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John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars


This is a dystopian novel about life after a pair of worldwide catastrophes, one of which was man-made. Near-future Earth now has 12 continents. America is gone. The vast majority of Earth's population has perished, along with a similar percentage of human knowledge. If a machine stops working, for any reason, it is not used any longer. That is because no one alive knows how to fix the machines, along with having no facilities to make new parts to fix those machines. As far as those still alive are concerned, recorded history began about 60 years previously.
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Susan Krowley, a reporter for The Times (printed twice a month, with a circulation of 5,500), interviews Smith to ask about the Microsoft Wars. Smith feels that she does not have the right frame of reference; it's like Susan was asking to read the last chapter of a mystery novel without reading the rest of the novel. Smith starts by spending a lot of time talking about Atlantis.

It was a very advanced society, the superpower of its day. The elite lived in complete luxury, while lower-class workers kept everything working. As the centuries went on, it became necessary to leave Atlantis before it was destroyed (nuclear explosion?). They took to the water in city-sized submarines (when Smith mentions computers, submarines or the Internet, Susan has no idea what he is talking about). They had mastered the science of human cloning, so a person could live for thousands of years. Their overall influence on very early humanity was huge.

More recently, as the world fell apart, Smith's family built a shelter out of a bank vault. His parents died before they could join him in the shelter, so Smith and his grandfather used it. Grandpa did not survive (there was no possibility of going outside to bury him), so Smith spent his puberty years alone in the shelter with a dead body. His shelter contains racks and racks of DVDs, filled with human knowledge. When his computer stops working, all those DVDs will become worthless, as there will be no way to read them. At the end of the book, Smith finally tells Susan all about the Microsoft Wars (no, they did not try to take over the world).
Best part of story, including ending: It gives a plausible view of Earth after the apocalypse.

Best scene in story: The entire book is in interview format, so I don't have a favorite scene.

Opinion about the main character: Nothing in particular.

The review of this Book prepared by Paul Lappen a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 10%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 30% Tone of book    -   depressing/sad FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   post environmental/nuclear disaster, fighting MadMax gangs

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   scholar Age:    -   60's-90's Really unusual traits?    -   Extremely cynical or arrogant

Setting

Earth setting:    -   near future (later in 21st century) Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   some scientific explanation How much dialogue?    -   mostly dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars

Roland Hughes Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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