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Texas Bill

Zombie Fiction or Something to Chew On

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I'm sure to offend a big chunk of the female population (like they care what I think) when I say I don't find women with tattoos to be especially attractive. In the book, I got that they were trying to appear more fierce but I would have just used henna, for goodness sake. The thing about tattoos: they don't go away when you sober up, folks! Now, on the other hand, my youngest brother had the Marine Corps emblem done on one shoulderblade and he has some tribal stuff on both upper forearms when he was in the service. Nothing below the elbows, but I think he now kind of regrets them to some extent now that he is out and in the professional world.

 

Anyway, I digress. I just finished proofing Dale Power's Christmas Vampire novella/short story. It is a Keeley story but told from the point of view of Richard Swerlin, newly elected Congressman from the 7th District of Maine, and a Vampire. Out of the coffin, too, so to speak. Good stpry is you like Keeley. I am not much of a Christmas story person but overall the story was worth reading.

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I just read Eaters by Michelle DePaepe and though I hate to trash female authors willing to brave this genre, this one just had a lot of problems. The zombies, or Eaters, were good but the main character Cheryl seemed to make waaaay too many mistakes to actually survive, and I hate it when that happens. Also, she is gifted with an magical AK-47 by her dying boyfriend, one that is both fully automatic and aparently only needs to be reloaded when the drama needs to be ramped up. Seriously. In one scene she announces she is down to her last 30 round magazine and then proceeds to fire burst after burst for the next twenty pages. This seems nitpicky but to me it justs screams of a lazy writer. Also, this is also one of those books where the survivors are leery of being caught in vehicle but riding exposed on a motorcycle sounds like a good idea. Then, the pair manage to run into repeated situations where they are nearly overrun by zombies and I kept thinking "Wow, eventually they will tired of doing the stupid and get a truck." Nope. More senseless travel, more lazy writing. Pass.

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Sorry to hear that, Texas Bill.

 

I just read Phoenix Rising (Phoenix Virus) and Through the Ashes (Phoenix Virus) by J.P. Ayers. First, the bad: The book needs editing, and it's like fingernails on a chalkboard that some sentences have both present and past tense verbs in them. But it's not as bad as some self-published novels are, and the second book showed improvement, so if the story continues, I'd anticipate the caliber of writing to continue to improve as well. Also, there's quite a bit of discussion about multiple strains of viruses that lead to the zombie virus that breaks out, and it's kind of hard to follow.

 

That said, there's plenty to recommend it. The premise is quite good and very topical: the strains of zombie virus that "break out" in America actually come from undiscovered labs where the Iraqis were creating WMDs. They fall into the hands of zealots who sneak into the US via the porous border with Mexico, and quickly make their way to the water supplies of large towns. They release the virus, which first infects canines and then quickly infects humans. It causes an ebola-like flu, and two forms of victims emerge: zombies and the infected. The zombies are, well, the risen dead who eat flesh. The infected are alive, in pain and enraged, but still able to think, plan, coordinate, and attack. And they REALLY dislike the uninfected.

 

The main character, Jim Anders, is a former military man as is his neighbor Danny, and so they aren't simply bumbling around. They are able to make solid plans and act on them, and it's believable. Cities are untenable - too many zombies, no safe water, and the infected are murdering and burning their way through neighborhoods. Jim's wife, Nic, and their two daughters are with them as they flee from Phoenix to a friend's BOL in south Texas. Along the way, they encounter many zombies, infected, terrorists, and their own military. You're never quite sure what's going to happen next, even when you're sure SOMETHING is about to happen, and while there are similar elements in many zombie novels, this really isn't some by rote, "heard it before" story.

 

On the whole, it's an enjoyable read. The survivors are largely smart, which I appreciate, but they also make - and pay for - some serious tactical mistakes, which I actually kind of love. Unlike a "magic AK-47" or constantly benefiting from luck, sometimes these guys wind up outgunned, outmanned, or simply outmaneuvered. And it makes you really believe in the story and in the characters themselves.

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Thanks for the head's up, Oregonchick. I have Mr. Ayers' two books on my wishlist but I was hesitating. Now i will pull the trigger. Funny thing about that Eaters book was I just spoke with my brother yesterday (he is a member here who usually lurks, the weasel) and the first thing he did was warn me how bad Eaters turned out to be. I just laughed and told him he needed to keep up with his forum reading. On the other hand, I wish I could find one of those infinite repeater AK-47s. It would sure save money at the range if nothing else.

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Too funny that you were both reading - and disliking - the same book!

 

Right now, I'm reading This World After by Jeff McClure. The story itself is good, but the writing is not. In addition to needing to be edited, the book is WAY too long for what happens in it - someone needed to go through and force the writer to cut down on his prose. Dialogue is clunky and awkward, made worse by typos and weird punctuation. And the book is written with a lot of "telling, not showing" - so there's plenty of "three weeks passed and they grew closer" and "there were a few walkers out but he dealt with them" instead of actually describing conversations/experiences that make the characters like each other or giving the reader any play-by-play of the action. Plus it's a zombie novel, but the zombies are so incidental to the story that it seems like it should have been some other kind of apocalypse instead of one where the living dead aren't even regarded as much of a threat except in an abstract sense. And because of that, it's hard to track what kind of actual survival tactics they are employing - you don't really get too good a sense of their defenses, tactics, how they picked their current location, how it may or may not be reinforced, etc.

 

That said, the characters are interesting. I think that the author made a mistake in centering things on Jack, who isn't nearly as compelling as Gary, but really, ALL of the central characters are likable in their own right. This is a story about a group of survivors who are trying to think about the world they want to live in, and so they confront the evil being done by other survivors. Not new in post-apocalypse OR zombie novel plots, but definitely a good storyline. With a strong editor, this author could do pretty well. But as it stands, this story rates a "meh" from me. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but I also think some people could enjoy reading it.

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The forum went down for a couple of days, or at least I was unable to login. Looks like they've come up with a different look/theme for it at least, and hopefully have been able to add in safeguards to prevent quite so much spam from getting through!

 

FWIW, I tried reading Europe Has Fallen, but it's all confusing wolves and two armies in one fortress and... Just not in the least what I was expecting. I'll try it again later, but it appears I'm just not in the mood right now! LOL

 

I did read P.S. Power's Proxy: Reunions. Very interesting developments and I really enjoyed it (as I usually do). Interesting way to force Proxy to have to reexamine whether all cops are evil after he received the Death Warrant he sought. And oh my gosh, some of what is revealed is not anything I would have expected! What I love is that I'm so frequently surprised by this author's work. It's really refreshing.

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Yes, the wolves did throw me but really the main force is made up of flesh eaters and some other nasty demon creatures. I think I stated in my Amazon review that it was a littel slow to start but the action heats up pretty quick. The Brits, Austrians, and some others sort of become a mixed command as the story goes on, and not everybody is pulling together.

 

Glad you liked Reunions. I agree there were some things in there that blew me away, including Brian being rational about some cops. Anyway, Timon's book is due to come out Nov. 15 and I am curious to see how people take it. Tor is the "Great Wizard", but he sort of has that Rainman thing going on when he interacts with people. Not so young Timon. He is scary sharp, kind and loyal to his real friends, and he is NOT the guy to let a grunge slide, whether it be with an enemy or family. BTW, be prepared for more shockers in here as well. I read it twice while proofing and I am ready to read it again.

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Possibly my all-time favorite zombie book is World War Z, and Brad Pitt's production company optioned it years ago. They are finally, finally ready to release it, and here's the trailer:

 

http://www.hulu.com/watch/423408

 

What do you think? The sheer volume (and speed) of the zombies is overwhelming... but that was one of the issues mentioned in the book, too.

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I want to say something like, "Curses, foiled again!" as if I were a villain from a 1930s comic. Not sure why.

 

Agree with your assessment that it doesn't seem to be following the book, but then I'm not sure how they would do that in a way that is immediate enough to be scary and engrossing for moviegoers. The book, after all, is written as a history AFTER the zombie wars have largely been fought and won, so they'd have to use a series of flashbacks or something for it to work. It could be awkward.

 

And yes, I'm posting this on the other thread, too, so that we don't completely hijack this thread! LOL

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OC, thanks so much for the recommendation for the JP Ayers books, Phoenix Rising and Through the Ashes. I thought these were really good stories and I particularly liked the fact that the protagonist was not some kind of Superman (in fact, his buddy Danny is way scarier). He made mistakes, sometimes boneheaded ones, but the real kind that people would do in the situation. I am always one to dislike coincidence in my fiction and this one had a bunch, but overall a nice read. I hope to catch some more from this author.

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Glad you enjoyed the books! I agree, neither was a perfect novel (then again, what is?), but they were really, really good books overall.

 

I read the new P.S. Power book over the weekend. Fantastic as always, but Timon is definitely harder to get a read on than Tor - and ultimately, and understandably, darker and much scarier in his own right. I liked the way this allowed us to see some familiar characters from different perspectives, especially Smythe, Maria Ward, and Green. I have to say that while I do get caught up in the stories of the Young Ancients series, every time I take a break from reading them, I really long for my own magical amulets. LOL They'd make prepping (and everyday life) a snap!

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Magical amulets are a great prep item- the trick is getting them to work! I'm glad you liked the Timon book, and I agree with you that this one was darker than usual. If you will forgive the analogy, Tor is Superman with all the cool powers and invulnerabilities he comes by naturally while Timon is Batman, smart as heck and having to be willing to get his hands dirty to get the job done. I was extemely pleased at the author's ability to recast familiar supporting characters into a different light here.

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The Superman/Batman analogy totally works for the two of them. I'm really looking forward to the next book to find out lots of things, including what happens on Afrak with Gray, whether Timon ever does go to school, and if being semi-engaged to the princess causes him to become further embroiled in palace plots. And I want him to have a fancy house of his own eventually. LOL

 

Yes, this is a total zombie topic hijack, but on the other hand, I need the breaks between zombie novels so that they don't all completely blend together. I suppose we could always start a PS Power thread, but we've already talked so much about those books here it seems like that horse is already out of the barn!

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Agreed. Until the moderators spank us, we will continue to discuss. Maybe even send a few more readers his direction. I have to say, the first time I was reading this book I was rocking along waiting to see what minor mishaps might bug Timon when he gets...well, you know. Unfreaking believeable, and almost Tor-like in all the gruesome description of his time with the abductors. I heard the next book will be Tiera's POV, but Timon will be there as well, but I have not gotten a copy to proof yet.

 

Anyway, as for zombies I heard the sequel to Blue Plague was supposed to be out this month but nothing yet. You may recall this is the book with the gimp in it (wow, so distasteful in a book I otherwise liked a lot). Between waiting for that, Mr. Vohs new Zombie Crusade book and John O'Brien's New World story, I am getting a little antsy. Must be withdrawal.

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It's hard to wait for authors to put out that next book in a series you enjoy, isn't it? But thankfully, you did somehow jog my memory that I've been waiting to read the next book in the series The Remaining by DJ Molles... and it apparently came out a few days ago, so yay! A new zombie novel to read.

 

The Remaining is about a soldier who is one of 50 stationed in bunkers all over the US whenever there's a national security incident. They are told to stay underground until they receive new orders or until a certain amount of time has gone by. While underground, Captain Lee Harden sees news reports about rioting, cannibalism... and then silence. He emerges with a mission: to establish a safe zone and begin the work of rebuilding a community and reestablishing a government. Unfortunately, he also emerges into a landscape of roaming zombies and even worse marauders. Eventually he finds fellow refugees, but (for book three) it appears that not all of them are on board with his plans.

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havent been in this thread in a while since im so damn picky with my zombie fiction. I have read more bad zombie novels than good and it leaves a bad taste (no pun intended) in ones mouth.

 

has anybody read the "monster hunters" books by Larry Correia. very well done books and unlike a lot of authors this guy is a true and tried gun guy. IE he shoots in IDPA and three gun competitions and has a diverse gun collection as well as being an author.. there are zombies as well as vampires, werewolves and all kinds of horrors from the mythos and legends. it is very comical and he gets that physics overrules magic when it comes to fighting mythical monsters. I m getting ready to pick up the third book but the first 2 will appeal to this crowd :)

 

anyway im going to peruse back through the pages of this thread and see if anything catches my eye to add to my reading list.

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Welcome back, Wardog. I love the Monster Hunter series by Larry Correia; one of the few authors i still buy in paper rather than electronic. His Grimnoir Chronicles series is good too. I love the fact that zombies are a low paying PUFF item since they are so easy to bag. I've read a bunch of bad zombie fiction, too, and some of it had really high reviews. I am not that bothered by grammar or spelling errors, but dumb plots and poor descriptions are my personal pet peeves. If you have not read Zombie Crusade yet, I would pick that one up first. He's a good writer and he has some cool ideas, and I am not just saying that because he hangs out here sometimes!

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YES.. the plot is my stickler. i hate the ones where the the story feels like it is being written by a 15 year old virgin who gets beat up by the jocks at school. you know the ones where the hero is joe schmo the accountant or gas station attendant who suddenly becomes john J rambo with any and all firearms and even the remnants of the military fall to their knees at his tactics and wisdom. oh and all the surviving hot girls are just falling all over each other to get to him so he can have his way with them. I recently read one like that I managed to make it through half of it and deleted it from the nook. needless to say i wrote something similar to what i just said here in the reviews. I understand that with the internet everybody feels that they can write and publish a novel and the zombie genre is like a giant play-do mold to go in all kinds of directions but i think 75% of these amateur writers need to hang it up as they only do the genre a giant disservice. especially since it has been played and replayed so much and is about worn out. I'm hoping the movie WWZ kicks start it in a fresh direction for the general masses but i won't hold my breath

 

and i will check out zombie crusade :)

Edited by wardog513

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