Dead Beyond the Fence: A Novel of the Zombie Apocalypse

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Kaufman writes, in his introduction to the novella appended to "Dead Beyond The Fence," that many readers wondered what came after his hanging ending. Kaufman seems to think that the ending -- murder-suicide by the protagonists -- is the obvious conclusion to a story that ends with the hapless pair looking out over an uncertain or certainly doomed future.

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The problem with Kaufman's conclusion is that it's an author's conceit; he didn't write it well enough for the book to imply such an ending, nor would such an act be consistent with the character to whom he'd like to attribute it. The book itself is fairly unremarkable but entertaining enough. I dislike Kaufman's repeated use of the word "shambler" to replace "zombie. Substituting the term is another conceit on Kaufman's part -- or an attempt to innovate that simply doesn't work.

The relationship and the complexity of that relationship between Kaufman's protagonists is well done, and he does explore some of the psychological effects of coping with a zombie -- excuse me, "shambler," ugh -- outbreak. I liked that much of the book, and the opening sequences of the first chapter took and held my interest. The characters our protagonists meet later in the book aren't as well drawn and come across like impossibly foolish caricatures.

I hate to think a group of left-leaning academic twits would be among the only survivors of a living dead holocaust, but stranger things have happened. When our gaggle of liberal morons manage to destroy themselves, it's not a surprise -- although there's a nice call-back to this in the novella, "Dread Appetites," that is appended to "Dead Beyond the Fence. If the story's original ending was disappointing or at least unresolved , "Dread Appetites" leaves a lingering sense of resentment in the back of the reader's brain.

It's as if Kaufman sat down and asked himself what the most awful, tasteless act or acts he just might include in a horror novel could truly be, then wrote to contrive such an ending. There's an art to writing apocalyptic fiction well. If the scenario is no-win, there should at least be a compelling reason why the protagonists cannot succeed. If they fail through no fault of their own or because there was never any point in trying to survive, the reader is cheated and made to feel his or her time has been wasted.

That is the real tragedy of "Dread Appetites," which ruins "Dead Beyond the Fence" more thoroughly than the novel's competent but unfulfilling mediocrity could. There is little point to "Dead Beyond the Fence," but it is at least entertaining; there is less point to the novella that follows, and it is offensively, stupidly forced for shock value. Nov 05, Patrick D'Orazio rated it really liked it.

We See Dead People

Kevin and Angel have survived in his apartment during the first month of the zombie apocalypse with a group of other survivors who are living, essentially, in denial. The zombies are getting in despite the insistence of others that they cannot get in. Even though they have barricaded the place pretty tightly there are less and less of living souls as the days go on. So the duo pick up and depart the complex, heading toward the mountains nearby, with the hopes of steering clear of the mass of the Kevin and Angel have survived in his apartment during the first month of the zombie apocalypse with a group of other survivors who are living, essentially, in denial.

So the duo pick up and depart the complex, heading toward the mountains nearby, with the hopes of steering clear of the mass of the undead in the city. Before they get too far, they end up at a university research facility which still houses several scientists and a few others who have decided to continue on with their research in an effort to discover the cause, and possibly a cure, for what has caused the dead to come back to life. Unfortunately, they are all working at crossed purposes and none of them except a security guard named Janet seems to care about what is out beyond the fence.

The undead have mostly left them alone and no one really seems to like it when Kevin rocks the boat by suggesting that they take a more serious approach to defense, since all they have is a chain link fence to protect themselves and more and more zombies seem to be gathering at the gate every day.

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This book is broken up into the main story, which is novella sized, and then a short story that is almost novella sized, that finishes things up. I do not want to give away much of the plot, but I will say that this book does take a different approach than many other apocalyptic zombie books that you will see out there in how things occur, especially with the novella tacked on to the end of it. The writing is solid and well edited, with very few typos, but the story itself may not appeal to all people, especially those who have faith that in the end, humanity will win out.

I was frustrated at points with certain characters and how they acted, but not because I didn't think what they did wasn't realistic or anything of the sort-it is more like getting frustrated because some of the characters who buried their heads in the sand, or seemed willing to give up on things too easily, remind me way too much of how some poor souls act in real life when faced with challenging or harrowing situations. You almost have to shake your head at them and curse under your breath. If it was a movie, you would scream at the movie screen and tell them to wake up. Does that mean I disliked how the story unfolded?

No, I think this was a grim story and none of the characters came across as heroes or heroines Despair has gripped them all, and it is difficult for them to hope for better in the future.


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This is perhaps not the most upbeat tale of the apocalypse which sounds like a contradiction in terms , but perhaps one of the more realistically brutal ones. The senselessness of it all rings true in this story-Kevin and Angel do what they have to care for one another, but cannot truly love each other-they need to hold on tightly, but cannot feel much in a dead world. Oct 20, William M. Although author Brian Kaufman doesn't really add anything new to the zombie mythology, he writes some of the most natural and realistic dialogue I've read in quite a while.

Instead of gore and violence, Kaufman plays to his strength of solid character development, particularly the two main characters, Kevin and Angel. While the world of an apocalyptic zombie invasion is usually set on a massive scale, this author mainly focuses the events in one building location with various characters working on separate possibilities to cure the undead virus. A pressure cooker of internal conflicts arise between the survivors and begins to boil over. A few typos aside, this is a well written and edited story.

With the exception of a sudden argument about halfway through the book that I felt was a bit unmotivated, the story felt very organic and believable. As long as an author can submerge me into their world and make me believe the events are truly happening, I consider that a success. Could this story have been longer? Could it have added a more original spin to the hundreds of other zombie stories that have already been published?

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But in the end, it's about entertainment, too. And I was never bored. Kaufman keeps the scenes short and really cuts to the heart of the relationships in a refreshingly concise way. I also liked the way Kaufman portrays the zombies, describing that the older they get, the more they fall apart and even die off naturally. This is something that might be obvious, but not a lot of authors touch on this specific trait, which makes everything more believable and offers a glimmer of hope to our heroes.

As a bonus for the novel, the publisher includes the sequel and much darker story, "Dread Appetites", a novella that takes place half a year after the events in "Dead Beyond The Fence". While I was glad to read more of the characters, especially since Kaufman left things so vague at the end in the first story, I don't think he was as inspired with this novella.

Jonathan Maberry

The writing felt as if he skipped over important parts and the descriptions had me flipping back to make sure I had not missed something. He had one character dying that really felt out of place with no real reason as to why. So we can conclude that the zombie is never particularly fixed in a set of conventions, and is instead an incredibly mobile and malleable metaphor.

And actually, just watching The Walking Dead disguises the fact that there have recently been some very striking changes in cultural uses of the zombie. For Rick Grimes and his crew on The Walking Dead, zombies are merely anonymous hordes, there to be dispatched. They are rarely individualised. Rick perhaps shows a little pity in the very first episode of the entire series, but after that it is all about learning to live without sentiment. They are the implacable enemy.

But just in the last few years, something amazing has happened: the zombies have started acquiring the stirrings of consciousness. We are beginning to hear the experience of zombification from their side of the fence.

But Romero has not pursued this idea in his most recent additions to his series. Others, however, have really developed this idea. There is quite a lot of etiquette to grasp, particularly around eating your parents. Jonathan Levine made it into a successful zom-rom-com film in , worth seeing for the dazzling opening minutes alone, as R shuffles aimlessly around the airport terminal where he died, dimly haunted by fragments of memory from his prior existence.

Warm Bodiesis out to show that only love can breathe life back into deadened teen existence. View image of Credit: The CW. It centres on Gwen, a young woman who becomes zombified yet can pass as a human if she can get hold of a small meal of human brains once a month easy enough with a job in a morgue. Eating brains, however, comes with the impressions, memories and experiences of those human beings being tasted.

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