Vasilis “Billy” Kostopolos is a Bay Area Rust Belt refugee, failed sci-fi writer, successful barfly and, since the exceptionally American zombie apocalypse, an accomplished “driller” of reanimated corpses. There aren’t many sane, well-adjusted human beings left in San Francisco, but facing the end of the world, Billy’s found his vocation trepanning the undead, peddling his one and only published short story, and drinking himself to death.
Things don’t stay static for long. Billy discovers that both his girlfriends turn out to be homicidal revolutionaries. He collides with a gang of Berkeley scientists gone berserker. Finally, the long-awaited “Big One” shakes the foundation of San Francisco to its core, and the crumbled remains of City Hall can no longer hide the awful secret lurking deep in the basement. Can Billy unearth the truth behind America’s demise and San Francisco’s survival—and will he destroy what little’s left of it in the process? Is he legend, the last man, or just another sucker on the vine?
Nick Mamatas takes a high-powered drill to the lurching, groaning conventions of zombie dystopias and conspiracy thrillers, sparing no cliché about tortured artists, alcoholic “genius,” noir action heroes, survivalist dogma, or starry-eyed California dreaming. Starting in booze-soaked but very clear-eyed cynicism and ending in gloriously uncozy catastrophe, The Last Weekend is merciless, uncomfortably perceptive, and bleakly hilarious.
Mamatas's wisecracking philosophical undead opus vivisects genre stereotypes and moral preconceptions with viciousness and style. Failed writer Vasilis, a driller for the infected city of San Francisco, battles a cultural and literal wasteland of reanimated dead folks and "social isolates, the outsiders the third-shifters" in a literary slap to the American Dream. Encountering mentally ill zombies, grieving clients, and renegade scientists, Vasilis struggles to retain his life and sanity as he becomes involved with sex-craving Yvette and revolutionary hothead Alexa. The living soon prove far more dangerous than the dead, and hearts rot as easily as reanimated flesh as he investigates the secret political mechanisms of his city. This cocktail of cynicism, sex, and sadism reinforces splatter theatrics with glimpses into human cruelty, ignorance, and general pathos. The "us against them" and "us against us" motifs are familiar, but the focused intimacy and sustainable dark humor will delight both zombie fans and readers looking for some moral questioning and emotional substance.