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A Look at Noir’s The Dead Walk

Fantastic new Guide to Zombie Films

By Tim Janson     March 15, 2009


The Dead Walk by Andy Black and Steve Earles(2009).
© Noir Publishing

 

First off, thanks to everyone for chiming in on the message board with their suggestions on the greatest fantasy writers of all time. I found the first fourteen names to be very simple to come up with but it was pretty tough coming up with up with the last six. I think I have a nice mix of past and present and the finished article will be up on Mania very soon.
 
It’s a VERY light week in terms of new releases, due in part to it being a five week month. Not a whole lot in terms of major new stuff. I do have a review this week of Charles De Lint’s latest book The Mystery of Grace that is a wonderfully haunting modern fantasy. It’s out from Tor this week and I heartily recommend it.
 
As reported on Mania this week, Warren Lapine and Tir Na Nog Press have purchased fiction magazine Realms of Fantasy from Sovereign Media. The magazine’s cancellation was just announced a month or so ago so this is welcome news to fantasy fans everywhere. Realms of Fantasy is a great magazine and I wish it all the best. Thankfully they are retaining Shawna McCarthy as editor who has done a fantastic job.
 
In other news, Orson Scott Card has signed on with the Simon Pulse Imprint to do a series of Young Adult fantasy novels. The series will follow teenager Ligg on his journey to save his world from destruction. The first book is due to appear in hardcover in 2011, with the others to follow annually. Further proof of the growing influence of the YA sector to hook a top writer like Orson Scott Card.
 
New In Fantasy
 
The Mystery of Grace Charles De Lint (Tor Trade Paperback)
 
Altagracia – her friends call her Grace – has a tattoo of Nuestra Señora de Altagracia on her shoulder, she's got a Ford Motor Company tattoo running down her leg, and she has grease worked so deep into her hands that it'll never wash out. Grace works at Sanchez Motorworks, customizing hot rods. Finding the line in a classic car is her calling.
 
Now Grace has to find the line in her own life. A few blocks around the Alverson Arms is all her world -- from the little grocery store where she buys beans, tamales, and cigarettes (“cigarettes can kill you,” they tell her, but she smokes them anyway) to the record shop, to the library where Henry, a black man confined to a wheelchair, researches the mystery of life in death – but she’s got unfinished business keeping her close to home.
 
Grace loves John, and John loves her, and that would be wonderful, except that John, like Grace, has unfinished business – he’s haunted by the childhood death of his younger brother. He's never stopped feeling responsible. Like Grace in her way, John is an artist, and before their relationship can find its resolution, the two of them will have to teach each other about life and love, about hot rods and Elvis Presley, and about why it's necessary to let some things go.
 
Imager: The First Book of the Imager Portfolio L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (Tor Hardcover)
 
Imager is the beginning of a whole new fantasy in a whole new magical world from the bestselling creator of Recluce. Although Rhennthyl is the son of a leading wool merchant in L’Excelsis, the capital of Solidar, the most powerful nation on Terahnar, he has spent years becoming a journeyman artist and is skilled and diligent enough to be considered for the status of master artisan—in another two years. Then, in a single moment, his entire life is transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire, and Rhenn discovers he is an imager—one of the few in the entire world of Terahnar who can visualize things and make them real.
 
He must leave his family and join the Collegium of Imagisle. Imagers live separately from the rest of society because of their abilities (they can do accidental magic even while asleep), and because they are both feared and vulnerable. In this new life, Rhenn discovers that all too many of the “truths” he knew were nothing of the sort. Every day brings a new threat to his life. He makes a powerful enemy while righting a wrong, and begins to learn to do magic in secret. Imager is the innovative and enchanting opening of an involving new fantasy story.
 
Hand of Isis Jo Graham (Orbit Books)
 
Against the rising power of Rome , Egypt is the last and strongest bastion of the Eastern Hellenistic kingdoms. Charmian is Cleopatra’s half sister, daughter of Pharaoh and a woman of the harem. She shares a great honour and a terrible burden with Cleopatra and their sister Iras - they are fated to defend Egypt from those who would destroy her.
 
So when Roman Julius Caesar comes to Egypt in pursuit of his enemies, Charmian and her sisters are drawn into a deadly struggle.
 
One that will shape the world to come. From mysterious temples hidden in the desert to the perilous palaces of Rome , from the tomb of Alexander the Great to the very Gates of Amenti, Charmian must face foes seen and unseen in a battle for her family, her love and her gods.
 
 
New In Science Fiction
 
Once Second After William R. Forstchen (Forge Hardcover)
 
New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real...a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages...A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies. Months before publication, One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States , literally within one second. It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America . In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future...and our end.
 
Terminator Salvation: From the Ashes: The Official Prequel Novelization Timothy Zahn (Titan Books)
 
The eagerly awaited fourth Terminator movie, Terminator Salvation, starring Christian Bale and directed by McG, reaches cinemas on 22 May 2009. In a brand-new chapter in the Terminator chronicles, Judgment Day has come to pass and Skynet has destroyed much of the world’s population. In this post-apocalyptic world, the resistance, led by John Connor, continues its brutal fight for survival. The official movie prequel reveals the incredible story that led to the events of Terminator Salvation – must have for all Terminator fans!
 
Capsule Reviews
 
The Mystery of Grace Charles De Lint (Tor Trade Paperback)
 
John Burns does something he never does…on Halloween night, he meets an alluring Hispanic woman at a Halloween party and takes her back to his home for a one night stand…it’s a beautiful night and John is captivated by the lovely Grace Quintaro But in the morning when Grace gets up to go to the bathroom, she mysteriously disappears into thin air. There’s a reason for that…Grace is dead!
 
Grace is killed in a botched holdup attempt in a convenience store and yet she finds herself in a strange limbo between Heaven and Hell, where her neighborhood in completely intact and yet strangely different. There are other dead people there. Grace learns that when you die in this neighborhood, the building you died in becomes part of the new landscape. Thus Grace brings the convenience story with her. For some reason her apartment complex seems to be the center of this world. She also finds out that she can crossover to the land of the living twice a year…at Halloween and in the Spring. Now Grace intends to find out what the mystery is of this strange world and her connection to John.
 
De Lint crafts a haunting mix of mystery and romance. What connection does John have to Grace and what does it have to do with the death of John’s brother? His limbo realm is fascinating. When you die, the place you died in comes with you, or, if it was already in this in-between world, it gets modernized to the time you died. There’s also the creepy sleeper people, people who have given up trying to “live” in limbo and just slip into unconsciousness, eventually to drift away. De Lint sets the story in a southern Californian Latino community, where Grace worked building and repairing hotrods and there’s a deep religious faith to the story although the ending is not quite what I expected. Grade B 
 
The Dead Walk Andy Black & Steve Earles (Noir Publishing)
 
There have been a number of books on zombie films come out in the past few years but none quite as fun as Noir’s The Dead Walk. Rather than present a bland guide listing the usual information, Black and Earles go in a bit of a different direction by segmenting their film by clever categories dealing with style, era, and types of zombie films. Add to that they have meticulously research their subject matter and present it with lively text and anecdotes about the films. They don’t seek to list every zombie film ever made (although they do cover a LOT of them) but they tend to focus on the more well-known films and some you wouldn’t necessarily consider zombie films.
 
The Dead Walk doesn’t list cast and crew details but rather looks at these films and what made them unique to their own era or sub-genre with astute critical analysis. Monochrome Zombies looks at Hollywood’s early zombie films like White Zombie and its roots in German Expressionism and I walked with a Zombie.   Black and Earles provide plot details but rather that just trying to make another guide they place great emphasis on the film’s themes.
 
One category is solely devoted to the zombie films of George Romero from Night of the Living Dead to Diary of the Dead but also including non-Romero re-makes like Zach Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, noting it’s key theme differences and similarities. The book delves into the various Italian and Spanish-produced zombie films like the “Blind Dead” series in a category called Zombies around the Globe.
 
What I really enjoyed was the inclusion of films not typically thought of as zombie movies…call them cousins…such as the various Mummy films, the Evil Dead series, and others. The book contains over 300 photos in all, most in color. The Dead Walk is a new twist on zombie culture and a must have for fans of the genre. Grade A
 

 

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