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Sam at the End of the World by Michael Cooper

 

Sam is my kind of reluctant hero. He is overweight, self-absorbed, and teetering on the edge of suicide after loneliness and fear have worn him down.

Sam feels Life’s whip more keenly than most people. A cynical slob with no delusions of grandeur, he wonders ‘why me’ at every step.

As a bewildered non-combatant he is spared, by hiding, when a plague of genetically engineered parasites take over every human they encounter. When his food runs out he must brave the resultant hosts who roam the Earth, eating or capturing anyone not already possessed.

Sam stumbles from one unthinkable situation to the next. For a time he manages to escape the Parasite’s clutches by dumb luck and good planning.

Then he makes a dreadful mistake.

At his lowest ebb a beautiful girl saves him from certain death, and his luck appears to be about to change for the better.

But, things just keep getting worse . . . 

Note: Sam at the End of the World contains some graphic violence and harsh language.


A complete novel

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Listed: Dec 4, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

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Made me laugh…this story has a lot going for it

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Jun 10, 2009: I have to give this story a lot of credit for literally making me laugh out loud. The dry humour in the narration of the main character – a true anti-hero – is great! Michael Cooper really has a way with words: sarcastic, funny, and also, very descriptive in an original way. You’ll see what I mean.This story is scary, creepy, full of tension, has interesting characters – it has a lot going for it and I was hooked right through the first half of the novel.

Now, I have to say there was a point about halfway through when I found I’d (temporarily) lost interest in the story and started skimming through. I think the story just ran up against the zombie conumdrum: as mindless, shambling creatures, zombies (although the afflicted in this story are actually hosts to an alien parasite, not zombies, they share the classic zombie characteristics) are not really that interesting antagonists. Once the main characters have figured out how to avoid them while still meeting their food and shelter needs – which they have to do fairly quickly or the story is soon over – what happens next?

The problem for me was that formerly sensible, or at least realistically cowardly, characters started behaving irrationally and taking unnecessary risks, as – it seemed to me – a plot device to keep the story moving along. I think this is where I lost the necessary suspension of disbelief and thus involvement in the outcome of the story. Now I may be being totally unfair: given the context of the story, there’s plenty, indeed PLENTY, of scope for anyone to go a little nuts.

So, I went back to the story, and was won back over by the exceptional writing. And overall, yes, the story does make sense and is, in fact, an amazing work of imagination. Don’t miss this gem – it’s a barrel of fun and a real find.

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The Kind of Hero You Want to Read About (But Not Live With)

By Jim Zoetewey, editor, author of The Legion of Nothing

Dec 6, 2008: I should probably start with some kind of disclaimer here. The author of this work asked me to read it before submitting it to Web Fiction Guide because he wanted to know if it was ready.

I thought it was then and still do.

According to the author’s preface before the beginning, the story is zombie inspired. I skipped the preface and didn’t notice that until I came back and read the [more . . .]

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

the_author() rating onrating onrating onrating onrating half

Scary, funny, tragic, real

By sandrafowke, member

Mar 3, 2009: This is a MUST READ for all lovers of the Zombie/post-apocalypse genre. A story of epic proportions, Coop addresses the true horror of being trapped in this new terrifying world and a wide range of complex emotions and relationship/friendship dynamics.

Fatal Cure is strongly character driven, with a hero who I am constantly torn between loving and throttling.

This is a very mature story told by a writer who really knows his [more . . .]

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Fatally funny

By stuntwriter, member

Dec 4, 2008: If the Cohen Brothers wrote end-of-the-world, zombie-inspired, black comedy-style horror, this is the story they’d write.

Sam, the antihero of Fatal Cure, is busy saving his skin as everyone around him is taken over by Parasites. If you want a mental picture (and don’t mind mixing your genres/movie-references), think of a cowardly, overweight Bruce Willis spending a whole movie avoiding Aliens. Sam survives by looting shops and taking every kind of drug he can find and, while he’s teetering on the [more . . .]

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