What do you get when you cross robots with zombies? Jeremy Robinson knows one possible answer. It’s the plot of his new novel, XOM-B.

Here’s the synopsis and trailer:

A rising talent, Robinson is well-known in the community of action/adventure fans and has received amazing quotes in the past from big name authors like James Rollins, Steve Berry, and Scott Sigler. XOM-B is a riveting zombie novel with a great hook that is also an amazing plot twist, and is poised to bring him to the next level.

Freeman is a genius with an uncommon mixture of memory, intelligence and creativity. He lives in a worldwide utopia, but it was not always so. There was a time known as the Grind-when Freeman’s people lived as slaves to another race referred to simply as “Master.” They were property. But a civil rights movement emerged. Change seemed near, but the Masters refused to bend. Instead, they declared war. And lost. Now, the freed world is threatened by a virus, spread through bites, sweeping through the population. Those infected change–they are propelled to violence, driven to disperse the virus. Uniquely suited to respond to this new threat, Freeman searches for a cure, but instead finds the source–the Masters, intent on reclaiming the world. Freeman must fight for his life, for his friends and for the truth, which is far more complex and dangerous than he ever imagined.

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Ben Tripp is the author of Rise Again and Rise Again: Below Zero, a two-part apocalyptic zombie saga for Gallery. The sequel comes out on December 17, 2013.

He has an upcoming trilogy of rollicking young adult novels in the historical fantasy genre for Tor, the first of which is The Accidental Highwayman. In addition, Gallery has secured rights to his first foray into the vampire genre, The Fifth House of the Heart.

Tripp is an artist, writer, and designer who has worked with major entertainment companies and motion picture studios for more than two decades. He was for many years one of the world’s leading conceptualists of public experiences, with a global portfolio of projects ranging from urban masterplanning to theme parks. Now he writes novels full-time.

He lives with his wife (Academy Award-winning writer/ producer Corinne Marrinan) in Los Angeles.


Tim Ward: RISE AGAIN: BELOW ZERO is a highly anticipated sequel to RISE AGAIN. For those who haven’t read RISE AGAIN, please share the enthusiasm you had for that story and its characters and how you sought to have it make its mark on the zombie genre.
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BOOK REVIEW: Odd Men Out by Matt Betts

REVIEW SUMMARY: In his debut novel, Matt Betts successfully mashes up a whole lotta things that wouldn’t usually go together.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Entertaining and fast-paced Civil War era alternate history mashes up steampunk, zombies, and pop culture references.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Amusing pop culture references are smoothly and slyly put into the narrative; the story is wildly imaginative, yet feels plausible; dialog is fun and at times laugh-out-loud funny.
CONS: Light on world building and characterization; short chapters made it hard to keep track of everything that was going on; final action sequence was predictable.
BOTTOM LINE: A fun and entertaining mash-up that’s not without a few issues, but shows that the author has plenty of potential.
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Sneak Peek: “The Walking Dead” Season 4

AMC just released this too-short sneak peek at Season 4 of The Walking Dead, coming October 13th….

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Checking in With Zombie Fiction (Part 2)

It’s been a while since we last checked in on Zombie fiction, and with the release of World War Z in theaters this summer, the time seemed ripe — yes, I said ripe — for revisiting tales of the undead.

Head on over to Kirks Reviews to read Checking in With Zombie Fiction (Part 2)

Checking in With Zombie Fiction (Part 1)

It’s been a while since we last checked in on Zombie fiction, and with the release of World War Z in theaters this summer, the time seemed ripe — yes, I said ripe — for revisiting tales of the undead.

Head on over to Kirks Reviews to read Checking in With Zombie Fiction (Part 1)

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than thirty novels, including the Edgar Award-winning Hap and Leonard mystery series (Mucho Mojo, Two Bear Mambo), and the New York Times Notable Book, The Bottoms. Over 200 of his stories have appeared in outlets such as Tales from the Crypt and Pulphouse, and his work has been adapted for The Twilight Zone and Masters of Horror. Lansdale has written several graphic novels, including Batman and Fantastic Four. He is a tenth-degree black belt and the founder of the Shen Chuan martial art.

Tachyon Publications has just released Joe’s new book Deadman’s Road, and Joe was kind enough to talk about the weird west, zombies, and more!


Kristin Centorcelli: Deadman’s Road is described as “Deadwood meets The Walking Dead.” Would you consider that accurate? Will you tell us a bit more about it?
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[GUEST POST] Joshua Palmatier on How to Create a New Small Press


Joshua Palmatier is a fantasy writer with a PhD in mathematics, currently residing in Binghamton, NY, while teaching mathematics at SUNY College at Oneonta. He has five books currently on the shelves: The Skewed Throne, nominated for the Compton Crook Award for 2006, The Cracked Throne, The Vacant Throne, the conclusion of the Throne of Amenkor series, and Well of Sorrows and Leaves of Flame, the first two books in a new series written under the pseudonym Benjamin Tate. He has also co-edited the anthologies After Hours: Tales from the Ur-bar and The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity.

How to Create a New Small Press

by Joshua Palmatier

John DeNardo here at SF Signal asked me to stop by and say a few words about the behind-the-scenes action in creating a new small press, Zombies Need Brains, that I hope will be able to bring SF&F fans some great anthologies in the near future. We’re running a Kickstarter campaign for the creation of the small press and for the first anthology, CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs. ALIENS, with some great authors — including Scott Lynch, Seanan McGuire, Gini Koch, Gail Z. Martin, Bradley Beaulieu, Ian Tregillis, and Caitlin Kittredge — already lined up to participate if we’re funded. Check it out at Kickstarter if you haven’t already. It’s an exciting project.
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The Walking Dead has only gotten better since season 1, and this long trailer for season 4 shows that the show still has a few surprises in store…

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[GUEST POST] James Marshall on How To End Human Suffering


A collection of James Marshall‘s short stories, Let’s Not Let A Little Thing Like The End Of The World Come Between Us, was published by Thistledown Press in 2004, and it was shortlisted for both the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Caribbean and Canada Region) in the “Best First Book” category, and the ReLit Award for short fiction. His first novel, Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies, was published by ChiZine Publications in 2012; it is the first book in the How To End Human Suffering Series. The second book, Zombie Versus Fairy Featuring Albinos, is available now. To learn more, visit www.howtoendhumansuffering.com or follow James on Twitter @james_marshall or friend him on Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjamesmarshall.

How To End Human Suffering

The first two books in my How To End Human Suffering series both bring something new and interesting to the zombie subgenre. The first book, Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies, is outrageously fun and darkly satirical. It’s narrated by a sixteen year old pirate and spiritual leader named Guy Boy Man. He’s the only living human being who can see zombies everywhere, controlling everything. In a series of online sermons, Guy tries to rally others to his cause, which is to end human suffering worldwide and in his high school.
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BOOK REVIEW: Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies by James Marshall

REVIEW SUMMARY: Surreal, demented, and hilarious.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Guy Boy Man, a spiritual leader/pirate, is determined to end human suffering. Apparently doing so requires copious amounts of bad language, violence, misogyny, and a Gothic castle (in America). His glorious mission becomes complicated when moderately attractive Baby Doll15 makes him a proposition he can hardly refuse…

MY REVIEW
PROS: I can almost guarantee you’ve never read a book like this. I was averaging at least one laugh a page (sometimes more) while marveling at Marshall’s audacity to continually push the bounds of absurdity (and common decency).
CONS: Are you the type of person to get easily offended? Can you watch a South Park marathon without forming a parental coalition to ban crass entertainment? If you answered “yes” to the first question and “no” to the second, please don’t even bother glancing at the cover.
BOTTOM LINE: If ever a book was meant to be burned, banned, or buried and booby trapped…Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies
delights in adolescent humor delivered with a mature comedic sense of timing. You’ll be so busy laughing (or screaming in outrage) that you’re bound to gloss over some of the excellent descriptions and biting philosophy.
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Here are the first three minutes from In The Flesh, a 3-night Zombie Event premiering Thursday June 6 at 10pm/9c on BBC America.

IN THE FLESH follows zombie teenager Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry) and his reintegration back into both the local community and the heart of his family.

After his suicide four years ago, his friends and family thought they’d never see Kieren again. But shortly after his funeral, thousands rose from the dead; and after months of rehabilitation and medication, the zombies — now known as PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) sufferers — are gradually being returned to their homes.

When Kieran arrives, he is forced to confront his family, the community that rejected him and haunting flashbacks of what he did in his untreated state.

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BOOK REVIEW: Ex-Patriots by Peter Clines

REVIEW SUMMARY: More awesome super heroes meets zombies, now with super soldiers!

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Things get more complicated for L.A.’s ex-heroes when a unit of super soldiers show up.

MY REVIEW
PROS: Cool heroes; fair representation of the military; better villains; better plotting; better characterization; even better pop-culture references.
CONS: Weak finale with lack of resolution – building up for Ex-Communication; weaker action.
BOTTOM LINE: A good sequel that addresses some problems I had with Ex-Heroes while suffering from a few of its own. Yet still further proof that Clines’s brain should be mined for Hollywood gold.

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Coming Soon: “Zombie Baseball Beatdown” by Paolo Bacigalupi

Amazon has the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming children’s book Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Here’s the synopsis:
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BOOK REVIEW: The Shambing Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

REVIEW SUMMARY: A fun story of New York City’s monsters trying to destroy a likable writer who just wants to get over her past, meet a good guy, and finish her tour guide of the city’s secret culture.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A down-and-out writer is hired by a monster-run publishing company to write a tour guide to the monster underbelly of New York City. Her research leads to attacks by incubuses, zombies, golems and a secret villain who wants to turn the city on its head and unleash the brewing war between human and monster.

MY REVIEW
PROS: Likable heroine; fun supporting cast; creative world building that almost makes you want this kind of New York City to exist; establishes setting for many exciting stories.
CONS: The safeguards that allowed the heroine to intermingle with the monster culture also guarded the reader from feeling truly afraid for her life; humor fell flat too often; the ending jeopardizes future interest in this series.
BOTTOM LINE: The Shambling Guide to New York City starts out well enough to keep you reading, gets even better in the middle, and may or may not satisfy in the end. Unfortunately, for this reader the ending watered down the experience.
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INTERVIEW: Dana Fredsti, Author of Plague Nation

Dana Fredsti is an actress with a background in theatrical sword-fighting, whose credits include the cult classic Army of Darkness. Her favorite projects, however, included acting alongside Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead) and Josef Pilato (Day of the Dead). She has been a producer, director, and screenplay writer for stage and film, and was the co-writer/associate producer on Urban Rescuers, a documentary on feral cats which won Best Documentary at the 2003 Valley Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Along with her best friend Maureen, Dana was co-producer/writer/director for a mystery-oriented theatrical troupe based in San Diego. While no actual murders occurred during their performances, there were times when the actors and clients made the idea very tempting. These experiences were the basis for her mystery novel Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon (Rock Publications, 2007). Dana also co-wrote What Women Really Want in Bed (Quiver Press) with Cynthia Gentry, their second writing partnership after Secret Seductions, for which Dana used the pseudonym Roxanne Colville.

She has written numerous published articles, essays, and shorts, including stories in Cat Fantastic IV, an anthology edited by Andre Norton (Daw, 1997), Danger City (Contemporary Press, 2005), Mondo Zombie (Cemetery Dance, 2006), and Hungry for Your Love (St. Martin’s Press, 2010). Her essays can be seen in Morbid Curiosity, Issues 2-7, as well as the anthology Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues (Scribner, 2009). She also writes spicy genre romance under her nom de plume Inara LaVey.

The first book in the Ashley Parker series, Plague Town, came out in 2012 from Titan and the 2nd in the series, Plague Nation, will be out April 9th, 2013.


Kristin Centorcelli: Dana, your second novel in the awesome Ashley Parker zombie series, Plague Nation, is out on the April 9th. Will you give us a bit of a teaser and tell us a little about the series for those that haven’t read Plague Town?
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BOOK REVIEW: Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines

REVIEW SUMMARY: Bound to appeal to fans of zombies and superheroes alike!

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The apocalypse has come and gone, the undead roam the streets of L.A. and superheroes like Mighty Dragon, Zzzap, Cerberus, Gorgon, and Stealth must protect what few living remain.

MY REVIEW
PROS: Cool heroes; original explanation of zombie virus effects and origin; good use of both genres; exciting action; flashbacks flesh out characters; cool setting.
CONS: Too many interchangeable regular people; somewhat boring villain; over too soon.
BOTTOM LINE: Ex-Heroes is a fun genre mash-up that pits superhumans against ex-humans. If ever a book had the potential for a Hollywood blockbuster, this is it.

How has Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines not been adapted for film yet? Really, I want to know? There’s no reasonable excuse I can imagine. Given the enormous popularity of superheroes and zombies, the major success of Marvel’s shared world movies and AMC’s The Walking Dead, it seems like a no-brainer (ha ha) that Ex-Heroes would make the ultimate Box Office killer. Someone call up the studios, I’m about to earn a commission.
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[GUEST POST] Adam Baker on The Subconscious Attractions of a Zombie Narrative

Adam Baker is the author of Outpost, Juggernaut and , coming later this year, Terminus. He has worked as a gravedigger, a mortuary attendant, a short order cook in a New York diner, and fixed slot machines in an Atlantic City casino. He was also a close neighbour of the notorious British serial killer Fred West. He is currently employed as a cinema projectionist in England. You can learn more about Adam from his wesbite, and you can follow him of Favenook and Twitter (as @AdamBakerAuthor)

Going Out With a Bang
by Adam Baker

Someone, (I forget who) once said that life is like a raucous cocktail party during which all those present try hard not to notice a sniper is picking off the guests one by one.

If there is a single black threat that runs through our waking hours, a skin-crawling dread we suppress during the bustle of our workaday lives, it is the knowledge that death is roaring towards us like an oncoming train. This knowledge hits big-time when you reach middle age and learn via social media that the first of your school friends, one of those smiling cherubic faces in your old class picture, has fallen to illness.
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[GUEST POST] Guy Hasson on The Zombie Apocalypse Vocabulary


Guy Hasson is an SF author and a filmmaker. His latest books are Secret Thoughts by Apex Books and The Emoticon Generation by Infinity Plus. His 45-minute epic SF film, The Indestructibles, which he wrote and directed, will be released on the web in a few weeks, and his start-up New Worlds Comics will go live in July.

The Zombie Apocalypse Vocabulary

Death is not the end. Ask any zombie. Or check with your neighborhood vampire.

And yet the English language has been criminally lax in coping with the supremely real situations that science fiction and fantasy have been aware of for years. There are so many situations that deal with various versions of death as well as situations that arise afterwards, and yet there are no words specifically designed to describe these situations. One can only ask: Where’s Saffire? And why is he letting death stop him from rectifying this problem?

English has only given us the word ‘predecease’ which surely you’ve used countless times before. While others may mangle the language by saying ‘the son died before the father’ we all know the correct phrase is ‘the son predeceased the father’.

This article is meant to at least begin to put right the lack of death in the English language by offering eight new essential words, just like ‘predecease‘, about the subject we all love to love:

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REVIEW SUMMARY: A character-focused zombie story whose characters you’d rather ignore.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A flu outbreak in Northern Ireland overcomes quarantine efforts as the dead rise and survival efforts bring out the worst in most people.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW
PROS: A few memorable scenes; Irish accent in narration added to immersive experience.
CONS: Characters mostly unlikable; rambling plot; obtrusive prose.
BOTTOM LINE: The story is dominated by people being jerks, mixed in with some zombies, and ends up with more head-scratching than nail-biting moments, leaving this reader uninterested in any sequels.
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