‘All That’s Left in the World’ is post-apocalyptic queer romance

In post pandemic world where most of the population has been wiped out by a Super-flu, two teenagers confront each other, unsure of each other at first they slowly strike up a friendship that sees them banding together to seek out a new future.

Erik J Brown’s new young adult queer romance All That’s Left in the World  novel sets out to tell a story that is rarely seen in tales set at the end of the world, most often queer characters are omitted from stories in this genre, or falling into the well worn trope of ‘kill your gays’. Here the world has gone to hell, but two young guys can still find friendship amongst the rubble.

Brown originally wrote his story prior to Covid-19 pandemic, the characters in his world live in world where most people have died, law and order have disintegrated, and people make wary journeys across the American landscape. It’s a world a bit like The Walking Dead but without the flesh-eating zombies.

Teenager Jamie has been left alone in a remote cabin after the rest of his family passed away, he avoids other people and keeps to himself. When Andrew, burst through is cabin door though he cautiously decides to help the injured teen before him.

The story is told from the perspective of both of the protagonists, one chapter is from Jamie’s point of view, the next from Andrew’s eyes. We get to understand the thoughts behind each of their actions, and how it is perceived by the other. It makes for an intriguing back and forth.

As far as post apocalyptic journeys go, this story follows a fairly predicable path and there are few surprises, but it is refreshing to read this story from a queer viewpoint.

Given the renewed discussions about Russia launching a nuclear war, the ongoing disruption of Covid-19 and murmurs of new variants, doomsday love love stories might not be as escapist as they once were, but it’s a very timely release.

Adding to the canon alongside Z For Zachariah, Children of Men, The Road, The Rain and that song from Sting about the Russians.

Graeme Watson

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