World in Red (Book)
Published by Creeping Hemlock Press
"With the nation calling out to the government, to the President, 'help us,' all I can do is ask you, the people of the United States, to help me. Be good to one another. When you call 911, no one will come. When you are attacked, no one will come. When you are trapped, lost, or helpless, no one will come. Be good to one another. All you have now is each other."
We're used to seeing zombie stories in which the heroes just have to hold out until the National Guard or the Army come to rescue them. We're used to the underlying feeling of hope that, no matter how bad it gets, someone's working behind the scenes to solve the problem. Even if that solution means dropping napalm on the mall in which we're hiding, we can be confident that someone's working to eradicate the zombie horde and ensure the continuation of life. So used to it are we, in fact, that implied or expected military saviors have become a staple in zombie fiction. Well, welcome to a different world.
The quote above is from World in Red, one of the first books out of the "Print is Dead" line from Creepy Hemlock Press, which focuses on undead fiction.
World in Red takes the reader from the first moments of the zombie outbreak, when confused travelers are trapped in an airport due to quarantine, to a harrowing and scary-as-hell ride through New Orleans. Bohdin, one of the travelers, has to fight his way through the Big Easy to find his wife and newborn son. That's the simple plot, and it works well. Complicating his run is, of course, the presence of zombies. But these aren't Romero shamblers here. Well ... some of them aren't. What Gorumba seems to have done is take every species of animated corpse and drop them into his nightmare world. You have shamblers, but then you also have the fast runners. Then you have the ones that resemble the 28 Days Later rage virus victims. You even have a few that can speak, until their brains completely die and turn to mush. And what it boils down to is vicious action, emotional turmoil, and hell between the pages.
There are a few points in the book that don't necessarily work so well, but they can't be discussed without major spoilers. Suffice to say, the ending is not the one you're used to. Gorumba starts at dark, and it just gets heavier and darker from there. By the end of the book the reader feels emotionally dragged across broken glass and exhausted. Is it a perfect novel? Probably not. But if you're tired of the whole zombie sub-genre because all the stories sound interchangeable and you feel there's nothing new under the undead sun, give World in Red a try.
4 out of 5