RogerBW's Blog

Jam, Yahtzee Croshaw 02 August 2017

2012 horror comedy. Travis wakes up one morning to find that Brisbane has been flooded with carnivorous strawberry jam.

The basic structure here is the zombie apocalypse story: there's an ongoing threat to the human survivors, which seems to behave more or less according to some rules, but the humans themselves are a significant menace without societal restrictions on their behaviour. The narrative deals with two significant communities of survivors, each of which has gone mad in its own particular way.

One problem is that this is a very physical book: several sequences have characters trying to get from place to place over the jam, without touching it, and Croshaw largely fails at describing the areas through which they move, so it's hard to tell which moments might actually be considered dangerous.

The characters worked rather better, never becoming one-note heroes or villains, with enough complexity that even when they prioritise trivial personal interests over survival they make sense as people who might make that sort of decision. That doesn't stop them being tremendously annoying at times, of course.

Things do fall apart a bit late on, when Croshaw apparently feels the need to have an action-packed climax but doesn't have a clear sense of what would make a satisfying ending.

For a zombie apocalypse story with a different sort of zombie, it works very well; but stories like that don't make up my regular reading, and while this had some good moments it never really felt engaging. It's a hard effect to pull off, keeping things funny but also involving, and for me it doesn't quite work.

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