Mira Grant
Countdown Cover



Generally speaking this novella isn't going to be of any interest to persons who have not read the Newsflesh trilogy.

I've read Feed and to be honest I wasn't that keen on it. This is a prequel to that novel describing the events that led up to The Rising (the coming of zombies whoo-hoo!) In this case however I enjoyed the prequel much more than the novel.

What Grant does really well is all the sciency-pathology stuff. The coming together of the respective viruses seems plausible and believable. The way the virus spreads works well and I find the idea of a cure for the common cold being something altogether more sinister quite cute and clever, in particular the notion of looking for patterns of healthy people!

What I didn't care for is Grant's characterisation - put simply it is garbage. The way her characters speak and behave just makes me wish their brains would turn to mush and they turn into brainless flesh eating monsters. Boo-hoo - perfect people have their dreams crushed. I really couldn't stand the key scientist at all and we also got our first glimpse at the Mason's - what a pity they didn't get eaten. There is a small chapter from the perspective of a dog which whilst quite clever and an interesting idea it just does not work that well and seemed quite juvenile.

However, I must reserve my ire for the treatment of the ecoterrorists. The laziest of plot devices is used as they are stupid stoned out students, it's a disservice to very real and organised protest movements trying to make the world a better place. Yet, these idealised idiots manage to break into a lab and inadvertently free the virus and only get caught by being grassed on. Even dafter is that once this breaks the reporter that lied and brought the story to prominence gets an interview with a suspect for the break in. And of course when all this is going down and the world is in chaos the scientist manages to get into prison for a visit with the guy who broke into the lab (and guess what scientist - IT WAS YOUR FAULT, you created the virus).

The scientist's partner is murdered at the lab (of course this site is not guarded, even after being broken into) and animal liberationists beat some guy looking for his husband to death. Mira Grant - this is the laziest pile of crap, playing into people's prejudice about 'terrorism'. Animal Liberationists have never killed anyone whereas the same cannot be said for those who profit from the murder of animals.

So having none of the annoying characters from Feed and focusing on the back story there is a decent idea here. That said Grant's writing and characterisation annoys me significantly.