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Evil Book Report – After The Apocalypse

Post-apocalyptic scenarios are all over TV, film, and the written word these days. If I confess it to you all, I am actually working on a zombie novel myself. So what better way to enjoy a healthy dose of your post-apocalyptic world than in a series of short stories? Maureen McHugh decided to dapple in the genre by telling us several tales of the human race facing struggles in a futuristic world, some of them weirder than we could ever imagine. I stumbled across this book from a “Best Science Fiction of the Last Decade” list.Unknown

Seeing as the story described on the back cover was about a zombie apocalypse, which is one of my favorite situations, I got the book stat. The first short story of the book is indeed about a possible zombie apocalypse, but focuses on a main character in a situation unlike any other we have seen before with the undead. The main character is an ex-con, in a zombie prison. In this first story the zombie apocalypse has already done most of its damage, and the human race has been able to isolate zombies in to large, abandoned urban areas that are designated habitats for them. Prisoners are released in to these areas to survive on their own, so that tax payers don’t have to support these convicts in jail anymore. I won’t tell you anymore than that for fear of spoiling this story, but it was a unique take on the zombie scenario, one unlike any I had ever seen before.

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Much to my disappointment that story is the only one featuring zombies in the book, but we do go on to read the tales of several intriguing post-apocalyptic scenarios. For instance, imagine a world post-bird flu where China has become a feudal system. Gives you a whole new take on where we picture China in 20 years. A couple of the stories are quite heavy, especially one told by a doll maker living near the Mexican border that is constantly struggling with her mixed feelings about immigrants and how to treat them. Another tale dives in to how a family would deal with a son thought to be dead following a terrorist attack on Baltimore only to discover several years later that the boy went on to have amnesia and start a whole new life without them. For the uber nerds out there the story about a computer that learns is technical and stimulating for the mind. Then there was the striking similarity between our battle with Alzheimer’s as well as how an aging population might cope with a large proportion of people succumbing to avian prion disease.

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All in all it was a unique take on the post-apocalyptic scenario. I have not read a collection of short stories in a while, so I was looking forward to getting multiple tales for the price of one. In my opinion though, the book fell short of what I had hoped for. It is a quick read so I still recommend it for its uniqueness, but I was looking for more in these stories. You can only do so much with a short story. And a lot of the stories had me wanting more, asking too many questions, and feeling completely unsatisfied with the outcome. I guess I like all loose ends tied up.

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Posted on January 14, 2015, in Books, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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