Available June 18, 2014
The only thing separating Ivy and her community from a deadly zombie plague is a fence. All day long, she can hear them taunting her from the other side. Once she had the same disease they do. Then she learned a truth that changed her forever: she became a Christian, and her disease was healed.
When a missionary brings a young boy and new Believer to the community, his brother, still plagued with disease, demands that the people let the boy return to him. At first Ivy is disgusted with this outsider and his stink of rot. Just as she’s learning to accept him, he disappears, and Ivy learns that the organization responsible for the zombie plague wants to capture her. Worse still, that someone within the community has betrayed her. When an attack comes, Ivy has to figure out who she can trust and who will help her escape with her life.
I thought the setting was a really fascinating component of Infectious. It takes place after the Rapture has taken Christians and young children from the earth. A deadly plague with Leprosy-like symptoms spreads throughout humanity. The only cure is to surrender one’s life to God and become a Christian. I thought that made an interesting metaphor for faith and lent itself well to a post-apocalyptic zombie story. So that was cool.
In this dark time, most of the Believers sequester themselves inside communities barred to outsiders. Some of the mechanics of how this works were a little bit of a stretch to me in terms of how they got supplies and those sorts of logistics. There are some missionaries who travel among the infected and bring new converts to live in communities like Ivy’s.
At one point, Ivy’s in a bit of trouble, and her attitude definitely needs adjusting. She winds up having a come-to-Jesus moment in which she reconnects with her faith in a deeper way and believes that hiding away in these shut-in villages isn’t the right way to live as a Believer.
I loved that moment, because reading the story, I’d been thinking much the same thing. Why are they hiding away from everyone when they literally have the cure for the disease that’s literally killing humanity? So that was awesome. I thought okay, maybe she’ll become a missionary or something now. Instead, she has this big revelation and then kind of immediately falls back into her usual patterns of thinking and behavior, which I found disappointing.
Sometimes it felt like this story wasn’t sure what it was really about. Is it a love story? Is it an allegory about Christian faith? Infectious explored both of those ideas, but sometimes they didn’t play nicely together.
Overall, I think taking a post-apocalyptic zombie story and adding the faith elements to it made for a fresh, interesting tale. The story didn’t deliver for me in terms of exploring what the church should be in a dark time like that. I found myself disappointed in the whole ‘hiding away in homogenous communities’ thing. I didn’t find that to be an admirable representation of the body of Believers.
The two cultures at play were Christian versus non-Christian. The story didn’t focus on race or orientation. I think all of the characters may have been white. There was one guard who had sort of an island accent.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some references to sex.
Infectious takes place in a community of people who became Christians post-Rapture. Becoming a Christian heals the Believer from a deadly disease. Outside the community, people are sick. Many appear to pursue drug abuse, promiscuous sex, and cannibalism.
Apparently food has become so scarce that outside Ivy’s community, people have resorted to cannibalism for food. In some places women conceive children to later sell them to be used as food. It’s horrible and also honestly, that was difficult for me to get my head around. It’s awful, but also didn’t seem very practical. It seemed like a really difficult, expensive way to attempt to get food.
The story contains brief descriptions of the symptoms of the disease, which causes flesh to rot and fall off, much like Leprosy. A man attacks Ivy and scratches her neck. Another man fatally shoots a girl.
Brief references to drug abuse happening outside Ivy’s community.