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Friday, December 31, 2010


Author:  David Wellington
Plot Type:  Post-Apocalyptic Horror Fantasy
Ratings:  Violence5; Sensuality1; Humor1
Publisher and Titles:
     Monster Nation (prequel, Thunder's Mouth Press, 2006)
      Monster Island (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004)
     Monster Planet (Running Press, 2007)

     In Wellington's zombie horror trilogy, the explanation of the source of the zombie plague comes in the second book, so you might want to start reading there and then go to book one.  In this world, a horrific plague is sweeping the world, beginning on the U.S. west coast and moving quickly across the globe.  In the usual zombie way, once you are bitten, you die and then quickly rise again—very hungry, of course.

     Wellington's twist is to include a handful of sentient zombies with psychic abilities who can control and draw power from other zombies. The series becomes increasingly supernatural and somewhat muddled as a mad Druid sorcerer, ghosts, animated mummies, and an evil zombie master seeking world domination get pulled into the plots.

     You really feel their pain. If you are addicted to AMC's The Walking Dead and can't wait until next fall for some more zombie gore, this series will get you through the winter. 

               PREQUEL NOVEL: Monster Nation               
Publisher's Blurb
     "In the heart of America, in the world's most secure prison, something horrible is growing in the dark. A wave of cannibalism and fear is sweeping across the heartland, spreading carnage and infection in its wake. Captain Bannerman Clark of the National Guard has been tasked with an impossible mission: discover what is happening—and then stop it before it annihilates Los Angeles. In California, he discovers a woman trapped in a hospital overrun with violent madmen. She may hold the secret to the Epidemic but she has lost everything—even her name. David Wellington's first novel, Monster Island, explored a world overcome by horror and the few people strong enough to survive. Now he takes us back in time to where it all began—to the day the dead began to rise."

My Summary and Comments:
     Monster Nation traces the initial outbreak and spread of the zombie plague and follows three characters: Nilla, a sentient zombie (although she has lost her memory of her human life); Richard, an armless zombie who operates like a killer automaton; and Bannerman Clark, a straight-laced National Guard officer who lays his life on the line to stop the zombie plague. This story is interrupted regularly by news bulletins and diary entries. The reader should pay particular attention to the Lab Notes from 2004 and 2005.  

     Here's an example of the dark humor sprinkled sparsely throughout the series. In this scene from Monster Nation, Bannerman Clark has been battling zombies for weeks. Now he is forced to meet with Special Agent Purslane Dunnstreet, an eccentric national security expert who has spent years in her cluttered office planning how the U.S. should retaliate against every apocalyptic threat she can imagine:

     "An aged woman in an immaculate business suit rose from behind a desk and hurried toward them. Her face was a white porcelain mask, unmoving, so slack and bloodless that Clark reached for [his] sidearm....

     'I'm not dead yet, Captain,' the woman said, her mouth an unmoving slot in the middle of her face.
     'Botox,' the Civilian whispered behind his hand." (page 178)

               NOVEL 2: Monster Island               
Publisher's Blurb:
     "It's one month after a global disaster. The most "developed" nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive—in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia. In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living. One amongst them is different; though he shares their appetites he has retained his human intelligence. Alone among the mindless zombies, Gary Fleck is an eyewitness to the end of the world—and perhaps the evil genius behind it all. From the other side of the planet, a small but heavily-armed group of schoolgirls-turned-soldiers has come in search of desperately needed medicine. Dekalb, a former United Nations weapons inspector, leads them as their local guide. Ayaan, a crack shot at the age of sixteen, will stop at nothing to complete her mission. They think they are prepared for anything. On Monster Island they will find that there is something worse even than being undead, as Gary learns the true price of survival."

My Summary and Comments:
     In Monster Island, a group of survivors crosses the Atlantic from Africa to New York City in search of medicines. The story follows two characters: Dekalb, a survivor who has left his young daughter in Somalia while he travels to New York, and Gary, a sentient zombie who chose to go the undead route when he thought there was no other way out. Gary was a medical student who figured out that most of the zombies lost their ability to think because of oxygen loss, so he hooked himself up to a dialysis machine and an oxygen mask just before he became undead. Gary has retained his ability to speak and think and also discovers that he can draw power from the undead. Wellington continues to invent fresh new twists for his zombie mythology, putting this series this several steps above the run-of-the-mill books that are currently on the market.

               NOVEL 3: Monster Planet               
Publisher's Blurb:
     "Set twelve years after the shambling zombie masses have overrun Manhattan, America, and the world, Monster Planet is the mind-blowing conclusion to what must be the scariest trilogy ever. Oceans of blood, scattered limbs, wanton violence, and general mayhem abound, along with revivified mummies, a Welsh sorcerer, and Wellington's signature brand of cool high-tech weaponry and sly humor—zombies, after all, are the ultimate consumers. What do the undead want, aside from fresh meat? Do the steadily diminishing number of humans who have somehow managed to survive over a decade of living hell stand a chance on a planet where they've been reduced to the status of prey? It all ends here, on Monster Planet."

My Summary and Comments:
     Monster Planet continues the story with Dekalb's daughter, Sarah, who is still fighting the zombies. This book ends with an apocalyptic battle for the future of humankind. The zombie attacks are as gruesome and bloody as you would expect in horror fiction. The survivors and the sentient zombies are presented in a sympathetic manner.

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