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Book Reviews: Afraid + Journal Of The Plague Year

Afraid by Jo Gibson
This is a collection of 2 1990s books by the one-time YA horror author.

Dance Of Death
This was published in 1996 and is a poorly rendered tale of a pair of red high heels coveted by various vapid teenage girls. They wear the shoes and arbitrary horrible things happen to them at the behest of inanimate objects that somehow have an agenda. This was moribund and increasingly dismal. You feel detached from the loser idiots in this unsurprisingly generic tale that finds the horizon of crassness and boredom and sails right beyond it. This demonstrates why the 90s model of YA horror is a dead form. There is an entirely improbable resolution where a high school student’s article is printed in every newspaper in the country to warn people about the inexorable killer shoes.

Best Lines:
“I had to recite it to the rats all night, to keep them from eating me. I was locked in the attic and they were very hungry.”

“The answering machine told me.”

“The cursed red shoes had won! She was going to die.”

“There’s no way Lisa’s father could have bought her shoes at Delano’s. Tow truck drivers don’t make that much.”

The Dead Girl
This is from 1993. Orphaned Julie goes to live with her relatives. She soon learns that she is a dead ringer for dead cousin Vicki. Now a stalker is after her, there is slut shaming and emotional incest. This was unsuccessful as various types evince conformity.

Journal Of The Plague Year by C.B. Harvey//Malcolm Cross//Adrian Tchaikovsky
This is a collection of three novellas set in the world of ‘The Afterblight Chronicles’. Oddly ‘The Afterblight Chronicles’ logo isn’t on the cover or mentioned on the back page. But what do you expect? Abaddon have messed up this saga for a long time.

Orbital Decay
Set on the International Space station. The Cull erupts and the non-conversant astronauts wonder about the Pandora experiment and the future. This was good as it is finally explained what the Cull is and that yes, it was deliberate. This was okay but unremittingly ordinary.

Best Lines:
“Arming yourself will not resolve the situation.”

“Put the machete back into the survival kit,”

“They’re not going to have even the basics of a civilization left.”

Dead Kelly
An Australian criminal with no social responsibility emerges from the bush to find that the Cull has struck. Everyone is so blasted furious in post-apoc oz and so begins this airless and contrarian tale of grim psychopathy. In the rampant returning primitivism, nobody wants to rebuild - only destroy, kill and rule in truly vicious style over dead eyed, numb and despairing victims. The uncaring Dead Kelly is incapable of nuance and revels in the grot that surrounds him. This was okay but the dry gulcher Dead Kelly is overwhelmingly intensely dislikeable.

Best Lines:
“The army had these lorries with flamethrowers. For the bodies.”

“That’s why you just happen to have an assault weapon about your person.”

“What were you doing when I found you?”
“Eating out of a bin, Spider!”

“He often wondered whether, if things had turned out differently and he hadn’t hacked them to death with that axe, they might have made good grandparents.”

The Bloody Deluge
Two years after the Cull two scientists are on the run in Poland. The New Teutonic Order is after them and the scientists get refuge in a monastery. One is a militant atheist and a debate on faith and a siege ensue. This was very good and actually has hope for the future.

Best Lines:
“Better to stress the liver than die of Cholera.”

“This is what they do. It’s what they’ve always done.”

“They will not return in our lifetimes.”

“You have never missed an opportunity to show me how very grateful I should be.”

“No quarter, no mercy was asked, expected or given.”

“When history discarded him.”
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