Strike Three by Joy V. Smith

Strike Three by Joy V. Smith
Publisher: WolfSinger Publications
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (153 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Can a civilization grow/move beyond the losses, mistakes and regrets caused by the unimaginable destruction of weapon designed to destroy all life–down to the smallest microbe?

Because of the “hot virus,” the devastation of WWIII is more horrible than the worse case scenario, and missiles fired in retaliation gave new meaning to Scorched Earth.

There were scattered warnings, which only a few heeded in time. No one ever imagined they would have to start from scratch–and bare dirt.

What to save–and where?

Could we start over?


Can a new world grow/move beyond the losses, mistakes and regrets?

It was the end of the world as we know it, and almost no one was prepared for it.

The premise caught my attention immediately. I’d never heard of a “hot virus” before and was quite curious to see how such a thing would affect not only human society but the plants and animals that were unlucky enough to be infected with it as well. One of the things I enjoy the most about the science fiction genre is how it can introduce complex topics to its readers in the middle of an engaging storyline. This book is no exception to that rule.

This story started out with a fast-paced plot that quickly skimmed over how and why the disaster happened so that it could focus on what happened next. I was intrigued by the idea of beginning with the social and economic recovery of a society instead of just focusing on how it all fell apart. With that being said, there were some pacing issues as everything progressed. So much time was spent on describing how the characters attempted to create a viable trade route that all of the other subplots weren’t given the attention they needed.

Most post-apocalyptic fiction assumes the worst of humanity. It was refreshing to read a tale from this genre that doesn’t take that approach to what life would be like in a world without any police officers or armies to protect the vulnerable. There is definitely something to be said for imagining a more positive approach to rebuilding society.

There was a fair amount of telling instead of showing. While certain sections definitely did need to be sped up in order to pack everything into such a short novel, I would have appreciated the chance to slow down and see certain sights from the perspectives of the characters who lived through them. For example, the idea of looking at what was once a thriving community and seeing nothing but death chills me to the bone. It would have been fascinating to hear more about how scenes like this one affected the main characters emotionally.

One of the most thought-provoking questions raised in this novel had to do with making incredibly difficult decisions. With extremely limited amounts of time and resources, how does one decide how to parcel them out? There’s no possible way to save everyone. Trying to do so will only kill off far more people than would have otherwise died. Everyone’s answer to this question is unique, but what Ms. Smith had to say about it is really interesting.

I’d recommend Strike Three to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic science fiction.


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