Saturday, December 27, 2008

“Some Zombie Contingency Plans” by Kelly Link: Story 2

Author: Kelly Link
Title: “Some Zombie Contingency Plans”
Anthology: "The Living Dead" [Title Post]
Position: 2
Length: 18 pages

“Some Zombie Contingency Plans” is placed as the second story in the anthology “The Living Dead” and acts as a raw contrast to the first story in both themes and pacing. Kelly Link’s piece isn’t straight in the face horror with survival elements, but more of a mainstream philosophic short story with some elements of the bizarro genre. The story itself is shrouded in several veils of interpretation and in that regard I have had some mixed feelings towards it.

Main topic in “Some Zombie Contingency Plans” concerns the ambiguity of identity and the ease in the modern world to be anyone with no one understanding the reality behind you. The characters Soap and Carly meet up on a party at Carly’s house, where Soap is an uninvited guest and both engage into a conversation, during which both hide and change their identities. The borders between fake and real are long erased and by the reader begins to question the validity of what is going on and whether anything mentioned by Soap has actually really happened.

Kelly Link utilizes a simplistic almost monotonous storytelling technique in present simple tense, which creates universal anonymity. This feel ties in with the frequent reappearances of zombies in Soap’s head. He tries to figure out what zombies would do and wouldn’t do, how one can defeat zombies and essentially what a zombie is. Very subtle of course another border fades slowly and Link makes subtle hints that the reason why people are preoccupied with the living dead is mainly because zombies exist among humans. They are hollow with no identity and not necessarily dead on the outside, but dead in the inside.

My issues with the story concern understanding what the author has deposited as idea in her work. Whatever I extracted as thinking material can be very well be 100% wrong. When it comes to works of fiction I prefer to grasp fully what the ideas behind a literary work are. As far as “Some Zombie Contingency Plans” goes such an access was unavailable. In my case this is unfavorable, but of course I don’t rule out the possibility that there are readers, who enjoy connecting the dots for themselves. Either way it is great to note that Kelly Link has presented an innovative way in portraying zombies as criteria to judge and identify ourselves if that is possible.


CaroleMcDonnell said...

, I love a good zombie story. Sounds great. -C

SQT said...

I need to pass this title on to a zombie obsessed friend. He'd love it.

daydream said...

Thanks for stopping by.

Carole: This is just one of the mild ones. There are so many heavily dosed with symbolism ones.

SQT: This is just the warm up. There will be more awesome stories in this anthology.

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