Sunday, October 18, 2020

REVIEW: Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection (audiobook) by Don Roff, narrated by Stephen R. Thorne (and others)

Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection is horror, with enough focus on the science of zombies that you could also call it science fiction. I checked my copy out via one of my library Overdrive accounts.

This review includes major spoilers.


Dr. Robert Twombly is a biologist who attempts to deal with the sudden zombie apocalypse by keeping a record of his experiences, in the hope that it might help others. The audiobook is set up like it's his field recording (we're told that he has several boxes of batteries - somehow he manages to lug these around with him wherever he goes). Although Twombly's account is the primary focus, he occasionally finds traveling companions whose stories he also records. This came across more like an audio drama, with occasional background sounds, than an audiobook (based on its Goodreads page, the print version may be a graphic novel?).

We're told at the beginning that the plague did eventually end after a year, but based on Twombly's recordings, whatever was left of humanity probably had a rough time of it. Things got pretty bleak at times.

That said, some of the things I feared would happen didn't. Due to the way the story was being told, there wasn't much "on-page" gore (although there definitely was some). Named characters died, but I never got attached enough to any of them to get all that upset, and all the named characters were adults. Child zombies made a brief appearance, but none had to be killed that I can recall. And I don't recall any pet dogs being killed, although one did have to be abandoned when it refused to leave the area. There were no zombie animals.

The revelations about what caused the zombie apocalypse were somewhat annoying and basically boiled down to "processed food is bad." And as far as I could tell, no efforts were made to take into account international differences in food additive regulation.

Dr. Twombly encountered a lot of different people during his journey, but even the ones he interviewed were pretty bland. This wasn't a bad audiobook, and the acting was generally pretty good, but it's not one I'll want to listen to again.

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