- And the Winner Is – 7th Annual Book Tournament Finals Results!Posted 29 days ago
- 7th Annual Book Tournament – Round 5 ResultsPosted 36 days ago
- 7th Annual Book Tournament – Round 5 – Semi-finals!Posted 43 days ago
- 7th Annual Book Tournament – Round 4 ResultsPosted 43 days ago
- Blood of Asaheim by Chris Wraight – reviewPosted 46 days ago
- 7th Annual Book Tournament – Round 4 – QuarterfinalsPosted 47 days ago
- 7th Annual Book Tournament – Round 3Posted 50 days ago
- 7th Annual Book Tournament – Round 2 ResultsPosted 52 days ago
- 7th Annual Book Tournament – Round 2 – Malazan Empire AND Middle Earth BracketsPosted 56 days ago
- 7th Annual Book Tournament – Round 2 – Forgotten Realms AND Westeros BracketsPosted 57 days ago
Them Or Us by David Moody – Review
David Moody is one of my favorite modern-day authors. With novels like his Hater series, and Autumn series, he has become a master of the Horror genre. The Autumn novels are about how humans deal with zombies, and the slowly evolving nature of the zombies, in a postapocalyptic world. The Hater series, on the other hand, is not about zombies, per se, but in some ways it is even more disquieting. There is a saying from an old Pogo cartoon that applies to both series, really: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Them Or Us is a bloody, gore-filled, and philosophical conclusion to the Hater series, further cementing David Moody’s status as one of today’s best Horror authors.
How can you fight against an enemy who is so much like us that we can’t tell by looking at them if they are our friends or enemies? How can you combat foes who lives right next door to you, and who change overnight from being your acquaintances and friends to being people who hate your guts, and want to rend you to shreds with their bare hands, or whatever weapon happens to be available? That is what makes the Hater series, which began with the seminal novel Haters, so unnerving: the “bad guys” of today were your neighbors, relatives, spouses, grandparents, friends yesterday. The hate they feel is mindless, but they don’t care about the logic of their hate–they just hate, and want to be the sole survivors in the new world order.
Danny Coyne is the main antihero of the series. He was still full of rage and hatred throughout much of the second novel of the series, the superbly written Dog Blood, but his hatred has cooled somewhat in Them Or Us. He still can be a killing machine if he has to do so to survive and eat what scraps of food the leaders of the groups of Haters he finds himself in parcel out to their best soldiers, but Danny has been through a lot of hating, killing, and torture. He’s older, and wiser, and is a member of various groups of Haters only because the odds are slightly better that he will survive by being a member than trying to live and scavenge for food on his own.
The nuclear bombs have been dropped. By whom is a question that many ponder the answer to, whether is was by the Haters or the Unchanged, in an attempt to rid themselves of the Haters or lessen the danger they faced from them. However, the Haters in Them Or Us have taken the upper hand. They were once fewer in numbers than the Unchanged, but they are methodical and stronger than their hated foes, and through ruthlessly hunting them down wherever they find the Unchanged, the Haters now outnumber the Unchanged in Them Or Us. The Unchanged are, literally, being hunted to the point of extinction, except for small enclaves of them that the Haters try to locate.
But, in a system of rewards and punishments which the Haters have set up to reward their best hunters of the Unchanged with extra or better quality food, what will they do when it becomes more difficult to hunt down the few Unchanged who are left alive? What, when all of the Unchanged are exterminated, will be their reason to keep going, and living? In some zombie novels, the question has been asked a slightly different way: When the food supply is eliminated, what will happen next for the zombies?
The group of Haters that Danny is in initially is one headed by a thug named Hinchcliffe. Like with almost any similar situation with tribal chiefs or warlords, though, there are many people who want to usurp Hinchcliffe and become the new leader. Through a succession of various bad-ass merciless leaders, Danny somehow manages to survive, if barely. And then, one day, a talent of his is discovered that helps ensure his own survival, if but for a time: Danny is able to turn off his Hate, to pass himself off as one of the Unchanged. This makes him very valuable, as a tool to be used to infiltrate and root out the few enclaves of the Unchanged still left.
But, Coyne is plagued with doubts. Though he was once one of the most virulent and hate-filled of the Haters, he now is unsure if what the Haters are doing is the best course of action, if the end result is that they bring down civilization with their hatred. Should he, he ponders, continue being a Hater, and help to further their goal of eliminating every last one of the Unchanged who remains; or, should he join with the Unchanged, in a last-ditch effort to regain dominance in the world, and to survive?
Them Or Us is a dark look into the human psyche and soul. There’s enough blood, gore, and violence in it to please the most ardent fans of the zombie and horror genres, but it is a very thought-provoking book, as well. Them Or Us is another gem of horror from David Moody, and I eagerly look forward to reading more from him in the coming years.