September 26, 2023
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End Man By Alex Austin
Book Reviews Mystery SCI-FI

New Sci-fi Novel ‘End Man’ By Alex Austin: A Review

Author: Alex Austin

Genre: Sci-fi, Mystery, Dystopian

Year Published: 2021

Nerdection Rating: Nerdection Worth to Read

Hello Sci-fi lovers! What is the thing you most like about science fiction books? Advanced technologies, strange corporations, and brainy villains are what we absolutely love in science fiction novels! Fortunately, we found such a fascinating sci-fi story named End man by Alex Austin. Excited? Tag along and read the spoiler free synopsis of End man.

Spoiler-Free Plot of End man

Find me, complete your painting, be free of your phobia.

26 y/o Raphael works at a company that processes the information of the dead, compiling their data and selling it to their loved ones. Raphael is their best employee, able to find any click, selfie, or email the dead took part in. But his company, Norval’s Department of Marketing Necrology does another task too; digging up the data of the dead to find people who have faked their deaths, resurfacing as somebody else. And Raphael is Norval’s only chance to find such people, called ‘possums’.

When he acquires a seemingly typical case of finding the status of Professor Klaes, a physicist with an uncanny love of animals and children, things turn interesting for Norval. Because an otherwise dead Klaes, now a potential possum is sending out emails- death threats- to people he hates.

Raphael is intent on finding out whether Klaes is alive or dead. Until one day, he too receives an email from the mad physicist. However, unlike the other people Klaes threatened through his emails, Raphael is offered a deal.

Raphael is dromophobic, terrified of crossing streets. Confined to one square mile of Los Angelos, he starts working on a painting representing his whole life that he believes will set him free of his phobia. But as fate would have it, his painting has one element left- the identity of the father he has never met. Could Klaes’s deal offer him the way out of dromophobia?

In this page-turner mystery Sci-Fi, Raphael will learn the secrets about his life and Norval, the company he has put tremendous effort into; all while peeking continuously behind his shoulder to see if any murderers are behind him.

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My Take On End man

Tech, quantum physics, and strange phobias. End man was a novel with an enticing plot and dare I say, it lived upon its expectations!

Talking about the characters of End man, it’s been a while since I read a character as compassionate and deep-thinking as Rapahel. His attempts at emotionally uplifting his colleagues and bringing food for ‘Pink’ had me in awe. His notion of a ‘painting representing his whole life’ that would possibly set him free of his dromophobia is quite moving. He was kind of a rebellious person, a loyal employee at the start of the book but gradually started questioning his company’s motives of gathering the dead’s data.

The concept of End man is pretty new. I mean, finding possums through their tech footprints?  A corporation like Norval digging up the ‘online’ remains of the dead, selling them out to loved ones, and making a profit through- the idea though grotesque doesn’t seem impossible at all. But it’s something I desperately hope doesn’t occur in a long time. After all, Who would want their internet history sent to family and friends for grieving?

Alex Austin’s writing is pretty illustrative. He excels at taking the reader’s hand and transporting him inside the book. I felt like Raphael, skateboarding his way home and yet limited to the square mile of his home. His fears and paranoia felt real, the way he lived all alone, and dangers seemed to be zooming in on him as the story progressed. 

Being a fan of Sci-fi myself, I loved the hints of Quantum physics in End man. The theory of ‘nonlocal action’ though a little scary, enticed me nonetheless. Some of the tech advancements weren’t any different than what we usually see now, which is all the more terrifying; thinking of what humans might be really doing. Trying to be immortal, that is. If not physically, then digitally.

End man has some places filled with Raphael’s internal monologue and I didn’t quite enjoy that. However, the peek at Rapahel’s life and the struggles he has to go through, including his mom’s death; are things I loved in the End man and yearned for more.

All in all, End man is a deeply moving book; with a blend of three-dimensional characters, an authoritarian corporation, and secrets hidden deep in each nook, that would surely keep you speculating.

End man is recommended for…

Highly recommended for fans of ‘Neuromancer’ and ‘Altered Carbon’, this futuristic cyberpunk is a dream come true for lovers of sci-fi.

Content Triggers

Death of a parent, curse words(medium), explicit content (low), phobia, violence (low). Recommended for ages 14 and up.

About the Author of End Man

Alex Austin is a Los Angeles-based journalist, novelist and playwright. His novel Nakamura Reality was published by The Permanent Press in 2016. Publishers Weekly gave the novel a starred review and called the writing, “powerful and moving.” His novel The Perfume Factory was a finalist for Writer’s Digest Independent Literary Novel of the Year, 2009, and was a Kirkus Recommended. His fiction has been published in numerous literary magazines, including Carte Blanche, Black Clock, Beyond Baroque, District Lit, Midway Review, Foliate Oak and The Disconnect. Austin is a graduate of UCLA. He lives with his wife Eileen in West Hills, California. Retired from fulltime teaching, he currently works as a substitute teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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