Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars
Published: January 19th 2014
Three years have passed since the Jamaicans caused the apocalypse, and things in post-Armageddon Chicago have settled into a new kind of normal. Unfortunately, that “normal” includes collapsing skyscrapers, bands of bloodthirsty maniacs, and a dwindling cache of survival supplies. After watching his family, friends, and most of the non-sadistic elements of society crumble around him, Patrick decides it’s time to cross one last item off his bucket list. He’s going to Disney World. This hilarious, heartfelt, gut-wrenching odyssey through post-apocalyptic America is a pilgrimage peppered with peril, as fellow survivors Patrick and Ben encounter a slew of odd characters, from zombie politicians and deranged survivalists to a milky-eyed oracle who doesn’t have a lot of good news. Plus, it looks like Patrick may be hiding the real reason for their mission to the Magic Kingdom…
Well, that was a surprise.
I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I presumed I was in for a zombie filled extravaganza and I was so wrong. Apocalypticon instead takes the end of humanity and fills 338 pages with a mystery surrounding a pudding cup, a letter and two friends’ brilliantly funny 1,100 mile journey to Disney World.
It manages to make fun of pretty much any post-apocalyptic situation you could find yourself in by not remotely coming across any realistic post-apocalyptic situation. Your Bison companion falls down a well? It’s fine, here’s a group of totally sane monks who drink frogs blood, hoping it’ll turn them into women so they can have sex with each other. I’m sure the language barrier won’t cause any trouble… Lost in a woods filled with rotting bodies hanging from the trees, that are suspiciously positioned in a Jesus-like way? It’s fine, this lovely group of highly religious, sacrificial maniacs will bring you to God and all will be well.
Although I never had any beef with any of the characters we meet along the way, Patrick and Ben make this book what it is.
Patrick is weird, nerdy, witty and completely determined to reach Disney World at all costs.
“Don’t think of this as certain suicide!” Patrick tells his sidekick, Ben. “Think of it as an exciting adventure that’s only also certain suicide.”
Ben, although equally enjoyable, doesn’t seem to have his own personality until later in the novel and instead is just Patrick’s shadow, following him completely no matter the consequences. This is the primary cause of pretty much every single one of the dilemmas the men find themselves in.
In all honestly, it took me a while to get into this novel but only because I kept putting off the idea of reading a zombie book and I really don’t like zombies. So, let me clarify for any other scaredy cats out there: this is not a zombie apocalypse book.
If you can laugh in the face of death, starvation, gases that melt people and the apocalypse then this is a must read. If you like disaster novels, then this is a must read. If you think you’re going to begin reading a zombie book and later find out it’s not a zombie book and that’s okay, then this is a must read. Unexpectedly, the ending broke my heart and who doesn’t like a good heart-wrenching ending? It’s brilliant. Well done, Clayton Smith, you funny man.