Realism and zombie stories are not usually two things you would get together but it’s something that has intrigued a lot of people over the last few decades. What would happen if the Zombie Apocalypse came? How could you really get Zombies?
The Black Tide Rising series by John Ringo tries to answer these questions. In the first chapter you are introduced to Ringo’s zombies who spring not from a supernatural source but from an engineered flu plague. The making and spread of the zombies is handled in a realistic way with the initial reports, their slow spread with prevention attempts hampered by politics and by the end of the first book a complete collapse in society and humanity. The four books are Under a Graveyard Sky, To Sail a Darkling Sea, Islands of Rage and Hope, Strands of Sorrow and there is anthology of short stories slated for June 2016. They follow one family’s escape from the collapsing US and their frantic attempts to save others and hold together a core of people and rebuild.
So why is it so good? Without giving any spoilers the series covers mental health issues, particularly trauma survivors, post-traumatic stress, teen trauma survivors extremely well. For those who do not normally read sci-fi, the characters demonstrate not only how to survive and overcome traumatic experiences, but also points out very clearly that different rules apply and that often, what is sane within the right context might seem totally crazy in the ‘real world’ context.
Trauma happens outside of the world most people live in and are accustomed to and quite often the way to recovery is hampered by adults, particularly professionals who attempt to make survivors fit in with every day normal social structures and it doesn’t work that way and Ringo’s writing acknowledges this.
It might sound odd to be recommending zombie apocalypse stories but while the books are a very fun, fast paced read they offer a view on trauma that is from an angle not often considered. Recommended.