Wednesday, 20 August 2014
Twilight - the Awakening by Stephen Gilbert
Two things about the novel greatly embarrass Stephen and I do apologise to him for mentioning them. First up, he was in such a hurry to get the book published that he neglected to proofread it properly. I won't say there are a lot of spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in the book because there aren't. However, there are enough that they do become noticeable. Secondly, it is an unfortunate coincidence that Stephenie Meyer brought out her Twilight novel just before Stephen and now the word "Twilight" has become synonymous with sparkly vampires and hunky werewolves much loved by hordes of teenage girls.
So, on to the plot of Stephen's novel. It is set in the near future in England. The hero of the story is a former school teacher, Ray Matsuyama Timoshenko, who is based on Hasslefree's figure of Ray, aka their version of Shaun of the Dead. Ray is in a loveless marriage and has one daughter with whom he has an on/off relationship. He finds solace in alcohol and in the arms of another woman, Geraldine Fletcher, who is also going through a bad marriage. They often meet up in a local hotel run by Madge and Gerald Patterson. All four become good friends and it is during a stay at the hotel for Ray and Geraldine that the zombie apocalypse begins. What caused 95% of the world's population to die and reanimate as flesh eating zombies was a rogue asteroid that broke up high above our planet. Microscopic particles from the asteroid entered our atmosphere and affected the vast majority of the population. A lucky few proved to be immune to the space virus but there seemed to be no logical pattern or reason why so few people were immune.
I won't spoil the plot of the novel by saying who lives and who dies but Ray ends up leading a ragtag assortment of survivors looking for shelter and safety. One other drastic consequence of the asteroid breaking up was that it knocked the earth a few degrees of its axis and very swiftly the weather turned into a nuclear winter. Now the few remaining humans left alive not only have to deal with the undead menace but lethally cold weather. Things look very grim for Ray and his friends.
I enjoyed this novel a lot. Knowing who most of the characters were from their Hasslefree Miniatures counterparts helped me to picture them in my mind's eye and that was a big help. It is a hard hitting novel and many of the small band of survivors meet untimely and horrific endings. You can tell that this was meant to be part one of an ongoing series but Stephen has admitted that it seems unlikely that he'll write any more novels in this series. With a page count of 239 pages and a large typeface this is a book you can read very quickly. But it did keep me entertained from start to finish.
Alas, it is hard to ignore the typos but I respect Stephen for admitting they are entirely his fault. Also, it was just bad luck that the other Twilight novel turned out to be such a smash hit. The book is published by Lulu Marketing and can be found here - http://www.lulu.com/shop/stephen-gilbert/twilight-the-awakening/paperback/product-5242789.html for £8.73. I received my copy within three days of ordering it. It is a worthy addition to any zombie fan's book collection and I'll give it a 7 out of 10 rating.
NOTE. My proposed meeting with my girlfriend did not go as planned. At the last minute she was refused entry to her flight by customs officials for what has to be the craziest and most draconian of reasons. She is a Russian citizen and in order to leave Russia a citizen must be able to show customs officials that they have enough funds to live on £60 per day. This money doesn't have to be spent abroad, it just has to be shown at the customs check in. Marina planned to spend 20 days with me, which meant she had to show the customs officials £1,200. This she did not have as I told her because she'd be living with me she wouldn't need to pay for food, drink and accommodation. All she needed to bring was some money for personal spending. How little we knew! To think that the authorities can dictate how much money a person must take abroad is just beyond comprehension! Suffice to say, we are heartbroken but also extremely angry at her treatment. The one good thing to come out of this sorry situation is that it has served to strengthen our love.