Sunday, July 31, 2011

News: Dymocks Southland Bestselling Zombie Titles for July 2011

1. Survivor (Alone #2) - James Phelan
2. Deadline (Newsflesh #2) - Mira Grant
3. The Walking Dead Compendium - Robert Kirkman
4. Feed (Newsflesh #1) - Mira Grant
5. World War Z - Max Brooks
6. The Zombie Combat Manual - Roger Ma
7. Zombie Apocalypse - ed. Stephen Jones
8. Rot & Ruin - Jonathan Maberry
9. Apocalypso (Xombies #3) - Walter Greatshell
10. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies - Austen / Graeme-Smith

It's worth noting, for the delectation of our Australian readers, that the highest-selling zombie title was penned by a local boy (James Phelan), while our second highest-selling general horror title for the month (the highest being Kiwi Paul Haines' The Last Days of Kali Yuga) was Brett McBean's collection, Tales of Sin and Madness, which just happens to contain several excellent zombie tales.

Review: Flesh Eaters

Joe McKinney, 2011, Pinnacle Fiction
Out of the hurricane-flooded streets of Houston they emerge. Dead. Rotting. Hungry. With the city quarantined to halt the spread of the walking dead, Emergency Ops sergeant Eleanor Norton has her work cut out for her. But as things go from bad to worse, Eleanor must focus solely upon the people she loves; her daughter and husband. Because if she can't get them out of the quarantine zone, they'll all be dead meat...

Flesh Eaters is the third in a loose series of novels (beginning with Dead City and Apocalypse of the Dead), and is - in my opinion - the very best of the three thus far. Initially opting for chills and tension over action and gore, the tale opts for an approach - rare in zompocalyptic fiction nowadays - hearkening back to more traditional horror, with the protagonists utterly failing to even notice the zombie threat until a good third of the way into the book - and for a damn good reason. McKinney has his zombies emerge directly from the overwhelming aftermath of a natural disaster, where an already-decimated population is understandably more concerned with the utter lack of clean drinking water and medical assistance than with unsubstantiated rumours that some 'survivors' have been observed displaying cannibalistic behaviour....

As in previous offerings, McKinney backs up a gripping plot and great prose with highly engaging characterisation. Nobody writes cops quite as well as McKinney, and his use of a female officer (who also happens to be a wife and mother) as chief protagonist adds yet another fresh touch to this hugely engrossing and engaging novel.

Flesh Eaters - along with the preceding novels in this series - is an absolute must-read, and is guaranteed to be enjoyed equally by Romero purists and those who applaud fresh takes on the zompocalypse.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

News: 'The Walking Dead', Season 2 Trailer

Presented with no other comment than: October seems far too far away!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: The Complete History of 'The Return of the Living Dead'

Christian Sellers & Gary Smart, 2010, Plexus Publishing

Welcome to the franchise that won't stay dead...

For fans of that other famous zombie movie series - the one that gave zombies their own catch-cry ('Braiiiiiiiins!') - The Complete History holds a wealth of fascinating information on the conception, creation and release of all five Return movies to date. The behind-the-scenes story is presented chiefly through interviews with the cast and crew, with each individual step of production reflected upon in turn; a brilliant way in which to format such a book, as it not only gives the reader a real sense of the dynamics involved in making these movies, but also provides an engrossing (and often painfully honest) insight into the emotional investment of those involved.

Whether you love or hate the Return of the Living Dead movies (and I'm personally not a big fan), The Complete History is certainly one of the best behind-the-scenes tie-ins - for any movie - I've ever read. Definitely worth adding to the collection.

Review: Xombies: Apocalypso

Walter Greatshell, 2011, Ace Books

The Agent X plague infected women first, turning them into mindless killers intent on spreading their disease. Now, Lulu Pangloss and the Xombified crew of the USS No-Name are wandering the seas on a 'mission of mercy' - converting every mortal human they can find into an immortal Xombie...the better to survive the coming Apocalypse. But now a group of women immune to Agent X is being gathered, and - if they can be kept safe - the secret of their immunity may provide a cure. If Lulu doesn't find them first, that is...

Xombies: Apocalypso is the third in the acclaimed Xombies trilogy (beginning with Apocalypse Blues and Apocalypticon), and certainly rounds off the series with one hell of a bang. Frankly, there's no easy way to describe this tale: if Apocalypse Blues leaned mainly towards horror, and Apocalypticon towards post-Apocalyptic science-fiction, then Apocalypso is a macabre, gonzo blend of both, with a plot that hits the ground running from the very first page and doesn't slow down for a second. With rich lashings of deliciously bizarre humour, and obvious nods to such classics as John Carpenter's The Thing, 28 Days Later, and Greg Bear's Blood Music, Apocalypso is a novel to delight the discerning zomfan. And if you thought that Romero's Bub and Big Daddy represented the pinnacle of 'zombie evolution', well, you ain't seen nothing yet!

The entire Xombies trilogy is one that no true zomfan should overlook, being a collective classic of the genre. If you've not yet discovered Walter Greatshell, be sure to pick up this series right away. Or we'll send the Shamblers 'round...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review: The Official Zombie Handbook Australia

Dr L. Jon Keioskie & Sean T. Page, 2011, Severed Press

Since pre-history, the living dead have been with us, with documented outbreaks from Ancient Babylon and Rome right up to the present day. But what if we were to suffer a zombie outbreak in Australia today..?

In this extensively and perceptively rewritten edition of the original overseas publication, The Official Zombie Handbook Australia is a terrific read for anyone who really appreciates the 'survival guide' niche of the zomfic market. The book is presented in dossier-like format, with very basic text formatting and bold black-and-white illustrations, and is written in a relatively dry, serious matter, all of which wonderfully supports the conceit that this is, in fact, an official governmental publication. Additionally, the authors have certainly done their research into Australian political and military concerns, law, culture, topography, and so many other topics that might impact upon the survivors of a zombie uprising; as a result, there's a genuine wealth of fascinating (not to mention quite alarming) information within, that may well have Australian readers reassessing their current survival plans.

The Official Zombie Handbook Australia is a must-have for any zomfan, and undoubtedly the very best zombie survival guide yet produced for an Australian readership. Available directly from Severed Press, or from selected Australian bookshops.

News: 'Remains' Comes To TV

Well, it was only a matter of time before the success of AMC's The Walking Dead spawned further zombie-related TV shows. The US-based Chiller TV is set to broadcast an adaptation of the Steve Niles' graphic novel Remains, which sees the residents of a small town facing off against a horde of 'fast' talking zombies. No pre-buzz on this one yet, although the trailer certainly emphasises the action element of the show.

(via Blastr)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Music: LMFAO

We at NecroScope enjoy a good zombie-movie-pastiche-video-clip as much as the next person (possibly influenced by the NecroKeeper's own past life as a club DJ), and the clip below - for Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO - must surely be counted as a worthy addition to the genre. If you needed further proof that zombies are now an inescapable element of modern pop culture, here it is. Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Empire

David Dunwoody, 2008, Permuted Press (Gallery Books ed. 2010)

Humanity stands on the edge of extinction, as the crippled US government and military begin to give up the century-long fight against the undead plague. But even as they do, the zombie hordes - born of an unholy mix of supernatural energy and man-made virus - suddenly find themselves up against an enemy whose touch they can no longer defy: Death himself. The Grim Reaper....

It's taken me a few years to get around to reading this reputed classic of the zomfic genre...and I'm delighted to find that reputation extremely well-deserved. The plot - which slowly coalesces through a series of at-first seemingly unconnected vignettes - is atmospheric and totally engrossing (not to mention refreshingly unique, offering a dark science-fantasy spin on the zompocalypse), with instantly empathic characters, great dialogue and prose, and an emotive and satisfying conclusion.

Empire is absolutely a novel for any zomfan who appreciates strong literary fiction and creativity within the genre. A truly great read.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Review: Best New Zombie Tales Vol.2

Ed. James Roy Daley, 2010, Books of the Dead

As with its predecessor, Best New Zombie Tales Vol 1, Volume two of this anthology series collects numerous excellent zombie tales (19 in all), and certainly lives up to its claim of 'Best' (although, once again, 'new' seems inaccurate, given the original publication dates of some the stories. Maybe I'm just being picky, though).

Particular highlights, for me, included Rio Youers' 'Bury Me Not', an effectively creepy piece in the vein of Ramsey Campbell; Steven A. Roman's 'Laundry Day', which puts a nice twist on the 'folks are the worst of all monsters' trope; Narrelle M. Harris' 'The Truth About Brains', a sly piece of dark humour that brings magic (and consequences!) back to the genre; Nate Kenyon's 'Gravedigger', which isn't quite the anti-drugs tale it seems to be; Cody Goodfellow's 'We Will Rebuild', which reminds us that the difference between Right and Wrong is always a matter of perspective; and Mort Castle's 'The Old Man and the Dead', which is quite possibly the most beautifully literary piece of zomfic I've read since Tony Burgess' Pontypool Changes Everything.

Best New Zombie Tales Vol.2 is a worthy addition to any zomfic collection, with the ongoing BNZT series of anthologies definitely one to keep track of. A great read.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

News: Dymocks Southland Bestselling Zombie Titles for June 2011

After the boom of May's International Zombie Awareness Month promo, sales of zomfic dipped somewhat in June. Nonetheless, zombie-related titles continued to perform well, despite competing with various new-release paranormal titles (such as Lauren Kate's Passion).

1. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (Austen / Graeme-Smith)
2. Feed (Mira Grant)
3. Deadline (Mira Grant)
4. The Dead-Tossed Waves
5. Marvel Zombies 5
6. The Zombie Survival Guide (Max Brooks)
7. Apocalypse of the Dead (Joe McKinney)
8. Flesh Eaters (Joe McKinney)
9. Chasers (James Phelan)
10. Breathers (S. G. Browne)

New arrivals in store this month include Deadline (Mira Grant) and Survivor (James Phelan).