Lee Lackey’s Zomb-eh Review

 “Counting Cracks” by George R. Galuschak

Undisclosed Government Facility


GWMT 1400 hours

Preface:  Researchers attempting to follow up on my work should read the previous set of notes here.

Notes of Dr. Celebus:

The zombies have been restless in the holding tanks.  Something about this season has given them a tremendous drive to escape into mindless wandering.  Half of the subjects have been moaning carols, which sounds like the chanting of Georgian monks, while the other half built trees and tinsel out of rat carcasses and loose clothing threads.  They even attempted to hold hands in a circle!

It’s revolting!  Of all the human traditions that could survive death—logic, free will, the pursuit of knowledge—the one they hold most dear is that scion of superstition and consumerism:  Christmas.  At least Test Subject Hermes appreciates the finer products of the human mind.

The product that Hermes will cover today is “Counting Cracks” by George R. Galuschak, posted on November 7, 2011 at Strange Horizons.


Test Subject 3X22, Codename:  Hermes

The singing, the singing—why does it have to be the singing!  Rnnnngghhhh.  Most of my compatriots couldn’t eat a tune if it were locked in the head of a cripple.  So why do they rot my ears with their incessant, cheery moaning!

A story!  I need a story!  Gnnnggghhhh.  Give me my story!  Here we go.  Now I can get that horribly festive cacophony out of my head.

Let’s see—ooh, a post-apocalypse story.  And not a zombie one:  I’m sick of zombies.  But it’s just a scary noise.  Spoooky noises!  Here to destroy you by oscillating the air.  The air!

At least the characters are interesting.  I never knew you could sass someone by spouting gibberish.  I’ll try it at my next experimental evaluation.  The mix is good:  you’ve got the smart one, the wise one, the strong one, and the determined one.  And all their quirks actually save them from the spooky sound.

But wait, it’s actually an alien invasion thriller!  Now aliens are scary—what with the lights and the big eyes and the probing.  Always the probing.  It actually has elements of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Colour from Space”, if it were a post-apocalyptic  thriller.

Overall, this writer’s mind would taste like a fine Cajun Gumbo:  a good mix of ingredients—even if some disappoint—a filling base, and a spicy kick at the end.

End transcription

Addendum-Dr. Celebus:

Alas, the poor creature has no sense of taste.  This story has little to do with the rich, complex prose of Lovecraft.  This would barely make a good B-movie.

The creature found it remarkably nutritious, though:  four out of five brains worth.

Rating:  Four out of five brains.