- I Love Him to Pieces, and: The Boy at the End of the World
See review under Storrie, p. 542.
The title is no angsty exaggeration—Fisher seems to truly be the last person on Earth. He isn't even supposed to be conscious, but the Ark where he (along with other humans and an assortment of animal species) was being preserved was attacked, and a robot charged with preserving humanity made a choice to imprint the nascent human that would be Fisher with a personality and waken him. Fisher is therefore a kid with lots of vague knowledge but no life experience, which makes him vulnerable in this strange world filled with horrible (and often fantastically clever and memorably creepy) dangers and lots of mutant animals that have survived what seems to have been a global environmental disaster. The acute loneliness Fisher experiences drives him to voyage to the other Arks, even though he is aware that they could also be destroyed and that travel is more dangerous than holing up with his oddball small group of non-human friends. This bleak, undefined sense of loss, particularly eloquent in the case of Fisher, who has literally never even known another human, is effectively used as a microcosm of what everyone in the world must have felt, prepping themselves for doom and trying to preserve scraps of what they had done well, or at least not destroyed entirely. van Eekhout manages to stop short of environmental lectures for the most part, trusting that the bemused discussions about golden arches and unhealthy eating habits will be resonant enough on their own, and keeping most of the focus on Fisher's quest. With a relatively small cast of characters, fairly straightforward adventure plot, and a child protagonist, this novel is a good choice for readers a bit younger than those for whom end-of-the-world scenarios are usually written. [End Page 543]