Review | Tuesday 31 July 2012
Revenge is a dish best served medium rare with BBQ Sauce.
Apocalypse Cow starts off, like all good comedies - with a mysterious man in an expensive suit stepping in a fresh steaming cow-pat. No wait! It starts off like all good horror stories - in an abattoir with cows going rabid, turning on the workers crushing them to death and tearing them into bloody shreds, leaving only one survivor. No sorry. It starts off like all good horror-comedies with the mysterious suit-man abducting a second-rate journalist, keeping her captive and forcing her to watch an enraged zombie bull err… violate and then eat a fellow prisoner.
The abattoir survivor, the inept journalist and a 15-year-old reluctant vegan are all that stands between life as we know it and the udder destruction of the Britain we all love.
Apocalypse Cow is brilliantly written - it manages to balance comedy and horror perfectly so that it’s never less of either but more of both. In that respect, and I am not the first person to notice this, the book is very much like Shaun of the Dead. Like Shaun of the Dead, Apocalypse Cow is peppered with pop culture references used to reinforce a moment, rather than lazily instead of (a pet hate of mine). My personal favourite of these was 'As far as bald statements went, that one was worthy of gracing Kojak’s head' a line which made me snort with such ferocity I stained the page.
As an added bonus in addition to the delicious insanity of zombie rapist animals, hardcore hippies and traumatised cannibals there are some genuinely touching moments. Logan’s refugee camps and trigger-happy soldiers, along with the fact that not everyone survives make Apocalypse Cow a surprisingly real imagining of what could happen should animals one day decide they’re tired of being turned into shoes and soup.
Apocalypse Cow is like a ride at the show – going on it will make you feel queasy (and the book will in parts) but it’s worth it. Oh, it is so worth it. I cannot recommend this book to anyone with a sense of humour enough. Just make sure you don’t have any steak that needs eating first.