Devolution

 Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre, by Max Brooks

I never got around to reading World War Z -- zombie apocalypse novels are not really my thing -- but I was kind of intrigued by the notion of a Bigfoot apocalypse.  That's kind of unusual!  Since I live in Northern California, Bigfoot is a somewhat popular figure; this isn't actual Bigfoot territory but it's not uncommon to see stickers on cars and whatnot, and this is a popular quilt pattern at the local shop.

The narration is provided through Kate's diary, after the fact, with some accompanying documentation -- interviews, articles, etc.  So, the story:

Kate and her husband Dan have just moved up to Greenloop, an eco-tech 'village' of just six houses set in the wilderness near Mt. Rainier (which is south-east of Seattle).  It's all the convenience and ease of city life combined with the beauty and isolation of country living -- everybody telecommutes and gets drone or van deliveries of everything they need.  Kate loves the mountains and hopes that the massive anxiety and depression she's been dealing with will be left behind with the high-pressure LA lifestyle; the diary is written to her therapist.  Dan, whose tech venture went south, has been sunk in apathy for a long time, and Kate is also hoping that a change of scene will be good for him and their failing relationship.

But hardly have they arrived, when Mt. Rainier explodes.  Boiling mud floods the roads.  Seattle is cut off and pretty soon there are food riots.  The people of Greenloop have electricity, but no connectivity -- they can't communicate with the outside world.  Surely someone will save them soon -- right?  All they have to do is hang on for a few days.  But then something is in the woods, watching, and hungry.


It was kind of fun to watch insulated, comfortable city folks try to contend with Nature; some of them take longer than others to figure out reality.*  My favorite part was seeing Dan find a whole new role and purpose for his life.  And Kate goes from a socially-anxious, squeamish over-thinker to a resolute strategist.

Takeaways: don't depend entirely on the cloud for everything you need to know.  Take a real book or two along, and also a toolbox.

So, I'd say this was a pretty good read.  I don't know if it's as good as World War Z, but it's a fun light read, if you don't mind everybody dying.  



*Since I now have some experience with wildfires, I sometimes found the people kind of exasperating.  You can't just live up in the mountains and assume there will never be any emergencies and you'll always have easy access to everything you want!

Comments

  1. we live in the Cascades, near the Columbia... we had a good view of Mt. St. Helens when it blew up. as a geologist, i'm aware that Mt. Rainier could go anytime; that will dwarf St. Helens, probably, plus, possibly, wipe out Seattle with a nuee ardente (glowing gas cloud), so this would be interesting to read just to see how accurate the author was with her volcanic prognostications! out of scifi into disaster novels!

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  2. I liked this a lot too -- it was very scary! I wasn't sure how the author was going to make Bigfoot scary because that's not a real fear of mine at all, but wow he did a great job. Also, for what it's worth, I have never liked a single zombie story ever EXCEPT for World War Z.

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  3. I have a World War Z paperback waiting to be read so might as well add this one to my list! Thanks for telling us about it. I love books where I can roll my eyes at city people in the wilderness.

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  4. Mudpuddle, I remember Mt. St. Helens, and yeah, I figure Mt. Rainier could also go. I live not too far from Mt. Lassen, which is similar -- it last erupted about 110 years ago, and there are plenty of rocks around here from that, and other older eruptions. So I encourage you to read this and report back about the realism of the eruption!

    Jenny, I agree that Bigfoot is not scary, and Brooks did a good job with making it so. And your recommendation makes me ponder reading WWZ!

    Jinjer, you'll love this one then!

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  5. I read and enjoyed WWZ several years ago. This one sounds good, too!

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  6. I'll have to read this one. Thanks!

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