‘They took the job to escape the world. They didn’t expect the world to end’…
I read the blurb about this book, and to be honest I wasn’t sure how good it could be. A few people marooned on an oil rig? How can you actually get a whole books’ worth of action out of that as a storyline, even with the unknown impending doom heading their way…?
As it turns out, it actually works reasonably well. First off, there’s the chance to get to know the characters and their back stories, while the whole ‘zombies are coming’ thing sits just waiting to explode into the action. The main character Jane is an overweight vicar who is escaping her previous life, only to trade it in for a life she wasn’t expecting on the very male dominated oil rig. One of the things that I like about this book is the consideration of that isolation and the other things that threaten existence (hypothermia, lack of supplies, being surrounded by the cold, menacing, iceberg fulled ocean) which in themselves are quite scary really.
And then along come the zombies.
‘you know’ said Jane ‘for a while there, I thought we would be ok’
Unlike a lot of the zombie fiction I’ve read, Outpost manages to combine horror with a good dose of fantasy and science fiction – the zombies we find the characters confronting are gradually taken over by metal, slowly melding with their surroundings until they become part of one vast zombie mind. It’s interesting that on occasion the narrative swings over to the thoughts of different infected characters too – getting an insight into the thoughts and actions of the zombies adds an extra dimension and level of understanding to what is going on which works well.
Anyway, talking of understanding, there are a couple of things that didn’t really make sense. First off, Jane is described initially as a vastly overweight, very unfit kind of lady…and then suddenly, a few short weeks later she’s dashing across ice and snow, all action hero-esque, thin and fit and remarkably fast. I imagine that the ‘food is rationed, and we are running away from zombies’ diet and exercise programme is pretty good. But I have my doubts as to whether it is THAT good…
And then there’s the bit where one of the characters who set sail in perilous conditions, somehow manages to return unexpectedly and completely unexplained. I won’t go into it too much, but if you read the book you’ll see what I mean!
Despite these points however, it really is a good read and if you can overlook the inconsistencies then it’s definitely a book worth picking up.
I’m still pondering it all, imagining the metalness, days after putting it down completed. And keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t ever happen for real!
Outpost is not part of Kindle Unlimited, but every now and then it does come up at a very reasonable price to download if you keep a watch on it.