1975 (Year of the Zombie #9)
Sean T Page
As happens quite often in the Zombie subgenre, the apocalypse has come, and as a result Britain has been overrun by the living dead. The last outpost of humanity in the country is a small military bunker hidden in a building overlooking Parliament Square in London. Inside the bunker live a small band of soldiers and civilians desperately trying to find a cure for the plague that has destroyed the country, and the wider world. Cole, one of the technicians working in the facility, soon realises that people are going missing from the bunker – and the remaining survivors seem curiously indifferent to the situation.
I haven’t been this disturbed by a piece of fiction in quite some time, particularly Zombie fiction, and I happen to read an awful lot of it. The usual horror in the subgenre comes from the dead themselves – the active horror of being infected and/or eaten, or the passive horror of waiting for the hordes of corpses to breach whatever defences remain. However, without spoiling anything (for this is only a short story) it rapidly becomes clear that the zombies shambling around outside the bunker are the least of the problems for the occupants of the bunker – and indeed they really only make a cameo appearance at the end of the story.
Instead, this is an excellent piece of horror that takes a look at the consequences of surviving for a long period of time within an enclosed space, with unreliable colleagues and slowly-dwindling supplies, and how these factors can take their toll on the minds of those within that enclosed space. Mr Page does an excellent job of showing how this process takes place (aided, as the author’s note mysteriously highlights, by his own experiences in living in an underground bunker for a number of days), and the inevitable negative consequences of this isolation.
One of twelve stories that Infected Books are releasing throughout 2016 as part of its Year of the Zombie anthology (which also includes the excellent Killchain by Adam Baker), 1975 is a brilliant piece of horror short fiction that should be read by anyone with an interest in horror and/or zombies.