Showing posts with label zombies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zombies. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire

Once again, the blurb lied!

Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

I thought this might be an interesting story about a triangle of an altogether more realistic hue than the florid overblown ones that idiot sheep-like YA authors can't seem to keep themselves from dragging the wizened, rotten corpse of into eve3ry frigging book they write. But no, it was neither! If the blurb had simply said ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE in a massive black and fluorescent yellow warning. That would have said it far more accurately and wouldn't have annoyed me by wasting my time when I could have been listening to an audiobook that, unlike this one, wasn't total and vacuous crap.

The reading voices - yes, this was yet another novel where there are multiple first person voices which in this case served only to render the story three times as annoying as a single first person voice typically does - done by Emma Galvin, January Lavoy, and Zachary Webber, were totally unappealing and made me want to quit before I'd hardly started.

As if this wasn't disastrous enough, there was music - music - at the start of disk one. Why the hell do these imbeciles in the audiobook industry feel such an irresistible urge to add music?

Was there music in the original book? HELL NO!

Was the story about a musician, a band, an orchestra or a composer? HELL NO!

Did the story have anything - anything at all - in any way - any way at all - to do with music? HELL NO!

So why the fuck do these assholes have this OCD vis-à-vis putting music on an audiobook disk? Is it because their empty heads are stuck so far up their rigid asses that they simply can't envision what is to them a music CD without inscribing music on it? They're morons.

One thing I saw no other negative reviewer mention so I have to say something about it, especially since this is a female author, is that this novel failed the Bechdel–Wallace test (which perhaps ought to be renamed the Virginia Woolf test) disastrously starting on page one. The main character could quite literally not talk to any other female character without her love life - or lack of one - being front and center. It was truly sickening and a disgrace. Jamie McGuire should be thoroughly ashamed of herself for depicting female characters especially in this case, ones working in a professional medical setting, as having not a goddamned thing on their brains but men.

And also, it's book one of a series. I do not do series unless they're very special, and I sure as hell do not want to even read one book about a zombie apocalypse, let alone a whole series about one. Did the volume in any way convey that it was book one in a series? HELL NO! Why would the publisher do that? That would show respect for the reader, so I ask you once again, why in hell would Big Publishing&trade ever do that? It would let a reader make an informed choice without having to waste their life fully-researching every book they consider reading, so clearly the Publisher who is interested in your money and nothing else has no incentive whatsoever to consider you as anything other than a mark. I think I am not only done with this author, I'm also done with this dumbass audiobook publisher.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

iZombie Repossession by Chris Roberson

Title: iZombie Repossession
Author: Chris Roberson
Publisher: Warner Bros
Rating: WORTHY!

Illustrated by Michael Allred
Colors by Laura Allred
Guest art by J Bone and Jim Rugg.

The morons at Barnes & Noble have this listed as iZombie Repossessed. Unless they changed the name for the ebook, it's actually 'Repossession'. I try to support B&N because they're one of the few large presences capable of standing up to Amazon, but they need to get their act together or even they will be going the way of the small independent book stores (remember those?). Amazon isn't any better in this case. They have it listed exactly the same way. They're morons, too. Its right there on the cover, guys; you know, the cover you're using to illustrate the book for sale? Maybe you should buy this from your local comic book store? Of course they don't have the ebook, but if the ebook is too small to read, then what's the point?

This one rips off so many things it's almost unreal. The band Ghost Dance is taken from real life band Hawkwind, and Adam Morlock is the novelist is Michael Morcock who had close ties to the band.

Strider is really nothing more than the Silver Surfer as depicted in the Fantastic Four movie Rise of the Silver Surfer. That said, this entire series has been an homage to fifties horror movies, and to golden age comic book culture, so no harm no foul here.

This volume is the fattest of the series and it brings all the story arcs to a conclusion. Again the art work and coloring are top notch. The story just flies (not 'lifes', as my spell-checker thinks my klutzy fingers were trying to type!). Spot meets Gavin, who is Gwen's brother, and the two fall in love, but Gavin is possessed, so there are issues there. the Dead Presidents are working with the corporation, and with whole of Eugene Oregon is under martial law.

Galatea's plan starts coming to fruition on top of a hill outside of town, while Ellie and her zombie/vampire boyfriend find and free Spot who Amon was trying to sacrifice to free the world from Galatea's plan. But what about the brain in the coffee maker and the Russian zombie?

So as Amon's once-a-year liaison with his were-leopard wife is passing before he can avail himself of it, (shades of the 1985 movie Ladyhawke) monsters start appearing all over town, coming from an ever enlarging rift, and Amon teaches Gwen that though her sacrifice, the rift can be healed and everyone saved. Maybe Gwen has her own ideas about that. I thoroughly recommend this series and I also recommend the TV version, which is very different from the series and in my opinion, better.

iZombie Six Feet Under and Rising by Chris Roberson

Title: iZombie Six Feet Under and Rising
Author: Chris Roberson
Publisher: Warner Bros
Rating: WORTHY!

Illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez and Michael Allred
Colors by Laura Allred.

Guest artist J Stephens.

I notice that B&N in its klutziness describes Gwen as a detective. No she isn't! She's a grave digger! B&N is referencing the TV show, not the graphic novel with that idea, and even in the TV show she isn't a detective per se. The TV show is great, but please don't confuse the two!

This comic picks up the slack left by volume two, which was less than stellar, but still a worthy read especially as part of this complete series with orange juice, eggs, bacon, toast, marmalade, coffee and that other thing which I always forget.

The vamps, having lost one of their number to Galatea, recruit a new member. Meanwhile, Lewis and Clark - or is it Horatio and Diogenes? - are separated because the latter has to go off somewhere and do something. Gwen starts to get the idea that Amon is up to something that's not exactly going to benefit her, and we meet the Dead Presidents, with names like Nixon, Ford, and Kennedy. Ford died relatively recently of course but Nixon has been dead since 1974.

It's not that these people look anything like their names. The names seem to be random, but these people are not your usual government agents. One of them, Madison, is a were something, who looks cool in both were and human form. Another, Kennedy, is a sentient zombie just like Gwen - which opens up another story arc - and the third is...I have no idea what Nixon is. He has some sort of ghost-being which comes out of his belly when he gets annoyed or feels threatened.

These people do not get along with Diogenes and Horatio or anyone from the private corporation for which they work. Meanwhile Claire, the vamp who is now working for Galatea, and who her old vamp friends think is dead, has fallen for the creature Galatea is creating for use in her own private project, thus opening-up an amusing love triangle with ghost Eleanor, who also likes him. Spot the were terrier gets trapped underground with a zombie hoard, and Dixie from the diner proves her mettle.

Once again the bizarre twists and takes on paranormal tropes in this series are what makes the series so specials. The art work and coloring are wonderful. I recommend this volume and the rest of the series.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

iZombie U Vampire by Chris Roberson

Title: iZombie U Vampire
Author: Chris Roberson
Publisher: Warner Bros
Rating: WORTHY!

Illustrated by Michael Allred
Colors by Laura Allred.

This story felt a bit flat for me when it began. Scott, the were-terrier gives us a boring back story about his grandfather, who raised him. There was a falling out and then gramps died - your usual crap. The twist here is that gramps's over-soul comes back and ends up inside a chimpanzee, which Scott "liberates" from the zoo and then takes home with him. Gramps isn't appreciative. This particular story was boring and not even funny, but later it did take an interesting turn.

On the Gwendolyn side, Gwen starts dating one of the vampire hunters, which is also, as it happens, boring. The one interesting thread is the arrival of Galatea, from Amon's past! She takes control of the vampire babe she resurrected. Once Amon, the local mummy, discovers she's in town, he starts to get very, very nervous indeed. I liked Galatea. She's rather like the mad scientist here, with her vampire Igor assistant. That part was really quite entertaining.

The one thing which really stands out for me in this series, and which I appreciated very much, was the oddball interactions between the different supernatural characters. I think you can really do well writing if you invent some really cool characters, especially if they're supernatural, give them their own life, back-story and motivations, and then place them randomly together and see how they play off each other. If you do that well enough, you won't need a plot because one will blossom out of these interactions.

It's worth keeping that in mind if you're trying to come up with a plot for your novel. Come up with characters instead, and the hell with a plot. Make the characters real (that is, real within their own context), make them interact in real-life situations (again for their own context), and you'll get your story. Think about it - no one plots life, yet when people from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of personalities get together and beginning playing off each other, life happens and goes to totally unexpected places. Your novel will, too, graphic or otherwise.

Another character I really liked in this volume was Eleanor, the ghost. Ellie had a lot of independence. Before, it seemed like she was almost Gwen's shadow, not even having an existence apart from her zombie friend, but here, she starts to get a life, plus we get some back story from her which is a lot more interesting than Scott's. Although I started this not very much moved by it, I left it really looking forward to reading the next volume.

iZombie Dead to the World by Chris Roberson

Title: iZombie Dead to the World
Author: Chris Roberson
Publisher: Warner Bros
Rating: WORTHY!

Illustrated by Michael Allred
Colors by Laura Allred.

This novel is gorgeously illustrated by Michael Allred with awesome coloring by Laura Allred. At the Comic Vine website, Laura is listed as the wife of Michael in the lead-in blurb. Michael isn't listed as the husband of Laura. Shame of comic vine for their genderism in indicating that Laura is really a chattel. I think I am going to have to quit using those guys as a link for writers and artists in graphic novels.

This is the first of four in a series that was pretty awesome. I am not typically a fan of series, but I got into reading this because I first watched the TV show, which is completely awesome. I was initially disappointed in the comic because they changed a heck of a lot for the TV show and I really liked that, but the comic grew on me as I read it and now I am a fan of this, too. Volume two dropped a bit and was not quite up to par for me, but three and four came roaring back so I recommend the whole thing.

There were some issues with it, nevertheless. For example, in this series, Gwen (who is Olivia in the TV show) is not a doctor who conveniently now works the medical examiner's office, but is working on a crew of grave diggers. She doesn't live with a room mate, but in a crypt in the graveyard, and she isn't in touch with her family or her old boyfriend. Nor does she work with a cop pretending to be a psychic to solve murders.

Everyone she knew in her old life thinks she's dead. Her grave is right there in the graveyard. For me the TV scenario was smarter. It's highly unlikely they would have four people working in a cemetery digging graves full time. Don't they have one guy with a little backhoe working part time these days? The expense of having four people would be way too high. OTOH, this is comic book fiction, so I guess we shouldn't expect too much realism.

There are two detectives (after a fashion) in this novel, though. They work for a private corporation, and are pursuing an investigation into certain mysterious events in this city (Eugene, Oregon), and at one crime scene, one of them takes Polaroid pictures. The image shows him waving the picture back and forth to "dry" it, but unless it's a really antique black and white original Polaroid, there's nothing to dry. The newer Polaroid pictures were sealed, so shaking one of those doesn't do anything except maybe risk damaging the developing picture. It certainly won't dry it, but maybe this guy spends so much time sitting on his ass that he got a bad case of Polaroids?

I noted the phrase, "To meet whom?" which is grammatically correct, but once again I have to say I think this form is antique and should be abolished. No one uses it in speech any more unless they're trying to be pretentious, or unless they're an English teacher, and even then I suspect it's rarely used. If it's not part of modern, everyday speech, which this isn't, it's time to let it go in our writing, too. Authors tend to make the mistake of not only writing it in their narrative to show how educated and accomplished they are, but they also put it into the mouths of their characters and make them unrealistic by doing so. BTW, did you know it's The Whom's 50th touring anniversary this year...?

On the good side (and purely in the context of the novel), they had this really interesting explanation for ghosts and other supernatural creatures which was rooted in Egyptian mythology. I don't know if this is true of the ancient Egyptians or not, but the narrator in the story was talking about how they believed in several different kinds of soul. They believed in what he termed an over-soul, which resided in the mind and was more rational and analytical, and an under-soul which resided in the heart, and was much more emotional.

The character said that when the over-soul is freed from the corporeal body, it becomes a ghost, but when the under-soul is so freed, it becomes a poltergeist. When the body dies, but the over-soul remains, it becomes a vampire, and when the same thing happens but the under-soul remains, it becomes a zombie. I thought that was pretty cool.

The character, Amon, goes on to explain that when the over-soul gets into someone else's body, they're deemed to be possessed. If an animal under-soul gets into your body, then you become a werewolf or were-whatever-the-animal-was. If you die but both souls remain in your body, you become a revenant, and he was telling Gwen, that this is what she is, so she's not actually a true zombie. This begs the question as to why Gwen is behaving like a zombie, craving brains, and worrying about losing her memories if she doesn't eat brains routinely.

Like I said, I recommend this novel and the following three.