Synopsis: A zombie B-movie in book form
Brief Book Review: My dislike of Deadline is well documented. So it may be surprising that I didn’t hate Blackout! Many of the things I hated in Deadline are fixed – there aren’t long boring stretches and the climax actually happens on-stage. Whereas Deadline was like a bad home movie, Blackout is more like a mediocre B-movie. This is definitely a step forward! It’s kinda ridiculous just how B-movie-esque it is, from the generically-evil bad guys, to the incompetent amateurishness of everyone, to the mad scientist, to the conviction that adding a death will make things dramatic(!) simply because. Actually, if you like B-movies and keep firmly in mind that this is a B-movie you can enjoy this book quite a bit. There needs to be some sort of way to signal to readers to change their expectations in novels the same way you know to change your expectations when you’re going to see Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter
(such a good B-movie!!). You can tell just by looking at the cover of JC:VH the sort of treat you’re in for. You would be forgiven if, based on the cover of Blackout, you thought you were getting something other than intentional camp.
There are some genuinely good parts to Blackout. The blog posts between chapters were rarely bad, and often downright poignant. I would have enjoyed a book that was written with that sort of sensibility. However I am not generally a fan of B-movies, so – Not Recommended.
Book Club Review: Funny thing about B-movies – they can be a lot of fun to watch with a group of loud friends. Mike Nelson of MST3K and RiffTrax fame has made a whole career out of lampooning bad movies. That same dynamic can work here if you have club members with a good sense of humor (and I’d imagine all do). There’s so much to shake your head and laugh over that there can be a lot of fun had by the whole group. The book reads fast, so it’s not that big a time commitment, and it isn’t nearly as infuriating and slog-like as Deadline was. Unfortunately this is the third book of a trilogy, and those in the book club who’d had the good fortune of not reading the previous book were left in the dark on several plot elements. That’s to be expected, but it means this book isn’t as great of a Riff-target as a stand-alone would be. And I cannot in good conscience ever recommend anyone read the whole trilogy just for this purpose. We had a lot of fun, but – Not Recommended.