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Tomorrow's Children

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Member Reviews

When I read about the "first tourist" I couldn't help thinking about Pratchett's Twoflower and hope that there was the Luggage somewhere.
No Luggage but a lof of creativity in imagining how the language and a civilization could evolve it if was isolated tomorrow.
The author describes a world where the language evolved, emoticons took the place of the alphabet and a celebrity is a sort of minor divinity.
There's a lot going on and there's fast paced story that works even if it's a bit confusing at time
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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I tried very hard to get through this book, and maybe I will eventually, but not right now. The plot itself was fascinating, but the writing felt like a fever dream. It was like being dropped in the middle of a new world with nothing explained to you. I stopped when I pushed through the end of the climax, only to realize it was only 50% of the way through.

That is not to say that this is a bad book, However, you must be in a mental space of focus in order to tackle this book. It is definitely not a light read and one that requires commitment in order to enjoy. I was not in that space at the time of picking it up. I do intend on tackling this book again when I have less going on.

I did, however, like the idea of the written language. I found it very fun piecing together this new language as I read.

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Set on a future Manhatten that’s been cut off from the rest of the world by a mutating substance called ‘funk’ this is a frantic post-apocalytpic dystopian adventure with hints of The Warriors and Escape from New York spattered throughout.

Manhatten is split into small tribal areas, with a few bigger gangs making up a ruling council an outsider comes and stirs up a hornet’s nest.

Violence with a beat poet’s heart and the rhythm of a dancer explodes onto the page early on and doesn’t really abate throughout the story.

Politics, backstabbing, cutters, drugs, mutations, and a wonderfully lyrical prose carries the story along at a wonderful pace but there is enough dialogue and setting to show a coherent story and well thought out world.

The story, though fantastical, focuses on loyalties and family and the will to fight for what you believe in no matter the cost, and delivers a lot of punches throughout.

I found this a great read with some absolutely stunning set pieces, especially those with Swan but all the characters had distinct voices and added to the wonderful world that Daniel developed that it became so much more than the sum of its parts.

Would love to return to this world at some point in the future.

I received this from NetGalley and Angry Robot in exchange for an honest review.

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I think I would have liked this a lot more of there weren't so many characters and if the action wasn't so choppy. I appreciated the dark setting, post apocalyptic New York, so much violence! But there were so many jumps and sometimes I wasn't even sure what happened, actions were hinted at but not explicit.
The ending, though, that was great, and felt like a nice payoff. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this

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What's your last weird read? It took me a minute to figure out the bits and bobs of Daniel Polansky's "Tomorrow's Children" but I enjoyed the landing.

So New York was covered in a malaise called The Funk that cut the island off from the world. Things got real weird inside. As time passed people mutated, broke into factions, gained mental powers, and made new religions. Then some tourist comes into town. And that just doesn't sit right with some folks.

Reasons to read:
-The hypebird is a hoot
-How things change but the readers can deduce what they are in our world was always a great reveal
-A killer who is just over the whole thing
-The names certain things and people have
-Kid is going to have that black lung soon

-Not a great place to be a dog

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7 / 10 ✪

I’d say that turning Manhattan into a dystopian nightmare/paradise was a stroke of genius if I didn’t already feel that way about Manhattan. But the setting is quite well done. Gangs rove the streets, constantly at war with one another. For the most part, the populace stays out of it. Rats and cats and poodles and longfoot are all eaten. Children are born and die young—of the gangs, of the mutated monsters, of the funk itself, occasionally even of old age. Life goes on.

I found the story a bit harder to get into. On one hand, it reminds me of the best post-apocalyptic tales; no hand-holding, just a learning curve that the reader has to catch up with to comprehend the story. Shorthand, pidgin, slang, each from its own neighborhood—sometimes all at once. On the other hand, I didn’t really care about any of the characters to a significant degree. I mean, I kinda hated most of them, but… I didn’t really connect with any too much. Not that were really around much. And that makes getting to any story difficult. If it’s difficult to relate to, it’s always going to be some sort of a challenge.

I also didn’t really understand the point, at first, if I’m honest. I mean, half of it is self-explanatory. An up-and-coming gang, on a mercy spree. To relieve those not under their rule of their (other) lives. But the investigation into the killing of a gang when gangs rule the entire world? Not so much. Yes, I understand organized chaos. But this… didn’t feel like that—at least, not at first.

Over the course of the tale I couldn’t help but get sucked in. I was fully immersed come the end. I mean, I still didn’t have it in me to care about any of the characters (or, rather, I kinda wanted them all dead), but the story itself proved a keeper. As did the rather consistent, dark humor mixed amidst all the dystopian tones.

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Long a fan of post apocalyptic fiction, I was looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, the writing style was not to my taste, as was the huge cast of characters and the hard to understand dialect of the residents of Manhattan Island. Only my opinion.

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Tomorrow’s Children by Daniel Polansky is a post-apocalypse novel exploring what would happen when society has already collapsed in Manhattan. A cloud of noxious gas called the funk has changed Manhattan and the generations after the gas cloud descended live in an uneasy truce until the first tourist comes. From Wall Street to TriBeCa to the Honey Swallowers, their peace is about to be shaken.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Tomorrow’s Children. This is far from my first post-apocalypse book, but each one is different and takes different ideas for what is going to change and what isn’t. Daniel Polansky uses emojis in place of the written language in several places (such as place names) and the Christian cross continues to survive as the Tiny t. Dogs are also now eaten as most forms of meat appear to be unavailable.

This is a more dialogue-heavy book and there are a lot of POV characters to show the different aspects of this unending turf war. Different parts and pieces are revealed slowly over time and this is a book that requires paying attention to who is talking and when. I would say that this is a worldbuilding forward book, which works with the exploration of ideas as a thought experiment.

I would recommend this to readers of post-apocalypse stories, fans of what if scenarios regarding New York, and readers who prefer more worldbuilding and multi-POVs.

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In advance, I’d like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for the free review copy in return for an honest review, no other inducements have been received by me for this, my words are my own.

It’s been a while since I had a DNF, the book was described as frantic and full of anarchy, and I can’t help but agree with that, characters are introduced and removed within page of arriving, and the only way you know that someone’s likely to be around a chapter or two from now is that someone has put a number next to their name, such as The Kid2 which then links to one of seventy pages in the back of the book where these numbers are explained, it says the book is four hundred pages long, and I can only hope that the formatting on those pages isn’t similar to the way it was laid out in the PDF, perhaps in small footnotes on the page or something, anything to make it more readable.

Emoji’s, perfectly acceptable in text messages, and I understand the nature of meme’s to get things across, but *Heart: Birthday Cake* (NetGalley won’t let me do emoji’s) as a place name just breaks up the narrative and makes you wonder why not just use the words. If we’d had a translation or glossary at the back that meant you could know what they meant and not just take a guess, that would be something, but this…

This could have been fascinating, the different factions, the colourful characters, the curious patois (other reviewers have said it makes perfect sense, but I’m not from those boroughs of the USA, so it meant little to me), but it was also chaotic in many place and every time a number appeared, having to chase what it meant removed you completely from the narrative unfolding and after thirty of them, I just gave in.


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Ok book, I didn't enjoy it very much. I found it very hard to follow, especially in the beginning, due to made up language and no glossary or footnotes of what these words mean.

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I usually devour apocalyptic fiction but this book was a struggle to get through. The premise itself was not terrible, it was the writing that made it difficult for me to digest. The use of emojis just felt off and the narrative was slow. Overall I just could not look past the writing and get into the story.

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Tomorrow's Children is a post-apocalyptic tale set in a near-future New York. The city has been engulfed in a cloud of toxic gas called "funk", which wiped out most of its population and transformed the survivors. The remaining populace is now struggling to survive in a pseudo-medieval state of civilization, while the powerful few live in a well-manicured paradise, hiding their corruption and bloodlust. With various gangs fighting for territory, the novel is fast-paced and action-packed, making it an exciting read. The author has done a remarkable job in creating a long list of characters, which may seem overwhelming at first, but their unique personalities and journeys will keep you hooked throughout the story. From Gillian, the Kid, Ariadne, Hope, and many others, each character adds depth and emotion to the story. The author's use of clever wordplay with character names, dialogue, and gang names adds layers of depth to the story. The narrative structure is also noteworthy, with brief vignettes that allow you to learn about the city's different facets and niches, making it both familiar and oh-so-weird. This novel is an excellent portrayal of a Manhattan gripped with rivalries, dogma, street law, and people just trying to find their place.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the opportunity to read an advanced digital copy of this fantastic book.

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DNF after 2 chapters. This book made no sense yet and I donb't have the time or energy to work through this book. The use of emojis in the text really, really put me off.

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The emojis threw me off so badly. I just did not understand it but now that I've finished this book, I actually want to only speak in emojis from now on.

Anyways, I read some other reviews and I'm glad to know everyone was a little confused for the first bit of this book. You're thrown right into the story with little to no explanation on... well, anything. All I've gotta say is that you really have to stick with it. Once the story started coming together, I began really appreciating it. It did take me a while to get through this book because of how confusing everything was, though.

The politics, as weird as they were, were really good. It reminded me heavily of Akira, with multiple storylines in a dystopian world cut off from everywhere else. The characters were great in their flawed ways and they were fun to read about.

The humor caught me off guard, but it was funny. I don't know if Polansky was trying to make it comedic but the advanced New York slang was funny too. Simply because it was regular NY slang but even more exaggerated.

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I had very high hopes for this book. I was hoping that this book would be a dystopian to match great novels such as Scythe, but I’m afraid this novel was a far cry.

The story begins with a prologue that is promising, telling us of a boy who’s looking to kill a dog, and sell its pups. Things take a sharp downhill from there, however.

The next few chapters introduce us to who I can only assume are main characters. However, they carry confusing and cliche names, like “the Kid” and “Chisel”. Then, the narrative jumps from event to event, randomly segueing into unrelated people and events. It’s impossible to figure out what’s going on. The world building only worsens the situation. With a deadly (Apocalypse? Mist? Fog?) named “the funk” that seems to haunt a post-apocalyptic New York City, crippling it almost completely, you’d think the author would spend a little more time explaining what it actually is, and how it function.

Overall, this book was one of the most difficult books to read that I’ve received. Working on this story for a few more years would have produced a masterpiece, but an effort to turn an artistic process into a commodity, the story has fallen short.

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This book was a wild ride: an enjoyably wild ride. With shades of Mad Max and Fallout, Polansky envision a world in which Manhattan has been cut off from the outside world by an ectoplasmic ‘funk’. The ensuing battle for survival has created a survival-of-the-fittest world, with Manhattan divided up by rival gangs, with the whole thing tenuously held together by an overseeing Council. The novel is a somewhat satirical take on the post-apocalyptic genre, and one that works successfully, with keen observations on how cliques form and reform on a city-wide scale.

I loved this world that Polansky has created. It was frequently laugh-out-loud absurd and filled with every eccentric you could imagine in a society whose main diet is dog (yes, dog, and if not that then rat or pigeon). The main cast is varied, each clinging to their motivations as outside forces begin to exploit the strangeness of this new-Manhattan. Gillian and the Kid, the two characters we spend the most time with, are interesting and multi-layered, with Gillian being our window through which we can understand this strange world, and the Kid an engaging mystery to be worked out. My one complaint is that, for most of the story, characters feel too powerful – winning every fight and getting the jump on any potential barrier to success.

Polansky uses clever world play with character names, dialogue and gang names which left me re-reading lines to grin at his references. He plays with structure, filling the narrative with brief vignettes which lets us learn about facets and niches of a city that is both familiar and oh-so-weird. This novel is a wonderful vision of a Manhattan gripped with rivalries, dogma, street law and people just trying to find their place.

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Thank you to Angry Robot for this utterly blinding introduction to the writing of Daniel Polansky. The premise is genius, the content well-constructed, highly detailed and completely immersive and the execution? Simply chef's kiss!

Taking contemporary knowledge, culture symbols and language and evolving them into a whole new language, deities and means to traverse the world is simply brilliant. Now, I will admit, that the first few pages almost made me pull a John Wick (ie the first few scenes prevented me watchhing this glorious film series for years because of his dog - I don't blink at many things, but animals are a soft spot) however, it was a case of setting the scene

The languague hits you first. I love the Boston accent, it's unique and easily identifiable, but imagine it evolving through an apocalypse, how much broader it would be, the inflections and slang. Polansky weakes in contemporary slang and reworks it and in turn creates a whole new language

The story begins with a toxic cloud enveloping Manhattan (the funk) Manhattan is isolated, its inhabitants mutated, a whole new soceity is born from the rubble, different tribes emerge (think Mad Max without cars meets Gangs of New York and you are just about there, but make sure to put on a bit of extra polish!) but, like any fragile soceity, throw a stranger into the mix and things start to get spicy, and not in the good way!

Tomorrow's children is a fantastic read, a wry wit, strong character building (the names!) solid world building and a completely immersive narrative that flows so well, you will be fluent in the new slang

Very, very good book and a great new direction in the Post-Apocalypse Dystopian Genre

Thank you to Netgalley, Angry Robot and Daniel Polansky for this highly entertaining ARC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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I'd like to thank the author, publisher and NetGalley for the eArc of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I really liked Tomorrow's Children, overall. It's a fast paced, interesting story that gave me serious Fallout New Vegas vibes, with the gangs fighting for territory and the powerful few living in a well manicured paradise while corruption and bloodlust course underneath. I loved the characters -the Kid, Gillian, Slim my faves in that order- and the direction the plot took after tying the two main POVs. There's a lot of slang specific to this new world and it takes some getting used to but the meaning can be picked up through context anyways.
I do have two critiques to an otherwise perfect book: one, some slang doesn't make sense - language tends to simplicity, especially with no formal education, but we see the words "day" and "night" changed to "bright" and "dim" - dimtime, the dimmest, brightest, etc. It just doesn't feel natural.
And speaking of not feeling natural, critique #2 would be the emojis. From a practical point of view, the emojis showed too large in my Kindle so the line height went crazy whenever they appeared (2x or 3x normal), and from a narrative flow point of view the task of having to translate them into regular english also took me out of the story - asides from the fact that we don't all call emojis the same, so is it The Drunken Hen or the Dizzy Chicken? Story wise this seems like the least natural path for an illiterate society: having no electronic devices to just tap and get the emoji, drawing something this complex on a board doesn't strike me as neither efficient nor fast (i.e. for the news peddlers).
In any case - these two details are just that, details: the writing is excellent, the story is gripping and I very much enjoyed it.

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There are plenty of post-apocalyptic media set in and around New York. On the film front you have Escape from New York, the original Planet of the Apes films and I am Legend. And on the book front there is everything from Colson Whitehead’s zombie apocalypse Zone One to Kim Stanley Robinson’s clifi 2140. Which is all to say that Daniel Polansky’s new novel Tomorrow’s Children, set 6-7 generations after something called the “funk” has decimated New York has plenty of antecedents.
There are so many characters in Tomorrow’s Children that it is hard to know where to start. The action is set in a New York divided into territories that are run by different gangs. The book opens with two critical events, the arrival of a “tourist” to the city and the wiping out of one of those gangs, creating a power vacuum. The story broadly follows two groups – those sowing chaos for reasons that eventually become clear, and those employed to the ruling Commissioner, “the sheriff”, the track them down. But nothing is that simple and readers who can stay with it will find plenty of twists in that particular tale.
Part of the problem though it the sheer number of characters and the telling of the story in short episodes. While this is in some ways immersive in Polansky’s world it will take readers a long time to understand who is who and just what is going on. The stakes are unclear as are many of the character motivations. That said, those characters, are just weird and engaging enough to keep readers’ interest.
Tomorrow’s Children also some clear influences from across the post-apocalyptic spectrum. It’s combination of neo-barbarism, retro-futurism and western tropes recalls a range of influences, including Mad Max and the Fallout video games. It is not that this book feels derivative but it never feels like it gets far enough away from its influences to be truly original. The most original is the funk, which is like a cloud that can both kill and somehow give a high and possibly also cause visions. But it is never really explained – where is came from, why it is possibly only around Manhattan, what it actually does.
The overall impression that Tomorrow’s Children gives is anarchic fun. Polansky revels in plots, explosions, chases, sword fights and the futuristic use of emojis. He creates a violent vibrant world, throws a wrench in the machine, and then sits back to watch the chaos play out. Which some readers will respond to and enjoy, others may just find derivative and exhausting, particularly as this type of narrative has been done better elsewhere.

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I am all for a good apocalyptic wasteland story and had high hopes for this one, but unfortunately it missed the mark for me. It was a lot of work to read - lots of unexplained slang and random action scenes that didn’t make sense. At one point, I thought maybe it was a sequel to something that I missed (it wasn’t) - just too much going on. Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book.

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