Saturday, July 12, 2014


Generally speaking, young people (pre-teens, teens, early 20s), have a thing for zombies and dystopian narratives a-la The Hunger Games. So here’s a few more titles they might enjoy. THE YOUNG WORLD (due out in late July, but you can pre-order now) is a young adult novel by Chris Weitz featuring a virus that kills off the older people in New York, and leaves teens in charge. Performed by Jose Julian and Spencer Locke on audio, it’s not about vampires, but about surviving and establishing a new society in a devastated city. Teens naturally like to rebel against their parents, so here’s a view of how that might work with their parents (and everyone else’s) dead. DANCER DAUGHTER TRAITOR SPY by Elizabeth Kiem is an very entertaining but overlooked (and so on-sale) novel about a Russian ballerina caught up in intrigue involving state secrets, but who has a kind of “second sight” on her side…a secret power inherited from her mother, allowing her to know whom she can trust.  OMEGA DAYS is a new zombie epic set in San Francisco, which is overrun. Read by the always engaging Richard Ferrone, whom I’ve met on several occasions at the Audie awards, the novel is first in a promised series. What’s different can be explained in this description: “San Francisco, California. Father Xavier Church has spent his life ministering to unfortunate souls, but he has never witnessed horror like this. After he forsakes his vows in the most heartrending of ways, he watches helplessly as a zombie nun takes a bite out of a fellow priest’s face.” Now that’s cool, considering that the Catholic church tried to say “the butler did it” to find a scapegoat, and then restored his job after things blew over! A DOOR INTO OCEAN is a critically acclaimed SF novel about women taking control in a far dystopian future on a distant moon, when women don’t need men to reproduce. But of course the men can’t stand this, and send in an army to defeat them. By Joan Slonczewski, who has been compared to Ursula K. LeGuin, it is read by one of the best women narrators, Rosalind Landor. Older adults of both sexes will also enjoy the classic dystopian SF tale A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ, which is far and away better than either World War Z or anything Stephanie Meyer has written. (Besides being voted one of the best science fiction novels ever written.) And finally THE DISASTER DIARIES by Sam Sheridan has the subtitle “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Apocalypse.” (Subtitle reminiscent to the classic Dr. Strangelove.) What makes it unusual and interesting is that it’s both personal narrative, (non-fiction in that it describes the skill set needed to survive various catastrophes or attacks by zombies and aliens), but it includes fictional scenarios in trying to do so. Performer is Donald Corren. Of course the real apocalypse we face is the redneck (or dead middle class) one, in which the super rich bankers who control Congress devalue the dollar and escape, leaving everyone to build bunkers and fend for themselves. And maybe this angst is what drives the zombie craze, as teens realize the odds of Social Security (or oil) surviving into their retirement is equivalent to a plow horse winning the Kentucky Derby. We laugh now, of course, like at Sharknado the Movie, and now the survival manual HOW TO SURVIVE A SHARKNADO and Other Unnatural Disasters, by Andrew Shaffer.

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