Resurrection X: Zombie Evolution by Dane Hatchell

Resurrection X: Zombie Evolution [Kindle Edition]
by Dane Hatchell
302 Pages
Published by Post Mortem Press (May 28, 2012)
Genre: Horror, Political

Review by Patrick J. Dalton

Dallas, in the year 2020. Modern society is maintained by a labor force of genetically altered zombies. Lisa Goudard has no concern for their treatment, until a lab experiment gone awry infects her with the zombie virus. 

Saved by a radical drug treatment, Lisa is now relegated to the working class with the rest of the undead. She doesn’t know she is infected with a genetically altered viral prototype designed to produce immortality. As Lisa struggles to regain her first class citizen rights, the creators of the virus seek her servitude.

“The undead were to be used to help rebuild the world they nearly destroyed. Man has discovered a way to turn them from the hunters of humanity into the slaves of humanity.”
In the year 2013, Earth passes through a cosmic cloud of space dust in 36 hours time resulting in darkness and worldwide yellow rain. Each drop was harboring an alien microbe “not considered a true life form, as it did not self-replicate” and had no effect on the living, however it penetrated the soil to “rekindle the fires of life in the dead”. Thus ushering in the Dark Times. 

The gist of that horrific era centers around PFC Andy Wells, who bears witness to the war on the undead from flesh devouring hordes in the infection’s infancy to the military’s deployment of Z-Gas, bringing the conflict’s violence to an abrupt end. You see Z-Gas renders zombies into docile, shuffling cattle that are rounded up by the armed forces for experimental purposes until Andy makes a startling discovery.

Being the obnoxious peon that he is, Andy is relegated the menial task to relieve a flatbed trailer of its hundreds of 100lb sacks of concentrated ATP (adenosine triphosphate, a nutrient used to feed the now not-so flesh hungry undead). Through bitching and moaning aloud “Why should I have to be the slave? It’s yer food. You should be unloading it” And sure enough, the zombie nearest to Wells complies, giving birth to Non-Dead hard-labor slavery.

Present day, 2020, Lisa Goudard and her fiancĂ© Bob find themselves at a gas station thanks to a flat tire. Lisa, a vain and conservative State Health Inspector leaves the dirty work to the liberal, socially conscious Bob while she reapplies lipstick…in the reflection of a gas station mirror. While swapping out the flat, Bob falls victim to a jack-in-the-box attack by a zombie springing out of a dumpster nearby. While being ravished at an impressive speed, Lisa does her best to rush to his aid, not realizing the attacker is of the chompy variety gas station assailant, and catches a bite to her forearm during the melee. 

Meanwhile, other patrons have dialed 811, the zombie emergency hotline, summoning the authorities including the Z.M.AT. squad. Lisa is treated by EMTs while the dumpster diver is rounded up and taken away. Bob’s remains are collected as well, destination unknown. She is quickly administered the Resurrection Y treatment, which prevents physical death and taken to the hospital where she begins a weeklong recovery, coming to terms with her new “life”. No longer a Living, Lisa is now registered as a Non-Dead Sub Y.

For therapeutic reasons she must confront her attacker, whose name is Byron, now bearing the demeanor of a harmless child due to his own treatment, Resurrection Z. This serum is administered to the newly dead (and the occasional rogue zombie) whom are returned to “life” without a fully operational frontal lobe, the recipient not truly despondent but devoid of emotion, thought, or freewill as they are institutionalized and set to work in dark blue jumpsuits performing the duties of state mandated slaves.

Byron’s brother Rick Poundstone, the incumbent Republican rep. who drops by for emotional support, interrupts their session. Rick is one the main players in Resurrection X and this brief interaction with Lisa plants the seed for what’s to come between them as the story progresses.
“You are about to go back to a world that ain’t holding your place in line.”
The story of Resurrection X picks up the tempo upon Lisa’s release from the hospital and doesn’t let up.  Let’s meet the yang to Rick Poundstone’s yin. Joel spencer, the rep. of the Living Party, Poundstone’s political rival and moral opposite. The Living Party, in conjunction with a Pat Robertson-esque Rev. Will Hatfield, (of the Streets Of Gold Church) seek to push their twisted agenda this election year which includes the removal of the Non-Dead from the workforce (as they impede on the right of the Living) and instigating a national birth program. Yep. Mandatory baby making in the name of the lord. No “amen” here.

Spencer is amongst the most depraved in a cast seedy characters we meet along the way, whom Hatchell uses as a vessel to display the hypocrisies of the “holier-than–thou” bible thumping Christian fundamentalist vying for public attention. Spencer's extra-currricular activities as recounted prior to and during the Dark Times only add to his spinelessness, leaving little leeway for his self-righteous indignation.  

When he’s not in the god-fearing public eye, Spencer’s home life is definitely of note. His wife and part-time punching bag Margaret is rightfully taking her revenge on Spencer by getting…creative with their “property”, Sub Z Mack Teller, gardener, handyman, and a tool Spencer uses to show “compassion” for the Non-Dead for PR purposes. When offered his choice of cream cheese or pepper jelly by Margaret, Mack chooses the former. Right off of her nipple. 

Spencer’s daughter, Rebecca, quietly heads up the Dallas chapter of the NAAND (National Association for the Advancement of Non-Dead), trying to undermine her father’s scumbag political efforts and soon develops a relationship with Lisa, who serves as a poster-child for their cause in fighting for the rights of the Non-Dead.  Rebecca is more than the rebellious daughter of a Conservative, Christian father as she comes into her own in this tumultuous campaign-soaked mayhem. With Rev. Hatfield’s mole Ben trying to win her heart, he’s also trying to capsize everything Rebecca truly believes in.

But beliefs are checked at the door at Normie Cantrell’s Dancing Bare Gentlemen’s Club, the backdrop for Resurrection X's more disturbing and lewd acts. Frequently patronized by a mysterious figure swigging Jack Daniels and going “heels to Jesus” with Non-Dead prostitutes all while wearing nada but a motorcycle helmet to conceal his identity.  Take that visual in for a sec.
“Doesn’t the Constitution say that all men are created equal? How can I not be a full person? I was born a full person. Can a piece of paper take away that fact? Can a piece of paper take away my humanity?”
Resurrection X poses a parallel to slavery, human rights, and standard human morality as arguments (both valid and absurd) are made in what society deems as “sub-human.” Hatchell provides a unique, poignant political satire interwoven with all of the uncertainty of a blood-soaked thriller. Lisa Goudard provides the needle that neatly sews together the multiple sub-plots as the pawn in an absolutely twisted game of cloak and dagger, without the story itself being that simple or at all clichĂ©. 

Also of note, Hatchell doesn’t force the physiology of the Non-Dead or the nuances differentiating Sub Y and Sub Z all at once, instead blending in the details as necessary to keep things moving along at a respectable clip. Hatchell’s use of science is enough to justify the title’s reference, which is ultimately non-other than Byron. Pitting science against religion in a very believable not-so distant future was executed with just enough detail to provide validity, not too much as to be overwhelming.
“It appears the entertainment part is over. Our guest is in the onset of shock. Please, enjoy yourselves while there’s still life in him.”

Of the many well-penned settings, one of the most outstanding was a nod to the Marquis de Sade as depicted by The Loyal Order of the Non-Dead Epicurean Society. Yeah, I’m not telling, just something to be on the lookout for in Resurrection X. 

Dane Hatchell’s 2 year endeavor was well worth it as he created a genuinely unique approach to both the zombie and political genres, successfully adding a perspective not before seen in either. 

About the Reviewer:

Patrick J. Dalton is an Irish-born writer/ illustrator now living in the 5 Boros with his wife & 4yo son. Former musician/ lyricist, current human being, he is currently finishing his debut novel to be self-published in 2014.

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