Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Monster Nation"

David Wellington is a writer living in New York City. His books include the trilogy that starts with Monster Island and is followed by its prequel, Monster Nation. Monster Planet is the third novel in the series.

He applied the "page 69 test" to Monster Nation and reported the following:
Monster Nation is a road story, a travelogue through an apocalyptic wasteland, and in this regard page 69 is strangely representative. The heroine and her associates come across a town already touched by the zombie epidemic where paranoia has taken over. Nilla, who is undead but doesn’t always look it, feels the weight of staring eyes on her and wishes she could turn invisible.

There’s a lot more to the book — and page 69 fails to capture the fast-paced action segments which are the bread and butter of the story. You don’t get to see the National Guard fighting a rear guard action to protect evacuees being rushed out of Denver as the dead come swarming out of every alley. You don’t get the creepy, dreadful horror bits, like the deadly chess game between Nilla and a mindless, armless zombie over who will eat a screaming victim first, or the despair that sets in as the authorities begin to realize they can’t stop or even slow down the spread of the disaster. You don’t get Bannerman Clark, the good soldier who finds himself in over his head, a pawn in political games even as he tries to find a way to stop the on-rushing Armageddon. It doesn’t contain any of the mystical or occult elements, it doesn’t contain Mael Mag Och the two thousand year old mummified Druid who has proclaimed himself the major domo of the end of the world, nor does it address what caused the epidemic. In fact Page 69 doesn’t contain a single (traditional) zombie.

Still I think it does the book a certain brand of justice. It’s got the fear and the desperation, the need to move and escape that informs the book’s tone. It introduces Nilla well without giving away any of her secrets.
Visit David Wellington's website to learn about the trilogy and his other books.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Series.

--Marshal Zeringue