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Zone One

by Colson Whitehead

Following a taskforce in Manhattan over 3 days as they remove the debris and zombie stragglers that remain after a plague, we face memories of life from before the outbreak, the event itself, and the tedious fight for survival that endures. Written with a wry humour, especially about materialism and corporate US, this clever apocalypse novel will disappoint if you want gore but for a subtle sense of foreboding it would be hard to find better.

Extract

It was a new day. Now, the people were no longer mere survivors, half-mad refugees, a pathetic, shit-flecked, traumatized herd, but the 'American Phoenix'. The more popular diminutive pheenie had taken off in the settlements, which also endured their round of cosmetics, as Camp 14 was rechristened New Vista, and Boanoke became Bubbling Brooks. Mark Spitz's first civilian camp was Happy Acres, and indeed everyone's mood did brighten a bit on seeing that name on the gate next to the barbed wire and electric fencing. Mark Spitz thought the merchandise helped out a lot, too, the hoodies and sun visors and such. The frigid hues and brittle lines of the logo conformed to a very popular design trend in the months preceding Last Night, and it was almost as if the culture was picking up where it left off.

Parallels

I am Legend by Richard Matheson
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse by John Joseph Adams (ed.)
The Colossus of New York: A City in Thirteen Parts by Colson Whitehead
 

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