Category Archives: Zombies

A Brief Uplifting Tale from the Land of Northreach

This morning, my wife asked me to tell her a story. This is what came out.

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On a farm in Northreach, a child was playing alone behind the barn. His carved wooden soldiers were crude and simple, but he loved them anyway. His father had carved some of them, but some – the boy’s favorites – had been made by his father’s father, and despite the wood being worn from two generations of loving handling, those three figures were always the heroes and kings and generals, whatever the story in the boy’s head needed them to be. The day was cold, since winter was not long passed, but much of the snow was gone and behind the barn the ground was dry and free from the mud that seemed to be the main component of the farm during early spring.

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I Watched the World War Z Trailer. I Would Like to Take a Moment to Rage Incoherently.

Nice haircut.

Side note: yes, I know I’m a week late on The Walking Dead Episode 3. I just finished watching it this morning since I was busy last week. Plus the events of Episode 4 were surprisingly spoiled by close to a dozen people on Facebook within hours of it being shown, leaving me ambivalent for the moment. I’ll get to them. Promise. Here’s a heapin’ helpin’ of rage to tide you over.

World War Z is a book. It’s a zombie book. It was written by Max Brooks, son of Mel, who also wrote The Zombie Survival Guide. Both of them are considered essential reading by zombie aficionados for very good reasons. They are smart, well-written, and funny while treating their subject matter seriously. They are near and dear to my heart, as they are to many. Upon finishing my first zombie novel, The Curse of Troius, my dear friend and sadly passed Carl Spicer declared simply, “I’ve only read one good zombie novel, and that was World War Z.” (Sorry Carl, you know I can’t resist telling people that even though you tried to explain what you meant. It’s too good a line. Miss you, bud.) Max Brooks’ books are the literary equivalent to Romero’s cinematic influences on the entire zombie genre.

What makes World War Z special for me and many others is its story structure. Instead of focusing on a particular protagonist, the story is presented as one-on-one interviews with a wide range of people who were involved in the zombie war that ended ten years prior to the story. This allows the tale of the war to spin out in little vignettes, from its ostensible beginnings in China to its spread throughout the world and eventual conclusion, as told by the eyewitnesses to the events. The different stories highlight bravery and cowardice, self-sacrifice and self-promotion, agony and joy and despair and hope and everything in between. The eyewitnesses are neither good nor bad; they’re people, some more sympathetic than others. Reading through the novel provides the best of both worlds: the epic saga of man’s battle against the shambling hordes of the infected dead as a whole, and the harrowing and humanizing tales of the individuals swept up in it all. It is a remarkable book. If you’ve never read it, buy it here. It will not disappoint.

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Rick Grimes is a Sociopath: Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 2 Recap and Review

These guys are soooo fucked.

When last we left those intrepid nomads incapable of traveling more than 2 miles in 3 months, they had cleared part of a prison to serve as Babymaking Base Alpha, sung around a campfire, hurled dog food, lurched into puberty (well, that was just Carl), learned that the infection apparently makes it impossible for their hair to grow (with the exception of facial hair and Carl), and hacked off the leg of the only person with medical experience despite having exactly no medical supplies like peroxide or alcohol or baby aspirin or, apparently, rags of any sort.

Which leads me to another question. These people who’ve been sweating and zombie-killing and digging ditches in the same exact clothes for over a year now haven’t changed their clothes at all? Seriously, fuck how bad the living dead must smell. I can only imagine the Walking Stench this group is carrying around. That shit’s nasty, guys. Find an undershirt. If they can’t be bothered to change their clothes, imagine how disgusting their breath must be. Gahh, dog food and months of plaque build-up and I’m gonna hurl if I keep going with this.

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The World Really Wants to Know About Sophia

Yes, they do. Yes, she is. Yes, it’s a barn.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I underestimated the burning nature of the world’s thirst for knowledge about Sophia and whether or not she was ever found. Ever since The Walking Dead’s season 3 run-up, my blog traffic has tripled. Why? Dunno. Maybe the list of Google search terms for visitors can shed some light on this:

 

 

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It’s Baaaaack: Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 1 Recap and Review

As I’ve said before, I was giddy with anticipation for the return of the world’s least capable crew of survivors. That was sarcasm, because apparently we’re saying that now. To be honest, I was terrified to see this show coming back, and it had nothing to do with jump-scares and zombie gore. No, I was terrified for another season of Carl being an idiot, Rick being indecisive, Shane being dead, T-Dog being background filler, and Lori being Lori. Well, although some things never change (cough LORI YOU USELESS HUSK OF A HUMAN BEING cough), other things have, even pleasantly so. Overall, and being totally honest here, I didn’t hate this episode. I know, right? What’s next, a sudden burgeoning love for musical theater, soccer, fried okra, flip-flops, and country music?

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So I Got Tagged With This Lucky Seven Thing And So Here Are “Seven” Lines From Waiting on the Dead

Pretty much on exactly the same day that I got picked for my incredibly prestigious award (I’m still waiting for my statuette. I get a statuette, right?), I also got hit with something else. No, not the bus that many people have waited years for, but something that’s actually pretty cool. I’ll let the awesome Candice Bundy explain:

The rules for this one are quite simple:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current ms.
  2. Go to line 7.
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
  4. Tag 7 other victims, …er, authors.

Also available in an attractive v-neck for the ladies!

In her post, she asked, as an offal lover, for a bit of Waiting on the Dead. Her request hit me at a pretty difficult time in my writing. In short, I hate it. I’m good with the blog posts, but halfway through the editing of The Storm of Northreach I just hit the wall. It’s not good enough. I’m not good enough to fix it. You know, the typical angsty writer bullshit that every one of us whiny little narcissists go through periodically. Well, fine, that THIS whiny little narcissist goes through from time to time. I’m trying to get through it, there are a couple of things that need to be addressed, and part of it has nothing to do with writing but involves the other production shit and WHINE WHINE WHINE I WANT A PONY.

I hope to be over that soon.

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Rise of the Ricktator: Walking Dead S2 Finale Review

Because using the sights is a total pussy move.

It’s been a long slog through Season 2, one that began with such high hopes and ended with, well, this season. When a show about a zombie apocalypse spends more time on domestic drama, gender roles, and the ethics of becoming pregnant during Doomsday, it makes for slightly less compelling television. Anyway, I’m glad the season is over. If Season 3 began tomorrow, I’d be completely unable to watch it. Maybe having some time and perspective will open my eyes to the creative team that is layering such subtext and melodrama into a rich tapestry of… yeah, uh, we’ll have to see.

Here we go. When last we saw Carl and his stupid hat, the kid had wandered off and watched his dad shiv Shane after talking him down from shooting him. Then the zombies came pouring out of the woods. Remember how last week I said not to worry about where this magical horde came from and why they were milling around 300 yards away from a house full of their favorite meal? Well, the show didn’t listen. Instead, they decided to show us where they came from. Atlanta. See, they were eating something when a helicopter flew by. Apparently the meal in front of them was lousy, because they immediately left it behind to follow the helicopter that soon disappeared from sight. I guess other zombies saw them moving and were like, OK, I’ll see what’s up. Somehow, they managed to avoid getting distracted by anything while swelling in numbers, until they arrived in the woods where they waited around and heard Carl shoot his gun and that made them come out of the trees. They were better off not showing us where they came from, because it’s not like their explanation makes any sense.

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Well, At Least They Found Sophia: Walking Dead S2 Ep 7

OK. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised by the turn of events from the mid-season finale (and when the hell did this trend start? I don’t remember shows doing this before. Is it just me, or did this crap just start happening a couple years ago? Or am I just dumb?). I fully expected more talky-talky and then Shane doing something reprehensible and getting his macho mug blown off. What we got instead was definitely more interesting.

It’s funny, because the last half of the show made me forget about the first half. I’m trying to remember what went on then. Much of it was pointless, of course, but that’s to be expected by now. Let’s see. Dale makes Glenn tell the group about the barn, because that’s how Dale operates. Instead of helping the kid out so that he can try to keep Maggie from melting down, Dale keeps his role as Group Cockblocker by not claiming he found out about the barn. Maggie, using her Female Telepathy that all women have, knows exactly what is going on from 150 yards away and gets pissed. Everyone in Glenn’s group gets all pissed off at the idea of zombies in the barn. In general, this episode is about being pissed off.

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Hey, I’ve Got a Great Plan: Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2

OK. I was very hopeful after the first episode that things in Walking Dead Land would get better. In truth, I did like this episode more overall than the first, but it still had some pretty glaring problems. And for the record, I didn’t read the comic books this series is based on, so if they’re following the books to the letter (which they aren’t) and you want to say that the things they are depicting happened in the comic books, that’s fine. It doesn’t make the story problems magically go away. But anyway.

The episode starts with a flashback. Why, I’m not sure, since the flashback told us things that we already knew: Grimes gets shot, his partner the Ma-Shane tells his wife, who then tells her kid. We never saw it happen, but it seemed reasonable to assume that it would happen roughly along those lines. Maybe they thought we forgot he was shot and in a coma despite being reminded of it every single time Shane and that harpy of a wife have a conversation. Maybe they wanted to illustrate how difficult and heart-wrenching it is to be told that a family member you love has been shot, which I think most people probably would intuitively understand. Or perhaps they wanted to show that Shane wanted to bang his buddy’s wife and Rick and the harridan were having marital problems before he was shot, but the fact that the two started humping pretty quickly also does a good job of suggesting that perhaps there was some sort of attraction there. Most likely, I think the writers felt they needed a huge sign that says LOOK AT THE JUXTAPOSITION AND ROLE REVERSAL HERE! because they believe the average television viewer is dumb as fuck.

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My Thoughts on The Walking Dead, Season 2 Episode 1

I don’t know if I’ll do this for every episode of the AMC series, but I had enough thoughts about the first episode that I figured I’d babble on about them. At least I think I have enough thoughts. It’s really early and I’m tired so maybe I just have one thought bouncing in my head and it’s I LIKE CHEESE and this post will end up moldering in the Drafts area for a few months before it gets thrown out like a 7-year-old box of baking soda that hangs out in the fridge for some nebulous reason like “fighting odor” when I’m not really sure what odors there are to combat in a refrigerator but ANYWAY.

So, Walking Dead is back. I watched it last night. As a writer who spends an inordinate amount of time writing zombie stories, most people assume that I love reading about zombies and watching zombie movies and going to zombie dress-up events and all that stuff. I’ve got a secret. I actually don’t. Yes, I love every George Romero zombie film there is, even the ones no one else does. I love the Resident Evil movies, but that is also due to the Milla Jojovich factor, the actress that I have a free pass for from my wife for when we meet (right, honey? Honey? It was a joke! Honey? /grumble /makes couch into bed). I love Max Brooks’ zombie novels (and cringe when I think what Brad Pitt is going to do to World War Z. Just when I started to respect him as an actor and whatnot.). And honestly? That’s about it. There’s a couple throwaways like Planet of the Dead that I enjoy as well, but there is an awful lot that I don’t really care for in the slightest.

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