Review of Walker McKnight “Work, and Ye Shall Eat”, Apex Magazine 105 (2018): Read Online. Reviewed by Joanna Z. Weston.
The story opens three months into an unknown apocalyptic situation. All we know is that the staff of a colonial re-enactment village have been walled in with two layers of electric fencing, and they have no idea why. Is is a virus? An alien invasion? They are told simply to plan for the future, which Karen, their general manager helps them to do, getting the tradespeople to teach the actors and salespeople useful skills and making sure they plant enough food to survive the winter.
This is the calmest apocalypse I’ve read about, which makes the slow-growing menace all the more powerful. Karen becomes an increasingly unreliable narrator as she struggles to keep her people inside the walls, but it remains satisfying to read, because it’s so believable, so normal. In the end, I don’t really know what happened, except that it isn’t good. I’m not normally a huge fan of ambiguity, but in this case I think it works.