Author: Mark London Williams
Narrator: Luna Cross
Length: 6 hours 14 minutes
Publisher: Trifecta Publishing House
Released: Oct. 8, 2018
“When I first saw Max Random, he was driving his go-kart right at me. He was also wearing goggles, so it was hard to tell if he was dead or alive. I was pretty sure, though, that zombies didn’t know how to drive.
“’Not dead,’ Max said, as he stepped out of the kart to look at me. ‘You should get in.’”
And so, weeks after watching her principal try to chew up her school teacher, and minutes after she’d just lost her family, 12-year-old Aurora Bonsall begins her odyssey of escape with Max Random in his hand-built go-kart across a ruined map of abandoned studio back lots, wrecked shopping malls, encounters with the not-quite dead in hospitals and the not-quite tame when they meet a feral cat. All while realizing that surviving humans can be far more dangerous than the Nano-Z’s taking over the world.
Max, meanwhile, keeps driving them toward a rendezvous where he says they will be safe. But as Aurora discovers he has secrets of his own, she wonders if there can ever be any escape at all.
Mark London Williams wrote the L.A. Times-bestselling “Danger Boy” time travel series, was a contributor to the history anthology “Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out,” and has covered showbiz and its discontents as a writer for Variety, the LA Times, Below the Line, and other publications. He’s had plays produced in London, wrote a videogame adaptation with both Aliens and Predators in it, and taught storytelling at Disney’s Creative Academy and other venues. He’s currently a one-man “Hollywood bureau” for a British film magazine, and keeps a watchful eye out for winds and wildfires in Southern California. He has two grown sons currently navigating L.A.’s landscape sans go-karts.
Luna Cross lives in Los Angeles and swears that she was named after the Harry Potter character (even though her parents have assured her she is not), she loves Halloween and will be holed up under a blanket with candy and a scary book for the rest of October, with Hocus Pocus on in the background on mute, thinking about the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Max, whose true last name we’ve yet to learn (we may or may not get them in the next two planned volumes), is someone we’d describe as “on the spectrum” now. But simply, he’s wired his own particular way, with an ongoing view of life from “10,000 feet,” as the saying goes — how systems rise and fall, causes and effects, etc.
Thus, he’d be someone who, as a kid, would already assess that climate change (for example) would be an inexorable, major disruption to his adult life. The zombie apocalypse was simply “extra” for him — if not entirely surprising, from his standpoint.
He remains a young man of few words — which is why his traveling companion Aurora is the one who narrates their tale. He was used to speaking mostly with his hands, designing and building things. He does that in the “school” he’s shunted to, by his overwhelmed mother (with as few coping resources as society offers parents now, imagine the conditions a couple of years down the road…), where he also yearns for his absent father. But he keeps “speaking with his hands” there too, and in cobbling together his bio-diesel powered go-kart (remember, he knows climate change is here, too), he winds up saving both his, and Aurora’s life.
As this particular story unfolds, the irony of apocalypse for Max is, that it represents the first time he can start to fully come out of his protective shell, and build — among the ruins — friendships.
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