Review of 'The Last Feast' By Zeb Haradon

tl;dr: 'The Last Feast' is an excellent science fiction novella which brings to mind old school stories like 'Who Goes There?' and 'Far Centaurus'. It is morbid, macabre and yet, wickedly creative.

The Youtube Review is available here.

Let me quickly summarize the story first - no spoilers since I am repeating what is there in the blurb. Our main character is Jim. He is highly motivated to keep living due to some events in his life. Jim is on an interstellar journey with a hand-picked crew when they have an unexpected encounter with a black hole. Time dilation occurs, and they are flung to the end of time when the heat-death of the universe has occurred. The rest of the story is about how the crew deals with the situation. Some of them are unable to handle it, others break into warring factions, and eventually, Jim ends up eating his clone over and over again. Every time Jim creates a clone, they retell the story to each other before deciding who is the main course and who is the chef.

This story is grotesque and not for the faint-hearted. There is plenty of violence, gore and explicit sex. But, that said, all of these elements fit into the overall narrative and do not feel out of place. Zeb Haradon managed the overall pacing well, and I never once felt like putting down the story. 

Jim's desire to live at all costs along with his appetite for life is described well enough that we feel that the choices he makes are always in line with his primary motivations. The other characters in the story are equally vivid and stay in the mind long after the story has concluded. The blurb gives away the essence of the plot, but the characters, as well as the author's writing style, keep us invested in the story.

The science-fiction aspects of the story are also good enough to explain what is happening. The mystery of how the ship survives contact with the event horizon is unclear though, but I suppose we should treat it as a MacGuffin. (A MacGuffin is something that moves the plot forward without explaining what it is about). The author covers the consequences of MacGyvering tech (or jugaad), which is refreshing to see since this act of breaking down working machines to put together something else is now practically a trope by itself. 

In conclusion, 'The Last Feast' is a great read which brings back memories of the golden age of science fiction.

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