Book Review: "Feed" and "Deadline"

Imagine a scenario where every mammal on earth is infected with an incurable mutant virus that generally remains dormant until the moment of death, at which point the virus springs into action. Its goals are simple - survive and replicate - and it achieves these goals by taking over the dead host's neural and muscular systems, and begins to seek out new living hosts. In other words, it makes them into zombies.

Book coversConsider the implications. Every person, every warm-blooded animal weighing more than forty pounds (the threshold for critical mass) will eventually become the walking dead, with no purpose other than to infect others in order to propagate the virus. A second "death" is required to stop them and so every human with the means carries a weapon and lives with the idea that each new day they may be forced to "kill" a family member or co-worker.

This is the basic premise for the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant. The first two books have been published: Feed and its sequel, Deadline. Both are available in eBook and paperback versions.

But don't let the zombie angle throw you. These are not George Romero ripoffs (although in the not-that-distant future of the books, Romero's movies have become not entertainment but training films). They are sly, fast-paced, and fully fleshed-out (pardon the pun) looks at a terrifying future, and they feature unforgettable characters and plot twists that are as surprising as any mainstream page-turner on the market. And the main characters are professional bloggers. (Perhaps the most unbelievable part of this science fiction scenario is that they are actually profitable professional bloggers.)

Feed introduces us to the primary cast of characters and provides the societal and political context for the trilogy. If there's a theme, it's don't mess with a blogger with a big gun and a bigger audience. The Deadline continues with the same cast - sort of - and adds a conspiracy of surprising origin.

Grant has succeeded in combining real science (the references to microbiology, virology, and epidemiology ring true), technology, social media, journalism, and weapons (it's still about zombies, you know) into a fast-paced, believable new and scary world. My only complaint is that her religious and political views are rarely in line with mine; your mileage may vary.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on July 23, 2011 7:12 AM.

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