Amazon bought Goodreads. It was big news. Goodreads is a popular social network where readers connect with each other, connect with authors, and review and recommend books. It’s a very active community. Amazon wants to incorporate the site into their Kindle tablets, and the easiest way to do that was to buy the site.
Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads created some hysteria. What would happen to the site? Would it essentially become another arm of Amazon? Would Amazon basically be spying on people to learn what they like to read? Eh, I don’t know. I think we are all plenty spied on by merchants, especially online. I don’t expect to keep my preferences private when I’m wandering all through cyberspace.
Amazon has already changed the world of books. Basically, Amazon has made traditional publishing companies poop themselves. No longer do new writers have to bang their heads on the doors of those hallowed halls. They can publish their own books, and sell them. Established writers are wandering off the farm, too. They are self publishing both their old and their new material. In addition to books, Amazon sells virtually everything you could ever hope to buy, and they are even stepping on eBay’s toes by letting at-home vendors sell.
So, Jaye Manus and I were discussing this and, frankly, laughing about it, when we started saying, “What if Amazon REALLY took over?” Thus was born JUNK MAIL, my vision of Amazon making the zombie apocalypse a little more survivable. It’s a twenty-something page short story, and it’s available as an ebook through, of course, Amazon.com
Special shout out to Jaye. She’s writer, she’s an ebook genius, and she’s a fun, fun girl. Together, we plot our own version of world domination, and it’s a blast.
I asked Marina if she had a new zombie report for her readers. She threw a shoe at my head and made a growling noise that made the hair lift on the back of my neck.
You see, she’s writing a new zombie story. We’re really hoping to have it finished before Christmas (she writes, I edit and produce). Apparently, my asking if she’s done yet (or asking her to write more posts for this blog) has the same effect as my kids screaming from the backseat of the car: “Are we there yet?!?” (It’s her own fault. I love Zombies Take Manhattan and I’m a greedy reader and, much like zombies, some is never enough.)
She did say if I was really, really good and quit bugging the snot out of her, she’ll let me read her work in progress on Monday. Well, shoot. That means I have to be good all weekend. That’s iffy.
It also means I can’t talk about the new story. I can say it has zombies in it. And, best of all, it features one of my favorite characters. Anything else, my lips are zipped.
That’s not much of a zombie report.
Zombie news, zombie news… I’ve already beaten my disappointment in The Walking Dead to death (I suggested to Marina that she include a scene where Rick and Carl show up in NYC and get eaten–oddly enough she didn’t think that was a grand idea…writers, hmmph). I did find a Jeff McComsey GUTTERS comic strip called “8 Easy Steps To Create a Walking Dead Storyline” that was pretty good. I read Jonathan Maberry’s Dead of Night, which was horrendously creepy and disturbing and gave me nightmares–meaning I loved it. I also watched (again) one of my favorite zombie movies
DANCE OF THE DEAD!
Maybe not the classic that Night of the Living Dead is, but it cracks me up every single time.
So zombie report fans, you have my sympathy. You, like me, will have to wait until Marina comes up for air. It’ll be worth the wait.
Whistling, twiddling my thumbs, being good…
Having grown up enthralled with monster movies and scary stories, I love, love, love stories about zombies and other monsters. My tastes run to humor and cheese, so the funnier and cheesier it is, the more I like it.
Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament, by S. G. Browne
The question being, can zombies find love and civil rights?
Go, Mutants!, by Larry Doyle
A funny, funny homage to creature features and 1950s radioactive monster movies.
Feed, by Mira Grant
This one is neither funny nor cheesy. The real story is about truth and freedom of the press and how society responds to fear.
Kill the Dead, by Richard Kadrey
Follow up to Sandman Slim, where Stark, the monster who kills monsters, has to give the devil his due.
Patient Zero, by Jonathon Maberry
Kick ass hero, Joe Ledger has to stop zombies from eating politicians (at times, you’ll be rooting for the zombies)
The Dragon Factory, Jonathon Maberry
Joe Ledger is back to stop a modern day Frankenstein from turning loose monsters on the world.
In the Company of Ogres, by A. Lee Martinez
Never Dead Ned has to lead a company of the most mutinous, ambitious, funny monsters ever assembled into an army troop.
Monster Planet, by David Wellington
The world is overrun by zombies and the very few living battle to survive. Terrific cheese factor, plenty of grue and gore, and the occasional laugh out loud funny bit.
Guns are fun. I like them myself. Many were the hours I’ve spent plinking away at tin cans. I don’t have a gun now. I know I live in America, but I don’t have anywhere to shoot a gun. So I don’t own a gun.
A gun would probably come in handy in the aftermath of most kinds of apocalypses, but guns are THE zombie apocalypse weapon because the traditional way to kill a traditional zombie for good and all is to destroy its brain. A gun affords a zombie slayer the distance necessary to avoid zombie bites while destroying zombie brains. A zombie slayer with a gun doesn’t necessarily have to be in fabulous shape to destroy zombie brains, since pointing and shooting is a lot easier than cracking skulls up close and personal. Provided the zombie slayer can shoot (and you aren’t a good shot just because you play a lot of video games, no matter what you think), the gun is the ideal zombie apocalypse weapon for the average citizen.
So you get yourself a gun and then… You might not be near your gun when the zombie apocalypse starts. Most zombie apocalypse survival kits rely heavily on the idea that the owners will be at home when the rotting, animated corpses hit the fan. I suspect that most of us will be at work or a bar. Say you are home and have the luxury of holing up with your bottled water and MREs and guns and unlimited ammo… You say you don’t have unlimited ammo? Even if you think you do, you don’t. Unless civilization recovers pretty quickly, the whole world is going to run out of ammo. The stupidest zombie apocalypse survival strategy I’ve ever seen was the target practice on AMC’s The Walking Dead. The characters wasted their finite amount of ammo teaching people how to shoot.
This brings us to a list of
BEST NON-GUN ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE SURVIVAL WEAPONS
DARYL DIXON’S CROSSBOW
The Walking Dead is getting this right. Quiet, efficient, and badass, Daryl stays in bolts by retrieving the bolts that he shoots, but it’s not a stretch to imagine him making his own bolts.
MACHETES, AXES, BIG KNIVES, SPEARS
This Zombie from the original Dawn Of The Dead has a splitting headache. A machete works pretty much until you lose it. Remember to keep it sharpened.
CORDLESS POWER TOOLS
Many power tools are cordless these days. Set up a solar recharging station, and you can be just like this Michonne action figure.
The finale’ weapon in Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive. This weapon does require strong arms and a strong stomach.
Hell, watching this clip from the movie requires a strong stomach.
There are a million more weapons, including ordinary household objects, that could be used in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
In my own ebook, ZOMBIES TAKE MANHATTAN!, stagehands use pieces of a theatrical fly system to kill zombies. The sky’s the limit. Don’t count on your gun to save you. Start looking at those staplers and aerosol cans with fresh eyes!
Special question from DD1 to you, Marina. She sez: You know the saying, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? So, DD1 asks you, oh great and wise Zombie Expert: “If the zombie apocalypse starts in Vegas, does it stay in Vegas?”
As the temperature skyrockets and thunderstorms rage (except for where there are wildfires raging and rain would be nice), and people in Florida continue to bite each other, I wonder why the hell any adult would look forward to summer. I’m hot and I’m bored because, in addition to everything else that’s shitty about summer, we don’t get new episodes of The Walking Dead until fall.
Last night, I got an unexpected gift from my television set. The Mist was showing on the Syfy channel. I watched it years ago with my brother and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t remember details. I remembered prehistoric bugs and a supermarket and one of the most depressing endings in the history of depressing movie endings. I wasn’t watching the movie, this time. I just had it on as background noise (I obviously don’t mind a lot of screaming as background noise), when my ear picked out a familiar voice. It was Andrea (Laurie Holden) from The Walking Dead! I thought it was cool to see Andrea and went about my movie-ignoring business until I heard yet ANOTHER familiar voice. This time, it was Dale (Jeffrey McDunn). Carol (Melissa McBride), is in there, too. Frank Darabont, who has directed episodes of The Walking Dead and is also an executive producer, directed The Mist. It’s an adaptation of a Stephen King story, and it’s an entertaining movie, in an apocalyptic way.
So, to get a little taste of fall, check out The Mist!
If you need zombies before fall, check out my ebook book, Zombies Take Manhattan!
Cannibalism has always been with us. Part of ritual, part of war, inspired by mental illness or empty stomachs, people have been eating people since there were people. So the recent rash of “zombie” attacks didn’t impress me enough to comment on it in last week’s zombie report. As far as I was concerned, it was the same old same old. A lot of people were really excited, however.
The most remarkable and zombie-like attack was the first one reported in Miami, where a naked Rudy Eugene ignored police orders to cease and desist eating the face of homeless man, Ronald Poppo. He couldn’t ignore a barrage of gunfire, although he did try. Eugene did eventually cease and desist. I haven’t seen anywhere whether or not it was a head shot that finally ended his life, but he didn’t rise to resume his attack. Not to take anything away from the victims or their relatives, but the rest of the “zombie” attacks in the news were the run-of-the-mill, “I Just Ate My Roommate” things that have been going on forever. The New Jersey man who cut himself open and threw pieces of his own intestines at police…that’s something differently weird entirely.
We have yet to have anyone really prove that a previously dead person has risen to eat the flesh of the living. There isn’t even any solid proof for the voodoo zombies of Haiti. So, let’s talk cannibals. There are cannibals all over the place. In our past, in our present, in our future, we’ve got plenty of cannibals. I’m not just talking headhunters in the Congo. Plenty of American cannibals. It is reported that American colonists in 1609 Jamestown got hungry enough to eat their dead.
The Donner Party were the most famous American cannibals, eating their dead when they became trapped in a snowy pass during their 1846 trip to a better life in the west.
They weren’t Americans, but the most famous incident of modern survival cannibalism occurred when a Uruguayan rugby team ate their dead friends and teammates to survive after a 1972 plane crash in the Andes mountains.
We are afraid of cannibals, of course. Who the hell wants to be eaten? Not me. Because, if you are eaten, you will eventually be pooped, and that’s just the way it is.
We are also afraid of the dead. Totally freaked out, afraid of the dead. We put them in boxes and we bury them away from us and with other dead people. We seal the hell out of their coffins for no real reason at all…except we are afraid that the contents will wake up and get out and come home.
People actually enjoyed the current wave of “zombie attacks.” There was a nearly festive air about the whole thing, even on serious news programs. There was a reason for the excitement. Cross cannibals with walking corpses and you have the scariest thing that most people can possibly imagine. You have zombies, and zombies are popular. Zombies are the scariest thing we can think of in a scary world, but the zombie apocalypse really wouldn’t be THAT bad, would it? A zombie apocalypse would wipe the slate clean for all of us, it would rid us of the world we have, a world we can’t control. We might not be able to stop our houses from being foreclosed on, we might be helpless in the face of pandemics and fuel shortages and terrorism, but a lot of us like to think that we have the zombie apocalypse thing under control. Some of us have hidden water and guns in a closet. Millions of us have watched shows and read books and dissected the mistakes of dead characters. We are ready for it, at least in our minds. If we can survive cannibal corpses, we can survive anything.
When is a zombie not a zombie? Dictionary.com (the ONLY dictionary I use, mainly because it’s easier than using a real dictionary) defines “zombie” for us:
1. (in voodoo):
a. the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose;
b. the supernatural force itself.
a. a person whose behavior or responses are wooden, listless, or seemingly rote; automaton;
b. an eccentric or peculiar person.
3. a snake god worshiped in West Indian and Brazilian religious practices of African origin.
4. a tall drink made typically with several kinds of rum, citrus juice, and often apricot liqueur.
5. Canadian Slang: an army conscript assigned to home defense during World War II.
1810–20; apparently < Kongo or Kimbundu nzambi god
None of those definitions are what most of us think when we think “zombie.” I know what I think when I think “zombie.” I think of a decaying corpse that relentlessly pursues the living in order to feast on their flesh. We can all thank George A. Romero, for that. Night of the Living Dead redefined zombies.
For the most part, the zombies of today in movies, television, books, graphic novels, and video games are flesh eating, shambling corpses, except for when they don’t shamble and they run really fast. Fast or slow, they crave flesh. They are fuckers.
Which brings me to my point. I was reading a horror story this morning, and I found myself hoping that the monster in the story would be a zombie, but not a typical zombie. The monster in the story ended up being a messy conglomeration of things and I found myself skimming through the end of the story, annoyed that I’d invested my time only to discover a possum/crab thing that thinks. The value in the possum/crab was that it made me think of a couple of rocking books that feature zombies that weren’t really zombies.
The first one that comes to mind is Ronald Malfi’s Snow. I stumbled on this in Walmart, of all places, several years ago. It’s a great, suspenseful read. It’s a zombie story that isn’t a zombie story.
Second highly recommended zombie-type book is Simon Clark’s Blood Crazy. Rare and often expensive, you can get a decently priced used paperback copy from book stores that advertise on Amazon.com, or you can do what I did, which is bug the publisher to make it available for Kindle.
If anyone else has a similar recommendation, I’d love to hear it!
If you are interested in zombies that ARE zombies, check out my new ebook, Zombies Take Manhattan!
So a little while back, Marina showed me this: Make Your Own Zombie Barbie. I thought that was swell, especially since I wouldn’t even have to wreck collectible Barbies (and freak some people out). I have several Barbie dolls the cat has already wrecked–he thinks little Barbie fingers are delicious chew toys. The subject came back up again. I’m not sure which one of us bemoaned how too much zombie stuff is for boys (probably Marina because I’m the gun porn nut) which sent Marina on a quest.
I’ll let Marina take it from here.
Far too often, women end up in the backseat of the zombie apocalypse survivor SUV. They are expected to do the shit work. They nurse the bitten until they are attacked by the very patients they’ve been nursing. They become rest and recreation stations for horny roving motorcycle gangs. They are expected to repopulate the whole damned earth, whether that’s what they went to college for or not. Worst of all, they have to keep their fellow survivors’ clothes clean and stomachs sort of full. On The Walking Dead, Lori revels in her role as penis wiper. She sneers at Andrea when Andrea shows interest in what Lori considers to be man’s work, like sitting lookout, which nobody else is doing, especially now that Dale is dead.
(If I may interject. I think the perfect role for Lori in the next season is Zombie Bait. Tie her up, dangle her from a tree branch, then when the zombies come… But maybe that’s just me.)
Anybody who has seen a couple of high school girls get into a serious cat fight knows that women can be formidable foes. When and if the zombie apocalypse hits, I’m looking for a group of mean girls to join. In the meantime, there is a whole world of zombie products for girls to explore and enjoy.
This one seems nasty to me. Zombie Juice Perfume. The ingredients sound like they probably all smell good together, but the name bothers even me.
For the girl who is interested in nesting and is house proud, Melissa Christie offers this FABULOUS sheet set.
Finally, when she meets the man (or woman) she will protect for better or for worse, until infection do them part, many bakeries are making terrific zombie wedding cakes!
Jaye, again. All that stuff sounds like tons of fun. I know the one thing this girly-girl (who only occasionally acts like a 14-year-old boy) wants for her zombie apocalypse.
While everyone is waiting for the zombies to come (or waiting for their order from etsy to arrive) hop over to Amazon or Smashwords and check out Marina’s new book! Zombies Take Manhattan!
Marina HEARTS Zombies
Zombies HEART (eating) New York!
Regulars may have noticed a certain… person slacked off yesterday and didn’t post her zombie report. Put down your demerit books. Marina has an excuse. It’s even better than ‘the dog ate my homework’ or even ‘I was kidnapped by aliens.’
She finished the book.
Yes. She did.
FINISHED THE BOOK!
That’s right, folks! Zombies Take Manhattan! is in the can, on the fly and it’s for real! Last night we uploaded it to Amazon and today we’ll be uploading at other e-tailers. You can watch for links as the book goes live in other places.
UPDATE! The books is now available through Smashwords. Yay!
I ♥ New York!
Five stories, one great city, and millions and millions of zombies.
New York City is the greatest city in the world—and then the zombies come.
The apocalypse begins at the sideshow on Coney Island. A disgraced ex-cop takes the ride of his life in “Wheel of Wonder.”
“Times Square Is For Tourists,” thinks a timid stage manager. The heart of Manhattan seems like the ultimate hell—until the tourists start eating each other and she learns the true meaning of terror.
Off-Broadway stagehands prepare for a “Siege” on a theatre roof. With zombies milling below and the sun beating down from above, the question becomes can they survive each other?
Residents of a high rise apartment building are running low on supplies. In “A Trip To The Drugstore,” a gentle man has to leave his erstwhile sanctuary in order to obtain life-saving drugs.
Back on Coney Island, “The Child of Child’s” survives by ravaged wits and dwindling supplies. An approaching helicopter could signal rescue, or maybe just the assurance she won’t die alone.
Zombies ♥ New York!
But hey, just because Marina is once again a big-shot author, it’s back to work today and she’s working on a new zombie report. Watch this space. And for Pete’s sake, watch out for zombies! Those boogers will eat your eye out.
ZOMBIES IN MY CLOSET!!
Jaye wants me to call this post “Zombies In Toyland.” That’s a good title, but the zombies aren’t in Toyland. They are in my closet.
(For the record, Jaye rarely gets what she wants, unless she acts in a sly, sneaky, subversive manner and goes ahead and gives the post the title she thought of, then thinks about it and puts a subtitle in, which is actually what people will pay attention to anyway.)
I hoard toys. It’s an obsession I developed after I sold some vintage Star Wars action figures on eBay for a friend. He made a tidy profit. It would have been an incredible profit, but sometime in the 1980s he tore a corner from every single bubble away from every single card so he could poke the little plastic Luke Skywalkers and Darth Vaders and Han Solos with a finger. I will never understand it as long as I live. I hope those pokes were worth thousands of dollars, because that’s what they cost him. The value of toys is often (stupidly) in the packaging. Mint condition packaging is the real rarity, not the toy itself. What a poke will cost you aside (and they’ve cost billions of divorcees plenty, believe you me), I wondered if I could pull off a similar financial windfall by collecting some toys for future sale. Cheaper than playing the stock market and a helluva lot more fun. If they turn out to be stinkers, I can always give them to Goodwill and take a tax deduction.
(Okay, fine, my little asides are kind of dumb, but this is so Marina knows. I collect Breyer horses. And I play with them. I throw away the boxes and dress them up and put beads on them and sometimes daub them with paint. In the distant future some collector is going to curse my name. Heh.)
I buy toys dispassionately. I often don’t like the toys I buy. I buy them with an eye toward their future desirability. 1968 Television Batmobile Hot Wheels? I got a billion of ‘em. I picked them up whenever I saw one on the Walmart Hot Wheels rack. I don’t like them, I think they are stupid. They don’t really look like the Batmobile from the Adam West television show. They have doubled in value in a very short period of time. They were a good buy, and someday I’ll unload them.
When I heard that McFarlane (one of the better action figure manufacturers) was going to release a series of AMC’s The Walking Dead figures, of course I had to have those. Those are going to go up in value for sure. Back then (less than a year ago) Series One was available for pre-order. Series One is always a biggie with toys. By the time Series II comes around and some fans realize that the figures even exist, they’ll be shit out of luck on buying a Daryl Dixon With Crossbow from a store. They’ll have to buy it from me. For a lot more than I paid. It’s already happening.
I ordered my figures from The Big Bad Toy Store, and I spent a little extra dough to upgrade to Collector’s Grade because IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PACKAGING. I got Sheriff Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon With Crossbow and a couple of zombies. At least I think that’s what I got. See, when my order arrived, with the figures individually boxed in plain cardboard boxes, I didn’t open the individual cardboard boxes. I didn’t want to risk ruining the cards and the bubbles. I want them safe and sound and in mint condition for a long, long time. Or at least until I can get at least $100 a pop for them.
The stupid thing about this is I finally have some toys that I would enjoy looking at and possibly displaying (no, I would not play with them…okay, I might play with them).
(Ha! You know you would, Marina. Ooh, I have a beat up Breyer that would look great as a zombie horse. A little plastic clay, some paint…)
I can’t even see them. I have four cardboard boxes to look at and display and play with, and that’s way too much like me being a toddler (which I’m not) rather than me being a pre-teen boy (which I’m also not). Hell, the Big Bad Toy Store could have sent me four boxes with some Littlest Pet Shop shit in them, and I’d have no way of knowing. Irony is a cruel, brain eating, zombie mistress.
On a happier note, variants rock and my friend Dee sent me Bloody Black and White Rick Grimes for my birthday! No, I don’t play with it. Much.
(I bet you snuggle it and kiss it, Marina, and dress it up.)
If you would like to join me in zombie toy speculation, Series II of AMC’s The Walking Dead McFarlane action figures are up for pre-order!
Important tip for collectors: If you should start collecting toys and develop a compulsive need to open corners of packaging to poke them, remember that it will be far cheaper in the long run to get one to keep and one to poke.
Jaye here: Speaking of poking, I’ve poked Marina into finishing her story collection, Zombies Take Manhattan! It’ll be up and available for your reading pleasure within a few weeks. Watch this post for the big launch announcement!