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 beginning a second time.
That’s a good thing. Zombies are overused at present and I don’t personally understand the appeal.
By contrast, I’m capable of enjoying a story about a world in which a parasitic insect reduces the vast majority of the human race to enslaved hosts and a few people manage to stay free.
As someone who’s always read a certain amount of hard science fiction, I appreciate a writer who pays attention to world building. Michael Coops does, particularly the lifecycle of the parasites and the details of how the main characters live from day to day.
I also enjoy the main characters for the most part. The narrator and main character, Sam, is an antihero. He’s selfish, grumpy, uses drugs and alcohol to avoid dealing with his problems, and ekes out an existence on the edge of a ruined civilization.
He’d be unbearable to live with, but he’s funny and that’s a good thing. Otherwise, I wouldn’t enjoy spending essentially the whole novel in his company.
The other main character is considerably nicer, less selfish, and basically decent. Oddly enough, this makes her less interesting initially, but as she comes into conflict with Sam on certain issues, she becomes more interesting.
So, bottom line: If you enjoy horror, go check the story out. If you don’t like stories with a persistent feeling of doom, well, this story may not be for you, but you never know.