Author: Tony Burgess
Published: 2013 by ChiZine Publications
Read: December 2013
Categories: Fiction, sci-fi, horror
Why it made it to the top of the pile: I thought the prospect of the zombie apocalypse being approached as a waste disposal problem had potential
Trivia Tidbit: Burgess was born in Australia and now lives in Ontario, Canada
Full Disclosure: Advance reading copy courtesy the publisher and Netgalley
The basic premise is that the human race has been affected by a syndrome which results in symptoms accelerating and intensifying as they are recognised by the person suffering, so that the time elapsing between the first twinge and death can be a matter of hours. Think hypochondria x 1000. Bodies continue to twitch after death and cannot be satisfactorily buried or burned, so a contractor has been engaged to jettison bodies into space. No one looks up. Sunlight is forever altered. Life is pretty grim. People called Sellers visit towns and convince the population to participate in mass suicides. The protagonist of the story, a former mercenary and gun for hire, has been engaged by a school board to kill the Seller. It goes downhill from here.
Just when I thought it could not get grimmer, it did. Again and again. I'm not sure what the message of this book is - maybe the ultimate depravity that dwells deep within - but even that does not justify the worst of the weirdness. As I noted at the start, zombies aren't really my thing, so I'm not entirely surprised that I didn't love this book. But it was the gratuitous nature of the violence and depravity that really surprised and appalled me. Maybe that's the point, I don't know. I only know I was hugely relieved to get out of the world Tony Burgess invented. Read at your own risk.