First published back in September of 2011 within the ‘Zombies’ special of SFX Magazine, British horror author David Moody’s short story ‘Muriel’ was the only piece of literary fiction to be included in the 132 page magazine dedicated entirely to our undead friends.

DLS Synopsis:
For Chris Wilkins, the zombie apocalypse had (so far at least) pretty much been a walk in the proverbial park.  Locked away in his parents’ house (they were currently away on holiday), the young lad had already successfully secured the entire property using interior doors to barricade up the windows, all without attracting any unwanted attention from any nearby walking corpses.  Now, eight days later, he was still sitting tight in the knowledge that he had done a damn fine job of it all.  His parents would be proud, if or when they found out how well he had coped.  And it’s no doubt all thanks to the countless films on the undead that he had seen over the years.  Films that detailed the deadly pitfalls as well as providing handy hints on what to do in order to survive.  And it had worked!  He was alive, and by the looks of the empty street outside, not many others had.  But food supplies were beginning to run low.  So it was time to bite the bullet and leave the safety of the house to get some more foodstuffs from the nearby store.  But out there is where the all-too-real danger is.  And he’s about to learn that surviving the zombie apocalypse hasn’t really turned out to be everything it’s cracked up to be…

DLS Review:
I must confess, before reading the short I just presumed that the tale was going to be another ‘Autumn: The Human Condition’ (2005) style vignette that simply hadn’t been included in the original book or on Moody’s website.  But I was wrong!  First off, David Moody actually uses the ‘z’ word!  In fact, he quite literally embraces everything that is ‘zombie’ in the tale.  It’s one long homage to the films, the books and the entire subgenre as a whole.  Secondly, the writing style Moody has adopted for the short is very different than that of the ‘Autumn’ (2002) series.  There’s much more light-hearted comedy in there.  The zombie menace is of very little concern in the story.  However, what it is, is a damn good read!  The character of Chris Wilkins is one you can envision yourself being at the age of fifteen or so.  Moody plays with the idea of ‘every zombie fans dream’, and sets out on a mission to pretty much play the short out exactly like that from start to finish.  But then there’s the twist.  The reality check.  It hits him like a sledgehammer when he stumbles across his mother’s friend Muriel, and that’s when it all comes crashing down on poor old Chris Wilkins.  Pure ‘zombie fan’ genius, from an author who really does love the genre as much as the best of us!

The short runs for a total of 4 pages (of which one entire page is given over to headshot photo, presumably of good-old Muriel).

© DLS Reviews

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