June 21st, 2011
This entry is part [part not set] of 1 in the series Newsflesh

OK, I get it. I do. People like zombies. Lots and lots of people. Enough people that they can get zombie fiction nominated for the Hugo? Apparently. Mira Grant’s debut novel is set a generation after the zombie apocalypse happens in our near future. Most survivors are shut-ins, who rely on the internet for almost all their interpersonal needs. In Feed we are given the story of Georgia and Shaun, adoptive siblings raised by parents who are the equivalent of Reality TV stars, and who are trying to make a name for themselves in the highly competitive world of blogging. The crux of the story occurs when they are picked from the many applicants to be the only bloggers accompanying the likely frontrunner in the next presidential election on his campaign.

Because blogging is soooo controversial, 35 years from now, that having bloggers accompany you instead of “mainstream media” types is a huge deal. Yeah, sure.

OK, fine, it’s zombie fiction, and zombies don’t make sense, so it’s hard to be too surprised when something based on that as a central premise doesn’t make sense…but I just can’t help myself. I was completely unable to maintain a functional Suspension of Disbelief while reading this book. It was fine as long as there was action going on; Ms. Grant has a knack for writing action narrative, and I enjoyed it when things were moving. But the massive, awkward info-dumps were a pain, and the implied “are they or aren’t they” between the two siblings was way too squicky for me. The combination of a strange variety of short-sightedness regarding the future and all too frequent call-backs to the fiction and events of our recent past was just way too jarring. I can’t recommend this book, and I would rather no Hugo be presented than for this to win.

3 Responses to “Feed”

  1. I disagree with very little of this, except that I think the book made it very clear that the sibs weren’t going all Luke ‘n’ Leia on each other, but yeah, it was still pretty weird.

    No matter what you think of zombie fic, though, you should read World War Z, which is genuinely excellent.

    • Skwid says:

      Yeah, yeah, they were “very clear.” I still felt like she was trying to paint on icky “tension” with a roller.

    • Jedit says:

      Hmmm – can’t say I was that keen on WWZ, though I’ll probably go see the movie, if only to pick out the parts of Glasgow they were filming in a couple of weeks ago. (I had similar fun with Captain America: The First Avenger. “Heroes are made in America!” the trailer proclaimed, as Steve Rogers ran down a street in Manchester city centre that was instantly recognised by anyone who grew up there. Good movie, though.)

      Has the Humblest Reviewer by any chance read “Handling the Undead”, by John Ajvide Lindqvist? I found that to be a much more interesting zombie book, because it’s about how the living react to their loved ones returning instead of the traditional zombie apocalypse.

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