... which makes 2013 a fairly firm departure from form for me, what with watching Shaun of the Dead, revising AJ Aalto's Death Rejoices, and being given World War Z by my boss as a holiday gift (thirty-some pages in, it's not holding my interest, and that's been further undermined by the hack rip-off of the concept I read previously, Robopocalypse, to it will probably end up on my "never to be finished" list of ignominy).
All of which is to contextualize exactly how flatly fucking good Feed is against the prevailing headwind of my antipathy. If Tom Clancy had the cast-iron cojones to try writing a political thriller from inside Bruce Campbell's ouevre, he'd wish it was this good. The characters are interesting and passionate and only slightly more amazing than might be strictly plausible (my time as part of a few online news sites means I know a little bit about some of the sausage-making). When I can buy into the characters this much, this easily, the events of the book matter, and that wasn't necessarily comfortable for the other folks waiting for their rides outside of Houston-Hobby airport, because that's where I was standing when I got to the end of chapter 26. (I sent Seanan a note on tumblr the next day, and her reply was, and I quote, "Hee hee hee." She is very much my kind of sadist.)
As the first book of a trilogy (the other two are waiting at home, because I did not bring enough books in my luggage), it stands entirely cromulently on its own.
Back on the subject of context for a moment, because the author was kind enough to reply to a ping about the timeline of the book's composition. Written during 2005-2006, it's as much a disaster-survival response to Hurricane Katrina as it is a reaction to and exegesis on the distrust in mainstream media that many folks of our generation underwent as we watched the nation convulse in the wake of 9/11 and the drumbeat to the wars of choice built on political lies parroted by the conventional media outlets; the protagonists of Feed are homesteaders on the frontier of Fourth Estate.
Four point eight zombie-poking sticks out of five.