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Autumn (Autumn series, 1) Paperback – October 26, 2010
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A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living Dead, Autumn chronicles the struggle of a small group of survivors forced to contend with a world torn apart by a deadly disease. After 99% of the population of the planet is killed in less than 24 hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse. Animated by "phase two" of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities... sight, hearing, locomotion... As well as the instinct toward aggression and violence. Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal - to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world: those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1...
Without ever using the 'Z' word, Autumn offers a new perspective on the traditional zombie story. There's no flesh eating, no fast-moving corpses, no gore for gore's sake. Combining the atmosphere and tone of George Romero's classic living dead films with the attitude and awareness of 28 Days (and Weeks) later, this horrifying and suspenseful novel is filled with relentless cold, dark fear.
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“With AUTUMN, David Moody paints a picture of a marvelously bleak dystopian future where the world belongs to the hungry dead. It's the creepy start to a compelling series.” ―Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Patient Zero and Zombie CSU
“Zombie fans rejoice! One of the original zombie novels is back from the grave to remind us all why the walking dead are so scary, and what it means to have a front-row seat for the end of the world. Autumn is genuinely creepy, an atmospheric study of what happens when the dead come back--and what we have to do just to survive.” ―David Wellington, Author of Monster Island, Monster Nation, 99 Coffins
- Publisher : St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition (October 26, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 031256998X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312569983
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.72 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,374,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Unfortunately, at least for me, this book takes a very, very, very long time to get rolling. The very cool twist with the zombies I mention above is not used as well as it could have been, in fact its somewhat tragic that the book didn't explore this situation further. Soon the situation changes and the standard human-attacking zombie is back in the fold. This is a cool idea that I hadn't encountered before and frankly, I wished the author had spent more time here....it could have *really* made the pacing of this book unique (rather than the standard Humans-Run-From-Attacking-Zombies).
Also, endless reminders of the shattered psyche of the characters really starts to get in the way after a certain point, particularly when nothing much is happening. When things do get rolling, the story immediately begins to mirror...well.....isolated Farmhouse? 'nuff said. So we are treading on a bit of conquered ground to a certain extent. This, by itself isn't an issue...but because the book takes quite a bit of time to get our characters to said farmhouse, it seems to all wrap up fairly quickly...as though the Author only wanted to include enough "meat" in this book to sell the sequel.
One last thing, because we are always reminded of the horror the characters are experiencing, the author seems that gives them carte blanche to behave like jerks, all the time. This gets old since, halfway through the book, I was hoping they'd all get wiped out, and a new more "deserving" bunch of humanity would appear :) No such luck.
So, I hated it? No, absolutely not. In fact, I'm buying the next book in the series, because I want to see more of the world the writer has created. Issues with the read? Yes....but not terrible ones. I'd rather have a slow book with some well-traversed zombie situations than a shallow cliche ridden action fest. But in the end 3 stars....I enjoyed it, but with some reservations. I am, however, looking forward to reading more...something I can't say about all the books I read.
To take an old publishing saw and turn it on its head, for every million self-published disasters, where cartons of bloody horrible novels sit in an author's basement waiting for a single sale, there's one monstrous, awe-inspiring success story where a self-published author becomes richer than Croesus based on word of mouth alone.
But I'm not here to talk about Christopher Paolini, I'm here to talk about David Moody. Who is not yet Croesus, but probably will be given a few more years.
Autumn is like nothing you're ever read. It is often referred to in word-of-mouth gatherings as a zombie novel (and, in some cases, the zombie novel), and it's blurbed as a zombie novel on its cover. But here's the thing: it's no more a zombie novel than 28 Days Later... is a zombie movie, really. And this has led to some negative reviews by folks who were expecting something other than they got. If your blurb suggests a comparison to Romero, your readers are going to expect Night of the Living Dead lite, at least. Autumn is, above all, not that.
It actually starts out rather more like Day of the Triffids than Night of the Living Dead-- a plague, whose genesis we do not yet know (though I assume we'll find out in the rest of the series), wipes out most of humanity. Or so we think-- again, our perceptions are confined to England here. For all we know, the rest of the world is just fine. (A trope used to great effect, with opposite endings, in Day of the Triffids and 28 Days Later....) But it's England we're focused on, and things are decidedly not fine there. A small group of survivors of the plague holes up in a drafty town hall and tries to live together. Moody is not interested in everyone coming together to face tragedy despite conflict, as was the case in Romero's or Robert Kirkman's or Brian Keene's works; no, Moody allows that the group is not sacrosanct, and three of the characters split off to try and find something better. (And yet even this group is not sacrosanct; Moody's iconoclasm cuts all the way to the bone, folks.) The remainder of the first book deals with the first period of his three characters adapting to post-plague life, after the dead finally do get up and walk around, which takes an awfully long time for a supposed zombie novel. It's impossible to go into the other main differences between Autumn and your typical zombie novel without major spoilers. Let's just say that Moody seems to have set out to write, simultaneously, an anti-zombie novel and a satire of zombie novels. Which, for obvious reasons, seems as if it's going to be working at cross-purposes with itself. And yet, somehow, he succeeds-- well enough, at least, that I've put the other three novels in the series in my Amazon shopping cart, to be bought with my Christmas gift certificate.
As with most post-apocalyptic novels worth their salt, Moody doesn't focus on the by-products of the plague (in this case, the walking dead); he uses them as accents to highlight his story of interpersonal relations. Which sometimes falls a touch flat; there is, after all, a reason this is self-published work. But while the gulf between self-published and professionally published work is often a vast one, there is the odd book now and then that narrows the gap considerably; Autumn is one of them. This is one of the best-written books you'll ever see outside a professional publishing house. It's worth your time. ***
Top reviews from other countries
So what’s it about?
A deadly virus has struck the USA (maybe the world) that causes death within a few minutes. The unlucky individual has a very gory end that involves plenty of blood and pain. All across the country there are homes, work places and public areas where people are dropping like flies. Strangely though, there does seem to be the odd few that are immune to the disease. These survivors are spread far and wide and as they wander through the decimated landscape, start to gel together in groups. Whilst trying to decide what their next step should be an odd thing happens, some of the corpses begin to move; at first wandering aimlessly but with each passing day they seem to be getting more self aware and through the sheer numbers pose a threat. A decision needs to be made, do they stay holed up in a potential ‘safe’ house or should they make a break for open country where hopefully the undead will be less in number. But more importantly, what would you do?
Although described as a Zombie novel, this really does the book an injustice; it is as much about survival and the different ways in which people cope with a changing world (and undead walking around every corner). I can’t remember even seeing the word zombie except on the cover, so if you are fed up with the seemingly daft theme of ‘dead people trying to eat the living’ storyline, then Autumn offers something different.
I absolutely loved this book, the speech at times was a little wooden, but the writing was short, sharp and to the point. The atmosphere really does build and actually gets quite creepy at times. I cared what happened to the characters and found myself rooting for them, more than I usually do when reading a book, so much so that I went straight out and ordered the next books in the series.
However, I have to say the constant use of the word words "pitiful" and pathetic drove me insane. The phrase "pitiful/pathetic creatures" must be in this book a hundred times.
There are a list of other words he could have used to describe the zombies in this book yet constantly the same phrase cropped up. In one instance I saw the word "pitiful" used twice, in adjacent sentences. Which is a pet hate of mine when it comes to writing.
I found it funny how the author lacked descriptive skills when it came to the zombies but had no problem in using "big words" that stood out like a sore thumb based on the surrounding lack of expressive terminology. For me, it was an annoyance and did have me sighing outloud in parts but over all....great story! I will be reading the rest of the books. However, I will be filling in my own descriptions next time I see the words "pitiful" or "pathetic" pop up!