Things We Didn't See Coming

Things We Didn t See Coming A dazzling debut collection nine connected stories set in a not too distant dystopian future in a landscape at once utterly fantastic and strangely familiar Richly imagined dark and darkly comic th

  • Title: Things We Didn't See Coming
  • Author: Steven Amsterdam
  • ISBN: 9780307378507
  • Page: 348
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A dazzling debut collection nine connected stories set in a not too distant dystopian future in a landscape at once utterly fantastic and strangely familiar Richly imagined, dark, and darkly comic, these stories follow the narrator over three decades as he tries to survive in a world that is becoming savage as cataclysmic events unfold one after another In the firsA dazzling debut collection nine connected stories set in a not too distant dystopian future in a landscape at once utterly fantastic and strangely familiar Richly imagined, dark, and darkly comic, these stories follow the narrator over three decades as he tries to survive in a world that is becoming savage as cataclysmic events unfold one after another In the first story set on the eve of the millennium, when the world as we know it is still recognizable we meet the then nine year old narrator fleeing the city with his parents, just ahead of a Y2K breakdown of the grid, signaling the world s transformation and decline The remaining stories capture the strange sometimes horrific, sometimes unexpectedly funny circumstances he encounters in the no longer so simple act of survival trying to protect squatters against floods in a place where the rains never stop harassed and possibly infected by a man sick with plague functioning as a salaried embezzler of the state escorting the gravely ill on adventure trips Yet, in each story, we see that despite the violence and brutality of his days, the narrator retains a hold on his essential humanity Things We Didn t See Coming is haunting, restrained, beautifully crafted a stunning debut.

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      Published :2021-01-16T20:59:08+00:00

    About “Steven Amsterdam”

    1. Steven Amsterdam

      Is a writer living in Melbourne He was born and raised by lifelong New Yorkers in Manhattan He wrote his first story about a hamster whose family was starving A lilac bush in bloom saved everyone.Steven Amsterdam has edited travel guides, designed book jackets, is a psychiatric nurse Is a palliative care nurse.

    752 thoughts on “Things We Didn't See Coming”

    1. I don't have a particularly good relationship with post-apocalyptic fiction, tending to find it either too far-fetched or, if not far-fetched, too depressing to want to immerse myself in for very long. I was spoiled early by having to read Robert Swindells's relentlessly bleak postnuclear misery-fest Brother in the Land for a school English class, after which I spent much of the next few years lying awake at night worrying that the noise of jumbo jets coming over Gatwick's flight path might in f [...]

    2. This is a thought-provoking, clever book, rather serious and grim, but with occasional flashes of humour. In 2009 it won The Age Book of the Year prize for fiction.The story revolves around the survival over several decades of an individual following a global disaster. Although the type of disaster is not disclosed, I deduced that it was an enormous natural cataclysm, which, over time, disrupts the weather, destroys the earth and shatters societies. Food shortages lead to starvation and lawlessn [...]

    3. Actually 4.5 stars, but decided to round up>An interesting book structurally, this “novel” is actually 9 stories featuring the same narrator, each separated by a few years, each taking place in a increasingly dystopian future. We witness his relationship with his parents, his grandparents, his highly destructive girlfriend, and also see him move from job to job in a post-apocalyptic world – in one, he rides through the countryside on a horse, helping/convincing people to leave their hom [...]

    4. From my FBC review,a discussion of the each story with the first sentence or so excerpted:1:What We Know Now"For the first time, Dad is let­ting me help pack the car, but on­ly be­cause it’s get­ting to be kind of an emer­gen­cy."The narrator at 14 on New Year's Eve 1999-2000 and the beginning of the "troubles". The one pure mainstream story, it seems a later addition for the sake of completion but the last story connects back here and illuminates it.2:The Theft That Got Me Here"The new [...]

    5. I think I didn't get this book. The concept of moving through time so quickly for each chapter wasn't so much interesting as distracting. I kept turning the pages back wondering what happened in between and where the other characters suddenly went. What the hell happened in the years between chapter 4 and 5? How old is the narrator now? Who the hell are these people??I ended up just floating through the narrative, not really interested but not totally disinterested. It was short and I got throug [...]

    6. In an attempt to take a break from my normal reading fare (i.e more paranormal stuff), I decided to run through my I-want-to-read-this-someday-down-the-road list and see if anything looked good. This seemed to fit the bill - definitely not supernatural, and short to boot. I placed my reserve and when it came, I checked it out thinking I might eventually get around to it.It didn't take long to start reading it, and once I started, I found I couldn't stop. There's something about this book, someth [...]

    7. Three and a half stars.This is a first novel, but I would not have guessed that if I hadn't read the book jacket. The writing is polished with a nice flow.The book is really snapshots of the main character's life as the world goes to hell (and maybe rebuilds?). The first chapter takes place when the main character is 10 years old and his father is convinced that Y2K will destroy civilization as we know it so he bundles up his family and drives them to his wife's parents' farm in the country on N [...]

    8. Inspired to read Steven Amsterdam’s prize winning novel again after hearing him at a recent reading. A master of succinct images which suddenly propel the action in new directions, that evening Steven transformed the energy of the room in an instant. Things We Didn’t See Coming was originally a series of short stories. The publishers were ready to try something different, and liking Steven’s writing suggested that he bring the pieces together a little more to make a single narrative throug [...]

    9. I've always been fascinated by dystopian books. What would happen if our societal agreements fell away and we each had to fight for our survival."Things we didn't see coming" chronicles episodes from the life of a young man coping with "a new climate" and the break down of society as we know it. Beginning with his father's fear of the Millennium Bug, our narrator continues with tales of how developments impact on his relationships. He helps his grandparents take an illicit drive to the countrysi [...]

    10. This is one of the shortest books I've read in a while but it has taken me the longest amount of time to read. I struggled with the concept, is it short stories about different characters or chapters of the one characters life through the different stages of post-millennium apocalyptic turmoil? I didn't feel there was a unifying factor that brought all the stories together in the end apart from there possibly being a veiled examination of the life cycle (birth, life and death) running underneath [...]

    11. Upon initial inspection, this seems like an collection of short speculative fiction, exploring possible future societies (or the collapse thereof). However, as one reads this book, one becomes intensely aware of a distinct progression - a progression of the human consciousness, through various stages of one's life, regardless of the circumstances that one lives with. The dilemmas faced by the protagonist echo those present in our everyday (i.e. non-apocalyptic) lives. And also a progression of s [...]

    12. I would say Steven Amsterdam is one of my favourite Australian writers, but he was born and raised in America and I’m not sure which country he prefers to align himself with. Nevertheless, he shot up my list of favourite contemporary authors on the strength of his – in my opinion, criminally underrated – second novel, What the Family Needed, (my review of which can be found here).Things We Didn’t See Coming, Amsterdam’s debut, caused a minor stir when it was published in 2009 by the th [...]

    13. This is one of the books I picked up from the lovely people at Vintage when I was doing work experience there. It appealed to me first of all because of the title. Fucking awesome title. It’s potentially a good title for my life. I have several books with titles that appear as though they could be heading up a list, so I guess it’s a device that I dig right now. Others of mine include: True Things About Me by Deborah Kay Davies and And This Is True by Emily Mackie. It’s also post-apocalypt [...]

    14. Steven Amsterdam's "Things we didn't see coming" is a series of scenes from a future where an event (only vaguely hinted at) has caused societal collapse. We never find out the name of the central character who is the storyteller - beginning from the eve of the event, where he is a child - age unclear. Each chapter is a new point in time, describing life in a chaotic world, with challenges ranging from lack of water, to ceaseless rain, to disease, to pestilence. There are times of luxury too, as [...]

    15. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, Pantheon Books.Steven Amsterdam is a native New Yorker working in Melbourne, Australia. Things we didn't see coming is this ex-pat's collection of linked short stories in an alternate history where things after Y2k went a littlewrong. AThe protagonist is never named either, and we follow him and the world for years after Y2k's troubles (and more troubles in the course of the stories) have led to a post-apocalyptic environment, with centra [...]

    16. Things we didn´t see coming was recommended to me by my sister. At first, I didn’t really know what to expect from the novel. I had never heard of Steven Amsterdam and when I read the back of the novel, it seemed quite exciting, but vague as well. When I started reading chapter 1, I found the novel quite boring, because there didn’t happen much. But chapter 2 slowly was way more appealing to me and I thought I was really going to like the novel. But I didn’t have a clue at the beginning o [...]

    17. I finished reading Steven Amsterdam's Things We Didn't See Coming a few days ago, and I was very glad. The book is nine stories loosely set in a similar post-apocalyptic future, and most of them are quite downbeat, depressing, and cynical in their takes on human nature. Worse, the future that Amsterdam envisions is somewhere between statist and totalitarian, but the amazing part is that the people living in it don't rebel at all against it. The presumption is that all purpose and sense of morali [...]

    18. This was story was told in a very disconnected, episodic style that didn't work for me. I get that the disconnection between the times in the narrator's life were reflective of how difficult it was to maintain continuity in relationships in the apocalyptic worldbut the details were so sparsely filled in about everything that it just struck me as lazy storytelling. It seemed like instead of bothering to come up with answers about how the apocalypse came about and its repercussions, the author jus [...]

    19. An odd book. I wasn't sure what to expect and it took me some time to acclimatise (pun intended) to its episodic structure. I'm used to spending an entire story in one particular set of 'poc circumstances so it threw me to see that the stakes were constantly changing for our nameless hero. (It also took me a while to figure out it was the same protagonist at different periods in his life.) I was frustrated not to be given more detail about any of these epochs, instead having to dwell in their de [...]

    20. I finished this in just over a day. The structure was quite good in that we get well spaced out vignettes of the (a touch pretentiously) unnamed protagonist, leaving us with a good chunk of filling in to do along the way.My main criticism though is that the book is too short. It covers roughly 30 years of a post-apocalyptic society but you never really get to know any of the people that make up the world. Even the protagonist is lightly sketched and develops little over the course of the novel(l [...]

    21. Edit: I re-rated it one star because 2 stars is honestly too high for this book.The whole structure of this book annoys me. For the first half of the book, between each chapter is extremely confusing. It's impossible to know what is going on, until you reach the end and get a general picture. Also, the main character's name is never revealed, which annoyed me a lot. Personally I think this plot is better for a short film with no words, just visuals, to display a vision of the "future".

    22. This was a very confusing, non linear story or should I say series of short stories about the same narrator that didn't really connect. None of them really came to a conclusion either, like several random chapters from a series of books about the same guy.

    23. I don't usually like short stories, but these dystopian future tales, each set in the same universe, were exceptionally compelling.

    24. I am. A huge fan of this genre, and was very excited to read short stories about it. However, these stories fell short of having any depth to them.

    25. Yeah! Loved the writing in this post-apocalyptic dystopia. Shades of Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood and George Saunders, the darkness lightened with black humour.

    26. Except for the great Mad Max movies, films and books about post-apocalyptic, dystopias aren't normally my cup of tea. I'd prefer to read about how characters deal with familiar problems in recognizable situations not too far removed from my own. But I can say I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of linked stories about a world that's come apart after a Y2K meltdown. Some reviews have noted the fact that the book doesn't have a table of contents indicates the author intends these stories to be mo [...]

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