Posts tagged ‘Fiction’

July 1, 2013

Zombie Town

Zombie Town

R. L. Stinezombie town

Copyright 2001 by Parachute Press

 

I couldn’t help it. Octavia Butler‘s novel “Kindred” is an amazing novel full of depth and character, but it is also not for the faint of heart.  The next book on my list was “Alice in Zombieland”. I started reading it but after I forced myself to read to the hundredth page, I couldn’t do it any longer.  I wanted something not as intense as “Kindred” and with a science fiction element that I had not read before. I considered high-tech, space operas, and even some of New York Times Bestselling series but nothing grabbed my attention. Also, I wanted something fun and light which immediately brought children’s science fiction to mind. At the top of the search results was R.L. Stine.

I don’t remember any exact memories reading R.L. Stine. But I remember how it felt to get a new book, the excitement, the thrill, and the satisfaction.  Mr. Stine taught me the words of fear. Yeah I heard scary stories and watched movies but let’s be honest there is something special about reading fear. The ability to write good children’s horror is a gift and as a kid R.L .Stine was king in my world.

I chose “Zombie Town” because I was in the mood for zombies. I enjoy a good zombie flick but I have yet to read a story with them.  The premise of the story is that zombies in a move come alive and start killing the people in town. Tweens Mike and Karen are best friends. When the movie Zombie Town comes to town Mike doesn’t want to go see it because he’s easily scared but Karen really wants to go because it’s the hottest movie in town. While they are at the movie, strange things start to happen and before they know it they are being chased by zombies through town.

“Zombie Town” has a lot of zombies. In just 75 pages I got my fill of zombies, Stine doesn’t hold back, zombies are the subject and in every scene as either a reference or character. There is enough detail in the characters that the zombies feel fully developed. The zombie characters that Stine describes are similar enough to standard zombies that the little details he adds to make them his own go a long way. While I won’t give away the ending, I will say that I enjoyed the end completely. I felt like the cherry on top and very nice finishing touch.  There wasn’t much to dislike about the story, it hit all the points necessary to leave the reader satisfied.

I’m still looking for additional reviews to add to this posting.

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June 9, 2013

“Kindred” Review

Kindred

Octavia Butler

Publisher: Doubleday

Copyright 1979

It took me a while to Kindred. I had to return it to the library then re-check it out, but I’m glad that I decided to finish Kindred. There are a couple of aspects to the story that I would like to share with you that I did and didn’t enjoy.

Dana is my favorite character. She has a strong spirit of survival and adaptation that I find easily believable in someone from the background that she is given by Butler. Not just any character can do what Butler put them through. The character must already be strong of will and self understanding. The fact that Dana is also reflective of her environment and its effect on her is key to her survival. Her ability to methodically evaluate each occurrence and how it affects her and the possible ways she can prevent it from happening made her character easy to route for.

I was really looking forward to a confrontation between Dana and Rufus about their blood relationship. I mean come on it was the precipitating event that caused this whole story.  Would it have changed how he treated her? Would it have stopped him pulling her through time? But even more importantly, would it have changed him to know what his interracial children would grow up to be like? For the last 100 pages, I was looking forward to that clash, but alas no such luck. The characters part ways never knowing what may have been.

Overall, I liked Kindred. It is a well written story with complex characters, a straight forward plot, and detailed setting. It was difficult to pick which character I liked the most because Butler develops each character. Since the story follows the characters throughout their life you watch them grow and experience the highs and lows with them. On top of that the plot didn’t get complicated or provide any leaps or twists that would have been unnecessary and distracting. Instead the story relied on the characters interactions with each other to provide the tension.  The setting was described in detailed and how it was included in the story that it surrounded me when I read it.

One of my favorite science fiction elements is time travel, I mean really what’s not to like? You don’t have to worry about the story getting technical or bogged down in science. Butler doesn’t try to explain how time travel works or create rules for. There is a reference made to rules in other movies but that is brief not even a whole page. I appreciate that. I also like the time distance between Rufus and Dana, there was enough time that it was impossible for any characters or actions to overlap.

I highly recommend Kindred.

March 8, 2013

Musing on Allegory E-zine

I found Allegory E-zine in my Novel & Short Story Writers Market guide. I was looking for science fiction and fantasy fiction magazines to help me with writing my fiction. The issue that I stumbled upon was Volume 19/46 – Fall 2012, which is now in their Archives.  To read “Job Hunting” by Diana Parparita and “The Man of Many Tongues” by Jake Waters you’ll need to purchase the issue, but it’s well worth the money.  Each story stood out in my mind for different reasons.

Job hunting, who likes it? No really, who? It’s a grueling process of putting on your best and being on your best behavior and despite your best efforts you’re forced to leave still wondering. Parparita really has fun with this idea. In this story, it’s an older dragon that is being interviewed for the job of dragon. Immediately this makes you laugh. The interviewer is snotty, mean and attempts to use ageism to prevent the dragon from getting the job, but during a mock battle(spoiler, sorry) the dragon eats the interviewer and takes her job. The story moved along at an amazing pace, with lively dialogue, and interesting characters. This is a must read for after a bad interview.

The other story that I found enjoyable but creepy was “The Man of Many Tongues”. I was originally attracted to the story by the authors bio in which it said he was a Peace Corps Volunteer(PCV). This was intriguing to me, because I too was a PCV and I’m always fascinated by other Peace Corps writers. The use of language really resonated with me, as I could sympathize with the characters language frustrations during service training. The pace of the story at one point made me feel it was long, but in hindsight I feel the story moved along at the right pace to really immerse the reader in the story and amp up the creepy factor. The main characters are not people who I would want to cross in a dark ally, but thankfully I don’t have any language skills that they would envy. It’s a great story and I’m looking forward to reading more of Jake’s writing.

In this current issue there are two stories that I’m fascinated with “The Boy” by Norm Hendricks and “Brownie Bites” by Melinda Moore.  “Brownie Bites” attracted my attention because well it says brownie. I like brownies, I didn’t think I could go wrong. Add in a little magic and I was right. This is a really cute story about a woman who wants to make a better life for her unborn child. The characters drive and her persistence are admiral qualities and make her a charming heroine. “The Boy” is a powerful story heavy in science fiction. I would need a whole blog post to talk about this story. In a sentence though: This story has great pace, true characters, good concept and execution a must read.