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Feed (2010 – ISBN: 9780316081054), Deadline (2011 – ISBN: 9780316081061), Blackout (2012 – ISBN: 9781841499000)

Mira Grant

Orbit

Conversational Review  with Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Tehani Wessely

HERE BE SPOILERS!

This series is impossible to review in full without spoilers for preceding books. Up front, know that we WILL be discussing major spoilers for all three books. PLEASE do not continue unless you have no intention of reading this (very excellent) science fiction thriller (with zombies), or you REALLY don’t mind spoilers!

Last chance – SPOILERS AHEAD!

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Mira Grant

Book 1, Newsflesh

Orbit

ISBN: 978-1-84149-898-0

Reviewed by Tansy Roberts

When I finished reading Feed, by Mira Grant (who also writes urban fantasy as Seanan McGuire) I felt like I’d been bludgeoned about the head.

I put off reading this one longer than I should, because it looked awfully grim and dark, and I didn’t feel like spending any more time this year with zombies. I was very pleased to discover that Feed isn’t really a zombie novel at all – it’s a hard-edged SF political thriller which deals with the future of communications and the media, and happens to have zombies in it.

Well, okay. The zombies don’t just happen to be there. They are essential to the worldbuilding as well as the plot. But this is the story of what the world is like twenty years after the zombie uprising, one of many elements that lifts this story above and beyond its overworked source material.

We all know what a zombie uprising looks like, right? Grant doesn’t waste much time going into that – except to say it was pretty much like all the movies said it was going to be (and, ironically, it was caused by a side effect of scientists curing cancer and the common cold). Feed subscribes to the postmodern school of zombie stories which are set in a world where people have seen zombie movies before and have a cultural frame of reference for what they are, and how to fight them. Most recently this was very well done in Amelia Beamer’s The Loving Dead and Simon Pegg’s brilliant comedy Shaun of the Dead. Just in the last few weeks I’ve heard people complaining about the lack of zombie knowledge in the protagonists of the Resident Evil films, and the refusal to admit the word “zombie” exists, in current TV series The Walking Dead. It may have become a cliche in itself since Scream to have horror protagonists refer to the culture of the genre they’re now part of, but it is a lot harder to believe in an alternate reality where such books and movies don’t exist – and it saves narrative time, too!

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Mira Grant

Book 1, Newsflesh

Orbit

ISBN: 978-1-84149-898-0

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

In 2014, humanity cured cancer and beat the common cold. The scientists responsible for these marvels could never have imagined the consequences of their actions.

Twenty-five years after two wondrous cures combined to create a scourge on civilization, the world is a different place to that we know now but still retains similar political and business regimes. The press, as today, plays a major role in this new world, but the format of journalism has evolved to place bloggers squarely on the frontline. Adopted siblings Georgia and Shaun Mason are two of these bloggers, taking the lead in the presidential race of candidate Senator Ryman, a first for the blog-o-sphere. Smart, savvy and prepared to take on zombies and politicians head to head for an exclusive, the Masons soon find themselves embroiled in a far bigger story than even they imagined.

This is one of the most astonishing books I’ve ever read. While I felt it started a little slowly, the momentum builds throughout the book until it got to a point where I literally didn’t want to put it down, I was so desperate to find out what happened next. The author doesn’t take any of the expected plot turns, and time and again I was blown away by where the story went. The back story evolves gradually throughout the book, slowly revealing the seeds of the society Grant has drawn and ensnaring my attention more deeply all the while. I found myself thinking about the events of the book frequently when I wasn’t reading it – the concepts presented are thought provoking and powerful. It examines journalistic ethics, terrorism, political power, corruption, what it means to be a family, friendship, trust, and what a desperate society will do to survive. It looks at all these things without ever devolving into a morality lesson or preaching, making the reader consider the themes without being overbearing about it.

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