The Loop By Ben Oliver

Publication Date: April 7, 2020

“This sense of futility, of hopelessness; this is what happens when you take compassion out of leadership, when you take mercy out of judgment, when you let the machines decide the fate of humans.”

One of the things I like about science fiction is how it makes me think about what the future might be like. Some futures are pretty cool and places I wouldn’t mind being in. Others, not so much. The future in this book, pretty much terrifies me.

Part of this story takes place in a prison, which you know is going to be pretty bleak, but this prison is pretty over the top. The fact that it houses children, and that they are pretty much kept in isolation the entire time, except for a 1 hour window every day when they are allowed out into a small piece of outside, and get to talk to other inmates over a wall, with nothing to do and no one to talk to, it breaks your heart. The author does and excellent job of relating the monotony of it, and the sheer boredom these kids must feel. I’m amazed that more don’t go insane. Once they do get out, life doesn’t really get any better for them.

The plot of this story is also pretty intense, especially towards the end. The main character, Luka, is pretty well fleshed out, but the other characters not so much, but I kind of get why, Luka doesn’t really know them, and because everything is told from his point of view, he can’t tell us much. If you are at all squeamish, then I don’t recommend you read this. There are some pretty horrific things that happen in this story, but if you enjoy reading about bleak futures then this might be the book for you.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Publication Date: April , 2020

“Sometimes she craved a little danger. And that was why she had book club.”

I don’t read a lot of horror these days, so I can’t really speak to whether this is true horror, but it seemed pretty mild to me compared to some horror I have read. It was still a good story though, and there are a few scenes that made me close my eyes until it was over. Kidding. The true horror of this book was how most of the women were treated by their husbands. Especially Patricia’s husband, I think he was more of a villain than James Harris, the so called vampire.

But it is the housewives that are the true heroes of this story, although it takes them a painfully long time to get there. The book does slow down tremendously in the middle, and I think I would have liked to know a bit more about exactly what James was, he is not really a vampire in the traditional sense. Patricia was a likable enough character and I certainly sympathized with her problems and was rooting for her and the other ladies when they finally come up with a plan to rid themselves of James.

This book was certainly not at all what I was expecting, but it is still a good read that I would recommend if you can stand the few horror scenes.

“He thinks we’re what we look like on the outside: nice Southern ladies. Let me tell you something…there’s nothing nice about Southern ladies.”

Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons

“[Zombies] They only want to eat you, They don’t want to hurt you, or torture you. Pain is just a by product of how they want your meat. They’re not sadistic. They’re just hungry.

Zombies are basically human sharks.”

What do you call a group of zombies? A devouring, a shamble or a hunger? Do you know what a zoombie is? This was a pretty light and fun read, even when you consider that it is about real zombies taking over zombiecon. My favorite part was June thinking about and discussing what the collective noun for zombies would be. They came up with some pretty good ones.

“It’s the zombie apocalypse. Falling in love is the most ridiculous thing you can do.”

The characters and the plot were pretty typical of this genre and there were not any real surprises except for maybe the big finale. It was a little slow at the start, but once the zombies show up in force things really begin to take off. There really is no character development, except maybe for June to realize that she is stronger than she thinks. She was also a tad whiney about her ex-best friend stealing her sort of boyfriend. That got old real fast. But for the most part I did like her and her two other best friends Imani and Siggy. Their fan-girling at various times through out the book as they meet their favorite actors from the zombie shows was very cute and well done.

“My favorite was the scared girl, who everyone kept discounting and who just kept surviving, impossibly, until the very end.”

If you are looking for a fun, light read with zombies, then you should definitely try this one. What do you think a group of zombies should be called?


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