Friday, November 11, 2016

Short Fiction Friday: How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea and Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus by Mira Grant

This summer saw the release of Mira Grant's Rise, the collected shorts and novellas of the Newsflesh series. I had already bought most of the novellas individually, including today's, but didn't get around to diving into about half of them until the collected volume released. Since I'd already started covering the stories individually, though (here and here), I figured I'd continue in that vein.

First up, How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea finds intrepid reporter Mahir Gowda traveling Down Under to see how Australia handles their little zombie issue. And in true down under fashion, it's nowhere near as uptight as the way others do. Of course this means that Mahir is in more danger than unusual, but that's pretty much to be expected in his line of work.  

This one is a lot of fun because, while Mahir has featured in most - if not all - of the other shorts, this is really the first time he's been an active part of the story. And it's fun to see the world expanded to include Australia. Which is, according to the author's note in Rise, pretty much why and how this tale came about - to illustrate the global effects of the outbreak.

This one is a chunky novella - clocking in at 115 pages, making it the longest short in the series. Which is doubly great because it means spending that much more time with Mahir and the zombie wombats!

Next up, Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus is connected directly to book three and The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell. I did debate about revealing the latter, but considering it's part of Grant's own intro to the tale in Rise, I figured it was ok to mention the connection.

Dr. Shannon Abbey has made her lab a virtual fortress. It's location is all but secret and entry is heavily protected. But when a delirious and malnourished woman makes her way onto the grounds, Abbey takes her in and decides to nurse her back to health. The decision is one that she may come to regret, but Abbey and her people certainly aren't going down without a fight. 

So the woman in question is Foxy and this tale is a companion to The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell, which is Foxy's origin story. I loved Day, so it was especially glad to see a return to that character. Though I was sad to see how things had shaped up for her. Hers is a story of survival, but at a cost.

Shannon Abbey, on the other hand, is fabulously snarky and exceptionally wonderful to return to. She's such a fun character, and one I think has a wonderful ability to analyze situations, even possibly disastrous ones, and keep her cool while working out a solution. She's faced with exactly that scenario in Please Don't Taunt the Octopus, but this time without the benefit of the Masons.

I may have mentioned it before, but I'm pretty sure Mira Grant is one of the busiest people in publishing. I was talking her up just the other day and commented that if there's a genre anthology out, she's likely part of it. And that's above and beyond the multiple worlds she's writing in: Newsflesh and the finished Parasitology trilogy as Grant; October Daye, Incryptid, Wayward Children, and more as Seanan McGuire. And those are just the series. She's got a ton of stand alone tales, like the upcoming Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day. It seems I stumble upon something new from her every month: the upcoming Black Feathers anthology, the What the #@&% is That anthology that released this week, last month's The Starlit Wood anthology, Urban Allies from July... Which of course is perfect for a fan girl like me because it seems to mean an endless supply of her work to feed my book junkie needs!

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