Saturday, July 12, 2008

Monster Nation, The Sequel to Monster Island

After reading Monster Island by David Wellington, I was very curious as to how the story would unfold. Mr. Wellington is not telling a typical zombie story in this trilogy. As odd as it sounds, it is much more supernatural than most.

The book opens with Gary and Dekalb, though they only make a brief appearance. This novel explores the source and cause of the zombie uprising. It is told primarily from two characters' points-of-view, Clark Bannerman and "Nilla". In between their tales, Wellington uses snippets from government press releases, emails, health flyers, personal diaries, etc. to give us perspective on how the epidemic spread and personal experiences from all over the country.

We meet "Nilla" in an oxygen bar in California. She has bled to death and reawakened, but she is very different than most zombies, she can still think. When she was weak from blood loss, she put on an oxygen mask which kept her brain supplied with oxygen and reduced the brain damage she suffered. It allowed her to keep her reasoning skills, but she can't remember her name or anything else about herself. Police find her and take her to the hospital, they don't realize she is dead because she can still talk, neither does she. When the hospital is over run by zombies and the military is called in, she meets Bannerman.

Bannerman is introduced to us when he responds to a riot at a Californian jail, which in reality is an outbreak. Bannerman is an honorable military man and takes his duty very seriously. He treats the incident as a viral outbreak and insists that the infected are treated as humanely as possible, though he quickly comes to realize that they have no humanity left. It is difficult for him to accept that these people are dead. Bannerman is smart enough to realize what Nilla is and that she could be the key to a cure. He spends a lot of time looking for her, though he doesn't allow it to get in the way of protecting the public.

Though it was not a traditional zombie story, it was well told and intriguing. I look forward to reading the final installment, Monster Planet.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Baby blocks

For those of you that have been following my progress on the Christmas stocking, I am taking a sabbatical from that project. When I had my daughter, I decided to make stockings for all the babies in the family, just like my mom did for my sister and I. I feel that it is a great way to welcome a baby to the family, so many people don't ever have anything that was made especially for them. I made one for my nephew, but they didn't use it because it didn't match their theme and color scheme. I was slightly hurt by this, but such is life. Now my sister recently had a beautiful baby girl. I knew that they wouldn't use a stocking I had made, so I asked if they would prefer something else. At first we talked about a baby announcement, then I stumbled across directions for cloth baby blocks. My sister really liked the idea, and apparently my mom is going to get a special box and paint it to put the blocks in.

It will be a complete set, 26 letters. My niece will be able to spell her entire name and each block with have a picture to go a letter of the alphabet. It is surprisingly difficult to find pictures for some of the letters. I thought I would show the first block I finished stitching, though it's not in block form yet. Just in case you can't tell, that's a duck.

Zombies in NYC

I just finished reading Monster Island by David Wellington. It is the first novel in a trilogy, originally written on the internet. The book is a bit scattered, jumping back and forth between characters, this takes a bit of getting use to. I think that it was easier to follow online, as each entry probably dealt with a single character. There are even a few author notes scattered through out for the online readers. Wellington also uses a lot of flashbacks to set up the back story of the two main characters. The plot: an epidemic has broken out across the world, and the dead are walking. The dead, in fact, out number the living.

The book opens with Dekalb, a former UN weapons inspector, on a boat heading into New York harbor with some Somali nationals. They are in search of some much needed medication for the leader of Somali. This is an extremely dangerous mission as New York is full of the walking dead. You may wonder why a former UN employee would help militant Somali nationals. His young daughter, Sarah, has been given refuge in their stronghold that is safe from the zombies and in exchange for this service he will be allowed to stay with her. Having a daughter makes the mission even more difficult for Dekalb, as the soldiers with him are all girls of about 16 years old. They remind him of his daughter and has conflicting feelings about the girls as soldiers.

The other main character in this book is Gary, a former medical student. Gary believes he is the only survivor left in New York and takes a unique approach to ensuring his own survival in what is left of the world.

Dekalb's and Gary's interests conflict and they must "duke it out" as the saying goes. The danger is intensified later in the book when our heroes discover that not only have the human residents become zombies, but some of the animals too. I do not want to say much more about the events of the book, I don't want to spoil the experience for anyone else by giving away the book's secrets. I really enjoyed this book and am eager to read the next in the series Monster Nation.