The Zombie Generation by Drake Vaughn
Warner is the last man on Earth… for the most part…probably. He spends his days venturing out of his fortified safe house scavenging for items, losing his mind, and trying to create a cure for the world’s zombie problem…with booze. Things start to get complicated for Warner after he gets infected himself, runs into other survivors who may or may not really exist, he starts bonding with a zombie he keeps locked in his garage, and his hallucinations become increasingly intrusive.
THE GOOD: TZG is, if nothing else, an interesting, different sort of apocalypse tale. Vaughn does some intriguing things with his zombies (which I’ll go into more detail later). Reading this I felt like I was consistently kept on my toes, trying to figure out what was real and what wasn’t as well as trying to keep track of the strange tendencies of the zombies and the main character.
THE BAD: Unfortunately, I felt a little let down by the conclusion of the book. Things come together too abruptly and too late in the book. There was a lot of good build-up that could have paid off a lot more.
Vaughn also includes a lot of extended action scenes that get a little convoluted and confusing. Most of them would have been more effective if they were condensed.
THE UGLIES: The zombies in TZG are…different. To me they seemed similar to the baddies found in the movie, Demons, only with some more bizarre behaviors. They’re grotesque, with sharp teeth and claws. They’re fast, but also described as monsters so bloated that their gender is almost indecipherable. They not only sleep at night, but they do so in large piles on the side of the road. So part of the danger of traveling at night is in waking up a 10 foot pyramid of slumbering zombies. They can be distracted by flares or chattering children’s toys and they crave alcohol almost as much as they crave human flesh. Definitely not your standard undead ghouls.
THE VERDICT: I’m still trying to figure out what I think of TZG. After completing it, I found myself randomly thinking back on it. In the end, I feel like it was a good book, but one that definitely could have been better. Vaughn made a lot of unique choices and in doing so, took some risks. Some of them paid off while others didn’t. Overall, I’d give it a solid B grade.