Bookbanter Column: The Only Zombie Books You Ever Need to Read (May 25, 2012)

If you’re a reader and a fan of the horror genre, then chances are you’ve read a zombie book of some sort; maybe more than one.

In case you haven’t noticed, this living dead sub-genre simply won’t go away, as more and more zombie books are being churned out, to the point where most horror authors have now tried their writing hands at bringing an unlikely character back from the dead.

In an earlier Book Banter Column I discussed the short history of the zombie genre, which you can read here.

The big problem I find with most zombie books is that that’s all the story is really about: zombies attacking humanity and how humanity fights back, kills them for good, and ends up winning.  End of story.  This is fine as a story premise, except that it’s been done so many times, not just in books, but in movies, comic books, as well as various other forms of media.

For me the unique zombie story is one that has an interesting, captivating story in a world where there are zombies.

Enter Mira Grant.

Mira Grant is the pseudonym of Seanan McGuire.  Seven years ago she came up with an idea for a zombie book that was a small idea that became a big one, then a trilogy.

The first book, Feed, was released in 2010 and was nominated for a Hugo Award.  The second book, Deadline, was released in 2011 and received just as much support and good press as its predecessor.  The final book in the trilogy, Blackout, was released just this week and has already been getting lots of coverage and hurrahs from fans.

So the complete trilogy has been released, and it honestly feels more like one long book, making it the perfect time to check this series out and give it a read.

Here’s why you should read Feed:

It is the future, the year is 2039.

Twenty-five years ago the Kellis-Amberlee virus was released and began turning humanity into zombies.

The world is now a very different place: many people rarely leave their homes, or the protected confines of their neighborhoods; many places have been overridden by zombies, while the government does what it can to feebly protect its people.  Georgia Mason (named after someone who understood zombies very well) and her twin brother Shaun are bloggers.  When everything went to hell a quarter-century ago, the media denied what was happening, mocking the bloggers who were purportedly telling the truth.  Now the bloggers have become the media, for they are the only ones brave (or stupid) enough to get close to the zombies and report what’s happening.

It’s an election year and Republican Senator Peter Ryman is running for president, looking to change the country, to make the American people feel safe and protected once more.

George and Shaun and their techie Buffy have been picked as members of the media to cover Senator Ryman’s campaign, launching them into journalism stardom.  But then something terrible happens, at one of the Senator’s events; zombies attack and people die.  As the Senator’s campaign continues, George, Shaun and Buffy try to put the pieces together and work out exactly what’s going on, and why the Senator is being attacked, in an attempt to ultimately find out who is behind it all.

Mira Grant is not simply telling a good story about zombies; she is instead telling a fantastic story about a group of young bloggers covering the campaign of a hopeful presidential candidate in a world where there are zombies and fear is a part of everyone’s everyday life.

And as the book comes to a close, the reader realizes there are things in this world that are worse than zombies.

They’re humans.

Here’s why you should read Deadline:

Shaun Mason is in a very dark place.

In a world where every person wakes up with the fear of zombies in their minds, as well as the terror of somehow amplifying at any moment, Shaun doesn’t really care anymore.

When he had to shoot his sister and kill her before she fully amplified, it was definitely a turning point in his life.  And now he has very little to live for; his sister was everything to him, and had always joked about what she would do when he was dead, because he was the risk taker.  There was no scenario for when George was killed and Shaun was left all alone.  Though there is one little light in this dark, dark tunnel and that is that Shaun still talks to his sister . . . in his head.  She’s alive and well in his brain and he talks to her, has conversations with her, even argues with her.

Fortunately, anyone else who spends time with him knows that Shaun is now pretty much crazy and they all just deal with it.

But the world must go on and Shaun has a news organization to run, along with an experienced team, he makes the decisions when he has to and lets the talented people he has working for him do what they do best; while the former daredevil who used to fly in the face of danger for the chance to get some great zombie footage is no more.

And then a member from the CDC drops into their laps with an incredible story to tell.  A story that has everything to do with the Kellis-Amberlee virus, how it might have got started, and where the CDC is on the cure.  She’s also faked her own death and appears to be off the radar, and then a devastating outbreak coincidentally happens right where Shaun and his team are currently hanging out.  Some make it out, while others are incinerated, as outbreak protocols are followed.  This event awakens the spark and drive that has been missing in Shaun for some time.

Now he has something to go on, a clue that will lead him on the trail to finding out who had his sister killed and how this virus got “accidentally” released and destroyed the world.

And here’s why you should read Blackout:

We last left George apparently somehow alive and well, living the life of a clone in a CDC lab.

She slowly puts things together as time passes, but for every answer there are fifty more questions.  Also is she really Georgia Mason?  She doesn’t have the reservoir condition anymore; she’s a lot thinner that George ever was; and her hair is annoyingly long and bleaching with every shower.

Then she finds out she might have an ally or two on the inside, but she isn’t sure if she can trust them.

Meanwhile, as Shaun continues to talk to Georgia in his head and act all kinds of crazy, he keeps the gang of After the End Times on the move.

After spending some time with Dr. Abbey in her secret lab, as she takes copious daily amounts of his virus-immune blood, he thinks about where the trail is leading next, where he can get more answers, and find out just what this whole conspiracy is all about.  It will involve possibly going on a rescue mission to Florida, which has been designated a zombie-ridden loss for the country; meeting with his parents who he hates, to ask for help; and tracking down the best I.D. counterfeiter in the business to start their new lives.

Mira Grant skillfully switches between the George and Shaun storylines with each chapter, making the characters appear as distinct and complex as they were in the first two books, as she slowly but seamlessly brings them together, building the tension and thrill.  The reader knows the step-siblings are going to meet up again at some point, but will Shaun be able keep his sanity or will he just be pushed over the edge?  Then there’s the question of which clone of Georgia Mason will be there to greet him?

Blackout is the perfect, satiating finish to the trilogy, making the three-book series feel like one long, epic story.

No reader will be disappointed, with a worthwhile ending that will leave him or her sad that the wonderful journey is now over . . . but just like when the end of Harry Potter was reached, or the final page of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, how many of us turned back to the first book and started reading that first page once again.

Having reread the first two books, this trilogy will be one I will continue to reread constantly throughout my lifetime.

(Originally published on Forces of Geek)

“When Will Your Rise: Stories to End the World” by Mira Grant (Subterranean Press, 2012)

When Will You Rise?starstarstarstar

Mira Grant is the author of the popular and bestselling Newsflesh zombie trilogy consisting of Feed, Deadline, and Blackout.  The stories in When Will You Rise: Stories to End the World were originally published on Grant’s blog leading up to the release of Deadline in 2011, with a new story posted each day.  They are now collected in their entirety in When Will You Rise from Subterranean Press.

Anyone who has read the trilogy is familiar with the state of the world after the zombie uprising and how the main characters, Georgia and Shaun, lived through it and continued to survive.  Readers have had hints here and there and some explanation of the past and when the uprising began in the summer of 2014.  When Will You Rise tells those stories, of Shaun and Georgia’s parents, of the scientists working on a cure for the common cold, and those working on a cure for cancer and how the two ended up comingling in the atmosphere to turn everyone into ticking zombie time bombs: once you die you come back a zombie hungry for human flesh.

When Will You Rise is an excellent compendium to the trilogy, filling in gaps and histories that the original three books all but gloss over.  Fans of the series will not be disappointed, and for those wanting a small taste of what the series has to offer, to whet their appetite, When Will You Rise is a perfect start.

Originally written on September 25, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of When Will You Rise from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Blackout” Out Today!

It’s been three years of great writing from Mira Grant, with Feed in 2010, Deadline in 2011, and now in 2012 with the release today of the final book in the trilogy, Blackout.  For those of you who’ve been reading along, you’ll be no doubt zombie-hungry to start reading this last installment, and for anyone who hasn’t tried these fantastic books yet, they’re some of my all time favorites.  Below are my reviews to the first two books, as well as interview links.

Feed  Deadline

MIRA GRANT #1     MIRA GRANT #2

Come on up for the Rising

The great people at Orbit books have made this funny, interesting, scary, and captivating book trailer for the Newsflesh Trilogy.  If you haven’t read the books, you should check it out; if you have read the books, you should check it out; if you got here by accident, you should check it out . . .

Also if you’re in the San Francisco area on Saturday at about 5PM, you should come on down to Borderlands and meet the brilliant mind behind Feed and Deadline, the great Mira Grant herself.  Details about the event can be found here.

Hopefully see you there!

Feed    Deadline

Dancing With the Undead: An Interview With Mira Grant

An Interview with Mira Grant

Mira Grant

To enter the BookBanter giveaway for a SIGNED COPY of Deadline, go here.

Mira Grant is the pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire. She is the author of the Newsflesh Trilogy, the first two books of which have been released, with Feed and Deadline. Seanan McGuire was first interviewed on BookBanter on September 1st, 2009; you can listen to it here. Mira Grant was first interviewed on BookBanter in April of 2010; you can read the interview here .

In the interview, Grant talks about how she goes about doing research, how she and Seanan McGuire get along, what else McGuire is working on, and some very important final words. You can read the interview here.

Deadline sssss Feed

BookBanter Boon #9: “Deadline” by Mira Grant SIGNED COPY

BookBanter Boon

It’s June 1st and time for another BookBanter Boon and a new book giveaway, and this one’s a pretty cool and special one.

To tie in with the release of Deadline by Mira Grant, the sequel to Feed, as well as the new interview with her up on BookBanter, I will be giving away to one lucky winner A SIGNED COPY OF DEADLINE! 

Mira Grant is the pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire. She is the author of the Newsflesh Trilogy, the first two books of which have been released, with Feed and Deadline. Seanan McGuire was first interviewed on BookBanter on September 1st, 2009; you can listen to it here. Mira Grant was first interviewed on BookBanter in April of 2010; you can read the interview here .

In the interview, Grant talks about how she goes about doing research, how she and Seanan McGuire get along, what else Mcguire is working on, and some very important final words. You can read the interview here.

Here are the basic rules:

  1. Anyone in the US can enter.
  2. To enter simply leave a comment on this post.  The question for you for this BookBanter Boon is where will you be hiding out (reading Deadline, of course) when the rising happens?
  3. Entries will be accepted from June 1st until 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on June 14th.
  4. The winner will be randomly chosen, contacted, and announced on this post on June 15th.

If you have any questions, please email me at alex@bookbanter.net.

Deadline    Feed

“Deadline” by Mira Grant (Orbit, 2011)

Deadline
starstarstarstarstar

Warning: This review contains spoilers for Feed and Deadline.

On the first day of May of 2010, Mira Grant graced the world with the first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy, Feed . . . and it was good; it was very good.  And now, on the thirty-first day of May of 2011, the long wait is over and readers get to finally enjoy the sequel, Deadline.  Once again Grant has achieved the incredible with a long story of over six hundred pages that will have you wide eyed and mouth wateringly hooked from the very first to the very last.  Middle books in trilogies are often weak compared to the strong start and captivating end, but Deadline is a worthy next installment that is as good as Feed in many ways, making it feel more like a continuation of the same book.

Shaun Mason is in a very dark place.  In a world where every person wakes up with the fear of zombies in their minds, as well as the terror of somehow amplifying at any moment, Shaun doesn’t really care anymore.  When he had to shoot his sister and kill her before she fully amplified, it was definitely a turning point in his life.  And now he has very little to live for; his sister was everything to him, and had always joked about what she would do when he was dead, because he was the risk taker.  There was no scenario for when George was killed and Shaun was left all alone.  Though there is one little light in this dark, dark tunnel and that is that Shaun still talks to his sister . . . in his head.  She’s alive and well in his brain and he talks to her, has conversations with her, even argues with her.  Fortunately, anyone else who spends time with him knows that Shaun is now pretty much crazy and they all just deal with it.

But the world must go on and Shaun has a news organization to run, along with an experienced team, he makes the decisions when he has to and lets the talented people he has working for him do what they do best., while the former daredevil who used to fly in the face of danger for the chance to get some great zombie footage is no more.  And then a member from the CDC drops into their laps with an incredible story to tell.  A story that has everything to do with the Kellis-Amberlee virus, how it might have got started, and where the CDC is on the cure.  She’s also faked her own death and appears to be off the radar, and then a devastating outbreak coincidentally happens right where Shaun and his team are currently hanging out.  Some make it out, while others are incinerated, as outbreak protocols are followed.  This event awakens the spark and drive that has been missing in Shaun for some time.  Now he has something to go on, a clue that will lead him on the trail to finding out who had his sister killed and how this virus got “accidentally” released and destroyed the world.

Deadline continues right where Feed left off, and Grant manages to keep the pace and fear and excitement going throughout, supplying plenty of horror, scifi tech, and lots of fascinating medical and virus details that add further to the story.  She also addresses the harsh reality that she created in Feed, where no one is safe from becoming the walking dead, and lives will be lost no matter what.  Readers will find Deadline a worthy addition to this fantastic trilogy that is as good as anything created by the likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, with an ending that will leave them yearning for May of 2012 and the thrilling conclusion in Blackout.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on May 30, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

You might also like . . .

Feed    Apocalypse Scenario

Upcoming Interviews on BookBanter: Mira Grant & James Rollins

While July 2011 looks to be a very big release month with Jim Butcher’s pushed-back and awaited (after the cliffhanger in Changes) Ghost Story and George R. R. Martin’s very very very long-awaited A Dance With Dragons, June also has a couple of big releases . . .

Mira Grant

June 1st

Mira Grant

Coming June 1st will be the second interview between BookBanter and Mira Grant, tying in with the release of the thrilling sequel to the bestselling Feed, with Deadline.  You can read my previous interview with Mira Grant here, along with my review for Feed, which continues to be the no. 1 most popular book review on BookBanter.

And to commemorate this special interview, I’ll be doing a new BookBanter Boon: I’ll be giving away a copy of Deadline!  My hopeful plan is to have Mira Grant sign it also.  The giveaway will begin on June 1st when the interview goes up and continue through June 14th at 11:59PM, and the following day a winner will be randomly drawn.  To buy Feed or preorder Deadline just click on the covers below.

Feed    Deadline

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James Rollins

June 15th

James Rollins

And on June 15th the second interview with BookBanter and James Rollins will go up to tie in with the upcoming release of his next Sigma Force thriller, The Devil Colony, coming June 21st.  You can find the previous interview here, along with my review for his previous book, The Doomsday Key.  The interview will go up on the 15th and the review for The Devil Colony will go up June 21st with the release of the book.

AND to go with the interview, I’ll also be doing ANOTHER BookBanter Boon, with a giveaway of a copy of The Devil Colony.  It’ll start on the 15th and go until the 30th at 11:59 PM and then a winner will be randomly drawn the following day.

James Rollins has also released a short story on ebook (for just 99 cents) leading up to the release of The Devil Colony that is a great fun little adventure through the catacombs of Paris (my review for this will be up soon) and has ties to his upcoming book release.  You can buy the ebook and preorder the book by clicking on the covers below.

Devil Colony  Skeleton Key

So July is a big release month, but June is also one with some good releases, some great interviews, and some fun giveaways coming your way . . .

“Deadline” has arrived

UPDATE: Add links and cover as I couldn’t do this from my phone — or I probably could, but couldn’t be bother to spend the time working out how to do it.

Deadline

Was delighted to find at work today that the UPS guy had dropped off a package from my old address where it never would’ve reached me – because he’s awesome like that – and lo and behold it was a beautiful finished copy of Deadline by Mira Grant, the sequel to Feed which we’ve all been waiting for. Needless to say I’ll be reading it on my lunch break.

And for those waiting impatiently, be sure to check out Seanan McGuire’s blog, where every day this month leading up to the release of Deadline she has a post with a snippet.

“Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box” by Mira Grant (Kindle Edition, 2011)

Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box
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After the success of Feed, fans will be experiencing the impatient excruciating wait leading up to the release of the sequel, Deadline (due out May 31), with little to do but twiddle their page-turning fingers.  Thankfully, Mira Grant and Orbit with the Orbit Short Fiction series have presented us fans with a brief respite; a kernel of entertainment in the form of a short story, “Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box,” from the author as we count down the days to the final Deadline.

Friends are good; friends are special; friends are important.  And what’s better than bringing a bunch of friends together than a game; a game they’ve been playing for years.  But it’s not your ordinary game: the challenge is to come up with the ultimate apocalypse scenario, which began with the idea to “. . . figure out how to destroy the world.”  The group meets every Friday, for the last fifteen years, each of the members taking turns to come up with a way to end of the world, each being more nefarious and evil than the previous one.  And now it is time for the six hundred and eighty-third scenario, only Cole is unable to attend for some reason, and instead she has sent a digital recording of her scenario.   As the group listens to the step by step instructions of Cole’s latest scenario, fear begins to creep through each member of the group as the description starts to seem a little too close to reality.

Grant’s short story is just the perfect dish to hold back the appetite of those fans anxiously awaiting the release of Deadline; readers will not be disappointed with “Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box.”

Originally written on May 5, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.