Arthur Leander is a famous actor who suffers a heart attack and dies on stage just before a deadly version of theThis is one well written apocalypse.
Arthur Leander is a famous actor who suffers a heart attack and dies on stage just before a deadly version of the swine flu kills most of humanity. Station Eleven then uses Arthur as the center of a web of connections that we learn from the people in his life before, during and after the disease wipes out the world as we know it. Kirsten sees Arthur die as a child actor, and years later she’s part of the Traveling Symphony that tours the small towns of the post-apocalyptic landscape. Jeevan is an ex-paparazzo turned paramedic who once stalked Arthur, but he is in the audience when the actor keels over and tries to save his life. Miranda is Arthur’s first wife who could never adjust to the spotlight his fame brought and wrote a comic book about a space station as a hobby. Clark was one of Arthur’s best friends who gets stranded far from home when things really start to fall apart.
The thing that astonishes me most about his is just how deftly Emily St. John Mandel portrays the end of the world. There’s no shortage of post-apocalyptic scenarios out there, but whether the culprits are zombies or nuclear weapons or killer viruses the aftermath is generally as brutal as an ax blow to the face. Mandel writes with such an understated elegance that there’s a dark beauty and grace to her fallen world even as she acknowledges all the hardship and horrors of it.
She also does a masterful job of managing the structure with its shifting third party perspectives at various times. All the links and coincidences could have felt very forced and ultimately pointless, but again it’s her skill at making us interested in all of these people at their various stages of pre and post apocalypse that make it all work so that the connections feel organic and not simply plot points.
While the post-apocalyptic world seems believable for the most part there are some quibbles I could make. Mandel writes this as if a flu with a near 100% mortality rate would essentially wipe out all the accumulated knowledge and technical ability of the survivors and takes everyone back to an almost medieval way of life.
It’s weird that everything has been so ransacked just fifteen years later because the math doesn’t seem right there. If 99% of the US died within days so that there was no prolonged destructive cycle to use up resources, that'd be roughly 3 million people left in a country that had all the crap that 300 million people accumulated. Yet, Kristen is amazed to find a house in the woods that had not been searched where she finds a dress to replace hers that is worn out. Or guns and ammo are portrayed as being increasingly rare even though America has enough guns that each survivor could have about 1000 each. Books also seem to be in short supply as if the libraries were also killed by the flu.
So those would be some serious flaws in the premise if you were judging this solely on criteria like world building (Or world destroying.) and plausibility, but it didn’t lower my opinion much because this just isn’t that kind of book. It’s more interested at exploring human connections as well as providing a reminder that we’re living in an age of unappreciated wonders that is a lot more fragile than we want to admit, and at that Mandel succeeds exceedingly well....more
A bunch of people live in an underground community and those who break the rules are cruelly expelled to their doom? Reality TV producers have to be kA bunch of people live in an underground community and those who break the rules are cruelly expelled to their doom? Reality TV producers have to be kicking themselves for not coming up with this idea themselves.
At an undetermined time in the future, the people of the Silo have lived for generations with only a few dusty camera views to show them the world above ground. After the sheriff steps down from his post in rather dramatic fashion, the mayor and a deputy determine that a mechanic named Juliette is the best candidate to replace him, but her appointment results in a series of events that threaten to expose long kept secrets and tear the Silo apart.
Hugh Howey is one of the biggest success stories in self-publishing, and I understand why after the early chapters do an exceptional job of introducing us to this world. The stairwell is a vertical highway connecting the complex, and journeying from top to bottom is no easy task. Having two characters make the trek in the early part of the book was a great way of giving us a tour of the Silo that established not only how it works logistically, but how it functions as a society. Juliette started out as a very strong character against this vivid background, and Howe sets her up perfectly as the hero to carry the story.
Unfortunately, he seemed to have some problems with what to do after that, and I was slightly let down at where the plot went from there. I can’t say much about that without giving the book away though. (view spoiler)[
I was disappointed that Juliette wasn’t given more to do in the sheriff’s role and as a character overall. In fact, while Bernard made for a great villain with his infuriating arrogance, he was so ahead of Juliette at every turn that it made her disappointingly passive. While she takes plenty of actions during the course of the story, none of them really accomplish anything.
Juliette doesn’t uncover the conspiracy; her friend in IT finds the data that clues her into what’s going on although she does figure out the bit about the suits being deliberately made badly. Before she can really do anything as sheriff she’s almost instantly demoted and sent out to clean and only survives that because her friends swapped the faulty parts of the suit. That kicks off the whole rebellion, but Juliette has no part of it. At the other Silo she spends most of her time trying to get a pump working and almost dies doing so, but again, that doesn’t resolve anything in this story. Finally, in the end, she again almost dies because she accidently tries to save the life of the villain of the story, and we learn that Bernard wasn’t bested because of anything she did, rather it was all done by other people.
Part of this is disconnection is because of the structure of the plot. Sending Juliette out of the Silo automatically cuts her out of the action that takes place for the rest of the story. Her dangers mainly come from her environment, not because of anything connected to the plot although an argument could be made that Howey was trying to put in some kind of theme about her overcoming the elements since she almost dies by earth and air (Surviving the toxins and asphyxiation after being sent out to clean.), water and then fire.
One of her Big Damn Hero moments is supposed to be her rushing up the stairs of the second Silo when she’s completely exhausted because she’s desperate to get back into radio contact with her friends, but what exactly was that going to accomplish even if she had gotten back in touch of them? Essentially the character's major achievement is that she suffers and endures so that she can continue to suffer and endure.
So I found it very disappointing that we had a good character that I wanted to root for as the lead in the story, but she felt removed from the action with little actual impact on the plot. It’s kind of sad that Howey built up such a great sci-fi setting and then pushed the best character away from it to have her explore something similar but decayed and mostly empty.
I was also wishing that the story would have been more than a vast conspiracy storyline. The idea that all the silos were part of some centuries old evil master plan was OK, but I think it would have been far more interesting if the situation in the Silo was the result of internal conflicts that had built up over the decades. Juliette and Bernard at war with each other in the Silo is a story I’m more interested in than just another plot about unspeakable secrets kept from a society. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, Howey created a well written sci-fi tale with an intriguing setting that I was very interested in, but unfortunately, I found the plot and actions taken by the characters far less compelling. I don’t regret reading this, but I probably won’t be checking out the follow-up books to it. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It’s pretty telling that for a long time I was snatching up new Walking Dead collections as soon as they came out, but I read Vol. 17 over a year agoIt’s pretty telling that for a long time I was snatching up new Walking Dead collections as soon as they came out, but I read Vol. 17 over a year ago and didn’t get around to picking this one up until now.
I used to think that the on-going nature of the comics which enabled it to be an endless fall into the depths of despair was one of the selling points for this series. The idea that things could always get worse and then did made it unique. I thought the format really let them explore just how hopeless a zombie apocalypse could be.
However, after watching the show which seems to be loop of frustration occasionally redeemed by a great episode or ‘Holy shit!’ moment, and the last volume which featured an incredibly brutal and graphic death of a major character, Walking Dead finally popped the fuse controlling my taste for exploring just how bad things can get. At this point the on-going nature has started to work against it for me since I saw no end to the carnage and someday it would be just the last two living people on earth fighting over a can of beans right before being eaten by zombies.
So this storyline featuring Negan and his group of Saviors seemed like we’d just be repeating the whole Governor/prison thing, and I wasn’t that interested. However, this collection does a fair job of trying to establish Negan a bit beyond just another crazy war lord of the zombie apocalypse, and the way that Rick is working on a plan that involves other survivor communities seems like it could offer a bit of hope that the characters of Walking Dead are at long last trying to claw their way out of their daily nightmare instead of just surviving it. ...more
I think that one of the bright spots about knowing that an asteroid is going to hit the Earth would be that no one cou(I won this ARC from Goodreads.)
I think that one of the bright spots about knowing that an asteroid is going to hit the Earth would be that no one could ever say again, “Cheer up. It’s not the end of the world!”
There are only a few days left until the hunk of space rock called Maia will collide with the Earth and almost certainly wipe out humanity. Hank Palace, a former police detective, is on one last case of a highly personal nature. He’s trying to track down his rebellious sister Nico who is with a group she claims can stop the asteroid by locating a scientist who is being held as part of some kind of vast conspiracy that is allowing Maia to impact Earth.
With his dog and a talented scrounger he’s not sure he can entirely trust, Hank has made his way through complete anarchy on his way from New England to a police station in small Ohio town where his last clue has led him to believe Nico and her wacky pals are waiting to rendezvous with the scientist. However, when they arrive instead of finding Nico, Hank makes a couple of other shocking discoveries. Can he solve the mystery of his missing sister before time runs out once and for all?
I don’t think I’ve ever done such a 180 on a character like I have on Hank Palace. In The Last Policeman when Maia was six months out and society was still pretty much intact, Hank was an earnest detective whose insistence on doing things by the book and dogged determination at mounting a murder investigation in the face of Armageddon made him seem like his own denial and urge to play cop wasted the time of other people, and wasting someone else’s time seems almost as bad as murder in this scenario. (Now that I’ve read all three books, I’m going to give The Last Policeman an extra star.)
However, in Countdown City when Hank was no longer a cop but still followed an investigation to the bitter end, he seemed more like a guy just trying to cling to some semblance of responsibility and decency even as everyone else was running off to fulfill their bucket list, committing suicide or just going crazy. Here, with only days left Hank still thinks that there’s a proper way to do things, and he continues to take extensive notes when talking to people and walks around a dead body like the CSI guys are going to show up at any moment to process the evidence.
It’s not exactly denial because Hank knows full well what’s coming and that he has very little time to find Nico, but he’s still helpless to resist his compulsion to know every little detail as if he can die satisfied if only he knew the whole story.
Ben Winters also showed a low key strain of creative world ending in how he’s established the way that that things have fallen apart gradually over the course of this trilogy. Hank started out as a patrolman getting to live his dream of being a detective when other cops have started walking off the job and there were still some structure and rules in place. Now that the end is really near, Hank is just another guy wandering through dangerous territory trying to satisfy one last personal quest before the big boom.
This ended up being an exceptionally good story with a great premise that Winters fully delivered on with his flawed but ultimately relatable main character.
One final note, and this is a total spoiler about the ending. (view spoiler)[I also give Winters a lot of credit for actually going ahead and ending the world. With Nico’s story about the scientist in the last book, I was worried that he’d go the route of some kind of conspiracy thriller in which Hank ends up saving the world from Maia or something along those lines. I’m very glad that the whole thing turned out to be a lie and that Hank spent his final hours seeking companionship rather than answers. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I am a weak and cowardly person so if I knew that he world was about to end, I’d probably spend my final moments just crying, cursing the universe andI am a weak and cowardly person so if I knew that he world was about to end, I’d probably spend my final moments just crying, cursing the universe and generally acting like Bill Paxton in Aliens. "Game over, man! Game over!"
Hank Palace is better man than I am, or at least he’s able to divert himself from the upcoming apocalypse by playing detective. In The Last Policeman, Earth had learned that a giant asteroid was coming to send humanity out the same way the dinosaurs bought it. Hank was a young police officer in New Hampshire who had gotten promoted when large numbers of cops had wandered away to go ‘bucket list’. Law and order were being maintained by automatic jail sentences that would put anyone in a cell into the end of the world, but there were serious cracks starting to appear in society.
Countdown City picks up Hank’s story with only 77 days left before the asteroid hits, and the decline of civilization has accelerated. Hank and the other detectives have all been fired as the police are only being used as a show of force on the streets to keep things from falling totally apart. An old friend contacts Hank to ask him to find her husband Brett who has gone missing. With everyone going bucket list to spend their final days fulfilling their dreams, it would seem that Brett just took as so many others have, but Brett was a former state policeman known for his honorable nature so abandoning his wife doesn't seem like his style. Hank is also worried about his sister Nico who has gotten involved with a fringe radical group that thinks there’s some vast government conspiracy involving the asteroid.
The Last Policemen had a great concept, but I found Hank kind of irritating. It’s obvious that since being a detective had always been his dream that he was fulfilling his own bucket list by playing cop, and his rule-abiding nature seemed silly with the end near. Plus, he appeared to have no self-awareness or guilt about how his actions wasted the precious time of others or caused them even worse repercussions. It wasn’t really clear if Winters was trying to portray Hank as a hero doing his job until the bitter end or if he was meant to be seen as this desperate guy using a murder investigation to avoid dealing with what was coming.
That comes more into focus in Countdown City because Hank has no authority. He can only waste his own time, and if that’s how he chooses to spend the last days, then so be it. Plus, he gets called out multiple time by others who question the idea of chasing a missing husband when the world is going to end in less than 3 months. Even though Hank continues to push things long past a point when most of us would in similar circumstances, he comes across as more tragic and helpless to resist his impulse to find answers. When confronted when some harsh truths, Hank finally does acknowledge reality and starts facing up to it.
Winters has done a nice job in these two books of building a believable scenario of what would happen if everyone on Earth knew that the end was coming, and I particularly like how the breakdown started on low heat in the first book and comes to a boil in this one. I’m very much looking forward to the third book and seeing how Winters wraps this story up....more
Rick’s group of survivors thought that their recent success in wiping out a huge herd of zombies along with finding that there were other communitiesRick’s group of survivors thought that their recent success in wiping out a huge herd of zombies along with finding that there were other communities nearby that they could start trading with had provided the first rays of sunshine in the long dark night that is The Walking Dead.
However, long time readers shouldn’t be surprised that was just writer Robert Kirkman setting us up like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to kick. If you’re familiar with this series and still ended up flat on your back after he yanked the ball away, you got nobody to blame but yourself.
Following the classic lesson of George Romero, Kirkman again demonstrates that while zombies may be dangerous, it’s other people that are really terrifying. When Rick learned that the neighboring community had problems with a group called the Saviors, he thought that his battle-tested crew of crusty veterans was more than a match for some gang working a post-apocalyptic version of the protection racket. Unfortunately, Rick is wrong.
So very, very wrong.
The Saviors turn out to have a lot more members than anyone knew about, and their leader, Negan, is a vicious bastard who will make Rick wistfully think about the good ole days when he only had to deal with the Governor.
Seriously, (view spoiler)[ the scene where Rick and the others are helpless to do anything but watch as poor Glenn is beaten to death by Negan with a baseball bat was as hard to read as anything done yet in this series. And that’s saying something. (hide spoiler)]
So once again all is lost, and if you think it might get better soon, the next collection will be titled Abandon All Hope.* You know, just in case you hadn’t already…
*(I learned that they've changed the title of the next volume to What Comes After and ruined my joke. Thanks for nothing, Kirkman!)
Also posted at Kemper's Book Blog.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It’s like all the best parts of The Road, The Walking Dead and Winter’s Bone.
Temple is a fifteen year old girl who has grown up in the ruins of AmeriIt’s like all the best parts of The Road, The Walking Dead and Winter’s Bone.
Temple is a fifteen year old girl who has grown up in the ruins of America following the zombie apocalypse. She wanders the remains like a post-apocalyptic tourist looking at the wonders created by a 'slick god' and encountering a variety of people along the way. Supremely capable and confident, Temple has little problem surviving and dispatching the 'meatskins' she runs across, but she winds up with a determined killer on her trail.
This is one of those books that fuses genre with literature, and it’s one of the best I’ve read that’s attempted that trick. Incredible writing not only establishes a completely new society and an unforgettable heroine as well as a rich supporting cast that’s well-plotted, it’s also all done is less than 250 pages. I got way more out this than the hundreds of pages of Justin Cronin’s bloated version of a monster apocalypse or Mira Grant’s overstuffed and repetitive take on the aftermath of a zombie uprising.
I found it a bit unbelievable that over a decade after the zombies took over that Temple can still find edible supplies in convenience stores and working cars so easily. Also, (view spoiler)[ I could have lived without the mutant inbred redneck clan. Zombies and dangerous humans were enough of a threat. This came close to pushing a story that had seemed incredibly realistic into horror movie territory. (hide spoiler)]
These are relatively minor gripes about a haunting story that’s going to stick with me. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(I originally rated this three stars but after completing the entire trilogy and getting a much better idea about the character of Hank Palace, I've b(I originally rated this three stars but after completing the entire trilogy and getting a much better idea about the character of Hank Palace, I've boosted it to four.)
Three men are playing cards when someone runs up and tells them that the world is ending. The first man says, “I’m going to go pray.” The second man says, “I’m going to get drunk and sleep with six whores. The third man says, “I will finish the game.”
I learned that little parable from Young Guns 2, and I kept thinking about it while reading this. It seems like you’d want to be the kind of person who would finish the game, but what if that meant everyone else has to keep going too so that they get stuck spending their last moments playing cards? Then that guy is kind of an asshole, and that’s the way I felt about Detective Hank Palace.
A giant asteroid named Maia is going to hit the Earth in about six months, and no one will survive the initial impact or the global after effects. Law and order still prevail, but the cracks are starting to show as cell phone networks are getting spotty and the Internet is failing. One of the biggest problems is that many people have ‘gone bucket list’ and are walking away from jobs to live out their dreams.
Hank Palace benefits from this because the numerous openings in the police department of Concord New Hampshire get him moved from a patrol officer with a year’s experience to detective which is what he’s always wanted to be. Unfortunately for him, the other cops in his squad have mentally checked out and most of the police work consists of cutting down the people who have hung themselves. When Hank is working what looks like another routine case of suicide in a fast food joint's restroom, he sees some oddities that make him think it’s a homicide, but no one except him seems to care.
This is a helluva an intriguing concept. I particularly liked how the fabric of society is portrayed as starting to fray at the edges. Most people who are working are doing so only because they need money to live until Maia hits so motivations levels are pretty low. One especially clever touch is that the US government has enacted emergency laws that allows citizens to be jailed without trial for minor offenses, and this means that getting arrested is essentially a death sentence since you’ll be held in a cell until the big boom. So while there is some black market stuff going on, the criminals are terrified of getting caught, and this has kept a lid on illegal activity.
The thing that dragged this story down for me was the character of Hank. He’s an earnest rule abider and eager young detective at a point where the rules don’t matter much and nobody really wants to investigate anything. He’s determined to finish the game, and that should make him admirable. The problem is that Hank’s dream was always to be a detective which means that he is living out his personal bucket list instead of seeming noble by carrying on with his duty. It’s also his way of avoiding dealing with the impending doom, and he never sees the irony when he repeatedly says, “A man is dead.” as a justification for his insistence on pushing the investigation when no one else cares.
And I gotta say, I’m kind of on the side of the other people in this book. Hank is oblivious to the impact his investigation has on anyone else. When he demands an autopsy, the coroner coldly tells him that she’s missing her daughter’s music recital to do it and asks him if he knows how many more recitals she’ll get to see. But Hank doesn’t care. A man is dead slightly ahead of the rest of the human race, and he’s determined to find out who did it even if he wastes the precious time of other people. To me, the cost was too high. (view spoiler)[Particularly bad is when Hank demands that the dead man’s boss requests some missing records from the home office even when the man tearfully tells Hank that it will mean the loss of his job, and he has no savings so he and his wife will have no means of support until the end. Hank still insists, and coldly dismisses the man’s breakdown as someone using Maia as an excuse for poor behavior. As predicted, the man loses his job because of this, and it turns out Hank didn’t even need the records after all. But Hank could care less that someone will spend their final months in poverty because of him. (hide spoiler)]
This could have been interesting if Hank was played up as more of an obsessive jerk, and while there are a few moments like that, it still feels like the author was trying to say that Hank is the hero while everyone else is letting a little thing like the coming apocalypse turn them into a bunch of slackers
This was a great concept with an interesting angle on an end of the world story, but my dislike of the main character soured me quite a bit. I’m on the fence as to whether I’ll read the rest of the trilogy.
Also posted at Shelf Inflicted.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
What’s this? Faint signs of hope? A small sliver of optimism in a world filled with death and despair? I must have picked up the wrong book. This can’What’s this? Faint signs of hope? A small sliver of optimism in a world filled with death and despair? I must have picked up the wrong book. This can’t be a Walking Dead collection. Let me check the cover….. Huh. I’ll be damned.
Rick and the small community of people who have managed to avoid becoming zombie chow are trying to find enough food to survive a winter and keep the undead from bunching up at their walls when a stranger shows up. The guy looks like Jesus and has the fighting skills of the X-Men’s Gambit, and he’s got a story that seems too good to be true.
Jesus Gambit claims to be the representative of a community of over two hundred people who have carved out a safe zone and trades with other communities in the area, and he wants Rick’s people to join in. Since Rick has had some pretty shitty luck with strangers, he is more than wary of Jesus Gambit’s offer. In fact, some worry that Rick’s suspicion is going to cause Jesus Gambit’s people to not work with them.
In a normal Walking Dead story, everything should go to hell with lots of people getting dead, and Rick ending up in ever more desperate circumstances. But there’s a change in this that could be the beginning of a new phase where Rick and company begin to build a new world rather than just try to survive the wreckage of the old one.
Or Kirkman could just pull the rug out from under them and have a whole bunch of them eaten by zombies or murdered or raped or have their limbs chopped off, etc. etc.
Looking back at it, I’m not even sure why I read this book. The Passage left so little impression on me that I remembered almost nothing about it andLooking back at it, I’m not even sure why I read this book. The Passage left so little impression on me that I remembered almost nothing about it and could barely muster the energy to look on-line for a summary of it. So why read another 500 pages of that story? Maybe it was the hype? Or because I’m such a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories?
Actually, I now think that these books are like one of those B-level restaurants that you end up eating at all the time, but you don’t really know why. The food is just OK and the price is right and it’s close to your house and you never got a nasty case of the screaming greasies after eating there, but it’s not a place you’d recommend to any of your friends or pass up a decent frozen pizza for a meal there. Much like one of these middle-of-the-road restaurants provides gut pack for your belly, these books are gut pack for the mind. It’s not terrible, but you can think of a lot better options.
Which is weird because it’s a horror novel going for epic scale with no shortage of blood and monsters so you’d think it’d elicit some kind of response. Instead it just kept reminding me of other things I liked more. A post-apocalyptic world with a huge battle between good and evil is more satisfying in The Stand. Playing with the idea of different strains of vampires is done much better in Scott Snyder’s American Vampire comics. The crazy vampire lady concept was a lot more fun when Drusilla did it in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Blade wielding Alicia certainly resembles Alice in the Resident Evil films. (You know a book isn’t entertaining you much when you start daydreaming about watching Resident Evil movies instead of reading it.)
I don’t know if it’s because of his background writing the Serious Lit-A-Chur (I haven’t read any of his other books.), but it felt like Cronin glumly slogged through this and that his pulse rate never jumped once. If you’re going to write a post-apocalyptic novel, there needs to be a certain amount of inappropriate excitement involved. I read something by Stephen King once where he talked about taking grim satisfaction in destroying the world in The Stand and when you read that, you can feel the dark glee he took in just smashing the whole thing. Cronin just doesn't seem like he’s that into it. Why bother writing the end of civilization if you’re not gonna have some fun with it?
Part of the problem may be that Cronin skips over that phase for the most part. He showed us the beginnings of the vampire plague but then jumped forward by decades so we never really got to see things come undone. I think it’s telling that the part I enjoyed the most in both books was the glimpse we got of the world going belly up during the outbreak with Kittridge, Danny the autistic bus driver and all the others. That’s the one part of the book where the characters seemed distinctly different from one another and where there’s some real passion flowing. Even though I found the character of Lila extremely annoying because a pregnant surgeon who avoids dealing the with the on-going apocalypse by going crazy town banana pants and acting like nothing is wrong should be the first one to get her blood drained, at least she evoked some kind of reaction from me. Whereas the other characters in the book were essentially a big shrug.
This book is such a yawn that I had a hard time deciding on whether to give it 2 or 3 stars. I finally decided that giving it 2 stars would actually mean that I cared enough to downgrade it. But I don’t. This thing is the epitome of average so 3 stars it is....more
This may be a case where the filmed adaptation of material is influencing my opinion of something I read. In this case, that’s not a good thing.
I’ve bThis may be a case where the filmed adaptation of material is influencing my opinion of something I read. In this case, that’s not a good thing.
I’ve been a big fan of The Walking Dead for several years now, but it’s always had its flaws like clunky dialogue and characters spouting off long speeches about what they are feeling rather than letting the story or the art do some of the heaving lifting. I’ve been willing to overlook that because I was impressed with the way that Kirkman’s on-going zombie apocalypse was willing to explore the limits of what people will do to survive and what that costs them in the long run.
However, while watching the TV version of the story, I’ve found myself beyond irritated. The show can be occasionally brilliant, but it’s also prone to long boring patches that consist of characters rehashing old concerns and arguments over and over. (The show also has the bad habit of having its characters behave like total morons and do unbelievably stupid things just to advance the plot, but that’s another issue.)
This one mainly concerns the aftermath of a massive battle in the last volume. For the first time, Rick and the others managed to make a stand and protect a fortified position against a huge herd of zombies. Rick now thinks that that the only way to guarantee safety is to work as a community. (Wait, a bunch of people working together for a mutual goal to protect the welfare of all? That sounds like socialism to me. A real American would rather get his brain chewed by zombies!)
While it seems like we’ve maybe hit a big turning point in the series with Rick now trying to develop a long range plan to protect and grow their town, this volume is a lotta talk and not much action. The series has always featured interludes that usually lead to an acceleration of their descent into the depths of hell, but this one seems exceptionally slow and repetitive in a lot of ways. I think that’s because the memory of the long boring time on the farm in the second season is still fresh in my mind.
Also, (view spoiler)[ I really don’t buy that Carl could still be alive after getting half his head blown off. This is the second time that he’s been shot by accident so that idea seems about as fresh as a decaying zombie. (hide spoiler)]
Hopefully, Kirkman will come up with something terrible to inflict on his characters in the next one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Millions of people vanish in the blink of an eye leaving everyone left on Earth feeling like God just told them, “It’s not you, it’s me….”
It’s been thMillions of people vanish in the blink of an eye leaving everyone left on Earth feeling like God just told them, “It’s not you, it’s me….”
It’s been three years since the Sudden Departure, and the mayor of Mapleton, Kevin Garvey, is trying to get the town back to a feeling of normalcy. However, Kevin’s family was profoundly impacted by the disappearances. His wife Laurie has left him to join a cult of white-clad chain smokers called the Guilty Remnant who silently stalk people while son Tom dropped out of college to follow a man called Holy Wayne who offers hugs as comfort. Kevin is left with his teenage daughter Jill and her best friend who has moved in with them to get away from the creepy stepfather she was left with when her mom went poof. The girls are blowing off class to get drunk and high at parties that seem more depressing than fun. Another key figure in Mapleton is Nora Durst whose husband and two children vanished, and she’s been made a reluctant symbol of the mass loss.
While there are no definite answers as to what exactly happened to the missing people; the implication is that most of them believe deep down that this was a religious judgment of some kind. However, while it seems to fit the template of the Christian Rapture, people of all faiths from all over the world were taken while some hard core believers were not, and those who vanished were seemingly just as flawed in their lives as those who remain. So those left behind walk around feeling like they were judged and found wanting. Even worse is that since they don’t know what the criteria was, there’s no way to know why they didn't make the cut.
The real bitch of this is because these people have realized that the biggest event in human history occurred, and they were left out of it. Now they’re supposed to…..what? Go to work? Study for a test? Join a cult? Start a softball league?
There’s an unspoken belief among them that the real story is taking place with the people who departed, and the ones left are just a minor footnote at best. That’s the creepy vibe that haunts the book and makes the idea really work. There aren’t any huge apocalyptic battles to fight or horrors to endure, just that feeling that they’ve been abandoned and not knowing how to react to it. Can any of them find a reason to go on? Is it even worth trying?
I read this after seeing the TV series on HBO which I found disturbing on a lot of levels. While the basic plot and most of the characters are the same, the show seems to be hinting that there is still something looming, that this was just the first act which makes sense since most of the book's plot was used in the first season so it needs more story to tell. That gives the show a different spin because there’s more rage and craziness while the book is more about quiet despair....more
When the zombie apocalypse comes there’ll be a lot of inconveniences. The breakdown of society, lack of electrical power, no hot showers and undead caWhen the zombie apocalypse comes there’ll be a lot of inconveniences. The breakdown of society, lack of electrical power, no hot showers and undead cannibals trying to eat your brains will definitely suck, but I always figured that the trade-off was that at least there’d be no more paying bills, standing in line at the DMV or having to tolerate corporate buzz words and slogans.
But in Zone One not only are there plenty of zombies, there’s still silly bureaucratic rules and paperwork as well as a government more concerned with public perception than in actually accomplishing anything. It’s like the worst of everything.
Mark Spitz (a nickname explained late in the book) was completely average and his only real talent seemed to be a knack for coasting through life with a minimum of fuss. Once the zombie apocalypse comes, Mark Spitz’s ability to get by served him well and allowed him to escape the initial zombie outbreak and survive in the aftermath.
Now Mark Spitz is one of the sweepers assigned to clean-up Manhattan. The surviving government in Buffalo sent the Marines through to kill the most vicious zombies, but there’s a remaining element of ‘stragglers’, about 1% of the undead who just return to old homes or jobs and seem vapor locked there as they mindlessly watch blank tv screens or punch buttons on dead copy machines.
Buffalo has rebranded the refugee camps of survivors with names like Happy Acres and has a plan to clear and repopulate New York. As Mark Spitz spends his days popping and dropping stragglers, he reflects on his aimless days before the zombie outbreak on Last Night and his time as a wandering refugee before he was found by Buffalo’s army.
This is the first book I’m aware of that tries to do the zombie genre as Very Serious Literature. (No, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies doesn’t count.) Overall, it succeeds remarkably well. Mark Spitz’s reflections on pre and post zombie life are intriguing and his melancholy drifting through his days cleaning out Manhattan have the feel of a guy eulogizing an entire world. My only complaint is that the memories and current events sometimes get so tangled that it made it a tad confusing at times to figure out where we were in the story of Mark Spitz.
On the zombie front, Whitehead delivers some tense and horrific action in the encounters with the undead. (In fact, Whitehead delivered more zombie fightin’ action and detailed descriptions of the walking dead in 240 pages than Mira Grant has in her two 500+ page horror genre novels. Read this and take notes, Mira.)
I especially liked the idea that the government in Buffalo has started doing asinine things like issuing orders against the sweepers doing more property damage than necessary while clearing buildings and prohibiting looting while also issuing pamphlets about the dangers of zombie post-traumatic stress disorder. It seems kind of insane at first but after thinking about it a while, I came to the conclusion that it was highly likely that the political image consultants and corporate marketing whizzes would probably, like cockroaches, be the ones to survive a zombie apocalypse and promptly start trying to rebuild the world the only way they know how, conning people into doing shit even if it flies in the face of common sense.
Great book that elevates the entire horror genre. It doesn’t take the #1 spot from my favorite zombie novel, World War Z but I think it’s got a lock on the #2 spot for now. ...more
When civilization finally does collapse and I’m left in the post-apocalyptic wasteland scrounging for weapons, books and tacos, I’m going to be one ofWhen civilization finally does collapse and I’m left in the post-apocalyptic wasteland scrounging for weapons, books and tacos, I’m going to be one of those loner types like Mad Max. No joining up with up roving marauders or settling into some fortified compound for me. That’s because The Walking Dead has taught me one sure rule: Being surrounded by decaying cannibal zombies in the ruins of society may suck but normal people suck even more.
Rick and his crew have found a small community that has managed to secure themselves from the zombie hordes and live in a somewhat normal fashion. However, their time battling the undead and various human scum has taken a heavy toll on Rick. He’s had to do so many terrible things to survive that he’s fallen into the trap of thinking that he’s the only one capable of making the hard choices needed. So his uneasiness and lack of trust in their new community pushes him to steal and hide weapons as well as deal with an abusive husband on his own terms. Is Rick right to mistrust the people in their new home? Or has he become a paranoid nutjob unable to live among people?
Another solid entry in the The Walking Dead series, and it got me geeked up for the return of the AMC show later this year. But while it’s an intriguing new twist on the series, this one had the feel up of being mostly set-up for later stories. ...more
When I read and reviewed The Strain, I took some easy potshots at Twilight and credited Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan with trying to rescue vampiWhen I read and reviewed The Strain, I took some easy potshots at Twilight and credited Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan with trying to rescue vampires from the clutches of teenage girls and turn them into monsters again. However, the book didn’t wow me, and I was hoping that the next one would be an improvement. After reading The Fall, I’m even less wowed and realize that a book can be much better than Twilight and still be very ‘meh’.
So you’ve got a brand of vampires that are part virus/part parasitic blood worms with a master vamp who has a plan to bring out about a bloodsucking apocalypse. The Master has been working with this evil old rich bastard who is kind of a hybrid of Dick Cheney and Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Together, they’ve got a chokehold on the government and media as well as a rapidly growing army of bloodsuckers.
And in this corner, you’ve got the standard pack of adventure horror good guys ready to do battle. There’s the heroic doctor with a failed marriage and a drinking problem to overcome along with his pretty co-worker. I know you’ll be shocked when I tell you that they’re a bit attracted to each other. The doctor also has a teen-age son who is such a ball of fire that all he wants to do is listen to his iPod while the vampires are munching people outside. There’s the standard Van Helsing-type old man who has been hunting vamps for years and instructs the others. You've also got a Hispanic street hustler who forges a gang alliance based on vampire killing. Throw in a pest control expert and a former Mexican wrestling star, and you’ve got your motley crew ready to do battle with the undead.
I’ve liked several of Del Toro’s movies, and I was impressed with Hogan’s work in The Town. But despite a large scale story about a vampire apocalypse going on with tons of action, the whole thing seems curiously listless to me. It just never comes alive and gets me wrapped up in the story.
Part of the problem is that the whole thing feels like a collection of things I’ve seen before. Del Toro has felt free to swipe whole sections of his own movies like Mimic and Blade II with the descriptions of underground New York and the nature of the vampires. Plus, Joss Whedon used the Master concept and name for his main vampire villain on the first season of Buffy. And having one of the primary villains be a rich old guy selling out humanity for immortality doesn’t seem particularly fresh either.
Sadly, instead of trying to build up any true horror by creating characters you care about and then having bad things happen to them, the book just throws vamp attack after vamp attack at these cardboard cutout heroes and then tries to milk a little sentiment with a few dead-wives-turned-bloodsuckers sprinkled in. I almost think that Del Toro just grabbed some old storyboards from some of his movies, threw them to Chuck Hogan and said, “Just write that up. We’ll make a fortune.!”
It’s not a terrible book. I’ve certainly read far worse. But I was expecting a lot more from two talented guys and so far it seems like they’ve just been going through the motions. ...more
I gotta be honest. I’m absolutely terrified about the upcoming AMC series based on these Walking Dead comics.
I’m not scared of the zombies. It’s the iI gotta be honest. I’m absolutely terrified about the upcoming AMC series based on these Walking Dead comics.
I’m not scared of the zombies. It’s the idea that Frank Darabont is doing the show. Sure, to most people he’s the guy who had Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman get busy livin’ instead of gettin’ busy dying in Shawshank Redemption. Or he’s the guy who directed Tom Hanks getting choked up as he was about to roll on two in The Green Mile. But to me, Darabont is the twisted bastard who came up with that shattering conclusion to yet another Stephen King adaptation, The Mist. (I’ve read that King told Darabont that he wouldn’t have had the balls to write that ending even if he would have thought of it.)
So I shudder to think what’s going to happen when Darabont teams up with another guy who is more than willing to do the unthinkable in his stories, Robert Kirkman. Seriously, I think the two of them may be able to create a vortex of soul-crushing horror that will cause every single person on the planet to lose their will to live.
But it’ll probably be a great show.
In the first volume of The Walking Dead, Kirkman wrote an introduction where he explained that he wanted to do a comic about zombies because whenever he saw a movie about a zombie apocalypse, he always wanted to see what happened next after the credits rolled. He explained that the comics would be a chance to do an almost endless series of post-apocalyptic zombie stories.
While he’s gotten his wish and done a brilliant job, he’s also tapped into something else. Usually, a horror story ends after a single book, film or a show. Yes, there could be sequels, but by and large, even in the really dark stuff, there’s always an END to it. Even if all the stupid teenagers get chainsaw massacred, they were dead and the movie is over.
With the comics, Kirkman’s writing makes you really care about the characters. His willingness to go to the really dark places and subject the characters you like to a variety of physical and psychological horrors gives the comics their dark and gritty flavor.
But it’s because there isn’t an ending that The Walking Dead really gets under your skin after a while. Because after all the evil shit that’s happened to the survivors, it just keeps getting worse. By surviving, they have to endure. And enduring means waking up in the same horror show day after day. What Kirkman has done is to bring an overwhelming feeling of dread into these comics because at this point, no matter how shitty things are, we know that it can always get worse. Which is exactly what it will be like when the zombies have taken over.
It’s hard to read in a black-and-white comic. I don’t know if I’m going to handle seeing what another guy who has shown he’s willing to push at the same limits will be able to do in live action color. And oh, yeah. It’s going to premiere on Halloween night.
Good afternoon. This is Wolf Blitzer from CNN’s The Situation Room, the program that tries to make viewers think that you’re seeing the busy hub of teGood afternoon. This is Wolf Blitzer from CNN’s The Situation Room, the program that tries to make viewers think that you’re seeing the busy hub of television journalism instead of admitting that despite our high-tech looking set and satellite feeds, you’d probably learn more about what’s actually going on in the world by looking out your window.
We turn our focus now to growing rumors that the U.S. Army is conducting secret medical experiments on American soil. The bizarre claims seem like something out of a Stephen King novel, yet despite repeated denials by the Defense Department, the stories continue to grow and documents posted on WikiLeaks seem to support some of this.
Is this just an urban myth gaining popularity thanks to the internet, or is there something to these rumors? Joining me now via satellite from his office is Major John Smith, a spokesman from the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Major, thanks for joining us.
Major John Smith: Thanks for having me.
Wolf Blitzer: So I’m sure you’re aware of these persistent stories circulating, Major.
MJS: *laughs* Yes, they’re keeping my office quite busy.
WB: And the Army’s position is that they’re absolutely unfounded?
MJS: Of course. Frankly, Wolf, I’m surprised we even have to bother discussing this. It’s obviously the work of internet hoaxsters.
WB: But what about the documentation that’s leaked out?
MJS: They are clearly forgeries. Have you read this stuff? Secret bases on U.S. soil? Convicted felons recruited and used for guinea pigs for drug trials to extend human life? Vampire-like creatures that have some kind of telepathic connection and cause bad dreams? I think someone just posted an old X-Files script. I find it sad that Americans are wasting time on this nonsense.
WB: It does seem outlandish, but let’s talk a few specifics. The documents mention a Project Noah that the USAMRIID is running. And there are line items in the USAMRIID budget for a Project Noah for a significant amount of money.
MJS: I can confirm that there is a Project Noah, and while it’s top-secret, I have been authorized to disclose that it involves research into cutting edge medical technologies that could be used to save more lives on the battlefield. That’s all I can say about it. But it’s obvious that these conspiracy theorists just took a real project name and used it for their own purposes.
WB: So there never was a research team funded by USAMRIID that was slaughtered in the jungles of Central America while seeking a virus sample that could greatly boost human healing abilities?
MJS: Of course not. Unfortunately, we did have a team in that area that was researching a botany project, and they did sustain casualties after accidentally coming across some local drug runners, but that’s all it was.
WB: And the USAMRID does not have government agents recruiting death row prisoners to be the subjects of experimental drug trials?
MJS: Again, that’s ridiculous.
WB: So where have these prisoners gone, Major?
MJS: Considering they were death row inmates, I think it’s safe to say they got executed.
WB: I assume you’ll also deny the existence of this secret lab, hidden somewhere underground in the Rocky Mountains?
WB: What about reports from Telluride, Colorado, of citizens having the same nightmares and behaving strangely?
MJS: Complete nonsense. I’m based in Telluride myself, and I sleep just fine.
WB: One last question, Major. A new wave of rumors regarding a small girl in Memphis being abducted by government agents have begun circulating today. Any comment?
MJS: The idea that the US Army had anything to do with abducting children is absurd, Wolf. Think about these stories. Does it really seem possible that the U.S. government has a secret base in Colorado where we’re experimenting with a virus on convicts and small children that turns them into some kind of Dracula-type creature with the ability to invade dreams and brainwash people. Seriously, what’s next? I’m sure the people who believe that will tell you that it’s inevitable that some kind of accident will unleash the virus on an unsuspecting public, and that the country will be consumed by a plague of these creatures until civilization is completely destroyed. And then what? Maybe a small handful of survivors will manage to establish a safe zone and a new type of society? Oh, and a couple of generations down the line, like a hundred years from now, a few of these survivors will embark on an odyssey to find the truth in a post-apocalyptic landscape? Does that really seem likely, Wolf?
WB: *chuckles* When you put it that way, Major, it does seem pretty far fetched….
(Crashing noises and screams are heard.)
WB: Major, what’s happened? Are you alright?
MJS: Ugh.. I’m perfectly…Arr… fine, Wolf. Ow! Just..uh… just dropped a glass. Arrgh..
WM: Major, I don’t mean to argue with you, but it seems like some kind of horrible vampire-like creature has just burst into your office and is biting you.
MJS: That’s…UHH…totally ridiculous…. Oh, shit!…. Ow… This is … arrr… my assistant…. EH!.. He just has….owwww.. low blood sugar. Arrrghh…
WB: Well, you’re obviously busy, Major. We’ll let you go now. Thanks for your time.
MJS: My plesur… OWWWW!… HOLY JESUS SOMEBODY SHOOT THIS GODDAMN…..
WB: It appears we lost the link. So did we just see a US Army major get his face gnawed off by a vampire-like creature that he had just finished denying the existence of? Or is this just another internet hoax? We may never know. Up next, global warming critics continue to say that the whole thing is a liberal lie. ...more
A decent collection of zombie stories with a lot of variation from the usual George Romero-style zombie apocalypse. Stand outs include Joe Hill’s storA decent collection of zombie stories with a lot of variation from the usual George Romero-style zombie apocalypse. Stand outs include Joe Hill’s story told as a collection of Tweets from a bored teen-age girl on a family vacation that includes attending a zombie circus and Jonathan Maberry’s touching Family Business. Surprisingly, Joe Lansdale’s contribution isn’t really a zombie story at all so it seems a bit out of place despite being one of the better tales included. ...more
AMC is adapting The Walking Dead into a television series, and as a big fan of these comics, I was initially very excited about the idea. But after reAMC is adapting The Walking Dead into a television series, and as a big fan of these comics, I was initially very excited about the idea. But after reading this latest volume, I’m starting to dread it. Because it’s hard enough reading about the horror and misery that sadist Robert Kirkman has heaped on these characters, but if the series is half as good as the books, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to take watching some of this stuff play out in live-action.
Things aren’t getting any better for Rick and his crew of zombie apocalypse survivors. Just when you think things can’t any worse or more soul crushing for the gang, Kirkman comes up with all kinds fresh hell to inflict on them.
All joking aside, this is what makes this series so great and unique. By using the concept of a zombie apocalypse in an on-going series, Kirkman has been able to develop realistic characters and give depth to the hellish portrayal of survival in the face of unrelenting horror.
Must reading for any zombie or serious horror fans. Be warned, just because this a zombie comic, don’t think that it’s just light genre entertainment. There is some seriously dark and twisted shit going on here. ...more
The good news is that Charlie Huston has finally started using quotation marks instead of the annoying and cI have good news, and I have better news.
The good news is that Charlie Huston has finally started using quotation marks instead of the annoying and confusing dashes before dialogue. Granted, he still isn’t using ‘he said’ or ‘she asked’, but progress is progress.
The better news is that Huston has written a masterpiece.
It’s been fascinating to read along as pure talent has evolved to extreme skill from the Hank Thompson and Joe Pitt stories to the point where Huston started delivering these stand-alone novels that have shown him growing as a writer with every book. What he started in The Shotgun Rule and followed up with in The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, he has perfected for Sleepless. Reading a Charlie Huston book used to be like a grenade going off in your face. Sleepless is like getting carved up by a scalpel.
Set in an alternate version of 2010, an epidemic of insomnia leads victims to prolonged and ugly deaths. The SLP disease has pushed an already unsteady world to the very brink of collapse. Governments and services are in the midst of a slow motion disintegration, and the only thing that still works reliably is the Internet as people still demand on-line gaming and other distractions. In Los Angeles, open gang warfare is common and religious cults are beginning to clash with what’s left of the military and the police in what is almost sure to be the opening rounds of a global meltdown.
An idealistic LAPD officer named Parker Haas naively thinks that the tide can be turned if people will just start doing the right thing. Unfortunately, his wife Rose is already suffering from the sleepless disease, and things aren’t looking good for his infant daughter either. Park hides from his personal issues by dedicating all his time to his undercover assignment, tracking down any black market dealing of a drug called DR33M3R which is the only thing that offers some relief against the insomnia. But Park crosses paths with a deadly mercenary hired to recover a stolen object, and things get ugly in a hurry.
This book reminded me of the better cyber-punk books like Snow Crash, but Huston has built something unique here. The version of a world collapsing was brutally cynical but filled with moments of grace from desperate people. Huston flips from a third person narrative covering Park’s story to Park’s heartbreaking first person journal entries to another first person narrative from the mercenary’s point of view. This creates an eerie disconcerting vibe that makes you feel like it’s all a confusing dream for the first few chapters, but it’s a nightmare that feels all too possible....more
I’m really tempted to take a cheap shot at Margaret Atwood and call her the George Lucas of literature since I was very disappointed in this follow-upI’m really tempted to take a cheap shot at Margaret Atwood and call her the George Lucas of literature since I was very disappointed in this follow-up to Oryx & Crake.
She built an intriguing world in O&C where corporations ruled and profited through genetic engineering and gene splicing animals in a way that would give Dr. Moreau some ethical concerns. And she tied that to the devastating story of how it ended along with the tale of Jimmy (Snowman), his mad scientist friend Crake, and the woman they both loved, Oryx.
The Year of the Flood centers around two women, Ren and Toby, through the course of their lives before, during and after the disaster that occurs in O&C. Tobey has been victimized by bad luck and a vicious man to end up having to hide with the God’s Gardener’s. Ren’s mother fell for one of the Gardeners and left her husband, taking Ren from the cushy corporate compound they had been living.
God’s Gardeners are a green religious group led by Adam One. By taking animal rights to a peaceful extreme and tying it to Christianity, they’ve attracted a small following despite the consumerist culture around them. Adam One preaches about the Waterless Flood, a disaster that will pay back humankind for all the injustices done to the animal kingdom, and those who have read Oryx & Crake know that Reckonin’ Day is coming.
Ren is eventually returned to the corporate compound life, but never forgets her time with GG or her best friend, Amanda. Tobey is surprised to find herself becoming one of the respected senior members of the GG as time passes. Neither woman knows it, but they keep brushing up against the events and people who will eventually cause the Flood. Especially Ren who’s first real boyfriend, Jimmy from O&C, breaks her heart and leaves her pining for him for the rest of the book.
I was really looking forward to reading more about this culture that Atwood had described in Oryx and Crake, especially since the first book centered on the ‘elite’ types who work and live in the corporate compounds, and this was more about the rest of the people trying to live in a world turned into a biological and ecological madhouse. But after reading it, I really don’t see what the point was.
Oryx and Crake did just fine as a standalone book. Giving me another version of events from an outsider’s perspective really didn’t add anything to it. More, since I knew how it was going to end, I wasn’t nearly as involved in this story as I was O&C. Plus, while O&C ended on an ambiguous note, Year of the Flood gives us resolution to that book, only to introduce a new ambiguous ending. Also, there are far too many coincidences to be remotely plausible about survivors who knew each other before the Flood constantly running into each other after the big disaster. It’s less of an apocalypse and more like a class reunion.
I haven’t been this disappointed since Jar Jar Binks showed up. And I’m worried that Atwood will be releasing Special Digitally Enhanced Versions of Oryx & Crake and The Year of the Flood very soon.
I probably shouldn’t be this hard on a book that had some great writing, but I really liked Oryx and Crake so reading this one left me feeling like I got a plate of reheated leftovers and it’s making me bitter.
(I have no idea if Atwood plans to do any more books related to this story, so if she releases some kind of brilliant third book that ties all of this together and enhances the overall story, I reserve the right to change my mind about this one.)
And on a humorous side note, I listened to the audio book version of this, and the song lyrics included by Atwood as part of Adam One’s sermons have been turned into some horrible post-modern Christian rock tunes. It made Creed sound good. ...more
The good times started by the Morningstar virus in Plague of the Dead just keep on coming. Society has almost completely crumbled worldwide. Francis SThe good times started by the Morningstar virus in Plague of the Dead just keep on coming. Society has almost completely crumbled worldwide. Francis Sherman is leading the ragtag remnants of a group of soldiers and refugees across the U.S. from the west coast to hopefully meet up with friend and Morningstar expert, Anna Demilio, in Omaha at a research facility where they hope to develop a vaccine.
Sherman has new problems not limited to zombies. Supplies are low and hard to come by, and gangs of still living people want to take whatever they can. Anna’s group is working its way from D.C. but she has her own issues since she’s being hunted by a rogue group of government intelligence types that have gone off the deep end and want her secured.
Like Plague of the Dead, this is B-level zombie fun with very black-and-white characters and lots of faux-military style jargon and plenty of action. It’s not up to the levels of World War Z or The Walking Dead or Breathers, but if you’re craving a story about flesh eating zombies taking over the world, I’ve read far worse. It’s the equivalent of catching a decent horror movie on cable when you weren’t expecting much out of it and being pleasantly surprised. ...more
I am a stone cold sucker for zombie stories. I don't care if they're the old school Romero shufflers or the new breed of 28 Days Later style runners,I am a stone cold sucker for zombie stories. I don't care if they're the old school Romero shufflers or the new breed of 28 Days Later style runners, give me a story about the world being overrun by undead flesh eaters, and it makes me happy. This probably says something very disturbing about me.
This is pretty standard stuff. A virus code named Morningstar breaks out in Africa and *gasp* brings the dead back to life with a taste for the living. Efforts at containment fail and soon the entire planet is being overrun.
The remains of an Army force is trying to get back to the States after failing to hold back the zombies in Africa, and a Army virus expert finds that the U.S. government may be more dangerous than the flesh eaters after she leaks classified info to warn the public about the threat. Hilarity ensues.
Pretty solid zombie story, but there's a lot of overly macho military and spy crap with a lot of B movie cliches. This isn't anywhere close to the class of a World War Z or The Walking Dead graphic novels, but not too shabby as ending the world by zombie apocalypse goes. It was entertaining enough that I'll check out the sequel. ...more
Geez. That was the most depressing apocalypse ever.
A guy called Snowman is playing caretaker and prophet to a strange new race of people he calls theGeez. That was the most depressing apocalypse ever.
A guy called Snowman is playing caretaker and prophet to a strange new race of people he calls the Crakers in the ruins of civilization. As Snowman forages for supplies, his recollections make up the story of what caused a massive biological and ecological disaster that has apparently wiped all the old humans out except for him.
Snowman’s past takes place in our near future where he was once known as Jimmy in a society where genetic engineering was commonplace and the privileged lived in compounds owned and maintained by the corporations they worked for. Jimmy/Snowman’s memories of his brilliant friend Crake and the woman he loved, Oryx, haunt him even as he struggles to survive.
Fascinating book that seemed all too plausible in its depiction of a future state where brainless, nerveless chicken blobs with multiple breasts are created in a lab for chicken nuggets and animals are routinely crossbred. And all this set against a society where the only thing that matters is the bottom line so the idea of questioning the ethics or morality of what’s being done makes you a traitor.
This is a story that takes the idea of playing god to a whole new level. When you can create any kind of life you can imagine, where do limits come in? And if you think that human society is beyond saving, what kind of people would have the arrogance to think they can come up with something better? ...more