book review: dying to live

Dying to Live: Life Sentence
Kim Paffenroth
Permuted Press, October 2008
978-1-934861-11-0
212pp, paperback, $14.95US

Twelve years after the end of the world, the survivors have come to a certain peace within their compound. They found other scattered groups of survivors who had barricaded themselves in various defensible places. These became part of their community. They’ve claimed some of the houses, the school, and a few other buildings. They’ve created farms for growing their own food. With no real form of government, they did have few rules and created certain rituals and such to help guide them through their changed lives. They even have created unique ways of dealing with the undead. And above all else, they live their lives with as much ‘normalcy’ as they know how.

Life Sentence is written as journal entries from two very different points of view which with certain inevitable eventuality collide together. One is Zoey, twelve years old on the threshold of her adulthood; her piece is written as the adult Zoey looking back at that time in her life. The other is one of the zombie ‘survivors’ who’s able to read and write and through the course of the story learns who he was and who falls in love!

Paffenroth’s writing is intelligent, poignant, and in more than one instance brought tears to my eyes (but I won’t give any spoilers!). The parallels drawn between the survivors and the zombies is chilling and makes one think. A few scenes are a bit graphic but necessary to drive the plot forward; even so, these scenes are well written and well carried. It is a pleasure–and a fright–to see the world after the Dying to Live: A Novel of Life Among the Undead apocalypse, to see it through the eyes of the survivors, to learn how they’ve molded and adapted to their new world, to witness the horrors they experience in order to endure.

Kim Paffenroth maintains a blog at http://gotld.blogspot.com. Permuted Press is on the web at http://permutedpress.com.

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book review: mind the gap

Mind the Gap: A Novel of the Hidden Cities
Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
978-0-553-38469-7
$12US trade paperback, 370 pages
May 20, 2008

After Jasmine Town is a near-witness to her mother’s murder, she finds herself alone and on the run, the words her mother had written in her own blood driving her away from home. Jazz hide forever. Her mother had told her for as long as she could remember never to run, to lose herself in a crowd, that running only drew attention. However, in a panic, she bolts into an Underground station and causes a fuss on the platform. Seeing an out, she takes it — a narrow ledge beyond the platform which leads her to the doorstep of another life.

In what used to be a bomb shelter, she finds a storehouse of goods and foods. And a group of ‘lost children’ and their ‘leader’, who call themselves the United Kingdom. A group of thieves and pickpockets, these children rely upon these skills for their livelihoods. They take Jazz into their fold where all the paranoia her mother raised her with serves her and the United Kingdom well.

Jasmine Downe’s story is one any fan of young adult fantasy, sleight of hand magic, and intrigue is sure to enjoy.

be patient

the next couple of posts are going to be re-posts of book reviews i’ve done – but i’d lost my copies of in my blog backup fubar of september … 😉

review: dying to live: life sentence

Dying to Live: Life Sentence
Kim Paffenroth
Permuted Press, October 2008
978-1-934861-11-0
212pp, paperback, $14.95US

Twelve years after the end of the world, the survivors have come to a certain peace within their compound. They found other scattered groups of survivors who had barricaded themselves in various defensible places. These became part of their community. They’ve claimed some of the houses, the school, and a few other buildings. They’ve created farms for growing their own food. With no real form of government, they did have few rules and created certain rituals and such to help guide them through their changed lives. They even have created unique ways of dealing with the undead. And above all else, they live their lives with as much ‘normalcy’ as they know how.

Life Sentence is written as journal entries from two very different points of view which with certain inevitable eventuality collide together. One is Zoey, twelve years old on the threshold of her adulthood; her piece is written as the adult Zoey looking back at that time in her life. The other is one of the zombie ‘survivors’ who’s able to read and write and through the course of the story learns who he was and who falls in love!
Paffenroth’s writing is intelligent, poignant, and in more than one instance brought tears to my eyes (but I won’t give any spoilers!). The parallels drawn between the survivors and the zombies is chilling and makes one think. A few scenes are a bit graphic but necessary to drive the plot forward; even so, these scenes are well written and well carried. It is a pleasure–and a fright–to see the world after the Dying to Live: A Novel of Life Among the Undead apocalypse, to see it through the eyes of the survivors, to learn how they’ve molded and adapted to their new world, to witness the horrors they experience in order to endure.

Kim Paffenroth maintains a blog at http://gotld.blogspot.com. Permuted Press is on the web at http://permutedpress.com.

review: ellen datlow’s ‘inferno’

Inferno: New Tales of Terror and the Supernatural
Ellen Datlow, editor
Tor, December 2007
ISBN 978-0-7653-1558-8
384pp, hardcover, $24.95US

Inferno is a non-themed anthology containing twenty original short horror tales by the editor’s favorite writers. Each writer approached his task in his own unique way giving a vibrant collection creating a rare anthology with well-rounded solidly written stories containing strong themes, none of which contain any of the usual, worn horror clichés. The stories all engage the reader, keeping him engrossed from the first word to the last punctuation mark.

Opening up the pages of any book to familiar names is always fun and intriguing, but being able to explore those unfamiliar is and can be just as exciting – or in the case of Inferno, thrilling on the side of terrifying. One thing the reader notices right away about this collection is the lack of gratuitous sex, gore, and violence. The horror in Inferno is largely psychological, appealing to the emotions and often times the subconscious; the reader doesn’t realize he is afraid until he looks up at one point through his reading to find he’s somehow, at some time turned on every light in the house.

This anthology was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the best science fiction / fantasy books of the year. Multiple World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Award winning editor, 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award winner Ellen Datlow maintains a website at http://ellendatlow.com.

purchase hardcover edition

:cuppa: :cuppa: :cuppa: :cuppa:*

*for purpose of reviews here at MMG, I will be using coffee cups instead of stars

review: me2, m. christian

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you wake up and you’re not quite sure yourself or that you’re in your own home with your own personal things? M. Christian’s Me2 is a lot like that. The reader is introduced up front to a superficial main character who has a superficial outlook on everything around him — including his job, his friends, and the other people he encounters. Obsessed by how others perceive him, he goes through his days doing the same thing repetitively, almost mechanically. But then an odd man talks to him about Doppelgangers.

It’s been said that every person has a twin somewhere on this Earth. Christian sets this idea on its ear and then some in his own personal style. Of course the narrator has a Doppelganger, the signs are obvious, and he is faced with the unimaginable horror of searching out his own uniqueness.

The story is engaging, although in places confusing — and out of order. But I believe Christian has layered and sequenced his story this way for the purpose of keeping the reader unsettled, so he can’t figure things out on his own or guess ahead.

M. Christian is the author of the novel Running Dry, and the critically acclaimed and best selling collections Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, and Filthy. He is the editor of The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, the Best S/M Erotica series, The Mammoth Book of Future Cops and the Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (with Maxim Jakubowski), Trans Figures: Transgender Erotica, and Love Under Foot and several other anthologies. His short fiction has appeared in over 200 books including Best American Erotica and Best Gay Erotica. He lives in San Francisco and maintains a blog at www.mchristian.com.

upcoming reviews

Some of you know that I recently took a position doing book reviews for Sci-Fi Dimensions. I’ll be reviewing books and comics. I’ve never reviewed comics before, so this is going to be interesting ground!

In the past, I’ve also done book reviews for Apex Online – which unfortunately we’ve scaled back. However, I’ve also recently started posting reviews to my blog, as well. What I’m going to do is instead of posting them the way I did before, I’m going to start using my previous Apex template – a professional review as opposed to an “ordinary blog review”.

Here’s what’s up and coming in order of release:

SciFi Dimensions

Death’s Head: Maximum Offense – David Gunn
The Next Fix – Matt Wallace
Mind the Gap – Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon

My Blog (or for the author / or both)

Inferno – Ellen Datlow
Keepers of the Dead – Bob Freeman*
Generation Dead – Dan Waters
Meat – Joseph D’Lacy
CodeSpell – Kelly McCullough
Vampire Apocalypse – Derek Gunn [book two]**
Life Sentence – Kim Paffenroth**
The Forgotten Disturbed – TL Trevaskis

2009

MythOS – Kelly McCullough

*waiting on word from Bob/Black Death Books for this one. waiting on pins and needles!!
** fall release. no date given yet.

Am also almost finished with Regina Lynn’s Sexier Sex and am very much considering a review of that for a number of reasons. 😉