STEM by Christopher Blankley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Zombpunk(book 1) Stem by Christopher Blankley
First of all; this was a thoroughly enjoyable read despite what some people see as catastrophic failure and I only see as mild speed bumps. I like the way that this started because you have this impression that there will be zombies you also get this confusion because the alleged zombies are neat, fit and civilized while the non-zombies are dirty, wretched hungry creatures who are what you mostly expect zombie's to be.
The bottom line to that is it's difficult to really see at first who is going to turn out to be the evil in this book.
Now it does seem that someone might be trying to make some new genre here- calling it ZombPunk in sync with Steam-Punk of course without steam technology and I somehow think it would have been more appropriate to call this Stem-Punk but then the whole idea of a potential for horror would be left out. As it is I'd much rather go for the title of 'The Night of Bread and Fish' although if it's going to be more than one type of fish it should be 'The Night of Bread and Fishes'
There really are no redeemable characters in this story. You have the terrorists against the pod people. I say pod people because at first they seem more like the pod people from the Body Snatchers than anything else. In fact this seemed like a quiet rework of the body snatchers with a twist that the people left are not so much pursued by the pod people as they are phased out by the lack of processed food.(Somehow they all have forgotten how to hunt and then again we don't see much in the line of repopulating the wildlife and such; so maybe that is a factor.) Anyway the Pod People do have that pod people attitude that says we're superior and if you understood that you wouldn't resist.
The book starts out reading as a comedy of errors where things snowball by little misunderstandings until you have the non-stem group becoming terrorists because they feel so threatened and you have at least one of the Stem group thinking they are targeting him because of a coincidental incident. And then you finally have the group targeting him just because.
I read this straight through in one sit and enjoyed it.
Now for the caveat. This book has a few grammar errors. My copy didn't seem to have as many as some readers have claimed. And by way of search I'm fairly confident that this copy has been corrected since those claims. There are still some problems, but it is hard even with professional editing to get them all unless your professional editor has more than two sets of eyes looking at the manuscript and even then it depends on their ability to catch everything. So there are still some errors but nothing distracting. There might still be some style choices that are suspect, but overall this copy is pretty solid.
I think that this qualifies more as good SFF for those types of fans and only the ending comes off a bit zombie-ish. Even then it still seems more pod people especially in some scenes where the pack sniffs out the normals. Overall this is great entertainment.
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