"Part Stephen King, part Suzanne Collins, part Max Brooks, 100% phenomenal!" – David Eastman, author "A gripping tale. Perfectly paced and brilliantly plotted." - Cathy Thompson, author "Stanek's written many good, even great, books. This one's exceptional. Read it!" - Shannon Hale, author "Wonderful action writing. Fast, fun, and smart." - Margaret Brown, author "I can see why Rothfuss doesn't want people to read Stanek. Stanek's a much more capable writer." - Emily Asimov, author "Anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games, World War Z, or The Maze Runner is going to enjoy this book." - Lisa Gardner, author "What an amazing book! Unique and innovative, captivating to the end." - Mary Osborne, author "This one's memorable and fascinating heroine is someone you're going to love as much as Katniss Everdeen." - Sandra Brown, author Our world isn't ours any more. It's theirs. The human survivors lead a hardscrabble life, scavenging what they can from the dead city, waiting and watching. Cedes isn't like Matthew and his regulars. She dreams. She talks. She questions. She wonders why Luke disappeared, where Luke disappeared to. She wants to know what we are to the machines. This is her story. This is our story. This is the story of us, the humans who survive. In the ruins of our world, a new order arose, an order controlled by the very machines humankind created. The end for us came not from a massive global war but from something unthinkable, incomprehensible. The machines simply replaced us and we let them, and so, in the end, humanity went out not with a bang, but with a whimper. No shots fired. No bombs dropped. No cities destroyed. We ended and the machines began—or at least that is what the few human survivors of the machine apocalypse believe. ### To the machines, we became nothing—except maybe outsiders, if they considered us at all. Outsiders looking in on their reality, for the machines weren’t bothered by our existence, or at least, if they were, they weren’t bothered enough to bother us. They certainly didn’t seem to require anything of us or have any need of us at all—if they had needed us, they probably would have enslaved us. But they hadn’t. Enslaved us that is. The machines hadn’t done anything to us really. Except take over the world—and it was their world now. It certainly wasn’t ours. We were outsiders, strangers really. We looked in on their world. They didn’t acknowledge us. They probably didn’t even consider us a part of their world. Just as we didn’t consider the small things that crawled beneath our feet as part of our world. Matthew told us it wasn’t the machines who killed us. Matthew being the only one here now who remembered when we drove the automobiles, flew on the airplanes, and rode on cars behind the locomotives. He said most of us just died. Us being the human race. I didn’t believe that. I believed we died of neglect. The neglect of the machines. The machines who cared not enough to kill or enslave us. Luke would have called it benign neglect. Luke being the one who taught me to read and write my letters and words. He knew all the fancy words. He taught me everything really. He remembered—I didn’t. Don’t, really. These words—his really as much as my own. But Luke was gone. Is gone really, if you don’t mind me slipping into the present. Luke said it’s wrong to slip from past to present or present to past, but I do. The present is—and Luke isn’t. The past was—and sometimes I can see it. ### After the Machines is a story unlike any other you’ve ever read. It’s the story of us, the humans who struggle to survive in a world we no longer control.