Aftermath by Joy Kennedy-O’Neill

Published: February 2012 in Strange Horizons

Genre: post-apocalyptic zombie short story

Length: 25 pages

Setting: near Houston, TX, near future

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Summary: Our narrator is a college professor living near Houston, TX in the aftermath of a virus that led to flesh-eating zombies. The government came up with a cure, but not before many people were infected and ate others. The zombies have since been cured, and cannot remember what they did when they were infected. This has led to some unresolved issues since the Never Infected do remember what happened. The narrator is trying to live with her husband, who was infected and ate their child, while teaching and we see flashbacks of the time while people were infected.

Final thoughts: I think I’m ruined for zombie stories by the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant (starting with Feed). Aftermath was too similar to that story (virus caused the disease, roaming packs of zombies eating the still uninfected) and suffered by comparison. It’s mostly about loss and trying to live with someone who made a huge mistake, but I saw the big reveal (the father killed and ate the daughter) coming from a mile away, so it lacked the punch it was supposed to give as the last line of the story. It’s not bad, and I did enjoy seeing how the author thought society would change after such a calamity, but Mira Grant does zombies best.

Title come from: The story is set in the aftermath of the zombie infection and subsequent cure.



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