Saturday, May 16, 2015

ZAM2015: Zombies Dig Violin Music

Okay, yes. I've got this weird infatuation with the violin. I happen to think it's a rich, wonderful instrument. And, I quite enjoy the twist Lindsey Stirling gives to it. So, since we're in the midst of Zombie Awareness Month, here's a little of both. With the Undead. Who, as it turns out, can be controlled with music. Who knew?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Bits N Pieces 5.10.15 - Space Zombies, Comic Zombies, and... er... Con... zombies

Amish Zombies have landed! Kerry Nietz's Amish Zombies From Space has officially dropped, and is available electronically and in trade paperback.

Dan Conner's My Gal The Zombie full-color, 50-page special is set to debut at the Denver Comic Con. The special includes a field of different guest artists and the complete Grave Robber crossover story. Conner says the special edition will soon be available online as well.

Registration is open for the 2015 Realm Makers writing conference for Christians in speculative fiction. First reports say the conference has tripled registration compared to this point last year, which means this year's conference is projected to be quite a bit larger than previous events.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

ZAM2015: Boris Karloff And The Undead

Lights Out was a horror-centric radio drama that started on NBC in the 1930s. Among the stars who graced the sound stage, Boris Karloff was one of the most instantly recognizable.

But perhaps one of Karloff's best pieces showcased him as a Frankenstinian mad scientist in the radio play "Death Robbery." In "Death Robbery," Karloff believes he has discovered the ultimate cure -- for death itself. And it works! At least, it's worked on all his animal subject. In typical mad scientist fashion, Karloff's doctor laments the lack of human subjects and the short-sightedness of the general public. But atypical of his fellow mad scientists, however, Karloff doesn't appear to even consider going about his experiments illegally... 

Except that his wife has offered, in the event of her demise, to be his test subject. In the way of these storylines, she has the chance to make good on her offer when a car accident claims her life. 

This is among the earliest zombie dramas to explore the question of the afterlife, of what happens to the soul upon death. The story explores the zombie phenomenon by daring to ask the questions, "what happens to the fundamental self upon death," and "could simple science bring back the whole self upon simply reanimating the corpse?"

The answers lead to a satisfying -- and satisfyingly creepy -- conclusion. 

Karloff is expectedly wonderful in his role as the grieving mad scientist, but the showstopper is Lurene Tuttle (who is curiously -- and unjustly -- uncredited) as the wife. In her "living" role, Tuttle is charming, and provides a ghastly contrast to her "undead" self at the end of the play.

Listen (or download here) with the lights on!

Friday, May 1, 2015

ZAM2015: Hey, It's Better Than Biting!

AFitD Reviews John Hileman's The End Came With A Kiss


What do you do when you really, really want to write about something, but everyone and his mom is already writing about it? Well, you could write trashy fanfic of somebody else's work... or, you could change the game. 

And make no mistake: John Michael Hileman's The End Came With A Kiss is a game changer. Book One of an anticipated series (titled Beautiful Dead), TECWaK introduces us to Ben, a devoted husband and father -- or, a man who had been a devoted husband and father until a new kind of plague robbed him of his family. Now, with his daughter dead and his wife an endlessly looping automaton, his mission is not merely one of survival, but of hope. 

Hileman introduces us to a new breed of zombie: far afield of the rotting flesh-eaters we're used to, Hileman's parasite uses our own vanity and lust against us. The newly-minted undead are beautiful, the plague stripping away the flaws and leaving the victim clean and whole. But this is merely a piece of the plague's insidious trap: the newly gorgeous dead are still out to make more of themselves -- by offering the living a simple kiss.

So far, that doesn't seem so bad: a hot zombie makes out with you, you get hotter, and go find someone else to make out with. But, as always, there's a catch. Effectively, you are brain dead. When you aren't finding other people to kiss (or to do violence to -- oh, yes, there's plenty of violence to be done as well), your mind positions itself inside a memory, leaving your body to mime prior events in endless loop after loop. 

With The End Came With A Kiss, Hileman has not only given us a new kind of zombie, but a new kind of zombie novel. He taps into fears of a different nature, even while exploring the same tropes of losing one's self and struggling for survival. And in so doing, he gives us a book about much more than the darker parts of the human condition, but about human strength as well. TECWaK is a story of loss and hope, of betrayal and redemption, of love and family, of sin and grace. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Zombie Awareness Month

Be warned. May is Zombie Awareness Month. It's the sort of thing we take pretty seriously around here...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Story Of The Cthulhu Entities Who Stole An Author

 This is a story I wrote in response to Marc Laidlaw's short fiction, "The Boy Who Followed Lovecraft." Since it indeed relates to horror and the Terrorverse, I thought it appropriate to announce it here:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Walker's Tale: Review of The Journal of Ezekiel Walker

In the novel Walker's Vale, novelist John J. Zelenski introduced readers to a tight little community with secrets not entirely its own. We also met a singularly mysterious character in the form of Rev. Ezekiel Walker. 

Now, Zelenski has released a short prequel to give even more insight into a great character. The Journal of Ezekiel Walker follows the character as a younger man on furlough from Civilian Public Service in the latter days of the second World War. It's the story of a good man torn between duty to his country, duty to his family, and duty to his God. It's also a story of deep spiritual warfare and a warning against giving in to temptation, even for the "right" reasons. 

Checking in at just over a hundred pages, the action of The Journal doesn't really get started 'til about halfway through, relying until then mostly on the narrator's deep sense of foreboding. Still, it's well-written enough to keep you reading until things get moving. 

As a stand-alone work, The Journal holds up okay; it does work best, though, as a companion to Walker's Vale. On that note, my recommendation is to read this book after reading the first. Though The Journal is technically a prequel, it works better this way. Part of the fun in the first book is that you're never quite sure what the good Reverend is up to. This second book strips away that mystery. 

I have minor criticisms over some aspects of the book, mostly to do with the narrator's mid-story asides and regrets. In some cases, I believe the author added these little notes in to foreshadow upcoming events and build suspense; mostly, however, they serve to interrupt the story. Still, all told, it's not a bad little book, and a must-have companion for fans of Walker's Vale.