Sunday, November 8, 2009

XOMBIES Apocalypse Blues by Walter Greatshell


I really wanted to have this one up for you by Halloween, even though I don't actually celebrate it and even though this isn't really about zombies.  It's Xombies.  So, what the heck, here it is now.  I really am trying to get back on a regular schedule and caught up and all that.
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Jacqueline Lichtenberg   http://www.jacquelinelichtenberg.com/  advised me to read books like I'm writing to learn all I can, so I went looking and found this book.  Like mine, it has a seventeen year old heroine with a pre-existing medical condition and a really nasty virus that turns otherwise nice people into freakin' lunatics.  That's where the similarities end though.  XOMBIES is not Young Adult and mine is.  It's written for a much broader readership and there's plenty of masculinity to go around, 'cause, it's written by a guy for one thing.  However, I think my younger friends, male and female, will enjoy it.
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Lulu thought she had a nutty mother, and she did by everyday standards.  Her mom relentlessly stalked an old man for years, trying to nail him for child support, even though he probably wasn't her father.  Even though she was seventeen and could've taken off and probably done well for herself, they moved around so often she never really developed attachments or resources.  Her nutty mama was all she had in the world.  While most girls her age probably would've gotten the heck out, it's important to understand that what a child lives is her definition of normal.  Without other resources or attachments, finding a new life elsewhere is almost incomprehensible.  Lulu was kept in this stage of childhood development a lot longer because of the constant moving.  I think, as a former professional childcare provider, it's important for the reader to understand that Lulu's emotional development is stunted.
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I think it's also important to know a lot of children grow up in dysfunctional families and are, therefore, stunted in their emotional development in one way or another.  A lot of people don't take that into consideration when dealing with young people, whether in real life or fiction, and they can be very cruel without realizing it.
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Lulu gets a jump-start on growing up fast one day.
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Lulu and her mom have been living in a beach house because the people who own it aren't around and because the old man her mom is stalking, Fred Cowper, lives nearby.  So, they're out there without a t.v. or anything, always keeping a low profile so Mom doesn't have to pay rent.  The day finally comes when the food's low and Lulu's trust fund check comes in.  Mom goes to town and Lulu can only hope she spends it on food instead of on some hair-brained scheme. 
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Instead, Mom comes back terrorized.  The world outside they're little bubble seems deserted and martial law has been declared.  A plague more terrifying than Ebola or the Black Death is running rampant.  Menstruating women turn into terrifying monsters and attack men.
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At this point, my husband asked, "And how is that different from real life?"  I just about smacked him upside the head!
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Anyway, the orders are to stay indoors.  Lulu and Mom do that for a while, but the food is running out and they're going crazy.  So, they decide to check things out.  Bad idea.  They find a house full of dead men's body parts and all of sudden these creepy blue monsters start chasing them.  Lulu loses track of Mom and next thing she knows Mom's one of them and she's screaming for her to remember who she is.
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It's kinda like the Borg on Star Trek.  The Xombies assimilate regular humans into becoming xombies too.  That's how they procreate.
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Then, Lulu finds Cowper, he realizes she's immune, and they make a break for it in his old car.  Picture it charging down the highway with blue xombies chasing it, climbing all over it like army ants, and so on.  Very exciting chase, that one.
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They finally get to a safety zone and Cowper manages to convince the surviving men that she's no threat, that she's immune, and maybe even her immunity could lead to a cure.  Lulu hopes it's not just a lot of BS.  The survivors consist of military men, young and old, including boys Lulu's age.  Unfortunately, being the only teenaged girl in a sea of teenaged boys is not the girlhood dream one might think.  Almost all the men and boys too are terrified and hateful of her.  They're just sure this is all her fault somehow, 'cause she's female, and she might suddenly turn on them.  Hmm, isn't that the basis for misogyny in real life too?
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Then, she gets tackled by gigantic chipmunk.
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I swear, it's in the book!
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See, a fight breaks out, she's out in the middle, and no one's eager to save her until this boy, Hector, tackles her to the ground and he's dressed in a chipmunk suit.  Actually, he's 'Safety Squirrel' from school or something.  Quiet, smart, keeps a level head in a desperate situation, just the kind of guy a girl might want to settled down and repopulate the world with, but I digress.
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The survivors need to get to a submarine and escape the xombies by going out to sea.  It's another wild chase and a big fight.  Lots of blue creepies go in the water and then there's running and screaming and they put out to see, but there's xombies still on board.  All the big guys are trying to figure out how to get rid of these xombies when it comes to Lulu.  The teenaged boys tell her to shut-up, she'll just get in trouble, except Hector, of course, but she doesn't. 
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Ah, Lulu is growing up.
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I'd like to tell you more, like what she figured out would get them and all, but I think it would spoil it for you.  Suffice it to say, this novel has great Science Fiction, Old Hollywood Horror, and the Intimate Adventure of a girl growing into womanhood in the middle of it all too.  There's daughter/crazy mother going on, daughter/maybe birthfather dude, and a boy who gives her the warm fuzzies in more ways than one.  A really great read.  It's off the shelves at my store now.  If it's off yours, I say it's worth ordering.  You don't have to pay shipping if you order it through most local bookstores.
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To learn more about this book, the author, and the next book in the series, pop over to  http://www.waltergreatshell.com/

2 comments:

Yunaleska said...

I think the giant chipmunk cinched this one for me! Must have book....

Kimber An said...

Yep, there's something irresistable about a guy who's willing to look ridiculous for a good cause. Teenagers are naturally very self-conscious anyway, and with good cause. They're changing so fast! I remember it freaked me out.