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After Earth by Peter David
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345543202
Date: 28 May 2013 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

This is the novelization for the movie After Earth. It provides the story behind the movie. The story begins around a thousand years after humanity is forced to abandon their home world. A generation of travel later they arrive at their new home, Nova Prime. They begin a new life, and all seems well until the S'Krell begin to attack using bioengineered Ursa as weapons against humanity.

The Ursa are killing machines. Although sightless, they are able to track by smell and sound. Once they imprint on a person, they will hunt that person until one of them are dead. Ursa focus most heavily on the scents related to fear. The actions of Ursa are geared to create fear in their prey. With only a few weak points, Ursa are also difficult to kill.

The Rangers were developed to prepare and protect humanity as they left Earth. A thousand years later they are still on the job. The Raige family has a close connection with the Rangers since their creation. Members of the family have led the Rangers off and on through their thousand years of existence. Kitai Raige saw his sister die to protect him. That event has driven him for the last five years. He works to join the Rangers so he can fulfill his legacy. His father, Cypher, is the first human to ghost. Ghosting is the ability to go beyond fear and become invisible to Ursa. Ghosts are able to get closer to go for the kill.

I have not gone to see the movie yet. My impressions are strictly related to the novelization. I was not expecting all of the flashback scenes that tell the history of the Rangers and the Raige family. They were the most interesting part of the story. The action follows Kitai on his quest to save his injured father is still interesting. Although the movie has been panned by critics, I found the novelization to be entertaining. I know there is questionable science, but that doesn't take away from the overall fun and adventure.

The first novelization I ever read was for the original Karate Kid. I also read that before I saw the movie. I was disappointed with the movie because it didn't contain the final scene from the novelization. That scene was the first scene of Karate Kid II.

As a special bonus here, there are three additional short stories that tell about a few of the other ghosts' origins. They were written by Robert Greenberg, Michael Jan Friedman, and Peter David. I know I'll be a little disappointed not being able to see those origin's stories as well.

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