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The Last ManTaken from an ancient text found abandoned in a cave The Last Man ends in 2100 “the last year of the world” A devastating worldw. Mary Shelley loved her husband; she adored his poetical voice and he admired her intellect theirs was a marriage of minds So it’s not overly surprising that in her later work she spent a good part of it paying homage to her late partner The novel begins with a wretched youth Lionel utterly distraught at the injustice that is his life He is poor uneducated and desperate Lionel wants revenge on what he perceives as the cause of his problems; however when the said problem appears his life is turned around It is a man a noble and a landowner When Lionel sees the man his anger at the tyranny of the world is uenched in an instant such is the power of this individual He embodies nobility and goodness he is the romantic hero He teaches Lionel to read and how to understand poetry he teaches him how to live and how to open up his heart Lionel is transformed by this experience; he develops true moral awareness and imagination Poetry rejuvenates his character; it teaches him natural Shelleyan values This man is Mary Shelley’s ode to her husband; he is called Adrian and he is Percy Shelley incarnate He becomes the only hope for the future of mankind his philosophy is it’s only balm ”I read or listened to Adrian; and his discourse whether it concerned his love or his theories for the improvement of man alike entranced me Sometimes my lawless mood would return my love of peril my resistance to authority; but this was in his absence; under the mild sway of his dear eyes I was obedient and good as a boy of five years old who does his mother's bidding”But first another must try his hand at saving the world form the oncoming apocalypse Enter Lord George Byron in the form of Adrian’s friend Raymond Domination manipulation and power are what his personality evokes Adrian becomes uickly ill after their encounter Raymond strives to be good; he strives to do the right thing but passion in the Byronic sense is far too strong He is a lover and user He is poison and tonic He is uick to change his mind and is prone to rash and erratic behaviour; thus he uickly falls in love and runs away from his dream of ruling in harmony The wind ever changes his mind and his sexual interest With this man a relationship would only end one way Lionel later becomes his friend and is trapped between the influences of each As the novel progresses and the apocalypse comes ever closer the world becomes darker Raymond’s Byron’s ideas prove ineffective and he exits centre stage A plague wrecks the world one caused by man’s unnatural state The population of the world decreases to mere thousands and eventually hundreds And who does humanity look to in its most dire hour of need Who do they look to as the last hope of mankind Adrian Percy Shelley of course and he comes He does his best to teach mankind how to be itself again; he tries to bring back the tatters of civilisation thought the unnaturalness of man has seeped into the very fabric of his being; it is in his soul it is in his heart The pure words of the vegetarian were heeded too late “Adrian welcomed us on our arrival He was all animation; you could no longer trace in his look of health the suffering valetudinarian; from his smile and sprightly tones you could not guess that he was about to lead forth from their native country the numbered remnant of the English nation into the tenantless realms of the south there to die one by one till the LAST MAN should remain in a voiceless empty world”And here’s where Mary Shelley voice comes through The Last Man may refer to our narrator Lionel But I think the meaning goes much deeper than this Granted he is the final witness of humanity’s fate But there is to consider When Mary wrote this novel all of the major Romantics were dead The young Romantics Shelley Keats and Byron had all died tragically young Some of the old Romantics like Wordsworth and Coleridge were still kicking around but their glory days had gone Byron saw to that The point is Mary is the last of the generation Her peers were dead her friends were dead and her lover was dead This is their eulogy; this is a writer lamenting the loss of the greats of her literary generation; this is a writer who was forced to carry on living after her soul mate had perished Mary Shelley is The Last Man

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DOWNLOAD ë The Last Man é Taken from an ancient text found abandoned in a cave The Last Man ends in 2100 “the last year of the world” A devastating worldwide plague has annihilated all of humanity except for one man who chronicles the world's demise This novel of apocalyptic horror originally published in 1826 was rejected in its time and was out of priGinally published in 1826 was rejected in its time and was out of print from 1833 to 1965 when the first Bison Books edition appeare. That was long Good in places boring in others it wasn't really what I expected From the author of Frankenstein The 1818 Text set in the end of the 21st century I expected some SF elements but there were none The war is one that could have taken place any time in the prior centuries was taking place then While there is some travel by balloon most is by horse Ships still rely on sails save for a few steam powered ones Being published in 1826 there is no knowledge of germ theory so the plague is basically the Black Plague on steroids but she left out or skimmed over many of the most horrific partsFew stories could have used an editor If they were to make a movie of this brick they could pack it into a 2 hour made for TV movie without much trouble The story is worth reading though It gets 3 stars for in it lie the seeds for many great action SF apocalyptic post apocalyptic novels but be warned; most are contained in the last half of the last volume It's a long hike to get there Although it contains spoilers I'd highly recommend reading the Wikipedia entry on this storyThe introduction uses an interesting device for finding the story Shelley is on vacation finds her way into the rarely visited scary cave of Sibyl where she finds Verney's manuscript Edgar Rice Burroughs adored this device used it often He shared Shelley's theories of physiognomy which I remarked on in my recent review of The Mucker too The book is broken into 3 volumes The first is a pastoral English novel that introduces the characters in 'stunning' detail By 'stunning' I mean that I was almost stunned into insensibility by sheer boredom Think Pride and Prejudice on Prozac The most redeeming features were the autobiographical She's Verney biographical referencescomparisons to her circle of friends Most especially Percy as Adrian Byron as Raymond so if you're not familiar with who she was hung out with read her bio on Wikipedia first These references run throughout the novelThe second volume is about the final war between Greece Turkey in which the plague is born but not through any scientific artifice just typical bad sanitation siege general war Warning the Plague is first mentioned not long before the 40% mark a LONG time coming IMO The Plague strikes the world generally everything breaks down but Adrian provides a shining example There's a thread of just how good benevolent tyrants are for a nationThe final volume was by far the best part even that is told in a distant voice that rarely elicits much in the way of empathy Verney tells of great emotions but I never really felt them due to the writing style his self centeredness For instance at the end wretched with loneliness he finds a dog who is really happy to see him but he doesn't mention anything about making provisions for it in his final journey As a dog lover that's an oversight that I can't overlookIt's this final volume that holds the germ of so many great popular novels that came after Verney's access to the abandoned fruits of civilization the dog the False Prophet were brought to life in I Am Legend Earth Abides Toss in zombies you have Dawn of the Dead His visit to the abandoned monuments forms an iconic scene in This Immortal The Road has the same despair aimless wandering OK the last isn't even particularly good but it does have some popularityShelly has a real flair for description although a grounding in the classics is reuired to understand many of her allusions There I was on firm ground but again I wish I knew Latin I had to translate that which reuired searching the text copy I don't spell Latin any better than American It was trying at times but generally the meaning was clear enough without translation I see her influence here on Zelazny this part of her style than anything else gave me the ability to get through the seemingly interminable first volumeMy edition I'll try to correct it later is the Librivox recording which can be found here's 30 chapters were read by a dozen or so narrators so the uality varied but most were uite good all were acceptable My appreciation to all of them The text is available for free on Project Gutenberg in a variety of formats here I recommend this to anyone with an interest in the origins of SF who is feeling somewhat masochistic ;

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Ide plague has annihilated all of humanity except for one man who chronicles the world's demise This novel of apocalyptic horror ori. Shelley's apocalypse13 December 2013 Being a lover of older books and science fiction when I discover a book that is in effect both I become really interested so when I discovered that Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame wrote a book about the last man left alive on Earth or as she puts it in her book the LAST MAN I was immediately interested so instead of attempting to troll through the chain store bookstores here in Australia which generally consists of Dymoks now that Borders has effectively gone and all of the other bookshops simply sell rubbish that you read once and then toss – not that I am in favour of book burning but these books are the types of books that simply take up space on an overcrowded bookshelf I jumped onto and ordered it along with a bunch of other stuff but now that the Australian government is doing is damndest to undermine the strength of the Australian dollar that is going to be an unlikely event in the future Anyway when I started reading this book I found that it was pretty slow going and because I did not want to waste my overseas holiday earlier this year reading a boring and dull book I put it away to go back to it again later Granted this book does start off really slow but when you hit part two it really begins to pick up The book is set three hundred years in the future at least from Shelley's perspective though it is only a hundred years from ours though the thing that I noticed was that technology had not effectively advanced that much While Shelley did not have much to work from with regards to speculative science fiction this only started to occur with Verne and Wells one would have expected that there was a suggestion that people were not running around in horses and carriages However as I have suggested the concept of speculative science fiction was still at least fifty years off so one cannot blame Shelley for not creating a futuristic like world and in any case it was not her intention to write a speculative piece However the story begins with a political crisis in England actually it begins with the narrator being found wondering around as a man beast and being brought back to civilisation where there is a push for the abdication of the king and a movement to a parliamentary democracy This occurs at the end of book one and book two begins with the former king and the narrator going on a European holiday and ending up in Greece This is interesting because at the time of writing the Greeks had just won the a war of independence with a lot of help from the likes of Lord Bryon and the British but there was still a large Turkish influence in the land The story fast forwards to the future where the protagonists join the ongoing struggle where the Turks have been completely removed from Greece and they are laying siege to Istanbul and this is where things begin to pick up because while the Turks are pretty much defeated out of the ashes of Istanbul comes this disease which spreads out from the ruins of this great city to begin to envelope the world The rest of the book has the protagonist watch as the disease begins to decimate the civilised world and as one by one everybody close to him begins to die eventually leaving him left as the LAST MAN left on Earth The Last Man is a somewhat dark yet poetic book and Shelley does drop in numerous lines from poets throughout the ages something that is generally not done any but then again the writers back then wrote for the sake or writing rather than writing simply for money – Shelley did not really have a need for money If you look at the Wikipedia page on this book you will see that the main characters all relate to people that Shelley knows and it is suggested uite strongly in fact that the book is written after all of her friends had died effectively leaving her alone in the world Loneliness is a funny thing because you can be surrounded by people yet feel utterly alone and this is the feeling I get from Shelley being the last of her peer group to survive and since she was a woman and back in those days women were not supposed to write because that was a male domain it must have been very lonely for her I guess this is one of the curses of old age in that as we watch the people that we know and have known for a while begin to die we lose part of ourself because at that age while we can still make new friends the thing that a new friend does not have is the time spent with our old friends the influence that we have had on each other and the connections that a lifetime of friendship has created I know that I have friends which simply cannot be replicated by a new person because that past simply does not exist This is much truer when it comes to family because once again there is an aspect of the relationship that simply cannot be replicated Every relationship is different in fact every relationship is uniue because there are things and events that cannot be replicated for instance if you go to the 2010 Stereosonic Music Festival with a friend no other friend is going to have the same experience and the same relationship that you had with this friend at the 2010 Stereosonic Music Festival The last thing I wish to note is that as I read this book I felt that there was a lot of Day of the Triffids here Obviously Shelley did not base her book on that book since it was written about 150 years after but I suspect that John Wyndham had been influenced somewhat by Shelley Shelley is pretty much famous for Frankenstein however it is clear that she wrote much than just that one book While we may consider Jules Verne to be the father of Science fiction we can go further back and consider Shelley to be its mother though this is not the first apocalyptic story written because St John wrote one 1800 years earlier called the Book of Revelation