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Literature / Zone One

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A novel by Colson Whitehead set during the Zombie Apocalypse. Humanity is trying to wipe out the remaining zombies while restarting civilization, with the impromptu government based in Buffalo. The main character, Mark Spitz, is a "sweeper" in a reclaimed section of lower Manhattan, called Zone One. His job is to clear stragglers out of buildings within the safe zone so that new tenants can eventually move in.

This book provides examples of:

  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Mark Spitz (nicknamed for the Olympian after claiming he can't swim), the Quiet Storm, and No Mas
  • Our Zombies Are Different: In addition to the usual flesh-eating, plague-bearing kind, there are also "stragglers", which seem to be frozen mid-action and do not move, notice people, or bite (at first)
  • Post-Apocalyptic Traffic Jam: During the I-95 job in Connecticut, Mark Spitz help to clear the wreckage of vehicles long abandoned by those fleeing the zombie apocalypse.
  • Purple Prose: As a "literary" zombie novel, Zone One strays into this territory frequently.
    • Mark Spitz, as The Narrator, often goes into a flashback...and stays there for a long, rambling monologue.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Although there is occasional mention of soldiers shooting fresher skels in the torso, Mark Spitz makes a point of sticking to head shots.
  • Room Full of Zombies: The sweepers, like Mark Spitz, are charged with clearing buildings of these. A couple are turned up, with varying consequences.
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot: The entire setting of Zone One is this. It seems like the sweepers might keep the skels out, but they're overrun in the end.
  • Zombie Infectee: Mentioned more than seen; some of the bitten think that anticiprant, if administered quickly enough and in a high dose, will prevent their undeath.