“Pariah” by Bob Fingerman (TOR, 2010)


We are now slowly passing out of the Age of the Vampire in the world of genre fiction, and are heavily entrenched in the Age of the Zombie, with little end in sight.  Much like the glut of young adult fantasy that exploded after the success of Harry Potter, there is a lot of zombie fiction out there that is barely worth the paper it’s printed on: quick, simple, pointless plots and over the top garish description, with little to add to the world of story or the craft of writing.  Pariah, thankfully, is one of the good ones.

Bob Fingerman is the author of Bottomfeeder and the graphic novels Recess Pieces, Beg the Question and White like She.   In his take on the world of zombies, he employs the stereotypes we’ve all become quite familiar with: a plague has ravaged the world and turned almost everyone into the slow, cumbersome, brain-hungry walking dead; the few that remain must do everything they can to eke out a living and somehow survive.  In Pariah, Fingerman’s canvas is an Upper East Side New York apartment block where the few remaining tenants have barricaded themselves inside.  They ration themselves through their dwindling food supplies, becoming further emaciated; while across the street sits a grocery store; between stands an ocean of zombies hungry for brains.

Fingerman is clearly having fun with his unusual characters: a couple who care little for each other, a younger man who has interests in a female tenant, two men who are “just friends,” a strange old lady who appears and disappears throughout the apartment block like a ghostly apparition, and the strange fellow who makes his home on the roof and spends his days pelting the zombies below with rocks, taking them out slowly, one by one.  Fingerman flitters from one viewpoint to another, as the tenants scrape by, becoming more and more impatient and aggravated with their surroundings and fellow tenants.  Then one day they see a young girl walking through the sea of zombies, alive and well, and being completely ignored by those lusting for cranial matter.  Pariah is a fresh and different zombie novel you just might want to check out.

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Originally written on September 16 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

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08/31 On the Bookshelf . . . “Pariah,” “Mysterium” & “The Way of Kings”

Pariah Mysterium Way of Kings

Received an interesting trio of books (two by request):

We have a zombie novel from Rob Fingerman, Pariah.  It’s been quite a while now since I’ve read a zombie book, but this is purely intentional, as there is simply an overabundance of them right now, wherever you turn, whether it’s books, stories, movies, and even a TV series.  So I needed a break; but now I think I’m ready to check out another zombie book, and it’s going to be Pariah.

Then there’s Mysterium by Robert Charles Wilson.  After enjoying Julian Comstock, I’m interested in seeing how Wilson tackles science fiction and parallel universes.

And finally there’s Brandon Sanderson first book in his epic fantasy series that he’s been wanting to publish since he started writing, The Way of Kings; the first book of the Stormlight Archive.  Clocking in at just over a thousand pages, it’s one of the most beautifully designed fantasy books I’ve ever held, with color, illustrated maps on the inlay covers, parchment-design pages and further maps within, numerous illustrations, and title plates for each chapter.  In this essay, Sanderson talks about how the initial stirrings of this series began when he was fifteen and how it is a dream come true to now have it published.  And if you want to meet Brandon Sanderson, get your book signed and find out a little more about The Way of Kings, you can find him on his book tour.

In some final news, BookBanter will be interviewing Brandon Sanderson some time in the next month or two, to tie in with the second anniversary of the podcast, and to find out what’s changed with Sanderson in the last two years.  Brandon Sanderson was the first interview on BookBanter and continues to be the most downloaded episode.