(Cover picture courtesy of The Dan O’Brien Project.)
The world as we knew it had ended. Deep in the mountains of the west coast, six men survived. In the town of River’s Bend, these six friends continued on with their lives as zombies inherited the Earth. As they navigated the world that had been left behind, the soundtrack of life played on.
[Full disclosure: I received a free book copy from Dan O’Brien in exchange for an honest review as part of his blog tour.]
I’ll just say right off the bat that there is a lot of cursing in this short story. This is seriously recommended for mature audiences only. Let’s just say there are a lot of cluster f-bombs and generally mature content leave it at that, shall we?
Well, I don’t really know what to say besides that there is some really interesting and scarily believable psychological themes at play here. From the fact that the survivors have chained zombies into their stores and call them all variations of Bob (Bob the Blind Zombie, Bob the Sports Authority Zombie, Bob the Gun Store Zombie, etc.) to their general disregard for social taboos it’s clear that five years after the apocalypse the survivors aren’t doing so well. There was an especially disturbing scene involving a Ms. Pacman arcade game, but I’m not going to go into anymore detail in regards to that incident.
Dan O’Brien certainly intended for this to be disturbing and believe me it was. It really makes you wonder about those people that wish for a zombie apocalypse when the reality would actually suck. So thank goodness this is just a novella because it’s incredibly depressing and sadly realistic. I’m not going to say much more on that topic because then I’d be getting into spoiler territory. Sometimes it goes a little overboard with the whole Crapsack World trope, but that could be just a matter of personal taste.
I can’t use the world ‘enjoyable’ to describe such a depressing novella, but it was well-written and interesting. It’s not science fiction because Dan O’Brien never cares to go into detail about the apocalypse, but that’s not the point. The point is that zombies are essentially ruling the world while the last semi-insane vestiges of humanity survive. If you’re interested in psychology you’ll like The End of the World Playlist, but other than that it’s definitely a specialized sort of novella.
I give this novella 4/5 stars.