- Published: New York, NY : Orbit, 2011.
- Year Published: 2011
- Edition: 1st ed.
- Description: 608 p. ; 19 cm.
- Language: English
- Format: Book
- Zombies -- Fiction.
- Conspiracies -- Fiction.
- Political corruption -- Fiction.
- Reporters and reporting -- Fiction.
- Horror tales.
- Occult fiction.
- Science fiction.
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- John Scalzi's "The Big Idea": April-June 2011
- Female writers of SciFi/Fantasy
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by Grant, Mira.
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Call number: Science Fiction
When a CDC researcher, after faking her own death, arrives on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun Mason, the head of a news organization, is plunged into the biggest story of his life
Woof, what a drop-off in quality from the first book in the series. After George's tragic zombification at the end of Feed, Shaun Mason has taken over the thriving news site in spite of his raging grief and nonstop conversations with hallucinations of his dead sister. A scientist fakes her death and comes to Shaun's team with data about a CDC cover-up related to the Kellis-Amberlee zombie virus. Shaun tries to further unravel the conspiracy that got George killed.
Deadline was a let-down. Dialogue that attempts to be clever sounds forced and lame (this may be a result of shifting the first-person voice from Feed's serious George Mason to Deadline's witty, wacky Shaun Mason. Maybe Grant just can't write men. Or can't write goofy. In any case, it failed.) Characters make staggeringly unrealistic choices, such as breaking into the headquarters of the most powerful agency in the country, the CDC. Twice. It was supposed to sound ballsy but it came off contrived. Plot gaps and logic holes abound; the main CDC office in Memphis has a (phony) break-in resulting in multiple deaths, and a month later a few journalists are able to just stroll in unchallenged, and this in a world that's all about absurd levels of security? Um, no. Grant keeps telling us just how CRAZY Shaun is--LOOK AT HIM, HE'S INSANE, HE IS--yet he's perfectly functional, lucid, rational--hell, heroic--at all times. Doesn't fly. And why were the good guys constantly pointing guns at the CDC doctor who broke the story to them?
It wasn't all bad. Grant's soft-apocalypse zombie world continues to be the best character in the series. Deadline is at its best when exploring social changes that stem from the Rising: highlighting hair is popular because of all the bleaching, pets above 40lbs (the "amplification" threshold) are seen as gauche, grocery delivery is the norm because stores--now segmented with ubiquitous security stations--are incredibly inconvenient, architecture has changed dramatically to be driven by security, and so on. The overarching theme of using fear to control the population is timely and relevant. And the science is satisfyingly hard (or at least satisfyingly convincing.)
It'll be interesting to see if the third book gets better again, because (SPOILER)George comes back to life as a clone. I'm going to have to pick it up just to see how THAT particular whopper plays out. But my expectations aren't high.
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