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Karen Thompson Walker

Karen Thompson WalkerKaren Thompson Walker was born and raised in San Diego, California, where The Age of Miracles is set. She studied English and creative writing at UCLA, where she wrote for the UCLA Daily Bruin. After college, she worked as a newspaper reporter in the San Diego area before moving to New York City to attend the Columbia University MFA program. A former book editor at Simon & Schuster, she wrote The Age of Miracles in the mornings before work — sometimes while riding the subway. She is the recipient of the 2011 Sirenland Fellowship as well as a Bomb Magazine fiction prize. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

The Age of Miracles: Occasionally won me over

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker, one the surface seems one of a spate in recent years of the “end of days” books, with its premise of an Earth whose rotation suddenly starts to slow, causing worldwide devastation. But it takes a relatively meandering route to its genre, so much so that at times one wonders if the end of the world is really all that big a deal. More YA than adult, more coming-of-age than post-apocalyptic, more quiet domesticity than action-adventure, it’s an interesting take on the end-of-the-world theme, one that succeeds in places, but overall I l... Read More

The Dreamers: Not enough pay-off

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

At a small California college, a strange illness has broken out on one floor of a co-ed dorm. Some of the students have fallen asleep and can’t be woken. Doctors and psychiatrists are baffled. All they know is that these students are dreaming and their brain activity is off the charts.

As the unknown disease keeps spreading, the dorm is quarantined, then the hospital, and eventually the entire college town.

Citizens are panicked as they worry about themselves and their families. It seems like just a matter of time before the whole town is asleep. Some of the quarantined people are visitors and they can’t get out, while family members of the sleeping students and townspeople can’t get in to see their loved ones.

The story focuses on several students, faculty, and residents:

Rebecca, a freshman from a very religious homeschooling family who is... Read More