Three Flavours of Binge-Worthy SFF Podcasts

Three Flavours of Binge-Worthy SFF Podcasts


Firefly – The Big Damn Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel

Firefly – The Big Damn Cookbook

Cookbook Review

6th Annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off: An Introduction to the SPFBO

6th Annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off

An Introduction to the SPFBO


Zombie Fallout Three: The End… by Mark Tufo

Zombie Fallout Three: The End… by Mark Tufo
Book Name: Zombie Fallout Three: The End...
Author: Mark Tufo
Publisher(s): Self-Published
Formatt: Paperback / Audio Book / eBook
Genre(s): Horror / Zombie
Release Date: March 14, 2011

Like a zombie catching the scent of fresh meat over an old kill, the sun rises on yet another week for the Month of the Living Dead. As we see the approaching end of week four, it makes me think back to how we started this with a certain sequel. Well, now it’s time for the sequel’s brother to have a go as we continue on with Zombie Fallout Part Three: The End…

The third book in Mark Tufo’s continuing series picks up with its chronicles of the Talbot family right at the battle where we left off. Although the narrative proper does not get off the ground until a few chapters later, when Michael has woken from his coma and discovers that he and his family were rescued by Marines from the aptly named Fort Custer. I’m sure this base of operations is going to have a very long and fruitful history as the mighty bastion of humanity, aren’t you?

Over the next few chapters, Michael is brought up to speed on the events leading up to the zombie apocalypse and what the Marines have been doing since everything began to unravel. In these early chapters, if anyone had any doubts about Michael Talbot being an Author’s avatar, those fears are certainly put to rest as he apparently dies only to be revived twenty minutes later. And this is where, on a personal note, Michael falls apart for me as a character. All fear of whatever could happen to him is forever dispelled by this little event, for we now know that not even death will hold onto Michael for too long. While Michael convalesces, his wife and the doctor of the base try to explain the exposition to him. The emphasis is on “try” here because every other line that comes out of Michael’s mouth is another ill-timed joke. It is true that humor is a common coping mechanism for stressful situations, but toilet humor is a bit too crude for my taste and just feels so out of place when it comes out of the mouths of grown men with families. The saving grace in those situations is how straight the doctor plays the conversations, acting as a good foil to Michael.

If there is one part of this first third that could be lauded, it would be the spiritual discussions between the characters. Michael, after having a near-death experience, expunges his own spiritual beliefs and strong faith in Christianity, with a specific allegiance to Roman Catholicism. It’s very rare to see a spiritual character, much less one who is not a psychotic murderer who thinks that God has used the zombie plague to purify the world of all sinners. Instead, we have another character for that much later on.

The second third of the story is the exciting highlight, as Eliza and her minions try to knock humanity out of their toehold on existence. It is in describing these confrontations and the vile acts of Eliza’s forces and giving the audience the scope of such battles that the third part of this series truly shines and becomes enjoyable. For all his immaturity, Michael is in his glory as a strategist and combatant, always willing to think outside of the box to save those closest to him. The pacing, the tension, and action are built up and done really well; a testament to the former military career of the writer.

Without giving away any potential spoilers, Part Three: The End… is not. Much like with the Joe Ledger novels, I had gone into this one expecting this to be the climactic finale of the Talbot’s tale, be it for good or ill. The title would give that illusion, but in reality, this was another leg in the continuing trials and tribulations for the beleaguered clan. If anything, the ending of the novel sets up the stakes in the confirmed (and finished) fourth installation of the Zombie Fallout series. Whether that will or not be the final confrontation is yet to be seen, but in any case that will likely not be the last time we see the Talbots.

Feelings for the humor aside, Zombie Fallout Part Three: The End… is a return to form for the series, stronger than its predecessor and as enjoyable as the first. In my review of A Plague Upon Your Family, I had equated that novel to Revenge of the Fallen. In keeping with that analogy, The End… is Dark of the Moon: a thrilling action-packed popcorn experience that may not play with any philosophical conventions but will most certainly give any zombie junkie an adrenaline rush. As before, the humor may throw some people off and it did force me to close the book in disgust a few times, but when you get through that, there is a decent story of optimism and family to be found here. Eliza returns as evil as ever, and her relationship with Tommy is explained in even greater detail. It’s a relationship that I cannot wait to see realized in all its potential.

If you liked the previous books in Mark Tufo’s series, then The End… is sure to not disappoint. However, if you have trouble getting over gross humor, then you may want to give this series an overall pass. There are a few genuinely funny moments, but those are not moments mired with urine and vomit.

And so, with week four over, the skies have begun to brighten and the chance to end this rising may be nigh. But this is a strange October, with five weeks instead of four. And so join me next week as we huddle around the fire one last time and take back the night and our lives on a very special Halloween.


Heroes: The Talbot Clan has truly begun to step into the third dimension, and while Michael can’t seem to get his head out of the eighth grade gutter, his prowess is undeniable. – 3/5

Villains: Eliza has returned in all her evil glory, and I did miss her so. – 5/5

Narrative: The fights are great and character relationships are explored, but could do without so much toilet humor. – 3/5

Plot: There’s a sense of optimism and hopelessness about the whole story, and even though the ultimate goal is reached, there’s still one more thing to do. – 4/5

Science/Magic: The science still makes little sense, although seeing the display of Eliza’s powers is impressive. – 4/5

World: Rotten, decayed and gone. This is the world we live in, kids! Enjoy! – 4/5

Overall: 4/5


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