Bookworms: Autumn (2010) by David Moody
You’re standing in front of a normal building, looking out onto the maze of a street, with cars crashed, strewn across the asphalt in an abandoned heap and mixed with dead bodies beginning to rot and you realize it’s not the smell or the vision of the street before that has your guts churning in suspense and danger. No, it’s the complete and utter silence that hasyou watching for just the slightest twitch and has you holding your breath, just waiting for the inevitable jerking movements to send your already hammering heart into full on disaster zone.
The suspense of Autumn by David Moody is what makes the book so fulfilling and fascinating. The tragedies strike quickly with 99% of the population worldwide dying in a matter of moments and pages of the book. People keel over suddenly dead, leaving a silent world for the few survivors to work their way through with no explanations about what happened or what to do next.
While the story does move comparatively slowly following that initial shock, the suspense builds as the fear in the story, in the characters’ reactions and in the world they occupy keeps you glued to the pages, anticipating the moments of reanimation. Autumn does a wonderful job of creating that air sucking feeling of wondering what is around the corner and waiting for something to jump out and grab you with its rotting zombie hands.
The movie of the book, Autumn, attempts to do this too, following almost exactly the storyline and dialogue from the book, but the suspense just does not translate from book to movie. I highly recommend the book but not the Autumn movie unless you’re like me and have the tendency to at least try pretty much any zombie movie. The movie is slow and by the time it’s over, you could have spent more time intrigued by the book’s sequels Autumn: The City, Autumn: Purification, Autumn: Disintegration, Autumn: Aftermath and Autumn: The Human Condition.
The wording at times could have been more creative but the overall development and intrigue makes up for some less than stellar word choices. Unfortunately, the characters are sometimes not the most endearing and the band of survivors our main characters meet and eventually leave behind are probably the worst possible group to have on your zombie apocalypse survival team. The story, I felt, was more about the possibilities of the zombies and the world the survivors found themselves in than it was about the characters specifically.
The zombies themselves, though they are never named as such, were the more interesting force in the book. They wake up uncoordinated and uncertain, beginning to wander with no interest in the world. They slowly begin to exhibit evolving behaviors, which leads to the question of just what these zombies are capable of.
Check out David Moody’s sequels to find out more but know that even slow, ambling zombies who have little interest in our brains can be dangerous sometimes just be sheer volume of a single herd. Watch out for that silence, you never know what’s around the corner waiting to surprise and trample you.