Post-apocalypse stories are a dime for several dozen these days, and not much wonder--many who follow the news are convinced we will be there soon, whether it's Revelation's End Times (on the Christian Right) or environmental collapse from global warming (pretty much everybody else). So a story has to stand out to get a nomination. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall is a pretty good example. Each event leading to the catastrophe is pretty well thought out, if presented only at a high level. We have sympathetic characters of various kinds. It reads right along and I "got" it pretty easily, so I enjoyed it very much. Might be my front runner for the Nebula in the Novella category for 2012.
Like On A Red Station, Drifting, I bought this book to give to my local library. And again, while I liked it better, I would have resented paying list price ($14.95) for a book that's about 2 hours of entertainment. Except I got it used for somewhat less. But the idea was certainly worthy of a full length novel. Both her characters and the setting were up to it. On the other hand, working at this shorter length gets her out of having to really grapple with how the Survivors were saved, and what these "alien" beings are. The message scales to the length, I guess. It's not quite profound, and the speculation isn't that realistic, but it's interesting and fun to read. If you can find it at Barnes and Noble you could finish it over coffee and not have to buy it. Or maybe you'll find it at the library. 3 stars.