Review of Performance: A Red Markets Novel (2018)


Caleb Stokes (writer).

Read in 2019.

A near-future supermarket pastry chef is doodling dicks on a cake when the apocalypse happens. Much later, “Takers” are tasked with confirming specific consequences of this apocalypse, venturing out from the remaining enclaves into the wasteland to spot the rich dead.

An adaptation of the TRPG Red Markets, a capitalist-dystopian zombie-apocalypse game.

I started reading the audiobook version, recorded by the author, on my bicycle commute. That was a mistake. Shifts in time, scene and focalizer are abrupt and signalled in ways that work pretty poorly in audio form, plus the MortPlayer Android app unsorted the chapters, and their numbers aren’t read. It was better when I repeated the scrambled chapters in order, but I still had to check the text form to figure everything out.

The allegory of capitalism is purposely over-extended to the point of seriously harming credibility. I would have preferred tweaking the premisses to support the theme rather than merely naming every part of the future world and every chapter after topics in economics.

text zombie fiction