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Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) - Mira Grant This is not actually a book with a lot of zombies eating brains. Sure, the zombies are flesh-eating walking dead and they'll feed on any tasty parts they can sink their teeth into, but the zombies aren't really the story here, as the journalist main characters would say. The story is a political conspiracy surrounding the Presidential campaign they are covering, in a post-zombified world where zombies have replaced suicide bombers as the most terrifying and panic-inducing threat to public safety.

In 2014, in your basic good-idea-gone-horribly-awry plot device, a cure for cancer and the common cold also turns anyone infected with this "cure" into a zombie upon death. Decades later, millions of people are carrying the virus, which means anyone can turn into a zombie when killed. So at the scene of any disaster, you have zombies to worry about, and of course anyone bitten by a zombie also becomes a zombie. It's not a nice world -- life goes on and cities are fortified enclaves, and elevators require you to stick your hand into a testing kit to have needles test your blood. If you don't test clean, you don't get out of the elevator.

In this world, a team of news bloggers is invited to join a Presidential candidate's campaign, which means actually traveling across the country and gathering at large, crowded events, two things normal people just don't do anymore. But they're journalists, devoted to the truth (and ratings).

Needless to say, there are zombie outbreaks and a conspiracy and disastrous road trips and lots of shooting and stabbing and dying and stuff. I found Feed enormously entertaining and exciting and mostly pretty good, though the villain was so obvious that I had my suspicions immediately, then thought, "Nah, too obvious," and then of course it turned out that yup, that was the villain, for exactly the obvious reasons. For the most part, the "message" of the book -- that there is a difference between living in fear and living in terror (or as Mira Grant says in an interview at the end of the book, the difference between "Do not stick your hand in the alligator's mouth" and "Do not visit Florida because alligators live there") was clear but not used to hit you over the head, and the book is surprisingly apolitical considering that the author actually uses real political parties and names in it. The villain was almost a Hollywood bad guy and the climactic confrontation is a Hollywood climax, but this is fiction, after all, and zombie fiction at that, so maybe I was expecting a little too much nuance. The ending was still satisfying and tragic, while leaving the story open for the next book in the series.

Gets one of my "great reads" recommendations as being just plain fun with a bit of an edge. Any genre fans should enjoy this.