Review: Survivors

Survivors (Aftertime, #1.5)Survivors
by Sophie Littlefield

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Survivors / 9781459207769

This is an interesting short story -- only about 30 pages long on my reader -- but it's one of those stories where I felt the whole time that there was another book before the story that I needed to read in order to sink into this one. I notice that the author has a trilogy set in this world (Aftertime, Rebirth, and Horizon), so I almost wonder if it wouldn't be better to read one or more of those first.

"Survivors" is a zombie apocalypse novella, which I usually enjoy, but the zombies aren't really a major presence in this book. Instead, the focus is on the survivors and how they've pieced together a world inside a walled community called "The Box" in the aftermath of the apocalypse. This contributed in some ways to the disorientation I felt as a reader, because there seemed to be a lot of information dispensed as obvious-to-the-author that was nevertheless confusing to me.

For instance, a major point of the novella is that children aren't allowed in The Box because it's 'no place for children', so when a young survivor is brought in from a raid, everyone has to decide what to do with him. The problem for me was that I didn't see why, say, drug addictions and prostitution would make "The Box" inhospitable for children, as compared to, say, the slavering zombie apocalypse outside. Then, too, the mentality seems a little limiting: I guess the denizens of The Box are intending to live hard and die young all at the same time? If the situation was set up more like, say, a cult it might make more sense, but since everyone is presented as a relatively normal person dealing with the harsh realities of the world, this "no children, no procreation" rule just seems a little inhuman. (Not to mention impossible to achieve, unless all the prostitutes of The Box have high-priority raids on pharmacies for birth control pills.)

The writing for this novella isn't the best I've ever read -- there are a lot of long and sometimes convoluted sentences that can be a little confusing. Some of the punctuation could also be edited a bit, as there is an over-reliance on commas that I sympathize with but which is nevertheless distracting to read. Still, all told, this is an interesting novella and you can't beat the current free price on Amazon. For myself, I think I'll watch the Kindle sales and if Aftertime comes on sale, I'll pick it up and start the series over with that book.

~ Ana Mardoll

View all my reviews


Charleen Merced said...

Yeah, I think this book requires a pre-read of Aftertime. I have read Aftertime but not Survivors. 

A few things of note which might help explain things:

1. The surrounding areas around The Box have been mostly cleared out of zombies. They catch each and every single one. So, the surroundings are pretty safe. 

2. The entire children thing might have to do with the fact that there IS a cult near The Box. It is called the Order and housed in the Convent, in a stadium. It's a women only group and they only accept girls. 

3. The Box is not a community for living per se. It's where you go to trade, for drinking, partying. There are survivor groups holed up in Libraries, schools, etc. So, the no children rule makes more sense. People are not living there, for now (unless it's the guards, junkies or leaders of the trade), just trading there.

Ana Mardoll said...

Charleen, I'm glad you explained all that, because that makes the novella make a lot more sense. "The Box" being a marketplace instead of a housing community clarifies things a bit -- I suppose I was confused because the main characters live there (as guards and leaders, as you say), so I assumed everyone ELSE did too.

(Still, the 'no children' thing is weird. Do the prostitutes utilize day care?? I'm really surprised at how many authors seem to think that prostitutes just magically don't get pregnant. Am I missing something?? Is there a post in here somewhere? :) )

Charleen Merced said...

I am not really sure about the no children rule. I haven't read the novella (I will tonight). The leader that lives there is just the one that organized The Box. There are other factions elsewhere. 

Also, the book alludes to several attacks on the US. Some targeting specific species of plans and animals. A whole lot of bio warfare. And I guess it's not prostitutes in the...traditional sense. Not doing it for money. Mostly, to get something to trade to get high or drunk. So, to feed the addiction. And considering that very few people survived, I guess they have enough condom places to raid to have enough for everyone.But, not even the prostitutes live there all the time. Some do cause they want to be drunk 24/7.

Ana Mardoll said...

Well, the "no kids" thing is DEFINITELY a plot point. The more you tell me, the more I feel I was right on the button saying READ AFTERMATH FIRST BECAUSE THIS IS CONFUSING. :P

I'm now off to write a post about prostitution in fiction. *whistles jauntily*

Charleen Merced said...

I read the story. They weren't going to throw him out in the street. They were going to throw him out AND find him a proper shelter. As I mentioned, there are some communities within the 40 mile radius of The Box. The Rebuilders, The Resistance and the independent communities. 

Reading Aftertime is necessary, imo, prior to reading this. 

Ana Mardoll said...

Man, considering how much drama was attached to the "keeping him" question, it sure SEEMED like they were going to toss him to the zombies.

If the Deathlands world has, like suburbs and business district and no major zombie attacks, it's not really a heart-pounding apocalypse... But I'll still pick up the novel if it comes on sale. Thanks. ;)

Charleen Merced said...

Well, not quite. The town is deserted. Some people have come together and sought refuge in libraries, schools or fire houses. Others bunked up at home. It's still hard to travel across towns.

Post a Comment