The novel spans anywhere from three to five years, judging by the fact that a woman gives birth to a child who is asking annoying questions by novel’s end, and in that timeframe Turtledove’s new world becomes much more like Jim Kunstler’s peak-oil world featured in his World Made by Hand Novels and less like our own. This slow transformation takes place in the background, against which characters pursue their own private stories – a serial killer for the lieutenant, escape from the purgatory of Kansas for Vanessa. As with the first novel, the premise and how that shapes the characters’ lives is more interesting than their private lives, with the exceptions of those characters who live outside of California.
Although All Fall Down was entertaining enough that I don't regret reading, I can't say I'd purchase it. It is a step forward in the right direction, and the general premise still holds fascination for me.