Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story
Release Date: June 3, 2012
Publisher: Ian McClellan
Genre(s): Horror, Satire
I love an interesting take on the usual zombie fare and I’ll be the first to read or watch anything in hopes of finding those little differences that make me sit back and go, “Oh… that’s new.” Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story is a mouthful of a title, but a surprisingly quick read. It delivers some interesting zombies, but ultimately falls short of being considered “a political horror story” in my mind.
We’re introduced to a narrator named Lance, who rightfully asserts that his name is not really all that important in the grand scheme of things. Lance was a blue collar worker who’d recently been handed a pink slip, allowing him to be at home to witness the media blitz that kicked off the start of the apocalypse. He’s married to that one Facebook friend you have who is always posting things like, “9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB!!!” and, “OBAMA’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE IS A FAKE!!!” To the author’s credit, her mentions of death panels and insinuating Obama is a foreigner are downplayed by the narrator as “conspiracy crap.”
His brother, a police officer in their small Americana town, is the one who ultimately tips him off to ready like a prepper and soon after he has to kill his first zombie, one of his neighbors, Mrs. Jensen. His wife – the good God-fearing woman that she is – goes off to church and her obvious demise. Lance kills a few more of his neighbors and friends, teams up with Larry, a man his wife never let him be friends with, and tries to make it to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta with a few bumps along the way. There, bureaucracy and favoritism plague Lance, ending the book somewhat ambiguously.
I appreciated the recognition of his neighbors, his friends, and the internal struggle he had with killing a few, as well as his pessimistic attitudes – God rest their idiot souls. This would probably be the reaction I would have to zombies I recognized (right before being eaten alive I’m sure). Nestled in the “fast zombie” category, they also came with an increased physical strength and maintained a surprisingly amount of mental facilities. One zombie even managed to retch up its spoils after being kicked in the stomach. They cowered at guns, attempted to hide and set traps, and seemed to recognize a larger threat when crazed zombie monkeys made an appearance. The interactions with the zombies were hands down the most interesting part of the book.
What was less interesting was the shtick that the book was sold under – the politics. Both sides get a little bit of ribbing with the aforementioned conspiracy theorists. There’s some mention of Nancy Pelosi blaming the Republicans and an Obama press conference that reads exactly like a Saturday Night Live skit. Couple that with the fact that the reader never really gets to see how this treading water and finger pointing directly affects Lance and you can see how the politics fall a little bit flat here. It’s true that, in dealing with the CDC, Lance runs into the bureaucratic red tape that almost gets him killed, but that’s more a one-person-rules-all scenario and less of a result of Washington legislating him to death.
While reading through Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story, I couldn’t help but pull comparisons from other zombie works. The fast zombies of 28 Days Later, the political machinations explored in World War Z (the book), and the camouflaging found in World War Z (the movie) – though, technically, I think the author beat out the movie. It’s also heavily reliant on the times. I can’t say that I’d find the same tongue-in-cheek humor about death panels and Obama the socialist to be funny – or even relevant – once Obama is out of office.
If there ever came a time for a sequel, I’d be happy to see more exploration of the “rules” of this zombie world – how the sentient zombies have adapted to this new world – but I’d also like to see either less politics or a more direct correlation between Washington piddling around and the common man. To sell the book under politics was a mistake, perhaps selling it as “a blue collar horror story” would have been a more apt title.
Unfortunately, the bottom line is World War Z covered the political horror story territory much better than Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story and the spelling and grammar errors were just noticeable enough to be annoying. However, the zombies themselves were interesting – most of them had names and the smallest hint of who they used to be accompanying them – and the metamorphosis of the narrator, who goes through all of these struggles to end up in much the same place that he started, make this book worth a read. It’s quick, easy and offers the reader a few easy winks at the politics of today.