ZA by Molly Looby

You'll enjoy ZA if you are:

  • a fan of zombie fiction;
  • you like a fast paced read with plenty of action;
  • aged 12-17;
  • a boy or a girl;
  • you like getting in on a series right from the start.

Review by Geoff Smith

This book is called ZA, Zombie Apocalypse and there's zombies in it. Lots of them. The cover, by CK designs, is outstanding. And I love the title too, Molly. Brilliant branding.

The story begins with a bit of character stuff presenting Zane, his skills and concerns, before the zombic action kicks off, when our characters are out at a Zombie Run event, no less. What follows is an escalating series of Zombie conflicts, a death or two, and one almost uncreditable coincidence. It's good stuff, action packed, an easy read and solid slapstick zombie fare.

At about twenty pages in I thought that I would hate the book. I found the language pretty stuffy a number of times and I was having some formatting issues with my Kindle. But as I got into the book I got into the action and I started to enjoy the writing too. I did become more and more aware, however, that the book has been written with creating a series in mind.

I guess what makes Zombie books so compelling for a lot of people is that the antagonist doesn't get in the way, you get a seige situation and a sort of Lord of the Flies, Darwinian dynamic, that must really resonate with young adult readers.

Now I'm not a young adult. I haven't been one for a while. And being honest, I struggle a bit with the TV culture of sprawling soap-like series like Homeland, The Walking Dead, and Lost, and I did think that ZA had something of those shows about it. There are a lot of loose ends here, and this wasn't for me. My 'disappointing ending spider sense' was definitely tingling by the 65% mark. And my spider sense was proved right (for me, anyway). There was no hint of a solution to the Zombie problem and no clear resolution of the characters' internal conflicts.

I'm sure that Ms. Looby has interesting things mapped out for future books – so if you're looking for a series this might not be an issue for you. I had the same feeling about More Than This by Patrick Ness, so the fault possibly lies with me.

If you like those shows – and if you're a Zombie fan, you probably do watch The Walking Dead, then this won't bother you – as you'll be happy to wait till book two – and I can totally imagine the YA readers I know loving this book.

And I enjoyed it too.

If you like The Walking Dead, or enjoyed More Than This by Patrick Ness, I reckon you'll like ZA.

OWWF Rating: 7/10






Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Lawyers
Monster mash-ups and movie deals - nice work.

Seth Grahame-Smith caused quite a stir in 2009 with his hit novels, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the follow-up Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, both of which sold well, and brought Zombie Mash-Up into the literary mainstream.

In 2010, with striking success and a breakthrough genre, Graheme-Smith signed a $4m deal with a $1m advance. In return the author agreed to produce two new works, with delivery of the second novel expected by 2013.

According to The Guardian, Hachette is not satisfied that the second novel, which was finally submitted in June 2016, meets the terms of its contract with Graheme-Smith. The publisher is unhappy, believing that the text is “in large part an appropriation of a 120-year-old public-domain work”.

The publisher is suing the author and his company Baby Gorilla for at least $500,000.

Documentation at The Passive Voice

 

 

PRINT STILL RULES... for now
 print, digital, reading, ebook
Print books still dominate but e-books close the gap.

The number of Americans who read books in print remains strongly ahead of those who read e-books, but the gap is narrowing year on year. The survey, conducted by The Pew Research Center, found that while only 6% of Americans are 'digital only' compared to the 38% who describe their reading habits as 'print only', the percentage of readers who have read a book digitally has increased to 28% from 17% in 2011.

Further good news for those who publish digitally is the increasing use of mobile phones and tablets to read, especially among the young. 22% of 18-29 have read a book using a mobile phone in the past year. The percentage of readers using mobiles to read books has more than doubled since 2011 while the percentage using tablet computers has more than tripled to 15%.

College graduates are nearly four times as likely to read ebooks compared with those who have not graduated high school. Perhaps this is indicative of the cost of the technology as a barrier to entry into the e-book market, and we might expect this gap to close as the the tech becomes more broadly used. Men and women are equally likely to read ebooks and audiobooks.

The findings are taken from a telephone survey of 1,520 American adults conducted between March 7 and April 4, 2016.

 

NEW FRONTIERS FOR ARTHUR C CLARKE.
Jeff Noon missed out; Becky Chambers on the shortlist

The Arthur C Clarke award for science fiction has changed its rules to allow self -published titles to be considered.

The competition's director, Tom Hunter, cites the changing publishing environment. He makes the point that under previous rules, works like Jeff Noon's Channel Skin have not been considered, and that the judges would not have been able to include Becky Chambers' The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet on this year's shortlist.

Hunter told The Book-Seller the search for the UK's best science fiction will be widened across new frontiers.

 

RICHARD AND JUDY LIST CHAMPIONS NEW WRITERS
New writers and old publishers: Richard and Judy

This autumn's Richard and Judy Book Club list features three debut novels. The debut texts are Fiona Barton’s 'The Widow' published by Corgi (Penguin Random House), Katarina Bivald’s 'The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend' Vintage, (Penguin Random House), and Sharon Guskin’s 'The Forgetting Time' published by Pan Macmillan.

It's great to see R & J championing new talent, and that publishers are actively promoting new talent. That said, with half of the books coming through Penguin Random House and no independent titles on the list, we perhaps have a right to be cautious in our optimism.

 

A FEW COMPETITIONS
 ghost story competition
Ghost story competition this month.

FLASH

Short Shorts Flash Fiction Contest

Prize: $250 plus publication

Deadline: 15th September

Entry fee: $10

Word count: 500

SHORT STORY

The Short Story competition 2016

Prize: 1st £300, 2nd £150, 3rd £50

Deadline: 15th September

Entry fee: £5

Word count: 5000

GENRE

The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award

Prize: 1st $1000, 2nd $250, 3rd $100

Deadline: 30th September

Entry fee: $20

Word count: 10,000