A fantastic rendition of Lovecraftian Horror in a Southern Gothic environment. Tells the tale of two different protagonists whose paths cross with the...moreA fantastic rendition of Lovecraftian Horror in a Southern Gothic environment. Tells the tale of two different protagonists whose paths cross with the rising horror of an Elder God being summoned by one of its minions. Creepy and provocative and wonderful. Read it.(less)
When Dracula realizes that Santa can go into any house whenever he wants, he launches an all-out war on Father Christmas and all his holiday allies. W...moreWhen Dracula realizes that Santa can go into any house whenever he wants, he launches an all-out war on Father Christmas and all his holiday allies. What follows is a witty, goofy, knock-down, drag-out brawl. It’s Frosty vs. Frankenstein’s monster! It’s Igor vs. Mrs. Claus! It’s elves vs. emo vamp kids! While the story arc is pretty shallow, the comic does exactly what you’d expect. There are lots of funny quips and clever ideas (such as Santa’s security force being called the “Silent Knights”). Power and Dejesus even set up the comic for a sequel. Well worth a read.(less)
Geary has a precise penciling style that serves his true crime subject very well. He draws expressive faces and tells terrifying tales. This particula...moreGeary has a precise penciling style that serves his true crime subject very well. He draws expressive faces and tells terrifying tales. This particular volume in his ongoing series details the story of the “Bloody Benders,” a family of murderous homesteaders in Kansas who murdered travelers and stole their goods. Despite being suspected of wrongdoing, the Benders escaped justice for most of their lives. The straightforward style of his art makes the mundane circumstances in which these horrible deeds were performed all that much more chilling. (less)
When Charlie Everett tried to kill himself, he was stopped at the last minute by … himself. He quickly discovers that he, Charlie Everett, can travel...moreWhen Charlie Everett tried to kill himself, he was stopped at the last minute by … himself. He quickly discovers that he, Charlie Everett, can travel between universes, and that a war is raging across the multiverse between, well, the good Charlies Everett and the evil ones. It’s a cool concept that works out very well — when your characters can reach into any universe, they find all kinds of versions of themselves, and each either kills himself or gets recruited (or sometimes killed too). It’s a weird story, but very compelling. (less)
Want a novel with a zombie dressed like Santa Claus? You got it.
Alex Winter, the undead narrator of Breathers, finds himself the object of incessant e...moreWant a novel with a zombie dressed like Santa Claus? You got it.
Alex Winter, the undead narrator of Breathers, finds himself the object of incessant experimentation and torment at a government research facility. He escapes and, because of his long white hair and beard, quickly dresses as Santa Claus. The story that follows is an amusing little Christmas tale, a blend of humor, horror, and holiday cheer.
A few thoughts:
- I’ve read Browne’s short story “Zombie Gigolo,” so I can attest that he has no shortage of verbiage or vocabulary to describe the unheimlich experience of the undead. Given that this book has a jaunty Santa on the cover and will probably be aimed at non-hardcore readers, he wisely keeps this aspect of the tale rather muted. But I appreciate the careful consideration of the role putrefaction takes in the Breathers world. Gas bloating, for instance, makes zombies fart. - The book includes a sub-plot about a child with disappointing prospects for Christmas (as all holiday tales must), and the interaction between her and Alex works very well. The resonance with the daughter he hasn’t seen is quite strong and well-written. Browne gives real pathos to the story. - I like the fine line the book explores about the ethics of zombies eating people. I’m sure this is more fully covered in Breathers, but he gives it just the right amount of consideration here. One premise Browne uses is that human meat helps zombies regenerate, meaning they must eat people to stay ‘alive.’ It creates a great tension, but also allows for a future story where human analog has been invented and zombies can be people like the vampires in True Blood. - I think Browne’s assessment of how people would generally deal with zombies is apt — there would be some who have an “animal’s rights” approach to the question, but many would allow all kinds of horrors to be perpetrated on them, just as most of us who don’t pay attention to where our meat comes from allow for the animals we eat. Browne draws a connection to our treatment of “terrorists” since 9/11 that resonates strongly if you let it. - This book has multiple zombie Santa Clauses. Tell me that isn’t awesome. You’re wrong. It’s awesome. (To be clear, I mean zombies dressed as Santa Claus. I don’t mean the actual supernatural present delivering elf is turned into a zombie.)
All in all, an entertaining holiday tale that’s ALSO an entertaining zombie tale. Enjoy it with egg nog and a little bit of breather, seared medium rare.(less)
Jeremy Barker dwells in the unhappy place often occupied by angsty narrators of young adult novels. His dad is a traumatized Vietnam vet with whom he...moreJeremy Barker dwells in the unhappy place often occupied by angsty narrators of young adult novels. His dad is a traumatized Vietnam vet with whom he bonds over zombie movies and life advice (like which tie knot is the best — full windsor, by the way), but who can’t really hold it together enough to give Jeremy the guidance he really needs. Meanwhile, mom means well but has left the house and is strung out on prescription pills. Jeremy wades through life as if it were a zombie movie, living by codes not unlike those offered in the opening sequence of Zombieland.
Into this compelling (if conventional for a y.a. novel) narrative drops a horrifying enigma, a mysterious video that makes Jeremy dig deeper into his father’s psychosis, and try to find his own way in a world where the adults are as useless as zombies.
A few thoughts:
- I like Jeremy’s voice, the bothered, annoyed aspect of teen mediocrity, where he’s not the standout and not quite the freak, just one of the many bullied. I thought the school was a bit extreme in its terrors, but I suppose the magnifying glass of fiction does that. - Angelella does a nice job with the side characters, giving them distinct voices and personalities. At the same time, they’re an awfully unbelievablly cool bunch of folks. One wonders why they latch onto Jeremy. - Up until the last 30 pages, this could have been a very different book. I’m still not sure what to make of it, but the conclusion of the story is both somewhat predictable and quite stark.
All in all, Zombie is an interesting novel that wrestles with youth and friendship and parenting and identity, and with trying to understand horror movies without forgetting that real horror is all around us.(less)