Biters and The Reborn
1 journaler for this copy...
Biters, by Harry Shannon, is set in a world where a plague wiped out most of humanity and left some victims as "Biters", ravenous for human flesh. The story is set long afterwards, with the few surviving humans still dealing with Biters - and with each other - in an ongoing battle for survival. The story involves a man named Ryan, who approaches a barricaded compound of survivors with an agenda of his own - he's looking for an ex-lover who betrayed him... There are some violent and distasteful scenes in this one, even allowing for the desperation of the setting, and an ending that I actually found more satisfying than perhaps I should have.
The Reborn by Brett J. Talley has a more intriguing premise: in this world, a DNA test has been found that can identify people who are Reborn, who effectively are the reincarnations of dead criminals. [Yeah, that's a big stretch, but it's the premise of the story, so we'll go with it.] Given this, laws are passed requiring pregnant women to be tested, with the fetuses being terminated if they are flagged as "Reborn", and groups of enforcers hunt down anyone who refuses to be tested. The idea is that if they keep terminating the Reborn, all crime will cease - another problematic plot-point, though one that I suspect would be accepted by a percentage of the population... Anyway, as if all this weren't enough, the world has also suffered a massive war, thanks to the rise of a Reborn cult in China. The storyline suggests that the cultists were all dealt with, but the harm they caused is among the reasons for the draconian measures taken against the Reborn now.
The story has a lot of world-building for a relatively short novella, and includes the underground that tries to help the pregnant women escape the testing - even at the cost of torture and death by the enforcing squads. The women themselves are trained in the use of knife attacks, so they can inflict casualties on the enforcers even though they can't save their fetuses or themselves. Into this mix a new enforcer arrives, finding himself unable to fully accept the situation and very unwilling to aim weapons at frightened young women... There are more twists here, and a very tantalizing conclusion. Made me want to read more of this author's work.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I left this book in this new-to-me Little Free Library (one of two in the apartment complex); hope someone enjoys it!
[See other recent releases in MA here.]
*** Released for the 2020 Spooktacular October challenge. ***