J. L. Bourne’s Day by Day Armageddon is written as journal entries. The whole book is journal entries. Reading the book is liking reading a journal, because the book is written in journal entries.
I hope I got across that this book is written as journal entries because that’s the one and only interesting thing about zombie-tale Day by Day Armageddon. I’m not being too harsh either, since most of the marketing and blurbs about the book are about how it’s written. But, where as Max Brooks’ modern classic, World War Z, used a unique format to tell enthralling zombie stories, Bourne uses his style to hide a dull, plodding book.
The beginning of the book starts out strong enough, with an account of how the zombie apocalypse comes about and how it escalates. The cause and effect of the early chapters works because there’s momentum in the dominoes of the modern world toppling over. But, even then, cracks begin to show.
Bourne reveals his amateurish writing from the beginning. I don’t want to call it lazy, because laziness doesn’t complete a book. But, you can write a novel without having much skill in the art. There’s an overemphasis on descriptions, from locations to activities. As we follow our main character, every step he takes is accounted for, even if he does the same things everyday. Now, that could be interesting, as it could be an examination of how monotony can ruin a person’s psyche, especially in survival situations. That’s what Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend is all about and it’s fascinating.
Unfortunately for Day by Day Armageddon, Bourne isn’t up to the task. He rarely brings psychological ramifications to light and, when he does, they’re random and thrown away quickly. Thoughts like “Why am I still trying to live?” and “What’s the point of tomorrow?” are ignored as quickly as they arrive. Either Bourne isn’t interested in that type of story, or he thinks these quick snippets are enough.
Now, not focusing on the psychology of the character would be fine if that’s not the type of story Bourne wants to tell. But, I’m not sure what he is trying to say. Day by Day Armageddon isn’t an action story and it’s hard to feel tension when we know the character had to survive to tell the tale. It’s not a book about relationships falling apart or the evil nature of humanity. None of the characters have enough depth to invest in and there’s no dialog to learn from. There is a group of survivors who show up and cause trouble for the main group, but they’re taken care of without much fanfare.
Without any unique perspective or point of view, Day by Day Armageddon is just a daily account of someone taking the bus to the office. Except, even that type of story could be interesting if it had the right focus. Here, we’re reading about survival without purpose. The book doesn’t end with a cliffhanger or closure, it just ends. There’s no inertia given for the reader to want to continue the series. Bourne shows he has the commitment to write a book and get the technicality of it down, but he doesn’t have the skill to make it something worth reading.
If you’ve read more than the first book, maybe you can tell me if he gets any better as a writer. I doubt it, but I won’t be finding out for myself. Day by Day Armageddon is a book I wouldn’t recommend, even if you were desperate for zombie fiction. Maybe, when this book was written in 2010, we had less options and would read anything we could find. Today, you could spend years reading zombie apocalypses and never need to pick this up.
Summer is over and the big budget movie season is done. Back in April, I wrote a summary of the movies I was looking forward to (or at least, interested) in seeing. Now that September is two days away, it’s time to look back and see how everything panned out.
Iron Man 3 was a great way to open the summer. It was fun, clever and took care of any worries that Marvel wouldn’t be able to keep interested post-Avengers. As a Marvel fan, I was very happy.
Star Trek Into Darkness was okay. It wasn’t as fun as the first one, but anytime the cast was interacting with each other, it was a good time. It loses major points for simply retelling Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and I was disappointed with Benedict CumberKhan as a lesser version of a great villain. I hope the next one does a better.
After Earth was a pass.
Man of Steel. I’m not sure where to start. Let’s just say I wrote a review and now I’m not allowed to talk about it anymore. And honestly, I’m ready to move as far away from it as possible.
World War Z was probably the surprise of the season for me. Knowing it would be nothing like the book helped. Once I got past that fact, I was able to sit back and enjoy the movie. It was fun, exciting and scary at times. It’s the kind of zombie movie I wanted when I was a teenager.
Pacific Rim was a mixed bag. I enjoyed it but it definitely took too long to get going. The dialog was a bit rough but it means well. Plus, it had giant robots fighting monsters.
R.I.P.D was a pass.
The Wolverine was great. It was well thought-out, action packed and felt like a Wolverine movie. I was surprised by how intriguing it all was. The last act felt out of place but I can handle generic superhero action. The bullet train fight well made up for it. Also, the teaser at the end? Why can’t it be next summer already!
Elysium was good. It wasn’t as mind bending as District 9 and packed fewer surprises, but was still above average scifi fare. I put the pieces of the plot together fairly early, but was still involved the whole time. It was a good way to end the summer.
So there it is. Even though I enjoyed most of the movies, I still felt a little bored with the whole summer season. It might be that it was too crowded with movies I had no intention of seeing, like The Lone Ranger and Fast and the Furious 6. But as a whole, I enjoyed my time in the theater.
Until next summer!