Nick Mamatas's main character in THE LAST WEEKEND is an
alcoholic and failed SF writer living in San Francisco. His
job, if you can call it that, is to drill reanimated
corpses in the forehead once they rise again after death.
Vasilis, "Billy" Kostopolos's life is pretty much going
nowhere fast. Born in Youngstown, Ohio of Greek parents, he
chased a girl to Boston and then made his way across the
country to try again. The one consistency in all this was
his writing and the boozing after a failed relationship.
For some reason, the rest of the country got hit harder
with the zombies than the Bay Area, and foreign countries
don't have much inclination to help.
THE LAST WEEKEND moves from past to present by chapter, as
of Billy's experiences and his passion for writing them
down. Whether they're ever read or not doesn't seem to
matter quite as much as the process of writing a history.
He also falls in with Alexa and follows her on her quest to
determine a secret she believes lies below City Hall.
It's difficult to categorize THE LAST WEEKEND as it's more
a parody of horror, thriller and science fiction than
actually falling into a particular genre of its own. I saw
it more as a character sketch, and personally while the
writing definitely has flair, the book wasn't for me. I
can't even call Billy an anti-hero, because he doesn't have
many heroic qualities, and he's perfectly willing to admit
to his inadequacies in multiple arenas. His relationships
with women give evidence to this.
THE LAST WEEKEND is dark and bleak. A lot of dark and bleak
novels have lessons in them. To me, the only lesson in this
one came off as "It's okay to stop trying if life sucks,"
and that didn't work for me. I normally don't check out
other reviews before writing my own, and every once in a
while, I find myself on the other side of the fence than
others. Nick Mamatas's THE LAST WEEKEND is a prime example.
Many love it, so if you like books that emphasize the
craft of writing, character sketches and have terrific
writing, give it a try.
Vasilis “Billy” Kostopolos is a Bay Area Rust Belt
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
the end of the world, Billy’s found his vocation
the undead, peddling his one and only published short
and drinking himself to death.
Things don’t stay static for long. Billy discovers that
his girlfriends turn out to be homicidal revolutionaries.
collides with a gang of Berkeley scientists gone
Finally, the long-awaited “Big One” shakes the foundation
San Francisco to its core, and the crumbled remains of
Hall can no longer hide the awful secret lurking deep in
basement. Can Billy unearth the truth behind America’s
demise and San Francisco’s survival—and will he destroy
little’s left of it in the process? Is he legend, the
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
or starry-eyed California dreaming. Starting in booze-
but very clear-eyed cynicism and ending in gloriously
catastrophe, The Last Weekend is merciless, uncomfortably
perceptive, and bleakly hilarious.