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Retro Reading: The Last Survivor by Roger Myers and Albert Herbert

"Drama" on the High Seas

With the success of epic disaster films in the early to mid '70's, it didn't take long for disaster novels to hit bookstore shelves. They could be even more dramatic than a film and could take the reader on a more extended journey.

I'm not sure where I found The Last Survivor but I'm really glad I did.

While not a bestselling novel (many of these off the wall disaster's weren't) this drama on the high seas was supposed to be bigger than The Poseidon Adventure (it isn't) but it's a lot more campier. The writing is so bad that I couldn't help but laugh with every turn of the page. Maybe 40 some years ago I thought this was good, but what did I know back then?

Anyway, the story has way too many characters and the plot is quite simple. A new ship is crossing the Atlantic from New York to England and the passengers begin to get sick and die. Which is good because there are to many characters to begin with.

The virus killing the passengers spreads like wildfire with the passengers dying within 24 hours of contracting it. With so many deaths the passengers demand answers from the captain as well as the doctor, and when their questions go unanswered, some decide to evacuate the ship in the middle of nowhere.

Yes, the dialogue is extremely bad (there are so many editorial mistakes throughout which make it a classic) and really the whole book is nothing but a hot mess. I know it wasn't supposed to be, but, well....

One of the clever ideas with this book is co-author Herbert has drawings scattered throughout depicting various locations of the ship.

If you're looking for a bad, yet fun read that will turn your brain into mush, by all means look for a copy of this book. The cover also announces that this was supposed to be turned into a movie and yes, as of 2010, there is a screenplay.

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