Hater has had an unusual publishing history, being self-published by Moody in 2006, but now picked up by Gollancz. A movie version is in pre-production by Guillermo del Toro of Pan’s Labyrinth fame. Hater is a fast-paced novel written in a staccato style that highlights the growing horror of a British society falling apart. The main character, Danny McCoyne, stuck in a dead end office job and suffocating commuting lifestyle, observes one of an increasing number of violent attacks in the street. Moody fills out this scenario through dark vignettes of violence by ‘haters’ who attack people without warning and without provocation. Moody conjures up an increasing atmosphere of suspense and paranoia with society disintegrating into warring factions with McCoyne initially straddling the two.
The cause of the increasing epidemic of violence is largely unexplained. A ‘hater’ reflects ” There is a fundamental genetic difference between us and them… which, until now, has remained dormant… its now us and them’. Unlike the novels by Lindqvist and Ryan , Moody says “what I’ve actually done is to write a zombie story from the perspective of the zombies”. Moody’s twist is the ‘haters’ “don’t lose their intelligence or feelings, rather they are convinced that everyone else are the bad guys”.
Moody extrapolates from current British fears about immigration, street violence and terrorism to highlight that fear is used in society to justify pre-emptive strikes. As one character says, “we know who poses a threat to us and who is on our side”. Hater’s relentless pace, tension and graphic images will lend itself admirably to its film adaptation.