Friday, November 20, 2015

Short Fiction Friday Newsflesh Edition: Countdown and San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant

Did you know that Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire completely and totally rocks? She does. Completely and totally.

This has been a week of indecision and blah. Which means that I've waffled over I don't know how many books, starting and abandoning them simply because I'm not in the mood. Ugh. But I did keep myself occupied and productively reading with some shorts and novellas I've been piling up in the TBR! And since my goal this month (as it flies by) is to tackle some unfinished series lingering in my stacks, it made sense to read through a few of Mira Grant's novellas in particular.

See, I LOVE the Newsflesh world. LOVE IT! I mean, I kind of do gobble up zombie fiction in masses. I'm not tired of it. Nor am I tired of post-apocalyptic/post viral outbreak stories/settings. Newsflesh is unique, though, in that the world has moved on since the zombie apocalypse, attempting to reclaim some normalcy.

In addition to the base trilogy (Feed, Deadline, and Blackout), Grant has also penned a number of shorts and novellas set in the world (CountdownSan Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats"Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box;" How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea; The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell; and Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus). Orbit is releasing what I believe will be a full collection of those shorts in June as Rise: The Newsflesh Collection (the description says "every piece of short fiction from New York Times Bestseller Mira Grant's acclaimed Newsflesh series, with two new never-before-published novellas..."). I've still got two of the novellas to go (How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea and Please Don't Taunt the Octopus) so between those two, the short, and the two new novellas to come I've got a bit to go. Plus, and this is awesome-sauce, Grant has a fourth Newsflesh novel, Rewind, due out in 2016, so I won't have to leave this world behind for quite some time!

Readers, even with the blah-est of blahs, Countdown and San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats were fan-freakin'-tastic! And they made me have zombie nightmares.

In Countdown, Grant goes back to the beginning, outlining the key occurrences leading up to the Rising.

The zombie apocalypse began in 2014 thanks to a series of tragic mistakes and circumstances. While a doctor in Denver was beating cancer with an experimental Marburg treatment, a doctor in Reston, Virginia made it his life's goal to wipe out the common cold. Initial testing of Dr. Alexander Kellis's virus was promising but before human trials could begin a group of protestors broke into Kellis's facility, releasing the virus. 

It wouldn't take long for the world to discover just how catastrophic the mix of Marburg Amberlee and Kellis's creation would be.

While we know some of the Kellis-Amberlee story thanks to the series main entries, this is the first look (that I recall) at the 2014 players. And of course those who have followed the series as a whole know that the shit is definitely hitting the fan. This is not some alternate Newsflesh reality where the 2014 world is able to combat and beat the coming zombie plague.

Rating: 5/5

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats is set in 2044 but is an interview with the only remaining survivor of the nation's final Comic-Con.

On July 23, 2014, in the midst of the Rising, the nation, and indeed the world, are about to find out what Kellis-Amberlee has in store. But for those preparing for the annual San Diego Comic-Con, a zombie apocalypse is still the furthest thing from their minds - at least in real-world terms. 

In 2044, Mahir Gowda has arranged an interview with Lorelei Tutt, the only person to survive the event. To date, Tutt has remained silent about her parents' final days but Mahir's prompting and the news that San Diego is considering reviving the con finally prompts the woman to break her silence. 

The fallen and their stories will be remembered for their heroism and ultimate tragedy. 

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats is set during the same timeframe as Countdown. The characters here have heard rumors of issues with the Kellis virus but thus far haven't actually seen what happens when the virus amplifies in a human. If they had, so many things might have been different.

I know I'm not the only person whose brain goes to zombie apocalypse in certain situations. I know because I've heard it. Hubs and I were at a concert at Red Rocks recently and the droves of people cramming through the exit after the show ended would be the absolute worst place for someone to spontaneously zombify. As I was thinking this, I actually overheard someone expressing virtually the same sentiment. I'm not the only weirdo!

Anyway, setting a story at Comic-Con is brilliant for so many reasons! I mean, it's Comic-Con! The people, the costumes, the swag that can be used as potential weapons, the weapons that can be used as potential weapons... (Second best for that would be a Ren Fest setting, right?!) Plus, it's exactly the sort of nightmare scenario some of us can very obviously see happening if we were to actually experience a zombiepocalypse.

You don't have to read either of these to enjoy the series but if you're like me and want to spend more time in the world, these are perfect additions! I highly, highly recommend them - and the series as a whole, if you're not reading yet!

No comments: