Friday, November 23, 2012

Deadline, by Mira Grant

Deadline is the second entry in the Newsflesh trilogy, nominated for this year's World Fantasy Award.  The first one was also nominated for an award, reviewed here.  Zombies are a done to death theme, so much so that according to the acknowledgements material in this volume the author's proofreader wouldn't even bother with the first one.  And I would not say it's a uniquely told story either.  But just because it's been done before doesn't mean it's not worth doing again.  There's a lot of zombie adventure stories because they are fun.  Feed, the first in the series, is fun, and this one is too.

We pick up where the last left off, after the death of Georgia Mason at Shaun's hands. He is a haunted man, clinging to the ghost of her in his head.  Shaun, his sister's ghost, and the rest of the organization try to solve a conspiracy that's gotten so big and bad they can't even describe it.

This is consistent with the world Grant has drawn, one in which the survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse have pulled together and done a considerable amount of infrastructure work to get by in the world.  Many governments actually pulled together a somewhat effective response, and it seems that even the poorest ordinary citizens have access to, say, serious disinfectant showers with instant blood tests for infection.  Roads are maintained and the Internet is bigger than ever.  In such a world, huge conspiracies are possible, and the one described here is just such a doozy.  And it's a truly fun read.  But it's definitely a middle volume, nothing is resolved, the protagonists just do a lot of running and fighting.

It seems an odd choice for a World Fantasy Award, as the science elements in this installment definitely come to the fore in a way they did not in the first volume.  Scientists investigating the origin and control of the zombie virus come to the fore, and there is explication.  Not very fantasy.  But for me that's a recommendation, I still appreciate a good attempt at a hypothesis.

Like the last volume, I had to buy this one for my local library.  Hope they start keeping these, they are definitely worth having on the shelves.  Go pick it up, I give it 4 stars.

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