Monday, October 31, 2011

A Note from the Writer's Desk

Alright, so I chickened out of doing NaNoWriMo. I know I can't make such a high word count (I think I have written that much in a day ONCE. Maybe.) and it would just be depressing to see myself miss it day after day. So I'm going to do my own thing, 30k in the month of November. I didn't sign up for NaNo (or KazNo, which is the same goal as mine) but oh well. I want to focus on writing, not on keeping up with the message boards. We'll see how it goes, and I can always check in to #nano on twitter. 30k is 100 words a day, completely doable as long as I make the time to do it, but I want to shoot for 1200 words a day so I can have weekends off. That extra two hundred words is going to be a big stumbling block for me mentally, but I want to try having a bigger goal with the planned weekends off. Fridays may be a problem, but that's just going to have to be something I work around.

I'm also not working on Malevolent Soul. And I don't care. The stories in my head are just too complicated to figure out for my First Novel Ever, so I am constantly trying to make things simpler, at least so I can finish a first draft. So, I will be writing That Paranormal Teen Romance Novel That's Been Done A Thousand Times Before. I read enough of these that I know the structure, and hopefully I will be able to force myself to keep the plot simple. I would much rather just write a straight plot and finish a first draft with 15-20k, then beef it up with subplots in the end of the month. SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE. I can do this.

I have no idea what the plot is going to be so far. I usually start out with no idea and the ideas start to come to me as I work with the characters. Speaking of, that's another of my problems I'm hoping to work on with a simpler story. I have too many characters, and suddenly the characters that are important to the plot have disappeared and the ones that are doing everything don't do anything meaningful. Keep it to a few so they all remain important and interesting. It's my first book, and a NaNo book (sort of), IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE GOOD. It just has to be FINISHED.

It's about merpeople again. I still like the idea of merpeople, back from the story I was working on this past spring, and it's also the one thing I haven't read twenty books about so I don't feel the urge to chuck my computer against the wall from dealing with horrible cliched creatures. I need a good nickname for my own NaNo, otherwise it isn't official. Like KazNo. =] GiNo? Lame. RiNo is a little funnier. GRiNo makes me sound like a pedophile grease-monkey. In any case, wish me luck! And good luck to everyone else doing NaNo this year! I'll keep working on the nickname....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

Dear Chris Wooding,

You are writing Firefly fanfiction. It's okay, it happens to the best of us, and there's a twelve-step program for that. We all know Joss Whedon is God, but there can only be one. And frankly, it was still really good. But for someone who's written 20 books, I was hoping for a bit more on the unique scale. I'll probably still read the next one, but only eventually.

Sincerely,
Gina

A synopsis, from BN:
Sky piracy is a bit out of Darian Frey’s league. Fate has not been kind to the captain of the airship Ketty Jay—or his motley crew. They are all running from something. Crake is a daemonist in hiding, traveling with an armored golem and burdened by guilt. Jez is the new navigator, desperate to keep her secret from the rest of the crew. Malvery is a disgraced doctor, drinking himself to death. So when an opportunity arises to steal a chest of gems from a vulnerable airship, Frey can’t pass it up. It’s an easy take—and the payoff will finally make him a rich man.

But when the attack goes horribly wrong, Frey suddenly finds himself the most wanted man in Vardia, trailed by bounty hunters, the elite Century Knights, and the dread queen of the skies, Trinica Dracken. Frey realizes that they’ve been set up to take a fall but doesn’t know the endgame. And the ultimate answer for captain and crew may lie in the legendary hidden pirate town of Retribution Falls. That’s if they can get there without getting blown out of the sky.


On his blog, Wooding talks about how this book was supposed to be a break from the dark books he usually writes, so in that sense he set out what he wanted to do. It was a fun book, full of snarky characters and stuff blowing up. I would compare it to a Michael Bay movie: it's meant to entertain, not ponder the meaning of the universe. And I did enjoy it, but I think only because I'm a fan of Firefly. I feel bad saying it because I know the author put a ton of work into it, but all I could think of was Captain Malcolm Reynolds. He acted the same way, talked the same way, even treated his crew the same way. In my mind, Darian Frey was Mal Reynolds. But it's okay. I don't mind looking at him a while longer. And seriously, how many women is Frey going to have almost married? It got old. One, okay. But when more start showing up, the relationship is hard to believe.

The plot was good, even if it was straightforward. Something blew up, they reacted and made a plan, they went forward with that plan. There was no long-term goal, other than to get the Navy off their ass. The book only looked forward one or two chapters at a time. Personally, I would have liked to see an end goal much earlier in the novel, to have something to connect the whole book and keep dragging you through. Since I had never heard of Chris Wooding before this, I thought this was his debut work. I was surprised to find out that he has a whole slew of stuff under his belt. it would be interesting to read his other work to see how it differs, since these books are his "break from the norm" stuff. And I should mention that his prose was very plain, to the point of boring. I want the prose to act like a sepia-filter on a film camera, and I want it to sing to me. With this, even though what was happening wasn't boring, I felt my eyes dragging several times. Like a bunch of office employees sitting in a conference room and reciting lines from a memorized script. And not The Office employees, either.

The setting was interesting, but had nothing to set it apart. The most interesting spot in the book—Retribution Falls, of course—really didn't get that much air-time. It's a pirate town with ramshackle buildings, and a whole slew of horrible people crammed into a small place, and nothing happens there. Sure, there's the battle at the end, but to have the book named after the place it was disappointing to have all the plot development occur somewhere else. And one more thing, the index in the back to explain, in detail, a card game that is poker with one rule changed is completely unnecessary. I read it. It was a waste of time.

The strongest part of the book was the characters. Each one has a unique history and something they are running from, and the secrets gave an interesting dynamic. They fight, they stick up for each other, and even though no one slept together (some romantic tension would have done this book some good!) you can tell that they all grew together, too. They transform from a bunch of secretive idiots to an actual crew. Although, having such transparent histories also did some harm, because there is no way you can make me believe that Crake, with his sheltered genteel upbringing, could have figured out Jez. No way. But I'm interested to see what happens to Jez through the next books. (And for all you Firefly fans, even the Reavers showed up to play their part.)

Overall, I liked this book. It was fun. It's much better if you're thinking of Nathan Fillion while you're reading it. I would like to read the other books eventually, but I'm not in any rush to run out and get them. I wish there had been a little more depth or twist to the plot or color to the prose, but it was entertaining enough for me to stick with it.

This is the first in a series of episodic, stand-alone books. They don't have to be read in order. Maybe even skip the first book and go to the others, not because it was bad, but because origin stories are always so badass when you're already invested in the characters. The next book is already out, The Black Lung Captain, and The Iron Jackal is forthcoming.

Reading Next: A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quotes

I love quotes. If I had my way, I'd probably get several tattooed all over myself.

  • "It does not do, Harry, to dwell on dreams and forget to live." - J. K. Rowling, The Sorcerer's Stone
  • "Love is an element." - Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • "There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Knock on wood

For the past TWO days now, I consistently sat down and wrote! Yay! Feel free to roll your eyes at the two days. My goal is 500 words a day, spurred mainly by this quote:

Schedule Your Time...
"...like writing five hundred words a day. In four months you’ll have a finished first draft."
-Sarah Mlynowski author of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
From inkpop

And I've also been using this method from Devon Monk. I just wanted to try it as an experiment, but I like how it helps. When I first start writing, it's just a hassle to mark down my wordcount and pull out the calculator because I don't want to switch out of writing-brain and into math-brain. But it's when I get to halfway, or even before, and I start thinking of all the other things I have to do that it really helps. "Oh, well I've got this far, I only have that much to do, I might as well keep going." And you know, sometimes it really sucks to drag myself through a word count, but both nights so far I've written more than my 500 words because I worked through the swamp, and was well into a groove when I finally passed the mark.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sup Thursday

So, I had my mouth surgery today, and aside from being terrified like a small child the whole time it really went smoothly. I was numbed up enough to not feel anything and the doctors were super nice. My mouth is full of stitches but he also put glue on top of the stitches so there is nothing raw in my mouth, which is great. I look like Frankenstein just in time for Halloween!

I worked on my quilt for most of the day today, and I now have 2/3 of the blocks finished, and the last one cut. Tomorrow I'll finish sewing those and then trim them all and put the whole thing together, hopefully including the borders too (which I plan to piece together if I have enough extra fabric). Right now I'm going to sit down and go through my story. Things are just fighting me to get sorted out, and I'm obviously not comfortable to start writing it yet, so I think I need to do some more brainstorming. Ugh, so frustrating.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Irrepressible Library, and all the updates I didn't talk about in the past week.

Don't you all like how my Tuesday feature flopped on it's very first week? And then the second? Not on purpose, I assure you, yesterday I started working on the post and it kept turning into a whining pile of poo because I wasn't feeling well. I think it had something to do with the cheese-alicious wawa-version of the Philly cheesesteak with extra pepperoni and artery-clogging deliciousness that I ate. That's ok, it was so worth it.

So let's see, I'm still reading Retribution Falls. it's really good so far, even if it does have too many characters. It's not that the characters are bad, but the author keeps adding in all this history and backstory in the middle of the scene, so things can get jumpy going from one thing to the present to his memories, etc. It's confusing, and sometimes I don't care. It's interesting for the members of his crew because we know they all have secrets and it's nice to finally find out what some of those secrets are, but for all the other women that show up and they ALL have a history with the captain where he almost married them but chickened out and now they want to see him dead.... yeah. I don't care. After the first one, it's old. And seriously, how many people does he have to almost-marry before you realize that this doesn't have to be included in the book?

But other than the abundance of angry women, this is a fun book. The crew is getting in trouble and getting themselves out of it (sometimes), and it's a whole lot of fun. I said before that it started out like Firefly, and now I can confirm that yes, it is just like Firefly, and no, that doesn't bother me. Firefly was awesome. Retribution Falls is pretty awesome itself.


As of yesterday, I pretty much scrapped the entire TBR list I made last week. The Shadow of the Soul review appeared on EBR,  and it reminded me that I went completely out of my way to order the first book, A Matter of Blood, before it was released in the United States, and I was so excited for it and why the hell haven't I read it yet. So, A Matter of Blood is next. It's supposed to be awesome, but only if you have a strong stomach, which I DO, along with the sadistic need for blood and gore that is (thankfully) missing from my real life. This is not one of those books to include in the spacecraft that's blasted off in the search for intelligent life. And I can't wait to read it.

In writing news, I haven't been. I don't know if it's because I'm on a reading surge or because I'm working on a quilt, but either way it's all just excuses. I've written 600 words over the past week. At this rate, I should finish my first novel by the time I'm retired.

In quilting news, it's so exciting! I have the fabric all washed and ironed and cut into the 12 inch squares, and I finally have the pattern and the freezer paper, so yay! I know I'll work on it all night tonight, which is not really a good thing because a) if I finish it I won't have anything to do over the next two days while I'm off from work and desperately looking for something to do that doesn't require talking, and b) no writing for me. Of course, WRITING doesn't involve talking, but of course that doesn't count. o_O

In lunch related news: Avocadoes! Love em. And TWO. *happy*

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Irrepressible Library

This is going to be my new weekly feature. I am always stumbling upon new books and can hardly keep them straight, not to mention there is seriously not enough time in the day (or the world) to read everything that I want to. I need to delegate. And relegate. I was always on the slower side of speed, and going through the editing program at college has made me an even slower reader. And now, I read to simultaneously enjoy the book and to pick it apart to it's bones, so I'm still just as slow.



These two books are at the top of my list, though for different reasons. I want to read Peculiar Children because the pictures are awesome, and not so much for the story. And I always enjoy a good creep-out. I want to read Retribution Falls because it sounds like an awesome book. Wild West space cowboys? How much more awesome can you get? I'm about two chapters into each of these books. RF is just as awesome as I expected it to be. PC is exactly as boring as I expected. I don't want to flip through the book to look at the pictures ahead of time, because I'm going for the full-frontal creep-out. But it's hard. And the biggest thing about RF is that I don't want to get too into it. It's a horrible balance I have to strive for or I will never get any writing done.



I really want to read all three of these books, but they all have the same problem. HARDCOVER. Damn. Don't get me wrong, I am all about supporting authors. All you need is to peek at the two heaped bookshelves stuff into my bedroom to see that. But there is no way I can afford all those hardcovers. Not to mention, they are uncomfortable to hold, heavy, and bulky. I'm already carrying around a laptop, and I don't have a Mary Poppins bag. I live in a county with a great library system, but is only so-so on the sci-fi and fantasy. They usually have the book I'm looking for, but then the problem is getting it into your hands becasue there's a list of ten people who have it on hold ahead of you. The demand is always higher than the supply.

Hum and the Shiver and a great premise: the magic is controlled by the music. Also, it is a very laid back prose, from what I gather like Name of the Wind or Among Others, which I have really fallen in love with lately. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. Although, the whole thing depends on if the magic is believable. If it's "Pluck a few strings, alakazam," we may have some problems. But judging by all the positive reviews, I think it'll be fine.

Quantum Thief: To be honest, this has been on my TBR list for so long I don't even remember what it's about. All I remember is fast-paced, complicated, and weird. Another book with a pile of positive reviews. This came out earlier in the year, so will likely be out in paperback first.

Awakenings was recently reviewed on Bookworm Blues (a great site for book suggestions). As was One Percenters. OP is from the perspective of a killer (fascinating) and A deals with amnesia and memory loss. I should be giving better synopses, but it's hard when a book just catches my eye. I know what I like, and I know what sounds interesting. And...

There: I went back and added links to the reviews. I love book review sites. I have my favorites, their linked and starred on the left sidebar. Check 'em out, and let me know if there are other great review sites I'm missing out on.



Wither was on my list and off again when it first came out, but after reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, another YA book with a gloriously unique premise, I'm interested in it again. People know exactly how long they are going to live, 25 for males and 20 for females, and the main character wants to escape to find her little brother amidst an f-ed up love triangle, crazy scientist father-in-law, and sister wives. I make it sound weird, but trust me it sounds really good. And come on, the cover.

Nothing and A Curse Dark as Gold I found today on Jodi Spark's blog. They both sound great. Her blog revolves around more middle grade than teen, but CDG is a teen book. Her description of N was "Fuck." (and it's middle grade!) and CDG is a retelling of Rumplestiltskin.  They both sound great, and have both won awards. I'm also interested in checking out the award list for some other book recs.

Whew! What a jam-packed post! But I am a firm believer in word-of-mouth recs, so it was totally worth it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

And look! It matches the
color scheme of my blog!
Just saying upfront, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is one of the best stories I've read in a while. And by that I mean, it kept my attention so that I 1) actually finished it, and 2) stayed up late to finish it because I really really had to know what happened and not omgIcantstandthisbookanymore. Not to mention, it was a teen book that didn't wallow in its emo-ness and actually told a story. Yay! (Can you tell I've been a bit frustrated with my recent teen selections?)

Hmm, this is really hard to talk about, because there are so many things I could give away that would just ruin the whole experience. But there are teeth, and monsters, and magic, and it is just the kind of atypical fairy tale that I love. The prose is very straightforward, which makes for an easy read, but it still has some great flavor to it. Karou, the main character, is super cool. She is opinionated and doesn't take any shit and works hard. And, she has a super awesome sketchbook filled with cool monsters, and I can't help but get a little bit jealous over that. =]

A few gripes: the points of view were a bit off at times. A chapter would open with a paragraph in omniscient, but then switch to third person for the rest of the chapter. Personally, I'm not much of a fan of omniscient because I expect it to be in third, and whenever an "omniscient bit" is stuck in it throws me out of the story.

Also, it suffered a bit from "I'm not telling you just to string you along." First, Akira holds back telling Karou what she is. Then, when he finally does get around to telling her, the story suddenly jumps to backstory, and stays there for 10 chapters. I'm not saying the backstory isn't interesting, because it was, but I just didn't care about it at the time. I think it would have been better to scatter backstory chapters throughout the book, and then when everything comes together at the end it would be BAM BIG REVEAL instead of ALMOST REveal fizzle fizzle notasbigaBAMbecauseIfigureditoutalongtheway.

Don't let that turn you off, because seriously I could just shut-the-fuck-up-like-I-could-do-better. This book rocked. I went completely out of my way to get it from the library, which turned into a horrible goose chase, and I may end up buying it anyway because I'll likely want to read it again plus I want to pass it around a little bit. maybe I can hold out for the paperback.

AND, there's going to be a second one?!? I went into this thinking it was a stand-alone! About ten pages from the end I realized where it was going to stop, and not only did it STOP but she dropped a doozie that I totally didn't expect (and loved, and thank you, Laini Taylor, for not being like every other teen book) but it had that little "...to be continued" crap. Now I have to wait! The horribleness!

If you haven't realized, you should really read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It was awesome. And I'm thinking there's a color scheme in the works, too, since I'll be fabric shopping tomorrow for my next quilt...

Rating: Well, I really want to give this book a 9.3, but it's so hard to tie books down to a number, because the next book that I want to give a 9.3 is going to be completely different, and I'm going to look at that one next to this one and think "But that one was way better than this one!" And then I'm going back and changing my ratings, and all hell breaks loose. So I'm not going to do ratings. (And don't worry, it's really f-ing hard to get a solid ten. This book rocked.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's like having two boyfriends, but without all the sex.

I currently have two projects going on. Red Sun in Evening, and Malevolent Soul.

I was inspired to start Red Sun in Evening because I read the synopsis of Retribution Falls, thought "Wow this reminds me of Firefly." Then "I loved Firefly." Then all these scenes were flashing through my head and I had all this inspiration and I immediately started working on a story, and it was all exactly like Retribution Falls.

But that's ok. The point was to finish something. Except nothing is quick because it all turns into a novel. And I told myself I can't read Retribution Falls until I finish or give up on my story. I don't want to give up on Red Sun, but I really want to read Retribution Falls. I have to weigh my options. On one hand, Red Sun only existed as a way to distract me from working on Malevolent Soul, a story that was actually original and I had only lost faith in it because I couldn't face working on a second draft, and doing everything over from the beginning. Red Sun was never my story.

I don't know if I have a really short attention span and maybe having two stories going simultaneously will help me or hurt me. I know this is just a ploy to take the easy way out and AGAIN not write anything. I'm still working on that part. I'm still trying to figure out the right balance of outlining and pantsing. I wonder if having a setting outlined will help, one that I can just fall into and not have to think about, then it will be easier for my characters to flow. Plus, I still like Malevolent Soul. And yes, moving to the second draft makes it a much better story. There is actually setting in the second draft. And I cleared up Bernie's schizophrenic-ness, so maybe she will actually make sense. And her job fits her much better. Will the homeless orphan turned doctor is a great success story, it's not one I want to try to make work.

God's War

I finished God's War by Kameron Hurley. It wasn't good as I thought. I started writing a review and ended up getting pissed off and just ranting, and then I didn't feel like writing a review anymore. The core of this book is about intolerance, and it's a good message. I see a lot of intolerance and it pisses me the fuck off. Hence the rant, that I won't be posting. Not everything has to be posted on the internet.

Anyway, the characters were two dimensional, the plot muddled and without clear motivations, and even after finishing it I still don't understand why everything was happening. Some bad people were doing some bad stuff. Okay. It was a really good effort that just didn't quite pull it off. There was some really great ideas with setting and I liked the magic system, the unrequited love left everything wonderfully tense at the end, but I still feel like I'm missing something, either some part of the plot or someone's motivation that gave everything a reason to be. I'm hoping this is from first-author syndrome and will clear up in the second book, but to be honest I don't even know if I'll read it. I need a break. It took a long time to get through this one.

Alright, I'm confused.

Evidently, triple rainbows are crazy rare.

I should say, tertiary rainbows are rare. Is there a difference? Because I KNOW I've seen three rainbows at the same time.

Freshman year of college, I had the best possible location for a dorm room. We were on the top floor, and right next to the elevators, which even though that may sound horrible, we could open our windows and our door and have a chillingly-fresh breeze fly on through. In the meantime, everyone else was sweating their balls off. I should also mention I went to Penn State Main Campus, the school with the crazy-ass fuckers obsessed with their football team.

But that's not important. Our dorm building was on the furthest edge of campus, so we looked out on all the sports fields, the stadium, the arena, and oh yeah, the gorgeous mountains. It was an awesome deal. One Sunday, I saw the best rainbows I've ever seen in my life. The first was so bright it looked like it was painted on, and the second was as bright as first rainbows are everywhere else. But still easily visible. And then above that, the faint outline of a third rainbow. Unmistakable. But it was there. I remember taking pictures and sending them home, but I'll have to look through them tonight and see if I can find one that shows the third rainbow. I'll post it if I do. It was very faint, but definitely there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Ending of Feed

I guess I spoke to soon, because the last hour was as action packed as the beginning. It was good, and fitting, and satisfactory. And I already started the second book. It's funny, because Feed had a sample chapter at the end of the next book in the series, and it was originally going to be called Blackout. I wonder if Connie Willis's book (that came out about three months prior) had anything to do with that. Personally, I would have liked to see two books with the same name nominated for the Hugo. =]

Also, it's pretty bad when I can get two solid hours of listening time in from the time I log out of my computer to when I walk in my front door. Pathetic, actually. And people wonder why I don't want to go into the city on my days off.

It's so tempting to start Retribution Falls now that I'm finishing up God's War. Not only have i not actually finished God's War, I told myself I'm not going to start RF until I finish the first draft of the story I'm working on. Because I need to finish something. It's not my fault I got all inspired when I read the synopsis, OK? And I realize it is horrendously derivative, I don't care. Again, the goal is to finish something.

On an unrelated note, Dexter started yesterday, and we didn't watch it because of the Phillies game! I imagine that happened with a lot of people. Because everyone likes the Phillies. It's recorded, but being in a house on the other side of town I have no idea when we'll get to it. And the NEXT WEEK the Walking Dead starts! I'm super excited for that. If you haven't seen the trailer they aired at San Diego Comic Con you have to look it up and watch it. It was freaky as hell. And I'm kindof hoping the other cop dies because I'm sick of love triangles and this one is no different than all of YA right now. (I'm also sick of it in YA, which is why I haven't read any in a while.)

On another unrelated note (ok, so I had some wine at dinner), does it annoy any other writers that their notes are so messy and disorganized? Because it bothers me.

Alright. I need to write. And do my laundry. Peace out.

Feed by Mira Grant

Ok, so I haven't technically finished this yet. I still have an hour left in the audiobook. But I will definitely be knocking it out today. But the plot is finished and it's on to my least favorite part of every book, everyone is saying their goodbyes. The plot is over, and while okay the closure is great and if the book has great characters I'm eager to read more of them, but frankly just quit pussyfooting around and end the book so I can start the next one. I like closure and ending all in the same chapter. Harry Potter Six was a killer. "You mean I have to sit through the whole freakin funeral, and read another chapter after that?" I know I cried during the funeral, that's not the point. The point is I want to move on. Once the action stops for good my attention is shot.

That was a really long aside for what I mean to say, "What can possibly happen that is going to take up another hour?" Something has to. And I intend to download Deadline from Audible today so I can keep going. A word on the audiobook: Narrators can make or break a book for me. If you have a crappy narrator, or their voice does things to distract me, I won't be able to get into the book. Feed landed a great narrator.

I am not going to say a lot, 1) because I technically haven't finished it yet and 2) because Phil is listening to it, too. And Phil, Eakley is about as zombie-filled as this book gets. Don't get me wrong, they're everywhere, and they do attack, but they are part of the setting instead of part of the plot. The enemy is other people, not the zombies. Shaun and Georgia are trying to do their jobs in a world that is under the constant risk of attack or infection. But, you should still keep reading. Things get worse, and it's great.

Mira Grant does one thing throughout the book that is normally frowned upon but works really well in this case. There is backstory, ALL the time. There’s probably as much backstory as there is current plot. But it’s necessary, otherwise we have no idea why something is important in this strange-and-different America. As a writer, if you want to know how to do backstory well, I suggest reading Feed.

I don’t really know what else to say without giving something away to Phil or to anyone else. Before I’d read the book, I thought it was fluff and had no idea why it had got a Hugo nomination. But Feed so deserved it. I also can’t believe that she wasn’t nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. I certainly don’t understand how Lev Grossman won it. This is one of the few catagories where I had read more than half of the nominations. I was rooting for Lauren Beukes or Dan Wells. Had I read Feed, I would have nominated Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire? Don’t know how pen names work in terms of awards. It’s not a secret, in any case.) Her book takes a look at how humans would realistically react to a zombie infection: by shutting themselves in their houses and forgoing all human contact, then how they slowly reemerge. She talks about the simple things like day-to-day life (not many writers can make putting in contacts interesting, but it’s because she tells you why. Again: backstory is important.) Her infection is slow moving, and I think she was very realistic the way she portrayed the world's reaction. Eventually, the government stops caring who dies in an effort to contain the virus. Eventually, a few smartasses decide it's a good idea to weaponize the virus. Inevitably, it's the nerds who save the day.

All in all, a great book. I definitely recommend it. It's been a long time since I've posted a review! (It's been a long time since I finished a book.) I'll wait to rank the book until I've completely finished it, but it will definitely be happening today.