Anyone that’s listened to Diabolical Radio knows that I was an avid reader of the books published through Leisure. Not just the horror, but the western line also. When they announced they were dropping their mass-market releases and only publishing in Ebook format with a possible trade paperback edition to follow six months later, my favorite authors took their ball and went home. How could you blame them for it? It was hard enough making ends meet in the mass-market, now to be only distributed in a flooded marketplace, how were they expected to survive? Easy. They weren’t. This bombshell was a slap in the face to not only their loyal authors, but to their devoted readers.
So, where did they go? The authors I mean. Some of them have yet to resurface, a slim few remained with Leisure, although, I’m not sure as to why. Maybe bastard-like clauses in their contracts, or maybe it’s actually not a bad place to write for. I don’t know personally. But, several of the Leisure soldiers emerged at Deadite Press.
Wrath James White was one of those that crossed over.
As of now, he has published two books through Deadite. A new print of his short story collection, Book of a thousand Sins, and the novella about to be reviewed, Population Zero.
The plot summary on Amazon is as follows:
An intense sadistic tale of how one man will save the world through sterilization.
When Todd was just a child, he learned that sometimes it was necessary to sterilize or euthanize animals in order to keep their population from growing too rapidly. It was the humane thing to do, the best thing for the environment. Yet, every day at his job at the Welfare Department, Todd sees the dregs of humanity multiplying unchecked, overburdening the earth with a tidal wave of waste, abuse, and cruelty. But if he can convince them not to reproduce, if he can convince everyone to voluntarily sterilize themselves, then he might just prevent the coming population explosion. And those who can't be convinced...
Population Zero is the story of an environmental activist named Todd Hammerstein who is on a mission to save the planet. In just 50 years the population of the planet is expected to double. But not if Todd can help it.
White is one of my favorite authors. He has a gift for writing a disturbing story in a way that isn’t exploitive. He never skimps on the gore, but it’s not there for the sake of it, or a cheap thrill. It’s all a vital part of his craft. He doesn’t pull any punches. Nor, does he in Population Zero.
The main character, Todd, has a different outlook on life than most. Although, once you’re inside his head, it’s almost easy to understand why his thought process is as damaged as it is. Overpopulation of our planet Earth. It’s happening, and when you read the statistics – which White points out in the book – you’ll be terrified. But, I hope you don’t take the route to stop it as Todd does in the book. Plant a tree, start a garden, or USE CONDOMS, not kidnapping impregnated crackheads, and forcing them to have caesarian sections. Or tricking a jobless man with several kids he’s paying child support to, to come to his house so he can give them an influenced hysterectomy.
Todd is so obsessed with saving the planet that he will go to any lengths he deems necessary to see it through.
And he does not discriminate who he chooses. There are no limits to his madness, and that is frightening.
Wrath James White takes the reader through a dark journey with Todd, and yes, you’ll like him and hope he does the right thing, but his idea of right probably doesn’t agree with yours.
Population Zero is definitely worth picking up. If you’re a fan of Wrath James White, or if you’ve never read his books before, start here and then backtrack to Succulent Prey and The Resurrectionist, and Yaccub’s Curse, plus Scabs and Book of a thousand sins.