The Oxygen Apocalypse

Fiction - Science Fiction
252 Pages
Reviewed on 02/21/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

My claim to fame is that I rode a bicycle around the world which became the bestselling and award-winning travel memoir Falling Uphill.

Breathless: The Oxygen Apocalypse is my first sci-fi novel. Though the science may be real (the Earth has actually run out of oxygen in the past) and the glimpse into a possible future frightening, the heart of the story is one of inspiration.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Breathless: The Oxygen Apocalypse by Scott Stoll is a dystopian science fiction novel that tells the tale of a terrifying future that might not be too far away. Earth was going through an oxygen apocalypse, and young Mykelti was living it. A Cameroonian immigrant living in Chicago, Mykelti was struggling to find his footing in a world that was riddled with many problems, but on top of it all was an oxygen shortage. After losing everyone he knew and loved, he spent his time trying to bring the oxygen shortage to public attention, but his warnings fell on deaf ears. His saving grace comes in the form of a ragtag group of people with the same aim: to survive long enough for them to be rescued. But will they survive long enough?

I am not much of an apocalypse fan, but when I am promised intrigue and a great plot, I am ready to give anything a chance. Needless to say, I'm glad I gave Breathless a chance because I loved it more than I can put into words. Author Scott Stoll surprised me with his refined narrative style and the depth of his plot. I loved Mykelti and his almost tenacious approach to the situation. He was tired of the situation, but he wanted to survive. He matured very quickly but not quietly. I experienced it along with him. Out of all the other characters, I wasn’t very keen on Eddie or Gregory, but I loved the spunk and spark of Sherbet. She was the life of the story and a perfect complement to Mykelti. The story is divided into four parts, and the author does justice to each of them. I loved the ending and how cathartic it was! It felt like a cleansing of sorts, but very emotional at the same time. The world-building was phenomenal and immersive. I loved this novel and the cover as well. I highly recommend this book!

Asher Syed

Breathless: The Oxygen Apocalypse by Scott Stoll is a dystopian novel that begins with Earth's geological and biological history, incorporating a tragic Cameroon incident and oxygen-related environmental issues. From anaerobic life to oxygen-producing algae, mass extinctions, and the Lake Nyos disaster, recurring themes of oxygen, atmosphere, and human impact surface. Climatologist Mykelti's team discovers alarming data on methane release and diminishing oxygen in Siberia, and a climate change-induced storm sinks a Chinese aircraft carrier. Things quickly go from bad to worse as we follow Mykelti's journey through apocalyptic chaos, supervolcano-triggered superstorms, and a world facing airborne chemical contamination. Relations with his family are equally explosive and devolve alongside the fumbled plans of world agencies, oxygen scarcity, and everyday survival. The outlook for humanity looks mighty grim in the Anthropocene era.

“Be prepared or be dead.” Scott Stoll does a fantastic job of portraying the devastating environmental consequences of human actions that lead to the dystopian world in Breathless. Nothing is left out, although I might have slept better not thinking about a rat population explosion that multiplies by 12 every 60 days, but the novel really gives a realistic portrayal of environmental collapse. Mykelti is a fully fleshed-out, multi-dimensional character that we see go through an evolution of his own as the story progresses. It's incredible what ideological boundaries one is willing to discard when faced with starvation and a feast of meat. He is not perfect, and when we meet his parents, we understand why, but that makes him relatable to a certain extent. The dialogue does occasionally feel heavy-handed, especially in a part that is little more than podcast chatter. However, in a testament to Stoll's skill as a writer, he adeptly explains complex environmental science issues in terms suitable for those of us without a clue and keeps the story moving forward with sweeping twists, turns, and shocking revelations. Very highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Breathless: The Oxygen Apocalypse is a work of fiction penned by author Scott Stoll in the science fiction, dystopia, and thriller subgenres. It is best suited to the older teen and adult reading audiences. Set in the near future, we witness a planet where extensive industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels lead to cataclysmic oxygen depletion, triggering a global crisis. As dead zones proliferate in the oceans and fertile lands become deserts, humanity faces extinction. The novel follows a handful of survivors as they grapple with cooperation and the question of whether humanity is worth saving. What results is a thought-provoking exploration of environmental collapse and human resilience, wrapped up in a fantastic dystopian adventure.

Author Scott Stoll offers readers a sobering and eye-opening experience as his vivid storytelling and compelling narrative draw us into a world on the brink of collapse. I was especially impressed by the atmospheric and detailed descriptions of a destroyed world, forcing the characters to confront the harsh realities of environmental degradation and humanity's role in its downfall. The character development is well balanced to showcase an ensemble of personalities, some more likable than others, but all of whom share in an emotive struggle for survival. There’s a true immersion in this close narrative style that makes you feel as though you’re right there with them, struggling through the extremes and desperate for air. The novel's exploration of themes such as cooperation, survival, and the consequences of industrialization prompts readers to reflect on the urgent need for environmental stewardship and collective action to address climate change. Overall, Breathless is a highly recommended read for those interested in dystopian and science fiction novels that also have a powerfully human touch to them.