An excellent tale of paranoia, fear, and the faults of a media-led over-reactive society.
Something is turning people into wild killer with no warning...moreAn excellent tale of paranoia, fear, and the faults of a media-led over-reactive society.
Something is turning people into wild killer with no warning and no discernable cause. Haters, they have been called. Wives turn on their husbands, children batter their mothers, and complete strangers commit acts of savage murder.
Now look around you. Who is nearby? Who is next to you? In another room? Outside the door? Imagine not knowing if, at any moment, they might suddenly rush at you intent on ending your life. Or maybe you are the Hater. Maybe you will be the one who commits a brutal and unprovoked murder.
This is the word and sense of fear so brilliantly portrayed in David Moody's novel Hater, an excellent and thrilling twist on the zombie/infected genre.(less)
An excellent zombie survival story in a blog/journal style with a believable "everyman" protagonist. Unusually for a zombie novel, I felt immersed in...moreAn excellent zombie survival story in a blog/journal style with a believable "everyman" protagonist. Unusually for a zombie novel, I felt immersed in a dynamic world rather than one that was made up specifically for this story. (less)
A bit hard to read at times and lacking a thread through the chapters, but a personal and touching book that explores the neurology of vision and the...moreA bit hard to read at times and lacking a thread through the chapters, but a personal and touching book that explores the neurology of vision and the personal impact of disorders to vision.(less)
Patient Zero is the first of Maberry's Joe Ledger series. Ledger is an ex-cop who gets recruited into a super-powerful branch of the US military worki...morePatient Zero is the first of Maberry's Joe Ledger series. Ledger is an ex-cop who gets recruited into a super-powerful branch of the US military working to uncover and eliminate a terrorist threat. While many call this a zombie novel, zombies are not the main characters but a plot element. In a market that is saturated with outbreak survival stories this makes Patient Zero a better book.
The plot is engaging enough to keep you reading to see what happens next, and builds in intensity towards the dramatic climax. The action sequences are well written and I found gunfight and melee combat easy to follow whereas in many other books I have found it difficult unless the action is simplified to the point of being boring.
However Patient Zero does suffer a number of flaws that bring it down. The characters are mostly flat with little complexity and very black-or-white to the point of being practically super-villains or super-heroes. This is so pronounced that it makes the story unbelievable and you never feel like the protagonist is in any real danger. If you are looking for an emotional journey this isn't the book for you.
Those criticisms aside, if you are looking for an entertaining action story with a splash of zombies and perhaps the most disturbing female character I've read in a long time, this will be just what you are after. Maberry has said he is writing a follow on sequel to this book (which will actually be book six in the series) and I will give that a go, but I am not enamoured enough to read the intervening five books.(less)
Avoiding spoilers while reviewing the third book in a trilogy that has more twists than a pretzel means that I will be necessarily vague. While Blacko...moreAvoiding spoilers while reviewing the third book in a trilogy that has more twists than a pretzel means that I will be necessarily vague. While Blackout does not have quite as many, nor as mind-blowing, twists as its predecessor, it succeededs nevertheless at being as utterly enthralling and is a fitting conclusion to the story. So much so that I picked up the book late one evening and had finished it's almost six-hundred pages the next day. Conspiracies, zombies, mad scientists, and a world that felt populated and full of depth kept me going page after page.
If I had to pick any criticism of Blackout it would be that it wasn't as emotionally charged as Feed, although that is a little unfair considering what high standards the original book of the series set. My only other complaint is simple: that finishing Blackout means the story is over and I have nothing more to read or look forward to!
If you have read the previous two books I'm sure you will read this conclusion. And you will certainly not be let down! If you haven't...then go read Feed, or at the very least have a read of my review of it and see if I can convince you!(less)
The Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics is a compilation of zombie comics by different authors, some of which (the comics I mean) have previously been publi...moreThe Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics is a compilation of zombie comics by different authors, some of which (the comics I mean) have previously been published elsewhere. The comics vary significantly in length and quality, with the shortest clocking it at just five pages.
Making Amends by Steve Niles and Josh Medors(9 pages) Pariah by Jon Ayre and Iain Laurie (6 pages) In Sickness by Jon Ayre and Stephen Hill (6 pages) Necrotic: Dead Flesh on a Living Body by Buddy Scalera, M. Swank, and Pat Quinn (35 pages) The Immortals by Darko Mecan and Edvin Biukovoc (7 pages) Flight from Earth by Oleg Kozyrev and Roman Surzhenko (13 pages) Amy by Mark Bloodworth, Paul Daly, and Vincent Locke (17 pages) Black Sabbath by Stuart Kerr and Vincent Locke (9 pages) M*A*Z*H by Andrew Davies and Laura Watton (11 pages) Dead Eyes Open by Matthew Shepherd and Roy Boney Jr (143 pages) Might of the Living Dead by Indio (7 pages) Job Satisfaction by Gary Crutchley (5 pages) The Corpse by Askold Akishin (9 pages) The Haunted Ship by Askold Akishin (16 pages) The Zombie by Askold Akishin (13 pages) Pigeons From Hell by Robert E Howard adapted by Scott Hampton (54 pages) Zombie World: Dead End by Stephen Blue (45 pages) "Zombies" by Kieron Gillen and Andy Bloor (7 pages)
A few were of particular note; Pariah plays with the lonliness of outbreak survival.In Sickness which plays with the fear of "Would I know if I was turning?" Dead Eyes Open is a fantastic little story based on the idea of the undead that come back retaining their intelligence and personality, and whether they can ever be accepted into society. Might of the Living Dead is a good introduction to zombies, providing a very brief outline into some common outbreak causes and lamenting the lack of recognition in books and films of their greatest weapon: smell. Finally "Zombies" asks "How far would you go to survive? How much of yourself would you sacrifice?"
All in all a good collection, but not excellent. Of course it is hard to write a good zombie comic in so few pages, which is why it is the ones with interesting twists or different angles that stand out.(less)
Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box is a short story by Mira Grant, possibly more well known for her fantastic zombie Newsflesh trilogy. When a group of...moreApocalypse Scenario #683: The Box is a short story by Mira Grant, possibly more well known for her fantastic zombie Newsflesh trilogy. When a group of friends meet with some beers around a table to play a game they have been playing weekly for fifteen years they have no idea that today the familiar and safe routine will be broken. While this is not a zombie story, a few of the main themes of her other work show clearly here, as does her clever way of taking a story and giving it a twist that makes it even more engrossing. This story will also make you think, and maybe even discuss with your friends. Maybe around a table, with a few beers.(less)
Countdown is a novella set in the universe of Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy, and chronologically occurs before the trilogy although it was released a...moreCountdown is a novella set in the universe of Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy, and chronologically occurs before the trilogy although it was released after the first book, Feed. Countdown explains the cause and spread of the zombie outbreak and provides an introduction and backstory to the parents of two of the protagonists of Feed. Having read Feed first I was glad of this more detailed and more careful explanation of the outbreak, and found Countdown to be a very interesting read. However I did feel that a few things didn't come out as well as they could, particularly the role of Bloggers in the outbreak which is something that is made a huge deal in Newsflesh. Regardless of this Countdown is an excellent novella which can be read on its own, or before or after any of the books in the Newsflesh trilogy.(less)
The Zombie Combat Manual (TZCM) is exactly what it says on the cover, a guide to fighting the undead. However it is also a little more than that, with...moreThe Zombie Combat Manual (TZCM) is exactly what it says on the cover, a guide to fighting the undead. However it is also a little more than that, with "Combat Reports" interspersed through the book Roger Ma gives glimpses into a post-outbreak world and some of the inhabitants that are adjusting to life within it, including a long distance runner, a child psychologist, and a green beret. These stories break up the instructional material and provide examples of both good and bad applications of zombie combat. The meat of the book is made up of the instructional material, which is well thought out, thorough, and well presented with excellent illustrations. Starting by laying out exactly what a zombie is (we're talking Walking Dead zombies here, not 28 Days Later infected), Roger Ma then lays the foundation for the rest of the book by discussing the strengths and weaknesses of zombies and the main areas you should target in your attacks. Unlike many other books TZCM focuses on melee combat and does not delve into ranged combat such as firearms, and it benefits greatly from the space and focus this allows it. There are already plenty of books that cover ranged weapons both zombie related and otherwise and the availability of firearms is not as ubiquitous in all countries as many would seem to think (I can't think how many times a friend of mine has said "My zombie weapon would be a Glock" only to look at me dumbly when I asked where they would actually obtain one). TZCT then covers physical training and conditioning, weapon choice and handling, protective clothing, and finally some actual combat moves appropriate for fighting the undead. There are even two areas covered in TZCM which are often left out of other books - mental health, and protecting children. Roger Ma even coins the acronym PUCT (Post Undead Combat Trauma) to describe the mental damage caused by fighting the undead. There are only two criticisms I can raise against TZCM. The first is the assumption Roger Ma makes that *any* damage to the white matter of the brain is enough to take out a zombie. Given that humans have survived damage to the white matter it seems unlikely that this would be enough to kill a zombie. A little more detail to the anatomy of a zombie would have helped significantly. The second criticism is possibly more damaging - almost the entire book focuses on combat against a single zombie opponent, with only a small section at the end discussing multiple opponents. Considering the main threat of zombies is how they attack as a horde I had hoped for more on this area. Those criticisms aside, TZCM is an excellent zombie survival guide that belongs in the bug-out bag of any zombie survivalist. Even if you have memorised everything that is important in the book, you never know when you may encounter another survivor and you'll both stand a much better chance if they are as clued in as you are! (less)
There are few areas that have yet to be infected by zombies, and haiku may have been one of the last bastions. But that changed once Ryan Mecum got hi...moreThere are few areas that have yet to be infected by zombies, and haiku may have been one of the last bastions. But that changed once Ryan Mecum got his teeth into it! A haiku is a traditional japanese poem which commonly in English has three line consisting of five, seven, then five syllables. With this book the haiku flow from one to the other to tell a story. While this is an interesting use of the format, it does mean that the quality of individual poems is sacrificed somewhat to fit into the story - although there are a few gems in there. The book itself is small but well presented with glossy pages which feature background art, bloodstains, and the occasional blurry polaroid. It is clear that real effort has gone into the presentation of this little book. All in all it's a great idea, well presented, and has the occasional nifty haiku. However do not come to Zombie Haiku expecting a collection of thought-provoking three liners as these poems are designed solely to entertain not to inspire thought.(less)
This is one of the better books about the science behind zombies, although at times I got the impression that the author had read a lot but not fully...moreThis is one of the better books about the science behind zombies, although at times I got the impression that the author had read a lot but not fully understood all of it - scientific mistakes showed up and the book dropped into pseudoscience. However it is fairly well written and while wordier yet less scientific than something like Zombie Science Z1 (I was a little disappointed to have two pages dedicated to describing the entire script of Peter Jackson's Braindead for example) it was certainly more comfortable with knowing who its indended audience is. The book delves into the following areas: Neurobiology and brain function, the feasibility of an all-meat diet, the science of decomposition, sexual and asexual reproduction, the speed of zombies, modelling infection spread and predicting human survival likelihood, the science of sleep, parasites, trauma-induced psychological disorders, how zombies hunt, mutation and radiation, and the practicalities of ballistics and recoil. I was particularly interested to see the section on trauma-induced disorders, which is something that no other zombie book I have read has covered. The section on ballistics and recoil was also very good, detailed enough to be interesting and avoided the common approach of "get the biggest gun you can and mow things down". The second biggest flaw of this book is inherent in the whole zombie genre - contradictions brought about by the different versions of zombies and the scientific evidence that most traditional zombie types could never exist. However instead of openly acknowledging these contradictions and hilighting them, this book seems to dip in and out of either side hoping that you won't notice.(less)
Amazon's Kindle has paved the way for a new era of reading, dominated by digital downloads, instant delivery, and the ability to guiltlessly highlight...moreAmazon's Kindle has paved the way for a new era of reading, dominated by digital downloads, instant delivery, and the ability to guiltlessly highlight and make notes all over your books. But it isn't only changing the way we read, but also the way authors get their manuscripts to us. Cutting out publishing costs and the like, there has been a surge of cheap or even free digital download books, and the zombie genre is absolutely rife with them!
Dropping onto your kindle for an affordable 77p for 170 pages, Ray Week's Eat Me: A Zombie Story Collection is one such budget book, containing seven short stories about life and death with zombies. Most of the stories are different experiences of first attack scenarios and are fairly standard fare. They aren't bad and include an interesting variety of scenarios, but they lack the richness and depth that sets such stories apart from the dime-a-dozen. For someone who doesn't read much zombie fiction they are a good read and will entertain, but if you are a zombie fan you may find it feels a little like treading a familiar path. Additionally Ray Week's overenthusiasm for the crude feels at times unnecessary (which is not a complaint I'd ever expect myself to raise!).
However, Mr. Weeks saves the best for last, and the final story of the collection is by far the most creative, richest, and best written of the set. Whilst I cannot go into any detail without spoiling it, I will say that Survival of the Fittest is worth the price of the download alone. It may not be a literary masterpiece, but the world and the events described will stay in my mind and it was a joy to read.
NB: I have just found out that this is also available on paperback.(less)