is one of those men, who may not be the most eloquent in verbally expressing how they feel, but you know that you can depend on them for whatever you need, that they are true men in every sense of the word.The only other tidbit I want to throw out there is this, I love the way the author chooses to keep the cause of the Despair a little foggy I ve never been a huge fan of books, or movies for that matter, that feels a need to explain every little detail I seriously doubt the characters are really ever going to be aware of every little nuance or piece of back history, so why should the reader Some things simply can t be explained, there needs to be a bit of mystery to them, otherwise they just aren t that impactful Explaining everything, takes away some of the punch I think that was part of my problem with The Town that Forgot How to Breathe, it was too neatly wrapped up, too explained, hence it lost some of it s mystery and horror.So please, if you only read one book that I recommend this year, let it be this one It s a gorgeously written journey, one that explores what it means to be human, in the face of overwhelming heartache and pain It s a story that will stay with you for days after you turn the last page. Some time in the not too distant future, everyone in a popular night club in Tokyo committed suicide Not long after, suicide rates around the world started climbing Tokyo was only the beginning of a world wide Despair Depression, hopelessness it sends people hurtling from the tops of buildings, dashing in front of trains, swallowing pills, slashing wrists Your friends, your family at first people are constantly calling each other, checking that their still alive After five years, there re aren t many people left in the world The Despair, as they call the phenomenon, has decimated the human population.In a small town of four thousand people in Florida, only three remain Norman, his wife Jordan, and their only neighbour Pops Returning from the river where he goes fishing, Norman finds his wife has killed herself and when the eery Collectors come to take her body, Norman refuses to let them have her and kills one of them The town is falling back into swampland, there s barely any food to be found or scavenged, and it s only because of the generator and Pops handy mechanics knowledge that they ve survived so far Yet the Despair hasn t gripped Norman or Pops yet With nothing left, Norman starts thinking about the drifter who came through, telling tales of a Dr Briggs in Seattle who had a community of survivors going and was working on a cure.Norman and Pops set out on a cross country journey to Seattle, encountering pockets of survivors along the way, some friendly, some dangerous, some flat out crazy Kids who were born just before or at the beginning of the Despair, parentless, have banded together to commit merciless atrocities on the few other survivors A cult in Utah that worships what they call the Source the source of the Despair , commits ritual suicide, samurai style And the Collectors have put a bounty on Norman s head.Before you start thinking that this is a rip off of The Road and the movie The Happening combined, Oppegaard started writing this five years ago and it underwent many changes It does share some similarities, though to be fair road trips are fairly common to the post apocalyptic fantasy genre this one issci fi because of its futuristic setting and technological advances, as well as the spooky Collectors and their source There s plenty of mystery here to spice it up and keep you wondering, and that looming helplessness that sprevalent of sci fi than fantasy Some of the encounters, like the Utah cult, reminded me of an even scarier cult in Consider Phlebus great book by the way , but I don t want you to think that The Suicide Collectors can t and doesn t stand on its own two original feet It s also a very visual book, descriptive and very moored in the present of the story Norman s a likeable guy, and named well he s very normal He s also not as well developed as I would have liked, and that s often a flaw of the Quest narrative structure, because plot tends to take precedence though it should be the other way around, really, because what better way to get to know someone than on a road trip Because the world has collapsed due to mass suicide, rather than a war, it s still quite intact, though vegetation is reclaiming its territory It s also surprisingly clean a reasonably well preserved ghost town of a world Probably the biggest quibble I have is to do with the discontinuation of produced goods fuel, food etc and the processing of things like sewage At times aadvanced technology, like hydrogen cells and a few vehicles that can run on water, helps explain things, but there were other logistics that I thought would have to be impossible because no one s running anything, maintaining anything, making anything, any It s just a quibble.I m a big fan of post apocalyptic fiction, whether it s fantasy or sci fi for the questions it raises, and the issues it explores, and the way it strips humans down to their bare essentials, letting us see ourselves without present day superficialities With the Despair, perhaps it s because of our innate contempt of suicide, being within our control, that it s hard to fathom a situation where that control is seemingly absent, and be able to empathise it left me a little cold I loved The Happening because, well, I don t want to give it away, but it did have an exterior force making things happen In a way, precisely because the Despair is internal, not inflicted like a virus or a compulsion, it makes it less sympathetic Does that make sense It s hard to figure out just what it was that left me somewhat cold. The Despair Has Plagued The Earth For Five Years Most Of The World S Population Has Inexplicably Died By Its Own Hand, And The Few Survivors Struggle To Remain Alive A Mysterious, Shadowy Group Called The Collectors Has Emerged, Inevitably Appearing To Remove The Bodies Of The Dead But In The Crumbling State Of Florida, A Man Named Norman Takes An Unprecedented Stand Against The Collectors, Propelling Him On A Journey Across North America It S Rud A Scientist In Seattle Is Working On A Cure For The Despair, But In A World Ruled By Death, It Won T Be Easy To Get There

[Epub] ❧ The Suicide Collectors By David Oppegaard –
  • Hardcover
  • 304 pages
  • The Suicide Collectors
  • David Oppegaard
  • English
  • 23 July 2018
  • 9780312381103

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