BookBanter Column #1: Zombie is the New Undead

BookBanter Column

And the first issue of the BookBanter Column is up on the San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review site and it’s a good long one featuring quotes from the likes of Mira Grant, John Joseph Adams, S. G. Browne, and Jonathan Maberry all on the subject of zombies!  So be sure to check it out and feel free to add a comment in your thoughts on zombies, zombie stories, or you particular favorite.

“The Frozen Sky” by Jeff Carlson (Kindle Edition, 2010)

Frozen Sky

In Jeff Carlson’s ebook novella, The Frozen Sky (available on Kindle), he takes on the genre of hard science fiction, taking readers to that distant moon of Jupiter, Europa, where there are frozen seas and oceans, but beneath the possibility of alien life.

Carlson uses a great storytelling method of short chapters and jumping back and forth.  In the present our main character is dealing with the alien life that exists beneath the ice, trying her best to stay alive using her futuristic spacesuit that works practically as a fully-servicing vehicle along with the downloaded knowledge and abilities of her dead colleague.  Carlson throws in the details here and there of great scifi tech without bogging the story down or confusing the reader.  In alternate chapters, the reader is taken back to different periods in time, when the main characters first set foot on Europa, what they hoped to find and what they actually found, which were very different things.

In less than sixty pages, Carlson skillfully manages to tell a great story, present some possible ancestry to these alien creatures, put in a bunch of cool technology that makes sense and is believable.  To top it all off, he  manages to send the message of when we do finally start traveling to the stars, we better be sure we’re fully prepared for everything we might come up against, and that maybe we should look and think before we leap into that mysterious hole in the ground on an alien planet.

Originally written on April 10, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

When Authors do the Right Thing

A couple weeks ago I heard that Seanan McGuire (who does the great Toby Daye urban fantasy series and Feed) had withdrawn her story from a forthcoming YA anthology, Wicked Pretty Things, because one of the authors, Jessica Verday, had submitted a story involving a homosexual relationship and had been told she needed to make one of the characters female otherwise they wouldn’t publish it.  Seanan talks about this here.

A number of other authors have since pulled their stories also and Melissa Marr has asked that her name not be used on the cover for a blurb.

Today Jim C. Hines made one giant leap to publish these withdrawn stories, where he said:

  1. If you have not already found a home for your withdrawn story, I would be happy to read it.
  2. If I like the story (and knowing most of the authors involved, I suspect I will), I’ll offer $100 up front to publish it here on my blog.
  3. Each story will include a donations link. Once the initial $100 has been covered, further donations will be split 50/50. Half will be paid to the author, and the other half will be donated to a LGBTQ-friendly cause.
  4. If I publish multiple stories, I will look into putting together an e-book collection of those stories, with profits again being split between the authors and a LGBTQ-friendly cause.

You can read all about it on his post.

On days like this, it makes me very happy to see some really good people in this world, especially when something begins as a complete negative and gets turned into a strong positive.  Think I might make this my next column.