Book Review Friday: Still Dying 2

Too distracted to sit down and read an entire zombie book this weekend? Good news. You can read Still Dying 2, an anthology of delicious zombie stories.

Still Dying 2, a zombie anthology worthy of your weekend reading

Still Dying 2, a zombie anthology worthy of your weekend reading

The first story, “How Me and Bozy Became Dads” is an excellent example of an author who knows who to write dialogue and dialect. The title characters, two convicts unlucky (or maybe lucky) enough to be on work detail when the zombie apocalypse starts, provide a down and dirty view of what happens when the shit hits the fan. It also totally slaps down the stereotypes of criminals as self-centered losers, out of touch with the world and the people around them. Not so in this tale, the men with balls and heart turn out to be the ones we least expect. One of those stories that make you want more. Hopefully the author, Patrick C. Greene, is hunched over a laptop at this minute writing a full length zombie novel with Randall and Bozy.

Armand Rosamilia contributes “Dying Days: Television” which is a cautionary tale about relying too much on reality television and not enough on reality. Patrick, a city living hermit who has multiple televisions, DVR’s and a generator, dedicates his life to never missing a television show. To him, the zombie apocalypse is another scripted series and he sees it as an opportunity to be on television instead of watching it.  Rosamilia quickly had me hating Patrick as much as any reality TV star, but instead of riches and fame, Patrick gets what he deserves.

The other stories in Still Dying 2 are just as inventive and interesting. There’s a great mix of characters, and a healthy blend of the worst and best of humanity. I recently complained there wasn’t enough zombie fiction that celebrated the part of us that banded together in times of crisis and helped each other out. Still Dying 2 tells these stories, most notably in “The Old Man And The Apocalypse” by A.D. Roland. Roland did an excellent job of showing the fine line between preserving your life and preserving your humanity. I hope in a zombie apocalypse there are plenty of old men left.

Still Dying 2 will satisfy your craving for zombie destruction and make you check your moral compass. Check it out at Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Still-Dying-2-Days-ebook/dp/B00H4HHALO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390528474&sr=8-1&keywords=still+dying+2

For All the Zombie Authors Out There

Today’s post is a plea to zombie authors everywhere.

Please consider writing about the good side of the zombie apocalypse.

Signs of the zombie apocalypse

Signs of the zombie apocalypse

I know that a world covered with hordes of shuffling, brain-eating, slobbering, mindless idiots makes us think about purchasing firearms, stockpiling food and water, and, if we are lucky, shooting our way to the top of a new world order. Thinking that the police and our armed services will totally fall apart in a battle of these proportions and that only the heavily fortified and amoral will live is a tempting thought.

In a zombie apocalypse, anyone could be the next President.

But ponder the shift that has taken place around the idea of being overrun by intelligent beings from other planets. Movies like “Independence Day” and “Men in Black” show that we aren’t totally outmatched in a battle against superior beings, so why would be outclassed by zombies? Stupid, slobbering, brain-eating zombies. It doesn’t make any sense.

There have been a few zombie novels that have attempted to show an alternate vision of the zombie virus. Brains by Robin Becker, Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory and Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion all find the humanity in zombies. They look deep into the abyss and return with a message that mankind will be okay if we just stop trying to kill that which we don’t understand.

Perhaps we spend too much time focusing on the downside of the zombie apocalypse, and not enough time imagining all the good that might come of it. There will be bravery. There will be sacrifice. And, at the end, I believe there will a kinder, gentler society.

I’m probably in the minority on this one.

Still, I challenge zombie authors out there to show us a different side of the apocalypse. Stop relying on blood and  gore and sex and if you must show us the worst in people, show us the best too.

If this idea intrigues you, and you’re not sure it will work, I invite you to watch this short (7 minutes) film that hauntingly portrays all we are capable of.  Warning, kleenex may be necessary.

 

Book Review Friday: Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski

This zombie hardboiled private investigator works for booze.

This zombie hardboiled private investigator works for booze.

“I woke up dead this morning,” begins Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski.  Jones is a zombie, yes, but he’s an intelligent zombie. Well, maybe more like he’s a street smart zombie who is still able to ask those important questions like “who am I?” and “why am I dead?” as well as “who killed me?” Set in the 1930’s, Braineater Jones evokes fond memories of the hardboiled sensibility of Sam Spade and the Nazi complications of Indiana Jones.

The story line is simple. Man is killed, returns to life as zombie, retains the ability to think, yet remembers  nothing about his past. Instead he finds himself in a world where zombies live in an uneasy truce with the breathers, doing the dirty work and keeping their brain-eating under control.  Jones gets a crash course in zombie-breather politics as he maneuvers his way around the Mat, the zombie section of town.

And there are politics. This isn’t a zombie world of shuffling, moaning, people-eating decomposing corpses. These zombies hold jobs (but not very good ones), mourn the lives they left behind, and drink copious amounts of alcohol to keep themselves from turning into brain-eating monsters.  Jones’ benefactor, Lazar, is a mysterious, maybe-zombie who lives with the breathers.  Jones’ sidekick is a wise-cracking zombie head by the name of Alcide. The boss of this underworld is an aborted fetus who lives in a jar of Old Crow whiskey and dreams of a day he can have a robotic body courtesy of the Nazis. Yeah, even zombies have dreams in this novel.

This book has it all.  A great pace, a fantastic story line, cool zombies, and a zombie world that is unlike any other I have entered. Braineater Jones is a refreshing find in a genre that too often follows a predictable pattern heavy on blood and gore.

As of 1/16/14, Braineater Jones is available on Amazon for 99 cents, an absolute bargain. Pick up a copy today and you’ll join me in asking the author for a sequel.

http://www.amazon.com/Braineater-Jones-Stephen-Kozeniewski-ebook/dp/B00FRT4CD0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389925676&sr=8-1&keywords=braineater+jones

You Have Questions, We Have Answers

Our mailbox overflows with questions from people curious about specific aspects of the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization. Today, we will answer some of those questions.

Question Mark Graffiti
Question Mark Graffiti (Photo credit: Bilal Kamoon)

From George in Idaho: Why do you feed the children cow brains and how many brains do you go through on a yearly basis?

Dennis,  please refer to this link: http://feedthezombiechildren.org/2012/10/30/i-feed-zombies-so-you-dont-have-to/ for the full story on how we came to our decision to use cow brains. As far as how many we go through on an annual basis, each full-grown cow brain is a little shy of 1 pound. Our nutritionists have carefully calculated that zombie children need approximately 1/2 pound of brain per day to keep them active and healthy. Therefore the amount of brains depends on how many children we have on-site. With 200 zombie kids, we need approximately 36,500 pounds annually or 16 1/2 metric tons.

From Caroline in Seattle: Are there any plans to make your zombie kid restraint devices available to the general public? It seems they would come in handy for people who are keeping their zombie kids at home.

Caroline, handling zombie children is best left to professionals. Our team of zombie happiness engineers work to ensure each restraint is as humane and pain-free as possible. Unfortunately we feel making them available to people without the proper training and support would only result in tragedy. On the advice of our legal team, there are no plans to market our devices.

Restraint Chairs
Restraint Chairs (Photo credit: j_bary)

Rex from the Florida Panhandle: In my area, many people die while waiting for organ transplants. Can’t the zombies be put to use for spare parts?

Rex, ethically we can’t condone using zombies as “spare parts.” Additionally, zombies exist in a chronic state of decomposition. Transplanting a zombie organ into a live human wouldn’t help the human as they’d now have a totally non-working organ which would hasten the death of the recipient.

English: Dr. Ehtuish Preforming An Organ Trans...
English: Dr. Ehtuish Preforming An Organ Transplant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scott from Cincinnati: Are there any plans to open up your zombie preserve for hunting opportunities?

Scott, if you can look at the faces of our kids and want to shoot them, there is too much wrong with you to address in this post. Please contact a mental health professional and get the help you so desperately need.

Delilah from New Hampshire: I’ve heard airlines are planning a rule change to prohibit transport of zombies. Are you opening up additional havens for zombie kids in the Midwest and West Coast?

Deliliah, we’ve been in contact with airline executives about this troubling rule change. Our preferred method of transport is through our underground zombie railroad (read the post at http://feedthezombiechildren.org/2012/10/15/the-zombie-underground-railroad/), but in some cases we’ve been forced to rely on air transport. Currently we can fly zombie kids in hardcover golf club cases as checked baggage for a reasonable fee. If this practice is stopped, it will negatively impact our ability to take zombie kids from the West Coast. Though we have no plans to open any additional facilities, we’ve recently added a Washington lobbyist to our staff and hope he can resolve this issue to our satisfaction.

Carousel 4
Carousel 4 (Photo credit: gloom)

Sandra from South Carolina: I’ve heard that zombies eat fire ants. Can I rent a zombie to make my yard a fire ant-free zone?

Sandra, yes, we have discovered that zombie are naturally attracted to fire ant nests. Researchers at our preserve estimate one zombie can clear a half-acre of fire ant nests in one day. Currently we are sponsoring a study to find out why zombies are impervious to the bites and venom of fire ants.  As far as renting a zombie to clean your yard of fire ants, the answer is no. These are children, decomposing children, but children nonetheless. We do not rent them out.

And our last question is from Jacques in Montreal: Since your move to South Carolina, have you noticed the warmer weather hastens the children’s decomposition or retards it?

Excellent question, Jacques. Our patented brining process keeps our zombie children in good shape by preserving, or curing, their skin. Unfortunately proper curing must take place in a narrow temperature range to be effective. Too cold or too warm will result in improperly cured skin and lead to quicker decomposition. We’ve adjusted by creating a curing room which is kept at a steady 38 degrees and holds ten children. Ask for a tour next time you visit our zombie habitat!

Do you have a question? Send it to us at feedthezombiechildren@gmail. com for an answer. Remember, we feed the zombie kids so you won’t have to.

Zombie Emergency Rescue Organization

Book Review: Dead Tide by Stephen North

Dead Tide, by Stephen A. North, provides an up close and personal look at the zombie apocalypse through a varied cast that includes a cab driver, a cop, a stripper, a street thug, a neighborhood activist, and a janitor.  Each character lends a unique point of view to the chaos as it unfolds.  Each struggles to figure out what’s happening, then how to escape it.

As expected, safety is hard to come by and self-preservation at a premium. There is a stark contrast between the good guys and those who seek to profit from a zombie apocalypse. In particular, the police and military are portrayed as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. This perpetuates the popular belief that in times of crisis the authorities will be busier protecting themselves than protecting the populace.

Overall the story was an entertaining take on the zombie apocalypse, but the myriad characters became distracting at times. The short chapters and point of view change in each chapter made it hard to get to know the characters at first and I found myself flipping back and forth, trying to reorient myself. Some of the characters veered into cliché land (bad cop, exotic dancer with a heart of gold) and others left me wanting more (Bronte in particular). The rapidity with which society devolved also came as a shock. The story takes place over several days, but within hours people are already raping, looting, and indiscriminately killing one another. This seemed a little premature to me, but I’m an optimist.

Personally I would have appreciated a smaller cast of characters and longer chapters, call it adult ADD but I struggled to keep up at first. Even so, the writing is good and the story moves along briskly. If you’re not daunted by a large cast and swift and frequent point of view changes, Dead Tide may be just what you’re looking for.  I liked it enough to plan to read Dead Tide Rising, North’s second installment in this series.

You can purchase either Dead Tide at Amazon and Permuted Press.

Five Ways to Raise Your Zombie Child at Home Without Alarming the Neighbors

Set free by parents who couldn't control him or an escapee from a poorly reinforced safe room? Either way, he is now at the mercy of whoever finds him.

Set free by parents who couldn’t control him or an escapee from a poorly reinforced safe room? Either way, he’s now at the mercy of whoever finds him.

So you want to keep your zombie child at home, but you don’t want the neighbors defacing your house with graffiti or attempting to burn it down with your zombie child inside? Follow these five simple steps to keep your child at home without alarming the neighbors.

1. Order your reinforcing supplies from multiple, out of area, online vendors.

If the Home Depot truck pulls up and starts offloading chicken wire, steel window bars, and acoustic tiles for soundproofing, some nosy Gladys Kravitz type will be on the phone to the neighborhood watch before the supplies cross your threshold. Order your supplies online and all your neighbors will know is that you’re getting a lot of packages.  If they do question the deliveries, make vague comments about Rottweiler puppies, precious metals, or strange sexual practices and let your neighbor fill in the blanks.

An alarm on the outside of the bedroom door guarantees you'll be warned if the inner security is breached.

An alarm on the outside of the bedroom door guarantees you’ll be warned if the inner security is breached.

2. Buy your brains from vendors that disguise the package.

If you purchase brains at the butcher, expect a visit from curious neighbors or the police. No one in their right mind eats them, so buying them marks you as either insane or as someone harboring a zombie. Cow-Brains-R-Us packs their brains in triple layer, leak-proof containers and marks their insulated boxes as prescription drugs. You can choose to pass off the boxes as deliveries of insulin, birth control rings, or glaucoma eye drops – all items needing refrigeration. And, since the brains are fresh frozen and vacuum sealed, they smell good, too.

zombie apocalypse, cow brains, ZERO

The days of walking down the street with a bucket of cow brains are long gone if you don’t want your home overrun by an angry mob.

3. Clean up inside.

Zombie kids are messy. Clumps of blood, hair, stray fingers and toes can make a mess of their clothing and smear all over your protective gear. Taking your helmet with face mask outside to hose it off will attract the neighborhood dogs and cats and get tongues wagging. Install a large industrial sink and indoor clothes line in a walled off part of your cellar to keep things clean, hygienic, and private.

Preventing accidental bites starts with the right protective gear. Don't forget to protect the neck.

Preventing accidental bites starts with the right protective gear. Don’t forget to protect the neck.

4. Plan trips out of the house under cover of night or costume.

Nothing alarms a neighbor more than looking out the window and seeing a muzzled zombie kid on the end of a hook. If you can’t wait until a moonless night to move your child, some proven techniques include placing the zombie kid’s head through the rungs of a ladder and resting it on their shoulders while you do the same. Onlookers will see two people carrying a ladder. You can also set up a catch stick on the middle of a kayak or canoe and have the zombie kid’s head inside the middle of the boat while you and another adult carry the front and back. Add authenticity by bragging about your midnight fish haul!

Mount one of these on the bottom of a ladder or kayak for a quick disguise when you need to get your kid out of the house.

Mount one of these on the bottom of a ladder or kayak for a quick disguise when you need to get your kid out of the house.

5. Decorate your house with anti zombie propaganda.

Yes, it’s hard when your loved one is a zombie to jump on the hate bandwagon, but it’s easy enough to keep the propaganda out of your house and away from your child. Try small, discreet yard signs near your shrubs, license plate holders, and small window decals to proclaim your hatred of all things zombie. Occasionally hinting that a neighbor is acting suspiciously also keeps the focus off you. If anyone should question you, racking a large shotgun while proclaiming you’d kill your mother if she turned into a zombie is usually enough to deter even the most annoying neighbors.

Even if it's a replica, the crisp realistic sound of a shotgun being loaded gets attention.

Even if it’s a replica, the crisp realistic sound of a shotgun being loaded gets attention.

Following these steps will make it less likely your secret is discovered, but the only guaranteed method to keep your child safe is to enroll them in a certified zombie preserve, such as the one we operate at Lake Keowee. Our preserve has all the safety and security features of a Supermax prison combined with the warmth and coziness of home. If nosy neighbors threaten your child, give the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization a call.

Remember, we feed the zombie children so you won’t have to.