Book Review: Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story

They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, which seems like pretty sound advice to me. But what about judging a book by the blurb the publisher puts out? Probably still a good idea, but it’s a little tougher because this is what is being used to describe the plot and sell the book.

This is – at least in theory – the essence of the story all boiled down into one little spoiler-free paragraph. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the synopsis for this book:

Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story is a zombie tale with a political background story- not from a left or right minded perspective, but from that of an average American who feels left behind by the system. It is the tale of a regular guy- an unemployed factory worker- in the first days of the end of the world, a time in which the ways of doing things have become muddled between pre and post apocalypse. It may not be too late to save humanity, but any progress that is made gets sidetracked by the failings of the media and politicians, religious fanatics, left-wing zealots, right-wing zealots, political correctness, and bureaucracy. Will divisiveness and the failed policies of our past doom us in the future? Yes, but at least there will be some laughs along the way.

I’m not someone who is into politics. At all. There was a point in my life where politics was a rabid obsession, but a few years ago I had a bit of an epiphany and realized how much time I was wasting and stress I was subjecting myself to for nothing. I settled down, and stopped looking at the world in terms of right and left. Then a funny thing happened: I became a lot calmer and happier. Weird, eh?

When I got a review submission that looks at the zombie apocalypse through a political lens, I was more than a little apprehensive. What reassured me was the fact that this was supposed to focus on an average American rather than on a Senator or some other politically powerful character. So while I was pretty sure I’d still be getting a healthy serving of politically flavored snark, the perspective helped take a lot of the sting out of it.

To be fair, that is indeed the focus of the book. Zombie/Apocalypse 2012 hits a lot of your standard zombie story tropes, but it really dives into the notion that an incompetent government would be unable to stop the outbreak. Then it keeps going down the rabbit hole of how bureaucracy and political correctness took a bad situation and turned it into the end of the world. It’s satire, and it lays it on pretty thick.

Happily, it also wraps up the satire in a solid zombie survival story, and that’s what keeps your attention through the vast majority of the action in Zombie/Apocalypse 2012. The main character is very relateable, and I found myself getting into the story as it chugged along. It hit all the normal high notes, as expected, but everything was presented with satirical commentary.

The satire comes in a few different flavors, but generally speaking it’s from either A). The common sense protagonist who is smarter than the vast majority of politically obesessed people, or B). Runaway political correctness that has no place in a survival scenario.

Like the description states, the author lays into both sides of the aisle here. I imagine that one who leaned right would perceive more attacks on the right, and the inverse for those who leaned left. As a fair centrist person, I wasn’t really offended either way, but I’m generally not a fan of the “American from the heartland knows it all” perspective, which I realize the author is playing up as another level of satire.

In the end, I enjoyed Zombie/Apocalypse 2012 a lot more than I thought I would. I wasn’t wild about the satire (but I’m clearly not the target audience here), but I did like the characters and the plot. My only really major complain is the books last few pages, which I won’t detail here for obvious reasons. The ending just left a sour note on an otherwise solid zombie adventure.

Grade: 3.5 zombie heads out of 5