Writer of Horror Fiction

Archive for December, 2012

Review of Derek Goodman’s “The Reanimation of Edward Shuett”

The Reanimation of Edward Shuett is a zombie tale for folks who are looking something that injects something entirely new and different into the genre.  Edward is an average guy from Wisconsin who wakes up one day in an abandoned WalMart dazed, dirty, and confused by the fact that he has maggots crawling out of rotten holes in his arm.  He sees a couple of other people in the store who scare him.  They are clearly not normal-shambling looking dead things that have no reason to still be upright.  Despite his fears of them, they don’t seem very interested in him, and when a truck pulls up outside and a couple of men step out looking for some undead to capture, Edward begins to realize what he is…or at least what he used to be.

There have been, by my reckoning, a handful of novels that are told from the viewpoint of the zombie.  We’re even going to be seeing a movie with this slant in early 2013 with “Warm Bodies”.  Some just dance lightly around the subject of trying to grasp what is going on inside the brain of a zombie, while others plunge in head first, making their whole focus about the life and times of the undead.  I would have to say that TRoES is the first story I’ve read that caused me to not only identify with a particular zombie but caused me to feel sympathy and empathy for their plight.  But of course, Edward Shuett isn’t your average, garden variety zombie.

Edward is definitely a zombie-of that there is no doubt.  While the realization comes as a shock to him, there is another more striking realization for both him and the living, breathing humans that surround him.  Unlike the rest of the undead, he can reason, speak, and is even starting regenerate the fifty years of damage he suffered as a mindless eating machine.  His memories as a full blown flesh eater are vague-stuck within his dreams and nightmares.  Sadly, he has no idea what has happened to his wife and daughter, and to him it seems like time stood still since he was originally bitten and transformed.  But now he is stuck in a world of survivors who have lived with the threat of the undead for half a century.

Like the author even says within the tale, this is sort of a zombie Rip Van Winkle, with a man searching for his past while trying to adjust to the new world around him.  While zombies are still a threat, the human race has conquered them for the most part-at least those who live within the city limits and not out in the wastelands.  In another way, this book and likely any follow-ups the author creates, remind me of the classic Planet of the Apes movies, as strange as that may sound.  A creature different than all the rest of its kind is to be feared for the danger it may or may not represent and there will always be those who want to destroy it for that reason alone.

The Reanimation of Edward Shuett certainly serves up a unique zombie tale, but one that retains what makes stories in this genre worth reading: solid characters put into tremendously difficult situations that feature monsters both human and inhuman.  As is the case with the best of the genre, it is pretty clear that the human monsters are by far the worst.  This story is heartfelt and touching, but retains that blood-drenched razor sharp edge that should keep most zombie fans satisfied.

The Reanimation of Edward Shuett can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1618680617/ref=cm_cr_thx_view

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Review of Nathan JDL Rowark’s “Infatuation: The Story of the Snow Queen”

Infatuation: The Story of Snow Queen by Nathan J.D.L. Rowark is not a story that is all that easy to describe.  In fact, for my period of reading at the beginning of this saga I wasn’t sure I quite understood what was going on in this fantastical tale of love, lust, and revolution, and wondered if I ever would.

The story begins with the introduction of Kay and Grace, a brother and sister who are in the Garden of Remembrance when a flight of snow bees separate them.  This is a place where loved ones return from death in London, and where Kay will find his destiny in the arms of the icy Snow Queen, who will cause his demise but also receive his undying devotion.

We are granted a very slim understanding of how all these elements come together at the beginning of this tale-why there are these snow bees, which are both necessary to this world but are also a great menace to it-and why the dead come back to life.

Infatuation takes place in the far future, in a world where implants have tied the living together and granted them a form of immortality.  Bodies are stowed away and the essence of a person can be transplanted into a new body after death.  All of this is controlled by a mysterious religious leader who keeps everyone within the city under his control through the use of a pervasive social network.

When Kay and Grace get separated in the garden, they go on their own journeys-Kay with his new found love, the Queen, and Grace, in her efforts to find her brother, even though he has sacrificed his body for a new, dead one so that he can endure the touch of his icy maiden.

The story gets more complicated from there, but as with any intriguing story, much is revealed in time, and in the case of this tale, that is both a literal and figurative statement.  The adventurers travel back and forth in time, with the meaning as to why this is happening to them not quite clear at first, or even throughout much of this tale.  This story is a maze of alternate existences and discoveries of one mystery after another that intertwine Kay, Grace, Eternity (the Snow Queen), Reneta, the strange scientist who seems to be at the heart of much of the main mystery within the saga, and both her husband and son, who have rebelled against her and the religion-fueled government.

Describing this storyline in clear, precise details would be next to impossible, but at its heart, this story is about two souls destined for one another, despite so many seemingly good reasons for them not to be together.  Nothing is as it seems in this story, which each chapter revealing a new twist and new surprise, both from the past, the present, and on into the future of the characters.  This is a complex and layered mystery, which can be daunting at certain points, but once certain aspects of the tale were revealed, it kept me intrigued and fascinated to the very end of its pages.

Pigeon holing this story in a particular genre would be impossible.  It is an amalgam of science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, and adventure, with a frosty haze layered over all of that.  Admittedly, there is plenty here to confuse, and I more than likely missed a few key details in my initial reading that may require further review to understand all its elements, but I grasped more than enough to feel satisfied with its ending, though as with any tale where time travel plays a part, there is no real beginning or end, just different cycles in time and the hope that things can be changed, perhaps for the better, as they repeat themselves.

This is a tale for someone who is willing to stick with a story to the end-someone who likes it when an author doesn’t reveal more than is absolutely necessary at any given point.  It is for someone willing to embrace the fantastical and magical mixed in with the technological while it has an almost a fairy tale-like sensibility.

Infatuation: The Story of Snow Queen can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00946F0L0/ref=cm_cr_thx_view