Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld ill by Alex Puvilland
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Cue the music. "You are about to enter Rod Serling's Twilight Zone
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
Meet Addison Merritt, resident of the Spill. Three years ago her town became a no man's land for reasons that are not clear: Maybe a nano outbreak at the local nuclear power plant? Possibly some leakage from another world? Who knows? Addie lives with the remnants of that horrific night. Her parents are gone and her little sister Lexa is now mute.
Gruesome meat puppets, rats, mealy worms, and some type of otherworldly monster now inhabit the town. Addison makes her living by slipping past guards to take striking photos of the Spill. Later she discovers that someone is willing to pay her an obscene amount of money to return to the hospital, located in the Spill sector where her parents died. She need only return to the Spill one last time. However her "one time only" unleashes the wrath of a mutant monster of terrifying proportions.
Westerfeld's narrative includes connections to current events, giving the tale an additional chilling brush with the reader's present reality. Consider: the threat of nuclear destruction "don't mess with the zone’s little projects,' construction of a wall "sooner or later they'll put up a real wall." and ties to North Korea "they know things we don't."
The book is an introduction to the characters, setting, and storyline. But there is obviously more to come.
Warning: Westerfeld and his publisher had better be hard at work on the follow-up volume. If a continuation of the story is not forthcoming, meat puppets may show up at their offices.