Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2017
Number in series: stand alone
Strong language: yes
Sexual situations: yes; implied rape; mentions of assault; nothing graphic
Suggested age: late teens
A writer of zombie fiction, Keith Taylor, travels the world at the end of the apocalypse, interviewing people from slums to high ranking military, writing down their stories.
Mr. Taylor uses a variety of transportation to get to the people listed in this book. This reader has to wonder how he managed to get helicopter rides and speak with sufficiently high ranking people in various countries to arrange his visits, but these are small issues.
As noted in the title, the main character travels to different countries with populations of several thousands to large cities in search of stories from the beginning of the zombie infection to the end. This gives a nice selection of characters without needing to give a lot of back story. Interviewing people of different economic levels gives the impression the writer isn't much interested in the official story and more interested in individual descriptions and impressions. Many of the stories he collects are from America's reaction and the politics used to control the infection.
Throughout the stories is a thread of how callous, or money grabbing, or self-serving people in possession of power can be. As conditions continue to deteriorate, governments often sink to the level of self-preservation or the end justifies the means. On the other hand, except for a billionaire, the people interviewed are all survivors who can provide eyewitness information, often of the aforementioned governments. This makes the book seem cynical , with a bent towards governments descending to the lowest levels of humanity and the hearty salt of the earth people working to keep things running, but perhaps the interviewer has his own bias.
The vignettes are generally short; heavy on the stories of the interviewee with little input from the interviewer. This works well because no real background or world building needs to be done. Instead, the stories sound like something read from a newspaper, or listened to on the radio. The limited descriptions of each story doesn't detract from the vignette; it allows the story being told to have the emphasis it needs.
This is a quick, smooth read. Even when talking about the scientific work done to find a way to destroy the zombies is presented in clear language. The uncomplicated and straightforwardness of the stories heightens the shock of a piece of terrible information dropped into the recitation.
This reader would be interested in a follow-up book of similar stories, but concentrating on how the world puts itself back together.