Archive for the Readings Category

Stranger in a Strange Land

Posted in Readings on April 12, 2014 by Z. M. Wilmot

Hello, Internet! It’s been a while It turns out doctoral programs are a lot of work and a lot of stress. So, I’ve been neglecting my creative side a bit and my blog side a lot over the past… well, year. I’m going to start remedying that, however. I have a backlog of reviews to do, and then some new updates on WIP’s! No new WIP’s this time; I have vowed to finish everything I have started before I go onto anything new, and keep those plot bunnies in check! But for today, I want to turn your attention onto the subject of this review: Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land.

This was my second Heinlein book, after his teen/young adult Tunnel in the Sky, which I loved as a kid and recently reread only to find myself cringing at the writing (though the plot was wonderful and amazingly structured and complex). Stranger in a Strange Land, though, is most definitely not a children’s book. When I started reading it my father warned me about the orgies. I didn’t believe him. I should have.

For those of you who haven’t read much Heinlein, this book is not abnormal for him. Heinlein seems to have a strange fixation on human sexual practices, and loves exploring the violation of sexual taboos. He does have a point; as one of my professors has said on many an occasion, Western society is built around sexual repression. Heinlein breaks the walls of this repression and lets his raw sexuality come out. I bet you didn’t think you’d ever read that on a science fiction site.

In all seriousness, this book is about connections. Heinlein addresses several themes in this book; what it means to be human, what it means to die, the purpose of religion, and most centrally, what it means to love another. Heinlein throws out the idea of separation between romantic and any other type of love, and I think argues that all love is the same, and can be expressed in the same way. This expression of love is not only sex (in Heinlein fashion), but through what is called in the book the “sharing of water.”

The premise of the plot is simple: mankind sends an expedition to Mars. Everyone dies except one, who is raised by the Martians, who are a fantastically alien species ruled by their dead (it makes perfect sense in the book, I promise). When another expedition to Mars pops along, they bring this human, Mike, back to Earth, where he has to learn to be a human again. This is a fascinating way to examine how silly a lot of what we humans do really is, and Heinlein does this wonderfully for the first half of the book. Mike’s curious exploration of Earth and his naive acceptance of everything, including murder and death (remember, he was raised in Martians where the dead rule the living) is really well done and very powerful. Heinlein hit the nail on the head here.

All the while, of course, Mike is having a profound influence on those around him, who see his influence and wonder at the world, and begin to grok (this is where the term comes from; I interpret it as along the lines of “to understand deeply”) him. He becomes more human, and they become more Martian. This was also a good touch, though at first I thought that Heinlein was going to push human thought as superior. Boy, was I wrong.

I found second half of the book  lacking, but others may disagree. Mike eventually comes to accept what he is and rejects both pure Martianism and pure Humanism in favor of his own combination. However, he does not stop at the halfway point of both; I would argue that he retains much more of his Martian learning, and indeed the point of the book is ultimately that he had an enormous transformative effect on Earth through the religion he found and through the real “miracles” he is able to perform. I was not a huge fan of Mike being able to actually have almost magical powers, as I felt it weakened the symbolic power Mike had, but I was willing to accept it. I was willing to accept Heinlein’s critique of religions as trying and failing to grasp at some universal truth; hell, that’s what I believe in a sense.

What made me dislike the second half of the book was Heinlein’s exploration of sexuality. This is not because I’m an enormous prude. I rather enjoyed his early explorations of sexuality and the symbolism humans attach to it in the beginning. I enjoyed his exploring it as a connection between people, and his trying to define what it means to be connected to others. However, his exploration of sexuality I found incredibly misogynistic. I don’t think it was just me, either. At one point, a woman mentions that “9 out of 10″ times, a woman wants to be raped. I did a quadruple-take at this and had to re-read it several times. Then I kept reading, and learned that women liked to be objectified as sex objects. It was how all women expressed their sexuality. And all men expressed their sexuality by objectifying women. It was, as Mike noticed, how things should be.

This was a little hard for me to swallow. If you don’t believe that this was in the book, go back and read the scenes where Mike is traveling the country, and his nurse-friend (whose name eludes me at the time of writing) is working as a showgirl. It’s all there, and all very disturbing (the same misogyny is also present in Dr. Stinky, the Muslim pilot’s, relationship with his wife, as well as in the way Jubal Harshaw relates to his secretaries). Once the blatant misogyny came out, I noticed it everywhere. It truly tainted my perception of the book and of Heinlein himself. He didn’t ever question his misogyny once; it just came out and was portrayed as natural. I ultimately read the book as celebrating the objectification of women, though I doubt Heinlein saw it that way.

Furthermore, I didn’t know what to make of the scenes Heinlein wrote about angels talking in heaven. They confused me, added nothing to the plot or themes, and I think ultimately underlined the symbolism. The idea there, I think, was to show that religion is what we make it and that all of them have part of the truth, but it wasn’t done very effectively, I don’t think.

The book wasn’t a total loss, though. I truly enjoyed most of the first part; the interaction between two utterly alien cultures (and they truly are utterly alien; Heinlein did that very well) was brilliant, and his initial explorations of sex and love as connection were beautiful. Then he ruined it with his misogynistic trumpeting and, I felt, lackluster ending.

Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. It is a classic of science fiction for a reason, and does make one think. If I was allowed, I would recommend the first half, and then tell you to stop. Because that would be bad form, though, I’ll just recommend you read it, but with a jug of salt.

 

Domechild

Posted in Readings on December 16, 2013 by Z. M. Wilmot

I recently had the pleasure of reading the novel Domechild by Shiv Ramdas. A quick reading of the blurb would lead you to believe that you were going to read another dystopian science fiction novel, in which machines rule over mankind, which has become impotent and degenerate. The first pages reinforce this belief, and I had almost consigned it to that overused trope. But I read on, and then everything changed. It quickly became apparent that Domechild was not about machine-human relations in a dystopian future. The future Ramdas describes in the novel is certainly, by all definitions, dystopian, but it is fundamentally about human relations with each other.

After disabusing myself of the notion that Domechild was mostly about humans and machines (though there are certainly well-used elements of that), I began thinking of it more as social networks gone completely out of control, and Ramdas’ portrayal of life in the City neatly captured the paradox of hyper-connectivity’s close relationship with loneliness and isolation. Just when I had a fix on where I thought Ramdas was going with his book, he threw me a curveball and cast me into a whole other world, where more basic issues of what it means to be human and what it means to be decent came to the forefront. We left behind the world of the city and its titular dome and finally began to learn the truth – or at least some of it. While I could guess at a few elements of the truth through careful hints dropped by Ramdas throughout, I was still surprised and impressed by the complex plot unfolding before my eyes. Alas, this novel ends rather abruptly, and there had better be a sequel coming, because I need to find out what happens next!

Ramdas’ writing style is overall very smooth and often very witty, though I think another round or two of copy-editing would have helped some of the bumpy typos and grammar errors that disrupted the flow, more often than I would have liked. Through his excellent writing, Ramdad was able to craft not only a fascinating world, setting, and plot, but also memorable characters, each with their own unique voice, from Theo to Marcus to Colby and his squad to Father to Ollie to June and even to Vail and the Deacon. His characters are very well-developed and believable, and I was drawn in enough to care deeply about their fates.

My one complaint with Ramdas’ characterization is that of his main character and audience pull, Albert. Albert starts off questioning the system of the City, but is naturally too afraid to do anything about it, which sets the tone for the rest of the novel expertly and gets the plot moving quickly, rather than forcing the reader to wait around for him to develop. However, I am not sure Albert develops naturally either as a person or as a voice; he seems like a hollow vessel for the reader, but I am not sure it works entirely well in the novel. He seems to swing wildly from meekness to confidence, with no real way to tell which way he would go, and seems to gain everyone’s confidence awfully fast for someone they had just met. Something about him seemed off to me, and I found that he was actually the one character I was not particularly concerned for (though he was much more sympathetic at the start of the book than the end). Still, Albert’s flaws were not nearly enough to detract from the graceful prose, excellent characters, well-developed settings, and perfectly-paced plot of the rest of the novel, which I would recommend to anyone! So get out there and buy it from somewhere, like here on Amazon. Get reading!

Ta-ta for now!

Childhood’s End

Posted in Readings on October 22, 2013 by Z. M. Wilmot

I’ve been on a reading roll lately (unfortunately for my schoolwork). I just finished one of the classic works of science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. It was a very short novel, hardly more than 200 pages, and its most incredibly achievement, I think, was telling a story on a scale covering the whole universe in so short a time. Most authors now spend 3 or 4 books telling a story that the same sense of scale and majesty that Clarke did in one short volume.

The writing was slightly archaic and cheesy, which was unsurprising given the time it was written and the way science fiction looked at the time. However, this just added to the novel’s charm in my opinion. Because the novel was so short and did not really have any central characters per se, there was very little obvious character development going on. We are used to, as readers, seeing individuals grow and learn as characters. There was very little of that in this book, and where it did happen it seemed somewhat secondary. However, I would argue that there is tremendous character development in the novel. The characters are not inidivudal humans, however, but rather the central character is humanity.

A significant portion of the novel does not focus on individual characters, but instead describes the way humanity has changed in reaction to the coming the alien Overlords, who brought peace and prosperity at the cost of ingenuity. The novel was really a medium for Clarke to explore philosophical ideas, which he did very well; Childhood’s End is probably the most thought-provoking novel I have read to date. However, some of the metaphors he drew made me wince, especially his seeming ringing endorsement of colonialism running throughout them.

The ending of the book was its most interesting feature. I could not tell if Clarke was going for a happy ending or a sad ending; he seemed to be hinting at a happy ending, as humanity’s goal in life had finally been realized, but it came at such a cost that I was unsure of whether or not he truly intended it to be happy. I did not consider it a happy ending, and to me the ending came across as humanity having been used by a more powerful force with no thought for humanity itself. It was, in a way, somewhat Lovecraftian; the novel told us that “the stars are not for man,” and hinted at things that mankind could never comprehend. What was hinted at seemed both majestic and terrible.

In the end, Childhood’s End was well worth the read, and I would recommend it to anyone.

The Lies of Locke Lamora

Posted in Readings on October 20, 2013 by Z. M. Wilmot

I have mixed feeling abut Scott Lynch’s debut novel The Lies of Locke Lamora. I read it based on the wonderful reviews it has received, and decided to give it a shot. While I enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it to others, I don’t think I will be reading the next book in the series.

Scott Lynch’s writing was very good, and I was never bored reading it. The characters’ dialogue often had unnecessary curses, I thought, but it didn’t detract too much from the overall whole. The witty banter between characters was really the highlight of the novel – especially between Father Chains (by far my favorite character) and pretty much everyone he met – and the book was filled with great one-liners. I laughed quite a lot, despite the novel’s dark overtones.

The world described by Scott Lynch in the book was very well developed. All of the book’s action took place in the city-state of Camorr, which was not-so-subtly based on medieval Venice. Camorr itself was very richly developed, and it was easy to forget that I was sitting on a couch reading a book; Scott Lynch really was able to draw me into the odd quirks of the city of Camorr, from its shark-fighting to its institutionalized corruption to the hints of a forgotten people who had once lived there. I assume the rest of the world will be developed in Lynch’s later novels, as in this book he told of a world beyond Camorr, and from the details he dropped it also seemed very well-thought out and developed.

However, what will keep me from reading the next one are the characters and narrative. Scott Lynch’s writing, dialogue, and setting were all wonderful, but I never felt his characters had any depth; they failed to draw me in. Locke seemed to be absolutely perfect, with no flaws, and the rest of his Gentleman Bastard gang seemed the same way. The characters never drew me in, and they largely seemed caricatured. None of them seemed to have overly extensive backstories, and even the intriguing villain seemed to have only a rather half thought-out sob story that made little logical sense (his whole deal seemed contrived to me, like the success of the main characters). I didn’t care when the characters died; what kept me reading was wanting to uncover how everything fit together, not the charm of the characters (excepting Father Chains, who was absolsutely wonderful).

The plot was relatively predictable, and I was actually astonished at how almost nothing seemed to go wrong for them throughout the book until the very end, and even then Locke and Jean seemed to escape largely unharmed. The whole thing seemed somewhat contrived; Locke almost never screwed up, and while terrible things did eventually happen to his gang, he still managed to beat circumstances relatively little worse for the wear. The whole novel, at times, seemed to be going from one fortuitous happening after another, and came across as sort of contrived. Furthermore, the book was very back-heavy, and not in a good way; there was no real suspense building up to the finale. It just kind of suddenly happened.

So, in the end, The Lies of Locke Lamora was worth the read. It clearly set itself up for a sequel, but I think it works just fine as a standalone novel as well, and I think I shall keep it that way.

Lynnwood

Posted in Readings on May 20, 2013 by Z. M. Wilmot

This post has been long in the making. A month or two ago, I received an offer from a friend of mine – the estimable Thomas Brown of Hell’s Water, and Revive fame – in which I would receive an electronic copy of his new book, Lynnwood, before its release in exchange for my thoughts on it. Naturally, I leapt at the chance, having loved both of his previous novels (and eventually I’ll get around to his short stories, I promise!). Unfortunately, just after having received my copy, my last semester of university hit me like a truck and I was laid low for several weeks, only last week finally having the time to pick the book up and read it properly, after it has been released as an eBook.

And how glad I am I did! It very quickly reminded me of Hell’s Water, in that the book focuses in a very particular sin. Because of that similarity, as well as the presence of a Church in a rather central part of the story, I was expecting Christian theology in the same manner as the previous novel. To my delight, there was almost none of that, and Mr. Brown took off in a completely different, wild direction. Lynnwood was filled with many twists, turns, and surprises, and forced me to read the second half of the book in one sitting!

Lynnwood grabs you starting with its opening line, which, fittingly enough, involves a dead pig. The entire novel is perfectly encapsulated in the very first sentence, in which the corpse of a pig stirs strange feelings within the protagonist, the poor Freya. Freya lives in the titular town, Lynnwood, which slowly goes mad as winter approaches. The descent of the town into madness perfectly mirror Freya’s own descent into madness, so that the two seem like one and the same, which in many ways they are. For a very brief period, Lynnwood seems like a pleasant and wonderful place, in which everyone is happy and contented. The fast pace of the novel soon changes that, however, as everything that the town and the reader holds dear is ripped from them.

Lynnwood showcases Mr. Brown’s greatest strength as a writer, talents which manifested themselves in both Revive and Hell’s Water, but have really blossomed in Lynnwood. Mr. Brown is a master of character development and psychology; he is able to almost literally place the reader inside the heads of the characters, so that you are not reading their thoughts, you’re thinking them. The fast-paced and very accessible writing really help the reader become one with the characters, until it does not feel like you are reading the story, but experiencing it.

Along with this naturally comes a set of well-developed central characters who are extremely believable and seem very real, from their first, sane appearances until their final howls as primal madmen. I felt sympathy for each and every one of the characters, and felt their feelings almost as acutely as my own. Mr. Brown did a superb job of portraying the effects of the horror of Lynnwood on the main characters, and through them made me wonder what effect it would have had on me.

Mr. Brown also makes a sparse and very effective use of poetry and diary entries to add to the effect, and makes the world come even more to life. Even more impressive, however, was his command of epicurean language. His subtle descriptions of every item of food consume add a sense of horror and revulsion throughout the entire novel, and through them he manages to evoke the very hunger he writes about in his readers. The food becomes an unnoticed yet absolutely essential part of the story, and serves to demonstrate Mr. Brown’s mastery of the language.

My one, sole criticism of the novel is its lack of explanation. By no means does horror need to be explained, and in many – if not most – cases a lack of explanation enhances the fear. However, in this case, I was left slightly unsatisfied with the ending, as very little was explained. These explanations are by no means critical, and the story works very well without them, but I think it could have been more effective if the horror itself – the primal madness of the Forest – had been explored more, in addition to its effects on the characters.

But that minor point in no way takes away from the brilliance of Lynnwood. It is superbly written, superbly paced, and deeply unsettling. It is a very quick read, and thoroughly enjoyable. I very highly recommend it to any fan of horror. Visit Thomas Brown’s website here and then go buy yourself a copy of Lynnwood from one of the many links provided here!

Children of the Sky

Posted in Readings on November 5, 2012 by Z. M. Wilmot

So I just finished Vernor Vinge’s latest Zones of Thought book, Children of the Sky. I went in with some trepidation, as my father wasn’t too happy about it, but I loved it! It tied up a lot of loose ends from the preceding book, A Fire Upon the Deep, and introduced a whole new cast of characters, whose actions I eagerly await in the next book!

Vinge was unafraid to plunge off into unexpected directions in this book, and it was, for the most part, absent of cliches. It was thoroughly involving and engaging, and I had trouble putting it down! Perhaps the most interesting aspect of both this book and its prequel are the major “aliens” that appear in it; the Tines.

The Tines are a wolf-like race – in fact, they look almost just like wolves – with special tympana that allow them to hear each other’s thoughts (often called “mindsound”). Their tympana also give them the ability to merge into “packs,” combining their mental abilities and consciousnesses together to form one conscious individual from a group of usually 4 to 8 “singletons,” who are scarcely brighter than a real wold. In effect, this means that each Tinish character’s body consists of multiple organisms, linked together by their tympana and mindsound. Other Tines nearby can break the links between a pack, and sometimes even dissolve them!

Children of the Sky took this concept further, and introduced the idea of the Tropical Choir: a pack that consists of thousands of individuals, with mental waves that ripple along its massive area. With that many members, the pack’s mind becomes overly fragmented and incoherent, but it attains some unique attributes and possibilities that Vinge explores in his latest book.

If you haven’t read any of his Zones of Thought books – or any of his other works – they’re well worth a read!

Verdigris

Posted in Readings on March 28, 2012 by Z. M. Wilmot

Hello everyone! I just finished playing/reading/adventuring with Andy Kirschbaum‘s interactive novel Verdigris on my Droid, and wanted to share my thoughts on it. I should go into this saying that I have an astonishing lack of experience with this kind of narrative; I read a few choose-your-own-adventure books when I was younger, and played a few text-based multiple choice adventure games, but other than that, my experience with forms of electronic interactive fiction is very limited.

As such, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Verdigris, but I went with the expectation of finding a text-based adventure game. I was wrong. Verdigris is truly best described as an “interactive novel,” and far surpassed the expectations I had held of an interactive narrative. Most overtly, Verdigris did away with the inconveniences of many text-based games, making it very simple to follow and a pleasure to use.

Instead of having to do all of the traveling yourself, hopping from place to place, once you began an adventure hook, you were kept within that storyline until it’s conclusion, which delighted me. I had expected to have to trudge around finding clues to solve the mystery, but what I ended up doing was starting on a plotline that seemed interesting, and then just making the choices for how the character solved the plot, solving the plot, and then moving onto the next one. The organization was very simple, which resulted in the story itself coming to the forefront, rather than the “gameplay.” And the story was really where thisVerdigris shown.

The world of Verdigris is extremely rich and well-developed, with deep characters, interesting locations, and complex plots. I was immersed in the world throughout the story, and couldn’t stop trying to figure things out. The world itself was a fascinating blend of steampunk, magic, science, social and political commentary (which often had me smirking, especially the game’s references to bureaucracies), industrialism, robots, and the undead. The characters in the world were all very well-thought out, and I enjoyed interacting with them. The plot was also extremely intriguing, and I genuinely wanted to find out what was going on.

Unfortunately, when I had completed 11/12 of the story’s “missions,” a bug caused me to have to restart. However, this was actually not a bad thing; it gave me the chance to go through the story again, choosing different options, and opened up a whole new set of narrative possibilities that I enjoyed going through again. In the end, my one complaint with the game was that I wish there was more! A lot of interesting avenues for further exploration into the world of Verdigris were opened, and I would love to learn more about it – particularly the pneumatic tube system and the August Lord in Jade.

I highly recommend Verdigris to pretty much anyone. It’s a worthy purchase, and I good way to pass the time – though be careful in case you can’t stop! It is available here on iTunes and here on Google Play. Also be sure to visit Andy’s website and blog.

House of Leaves

Posted in Personal, Philosophical Musings, Readings on March 12, 2012 by Z. M. Wilmot

It is far too early in the morning as I am writing this, but I cannot sleep. I will try again after writing this.

I just read Mark D. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, and was profoundly affected by it, more so than any other thing I have read in my life. I don’t even want the book near me. It terrified the daylights out of me, and struck a nerve deep within my heart that I didn’t even know existed.

I must confess, I didn’t read the entire thing. I doubt anyone has. It is ergonic literature, meaning that part of the art form of the book is in its layout, with text spaced oddly, upside down, and sometimes illegible. I was forced to read this book for my Monster Theory class, and so did not feel compelled to read the entire thing, so I skipped most of the notes on Johnny Truant’s story, skipped the appendices entirely, and focused almost entirely on the focus of the piece, the Navidson Record. Maybe if I had read the other parts of the story, the impact of the book would have been mitigated (in some instances, the fear was definitely lessened by the odd manner of storytelling; in other cases, it greatly increased), but somehow I doubt it.

The book is about many things, and like the titular House, everyone probably sees it differently. To me, it was about the horror residing within the unknown within ourselves. The House was a very deep allegory to the subconscious and the hidden depths within us to me. I am writing a paper on the Theban Sphinx for that same class, so perhaps my interpretations of her as the guardian of forbidden Human knowledge about themselves is affecting my interpretation, but there seemed to me to be many parallels between the Sphinx and the House; the Sphinx asked a riddle about the nature of man, and the House itself was a riddle about the nature of self.

When confronted with the House – and therefore the question of who you really are and what you mean – there are different reactions. Most notably, Navidson himself perseveres and confronts himself, and his wife does the same, albeit less blatantly, and together they reach some form of closure. Holloway, the hired explorer, on the other hand, goes mad and runs away from himself after shooting (accidentally) his assistants, and takes his own life in the end, unable to deal with himself.

The yawning empty abyss of the house, its labyrinthine, ever-changing corridors, and the sense of being lost within one’s own self and one’s own world hit me on a level I cannot describe. Call me a wimp, a coward, or whatever you will, but that book did something profound to me, and I am terrified of the abyss that it opened before me.

If you want to, give it a try, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I don’t want to be near even the physical copy of that book because of what it recalls in me. It is sitting way outside my room right now. I don’t want to go near it.

I am just not ready to face myself.

I, Cthulhu

Posted in Readings on February 16, 2012 by Z. M. Wilmot

Hey everyone! Just a short pointer towards a story I think everyone would enjoy – Neil Gaiman writing about Cthulhu. What’s not to love? The Cthulhu Mythos from Cthulhu’s point of view.

I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9’ S, Longitude 126° 43’ W)?

Revive

Posted in Readings on February 11, 2012 by Z. M. Wilmot

I just finished horror author Thomas James Brown’s latest novel, Revive, a zombie novel with an interesting twist. After finishing the entire work, I think a more accurate classification would be a coffee shop novel with zombies. The heart of the story is, I would argue, made of three characters: Tammy Becks, a young adult struggling to keep her sick mother and rambunctious younger brothers fed through her job at the eponymous coffee shop; Phil, an ex-construction worker trying to keep his only family alive by working as a mall Santa and a regular frequenter of the coffee shop Revive, and the coffee shop itself. The zombies, to me, seem like a secondary element meant to demonstrate certain things about the above three mentioned characters.

This is not to in any way degrade the structure of the novel or the portrayal of the zombies; it was all masterfully done, and presented zombies in an entirely unique and different, fascinating light. I was pleasantly surprised at the logic behind the zombies; Mr. Brown clearly demonstrated his creativity in thinking them up.

As with his previous novel, Hell’s Water, Thomas Brown’s latest work showcases his character development skills. Every single character that appears in Revive is well-thought out; there are no caricatures, and every character adds something to the story that no one else does. Even the peripheral characters, such as the guests in the coffee shop, really come to life, and you can feel their pain as the horror unfolds. The character development that goes on with regards to Tammy Becks is phenomenal, and Phil’s is almost as good. In Phil’s case, I wish that Mr. Brown had spent more time on the character’s past, though even without that, he was still a very well-done character.

I don’t want to say too too much more in order to avoid spoiling the plot, but if you’re reading and expecting zombies from page one, think again. This is not a zombie apocalypse novel; it is a horror novel. It is paced like a horror novel; a lot of suspense (and, unusually for horror, character development) fills the first three-quarters of the book. The ending seemed a little bit rushed, and I think the novel could have benefited from expanding the last thirty or so pages into a longer sequence in order to more fully explain the events behind what happened at the coffee shop; as it was, it took a re-reading to catch some details.

Overall, Revive was a very, very, very enjoyable read, and extremely difficult to put down. Mr. Brown manages to draw you into the novel very quickly, and you feel for Tammy, Phil, and everyone else as if they were your own friends. He inserts just the right amount of humour to contrast with the horror, and effectively uses the zombies to illustrate human nature. And the twist at the end left me horrified, shocked, appalled, and applauding Mr. Brown’s cleverness – all good things in the horror genre.

If you have the time and money, definitely consider picking up a copy here.

Visit Thomas James Brown’s site here.

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