After World

S. & S. Dec. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781668023457. $27.99. SF
DEBUT Urbanski’s debut tells the story of Sen Anon, one of the last humans on Earth, as told by an artificial intelligence known as [storyworker] ad39-393a-7fbc, as part of the Digital Human Archive Project. After humanity is ravaged by the outbreak of S., most of Earth’s population begins the Great Transition to the afterworld Maia. With drones recording her every move, Sen is left behind as a witness to the changes the Earth will undergo without human civilization and spends her time filling notebooks with her observations and feelings. [storyworker] ad39-393a-7fbc is charged with turning these notebooks and recordings into a novel, using 3.72TB of Sen’s personal data and its extensive knowledge of 21st-century literature. Weaving the threads of Sen’s life and the records of the Great Transition together, Urbanski expertly mimics generative-AI text that contrasts with emotional prose.
VERDICT This novel upends the typical postapocalyptic format and provides a fresh, compelling new perspective.
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