karen's Reviews > Raising Stony Mayhall

Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory
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's review
Oct 14, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: october-is-spooky, zombies-r-bitey
Read from October 14 to 17, 2011

zombie novels are usually about other things, where the zombies/zombie situation is just standing in for whatever larger theme, whatever personal political or social point the author wants to make. zombies are a conveniently adaptable menace: the fluidity of their ontology, the mechanics of their movements and behaviors: fast or slow? sentient or no? brain eating or no? zombies suit the needs of many different authors to many different ends.

this book is no different. it is zombie novel as "what is human?" philosophy, zombie novel as deconstruction of theology. a whole new revision of the mythology with new alliances and new abilities and a deeper meditation on family and loyalty, and a redrawing of the lines where "survival" meets "fittest."

it has richly-drawn characters both living and formerly-living, and some really memorable sequences. it is a great twist on the genre.

and let me just get it out of the way one second: zombie zombie zombie! i am getting tired of these books telling me that "zombie" is a racist term. i have never been known for any pc sensitivties, and i'm not about to start being all cautious for the sake of mythological creatures...

even really appealing ones like stony mayhall.
a zombie born to an infected mother, who does the unheard-of and grows into a man. a zombie man.zzzzzzombie.

but to the world at large - a cipher. what does it mean for the future of humanity, if this near-indestructible man can exist in our world - without needing to breathe or eat, without being able to bleed, with moderately regenerative capabilities? as a spokesperson for the undead, you can't get much better.humans - you are inadequately suited for survival in comparison.

i really liked this thinkier addition to the genre, although i still have some questions about a couple of confusing plot points. maybe i was reading too carelessly, switching back and forth between this book and peer-reviewed articles such as readers advisory: a community effort? and rediscovering the history of readers advisory service wheeee so i may have been too scattered, but i do not understand how (view spoiler)

but except for some confusion which was probably my own damn fault, and some times when the story got a little too bogged down in the cerebral for too long without any breaking-up-the-pontificating action sequences, this book was really quite good.not a horror novel, not by any stretch, but definitely a thought-provoking novel.i thought the whole thing was very tastefully and intelligently done, and there were still times when i laughed out loud. so a good mix of responses, all from me.

with zombies

(view spoiler)
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Comments (showing 1-36 of 36) (36 new)

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Ravin I want to read this one so badly! Can't wait for a review.

message 2: by j (new) - added it

j i should read this too, for zombie month. i meant to make it zombie month for my book club but i forgot.

karen there is still half a month left! and i just watched the walking dead premiere!! rarrrrrrrr the undead!

message 4: by j (new) - added it

j unfortunately my book club members are busy reading time travel. plus we already voted on november and december. maybe we can have a zombie new year.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Rarrrr the undead!

Janene Glad you liked it. Was waiting very patiently for your review. :)

Wendy Darling Ahh, you liked this one better than I did. But I enjoyed your review, as always!

message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 17, 2011 07:24PM) (new)

(view spoiler)

message 9: by Joe (new)

Joe If you want to (and I would not encourage you to) read one more zombie book with over-the-top PC implications, by all means check out Generation Dead. This book, however, sounds quite intriguing.

karen that sounds more like a threat than a suggestion. is it terrible? i would like to stay away from terrible if at all possible.

message 11: by Angela (new)

Angela This sounds interesting. 'Generation Dead', hmm, read at your peril and disappearing brain cells.

karen ohhhhh that book.....

yeah, i think i will have to pass on it. unless someone tells me it is awesome - i still have to work through all the zombie books i already own before i start buying new ones..

message 13: by Velvetink (new) - added it

Velvetink adding this one due entirely to your review!

karen oh, no! the pressure!!!

message 15: by Marta (new) - added it

Marta Acosta One, ten points for using "ontology" in a way that sounds natural. Two, a young writer pal created a great "what kind of zombie are you?" chart that I have to scan in. Three, a racist term must by definition be about race, so zombie cannot be racist because it isn't about race. It's about being dead or not, not that I want to get into "is eating brains a lifestyle choice?" debate. Four, the book sounds interesting and the deeper questions about existence make me think of "Battlestar Galatica" and the cyborgs. I'll add this on my to-read list.

karen yeah - come back and let me know if/when you write a review so i can read it!

message 17: by Marta (new) - added it

Marta Acosta I'll try to remember. As a general rule, I am not a zombie-zombie-zombie fan because of, you know, the bad dancing, dull conversation, and rotting body parts. Nonetheless, I'd like to read Stefan Petrucha's noir Dead Mann Walking, a new zombie detective series.

Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~ excellent review, as always Karen! :)

karen oh, god, there is more than one zombie detective series?? amazing!

message 20: by Velvetink (new) - added it

Velvetink a zombie detective series? wow have to check that out.

karen there are a few, and one zombie legal thriller!

message 22: by Velvetink (new) - added it

Velvetink oh oh!!! My list for Santa this year is going to be huge

message 23: by Will (new)

Will Byrnes A book ta die faw

Jenbebookish Just started this book today via ur recommendation!!

So far so good!

message 25: by Mike (new)

Mike Wow - literary & cultural analysis of a zombie book. The best shine forth on their own.

karen hahaha thank ya!

message 27: by Mike (new)

Mike You're welcome! I'm not sure why it showed up in my feed just now, but after three hard-fought margaritas (I'm 12 hours out-of-phase with the East Coast) I won't worry about it too much.

The last pure zombie book I read was probably "World War Z" 5 or 6 years ago... time for more!

karen the gr feed is a mystery...

message 29: by Mike (new)

Mike But it shows me stuff I would not have found otherwise. So it's a bit like the prophet of Apollo. Mysterious, often opaque, but rewarding nonetheless.

message 30: by Mike (new)

Mike But it shows me stuff I would not have found otherwise. So it's a bit like the prophet of Apollo. Mysterious, often opaque, but rewarding nonetheless.

karen an apt comparison. and littry!

message 32: by Mike (new)

Mike Classical even! Shows what six years of Latin and Ancient History (Western) can do for you!

message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Hmmm...karen, great review as always but I don't think I'm up for a zombie book where you have to really focus and think on the whole background of a story. Seems like a very classical take on something that I'd rather read...above the surface I guess? Unique, I get it, but I like my zombies gory.

karen oh!! that reminds me!! are you reading the Revival, Vol. 1: You're Among Friends series? i just reviewed the fourth volume today (but didn't add it to the feed) but i mentioned you in it, and if you haven't read them, you neeeeed to! bloody zombie-ish things.

message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Strangely haven't yet, but I'm about to go see your review!!

karen dude, you have to read these. they are so good

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