By Mike Griffiths
Goodman, Derek J. The Apocalypse Shift. Library of Horror Press: August, 2009. US $15.95. ISBN: 978-1448672431.
The Apocalypse Shift is a self-titled horror-comedy. Sometimes, this sub-genre falls short for me. I didn’t like the zombie flick, Shawn of the Dead, which most people I know adore. Goodman, however, was able to find a balance between comedy, danger, and action, which I think most horror fans would enjoy. In many respects, despite the use of the term “horror”, some people might consider this dark fantasy. What is the difference between horror and dark fantasy? In my mind, it comes down to this: if the people the monsters go after fight back as heroes and aren’t getting killed off one by one, then it is dark fantasy.
The story revolves around the Onestop convenience mart that is in the centre of The Hill, and its very special customers. The Hill is an urban supernatural free-for-all-zone where, more often than not, some evil fiend is trying to bring about the Apocalypse. Due to its location, and the fact that it stays open all night, it’s the employees of Onestop that end up forced to protect the world from these potential apocalypses while restocking the magazines and ordering more 12-packs of soda.
Caleb needs to take the night off for his hot date with a former employee, Gloria.
This bothers Phil, who was supposed to meet with his girlfriend, but no one takes his needs seriously, because Phil is dating Sue and Sue is a zombie.
Phil’s relationship with Sue is actually one of my favourite parts of the book. He really loves his cold and decaying undead girl. His love is surprisingly tender and creates an interesting subplot.
“Sue, surprised but still liking the sudden attention, closed her eyes and took it further, doing something she had never been able to do before. Phil felt her lips open ever so slightly, followed by the touch of her tongue… To anyone else the feel of the partly decomposed tongue might have been vomit inducing. To Phil he might have been in heaven.”
This group of friends is used to dealing with trouble during the graveyard shift, but when Caleb’s collection of apocalyptic artifacts is stolen, they know that the consequences could be dire. If just one of those artifacts can destroy the world, what might happen if some unknown villain now had his hands on Caleb’s entire collection? Soon, Caleb’s hot date becomes a mix of adventure and detective work as they scramble to find out who is behind the theft before it is too late.
Through all of the action, Goodman’s knack for humor shines. This, along with the suspenseful adventure and the unusual powers of the artifacts, makes this book a fun read. There is also the inevitable sexual tension between Gloria and Caleb, but Mr. Goodman pokes fun at these stereotypes, even as he uses them.
Again, this is a comedy, so true blood-and-guts horror fans might not be impressed. However, I think Goodman pulls it off with style and any horror fan looking for a lighthearted poke at their beloved genre should give Apocalypse Shift a try.
You can purchase The Apocalypse Shift through Amazon.com