The n-Body Problem

In the end, the zombie apocalypse was nothing more than a waste disposal problem. Burn them in giant ovens? Bad optics. Bury them in landfill sites? The first attempt created acres of twitching, roiling mud. The acceptable answer is to jettison the millions of immortal automatons into orbit. Soon Earth’s near space is a mesh of bodies interfering with the sunlight and having an effect on our minds that we never saw coming. aggressive hypochondria, rampant depressive disorders, irresistible suicidal thought—resulting in teenage suicide cults, who want nothing more than to orbit the Earth as living dead. Life on Earth has slowly become not worth living. and death is no longer an escape.

Reviews of The n-Body Problem:

[Burgess] shows considerable talent . . . offering the world a memorably repellent, absurdist vision of a dying planet.
With a heavy, unremitting emphasis on grotesque cruelty, Burgess delivers a dark vision of the human heart, brain, and other internal organs stripped bare. Only recommended for those who like their fictional meat served up bloody-as-hell raw.
Spectacularly original and wonderfully insane, you’ve never read zombie fiction like this.
Rue Morgue
Readers may want to keep a vomit bucket handy . . .
. . . The n-Body Problem gleefully probes and pulls apart whatever comfort zones it encounters. With a fresh take on the undead genre and excellent execution—horror delivered with all the craft of literary fiction—the book is a finely wrought and exciting work, but one that has the capacity to disarm, disgust and profoundly distress.
Reading n-Body is a gloriously insane, delightfully icky, spectacularly unnerving trek through depravity, a hike that would be a lot easier to take if he weren’t so damned good.
Tony Burgess . . . is one of this country’s most distinctive indie-alternative voices.
The n-Body Problem is a sick little masterpiece . . .
The n-Body Problem is at times confusing, shocking, and extreme. One thing that it never fails to be is interesting.
Burgess paints the reader a post-apocalyptic world where hypochondria becomes reality, where the whole world is dying, one by one, or in vast groups awaiting a new rapture. The narrative is compelling, tightening in on the protagonist, drawing his world tighter as his personal agency is reduced, until he becomes as powerless as the reader.
Obviously, this book is named The n-Body Problem because of one billion corpses in space and all that, but I think there might be another reason too: Burgess is taking a big, gory dump on post-apocalyptic conventions, just absolutely hazing you and your expectations.

Burgess is an artist of great imagination, talent, focus and yes, grotesquerie, a 21st century master of the grand guignol, a Hieronymous Bosch and a Goya of prose, who finds in playing with the zombie genre a proper showcase for what he can do.

He can do a lot.

Now I think I need a lie down.

I went from dry heaving to worrying I might wet myself laughing to being kinda turned on to dry heaving again, all in the space of about 30 pages.
If . . . you’ve always wondered what a zombie book would be like if written by Cormac McCarthy and translated by Samuel Beckett, then The n-Body Problem may just be the literary apocalypse for you.
. . . [The n-Body Problem] might be the most shockingly twisted novel I’ve ever read. Ever. . . . A particularly unique and wild take on a zombie story . . .
. . . Burgess’s prose is confident, poetic and even, at times, beautiful.

Other Reviews

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Author Info

Tony Burgess’s first novel, The Hellmouths of Bewdley, received universal critical praise and hailed the arrival of Canada’s “splatter punk Stephen King.” He was shortlisted for the Trillium award for his novel, Idaho Winter. He is also the author of the infamous zombie epic, Pontypool Changes Everything, which was named Best Book of 1998 by Now Magazine (made into the film Pontypool). His story collection, Fiction for Lovers won the Relit Prize for best Canadian short fiction.