Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
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Off The Shelf

by Larissa March

World War Z
by Max Brooks

Written in the style of informal interviews with survivors of the Zombie War and presented as an oral history, this is a graphic and unsettling book. This is definitely at the intersection of science fiction and horror, thoroughly and vividly exploring the implications that follow the premise – a novel virus has sprung up in China, and if the victims aren’t zombies they’re a very unreasonable imitation. The people, images, and horrors will, if you’ll pardon the pun, grab you on a visceral level and not let go. From the very earliest warning signs of “Chinese Rabies” being hushed up and willfully ignored through the desperate war against an enemy whose army grows with every one of your people he kills and, finally, the slow reclaiming of the world for humanity, you will probably find this an unsettling book to read, but a difficult one to put down and impossible to forget.

by Emma Bull

If you know any of the mythology of the American Old West, you may think you know about the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. You may be familiar with the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday and the stagecoach robbery that set the stage for the infamous shootout. What you don’t know, Emma Bull says, is everything else. If you just look from a different angle, you’ll see Emma’s gorgeously written novel of the dark story that came before – magic, betrayal, murder, romance and sacrifice, all in a framework that contrasts gritty historic realism with understated but convincing magic. Like the drifter Jesse Fox and aspiring newspaperwoman Mildred Benjamin, once you see and touch the magic in Tombstone, you’ll never be able to deny it again. This is apparently the first of a linked pair and ends a bit abruptly, but it stands on its own quite well.

© 2009 Larissa March

Larissa March is a New Englander who has been sucessfully transplanted to Georgia, where she has put down roots with her husband, two cats, and an improbable number of books.

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