Friday, December 25, 2009

“The Jekyll Island Horror” by Allen M. Steele & The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks (Part 1)

This may seem like an eclectic topic today, and it admittedly is, but it worked quite well for me. There are two short pieces for us to look at.

“The Jekyll Island Horror” by Allen M. Steele

I am a huge fan of horror fiction, pulp era fiction as well as pulp era pastiche, and Allen M. Steele, so when I got my copy of the January 2010 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction in the mail, I moved that story to the top of my reading list. While “The Jekyll Island Horror” wasn’t as good as Steele’s Coyote Trilogy, it was still a fun read.

Prefaced by a short introduction that plays the trope of “This tale is true, as handed down to me by [story-teller/witness],” seen in numbers of books including the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs and many other pulp practitioners. We then move into the manuscript that Steele was “given,” which is a tale of a valet to a rich man in the 1930s, who happens to be present to an incident on Jekyll Island that proved to him that aliens have visited Earth.

Written in pulp style, Steele captures that mood quite well. The lead up to the horror of the title is a little long-winded, but the denouement was a lot of fun. Keep an eye out for this novelette.

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks (Part 1)

The Zombie Survival Guide is a faux-how-to book on surviving zombie apocalypse. As it isn’t a narrative, it is a book that is easy to pick up and put down, and seemed like the perfect thing to dive into when I am in between novels and figuring out what to read next. So, prepare yourselves for the first serial review here at Luke Reviews!

The first section of Max Brooks book, titled “The Undead: Myths and Realities,” covers a lot of ground, working a background primer, under the pretense that you have to know what you are fighting to survive it. The book was quite scientific, surprisingly, yet it still managed to play a number of tongue-in-cheek jokes to the genre, which is easy to do with its vast history. I read the first half of the section, and had a lot of fun hitting all of the characteristics and rationale behind the zombie phenomenon.

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