I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas by Adam Roberts
Given that Yellow Blue Tibia by Roberts was both the maddest and best SF book I read this year, I had high hopes of this zombie take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as a bit of fun this festive season. Would it live up to the fun I had with Pride & Prejudice & Zombies ? (reviewed here last year).
Whereas P&P&Z keeps Austen’s prose moreorless intact, adding the ‘zombie mayhem’ into the original, I am Scrooge keeps the main characters and then riffs on the story telling of a rather different Christmas night for Scrooge as the ghosts show him how the world will become populated by zombies if he doesn’t change his ways.
Marley was dead, to begin with. Dead for about three minutes, that is: then he got up again. The clergyman, the clerk and the undertaker had all certified him dead: and these were all men experienced in the business of dealing with dead bodies. They were all astonished, then – and more than astonished – to hear his corpse groan, and to see it shake and move. If their surprise did not last long, it was only because it very quickly turned to terror as Marley reached out and sank his fingers into the soft flesh of the clerk’s and the undertaker’s throats, and, using them as leverage, pulled himself forward to bite down hard into the face of the clergyman…
So it begins – and I stopped the quote before it gets truly gory! Marley is the first zombie of many lurching out in search of brains to eat, but Marley wants Scrooge’s in particular. The story starts promisingly, with touches of corny humour and bucketloads of gore, but goes downhill with the arrival of the second ghost of Christmas future. This phantom is irritating to the core, talking in modern argot like Ali G – with nah, innit, bruv and amirite all over the place – this was bizarre as the future Scrooge is shown is 1899. Sadly, this wasn’t funny at all and submerges the plot under its weight. I did like the twist at the end though …
This one misfired for me, but it won’t stop me reading more of Roberts’ SF though. (6/10)
This post was republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive
Source: Own copy
Adam Roberts, I am Scrooge (Gollancz, 2009) Hardback, 160 pages.
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