Thursday, March 17, 2011
Population Zero By Wrath James White
Population Zero by Wrath James White
Ok I fully expected to hate this book. The world of fiction has not been kind to vegans, the depiction in the media is pretty awful. The worst being the scene in 12 monkeys when a group of animal rights activists celebrate by making monkey sounds and scratching themselves.
So when I heard extreme horror writer and former MMA fighter Wrath James White had written a novella with a vegan environmentalist serial killer I was afraid to read it. I am sure not all vegans will be happy about White’s Vegan character, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is not a politically correct book by any means and I think many will call it classist, maybe even subtly racist.
The fact is this is a challenging book, like many great works of ecological and political horror it challenges us to look hard at things we refuse to see, in this case that is not the torn and ripped up fetuses, and mangled limbs. This book has those but that is not what makes this book extreme horror if you ask me. It is just how much this book challenges the notion that having children in our seriously overpopulated is always a reason to congratulate someone.
Todd Hammerstein, is vegan, rides his bike to his social services job at the welfare department. This is a short novel but White does a great job, giving depth to Todd’s environmental beliefs quickly and for me that is more interesting than the blood and gore in the second half. An incident with the family dog that was his first love plants a seed with Todd, if you can’t support the population, you shouldn’t breed. His father tells them that is why they have to kill the dogs accidental puppies.
From his job at the welfare department he sees an endless stream of people with children they have no means to support. When he fails convince some that they should have an abortion Todd resorts to violence.
I clearly don’t agree with serial killing as a means of population control but I love this method of story telling to talk about the serious issue of human overpopulation. Add population zero to the cannon of great Ecological horror with Skipp and Spector’s The Bridge, Shirley’s Demons and Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up.