Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Blogger

Smugglivus 2010 Guest Blogger: Graeme of Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

Welcome to Smugglivus 2010: Day 7

Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors, bloggers and publishers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2010, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2011.

Who: The wonderful Graeme of UK-based blog Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review. Graeme is one of our go-to bloggers for all things fantastical and throws in a very healthy serving of horror and comic reviews as well.

Please give it up for Graeme!

Smugglivus, isn’t it great? It’s the time of year when we all get a little bit drunk, hang out with family for the day and watch something awful on TV… Hang on, no, that’s the other big event happening in December :o) Smugglivus is the time when we all get to hang out here and talk books n’stuff with like minded friends. It’s just like Christmas but without annoying family and having to go shopping, you can’t beat it (and I might very well be drunk for some of it at least)! I missed out on Smugglivus last year (pregnancy, not me but I was involved in the whole thing) so when I was invited back I jumped at the chance!

What to write about though? The deal was that I write about my favourite books from 2010 but I’m actually going to be doing all that at my place towards the end of the month; even my awesome blogging skills can’t make the same post interesting twice. And then it struck me (it’s fairly obvious really)… I’ve read an absolute ton of books that I really enjoyed this year, why not chisel out a sub-genre from the list and present it to you guys for your edification and delight? If you know me at all then you know that there was only ever going to be one choice…


I love those brain eating undead guys and the lengths that various survivors will go to in order to avoid becoming zombie food. You wouldn’t have thought it but 2010 ended up being a great year for zombie fiction and I’m not just talking about ‘The Walking Dead’ either (although the series continues to go from strength to strength; Volume 13, ‘Too Far Gone’, is damn near genius). There was a whole load of other zombie books lurking out there, ready to bite the unwary. I read as many of them as I could and have fought my way through a horde of ravenous corpses in order to bring you the zombie books I think you should be reading (don’t touch ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead’ though, trust me). Here goes (with handy links back to my own reviews in full)…

‘Autumn’ – David Moody (Gollancz)

If you haven’t already read the free version online then you need to check out the hardback. David Moody is regarded as a pretty big deal in zombie fiction and ‘Autumn’ shows us why. Not only is it the type of apocalypse that would only happen in England but Moody has clearly taken a lot of time and effort to come up with something plausible that’s full of the kind of character studies that any type of zombie media should give the reader/viewer. It’s a fairly quick read as well and I can’t think of a single reason why you’re not reading this right now.

‘Hungry for your love’ – Edited by Lori Perkins (St. Martin’s Press)

An anthology of zombie romance? Seriously? Seriously, check it out. I was sceptical at first and it’ll be your definition of romance that determines how much you get out of this book. I got plenty out of it though and I don’t see why that can’t be the same for you. If you think that there’s only so much that you can do with a zombie, check this book out and be proved wrong.

‘Breathers (A Zombie’s Lament)’ S.G. Browne (Broadway Books)

If there’s ever a book that will have you questioning whether you should really be enjoying playing ‘Left 4 Dead’ all that much then this is it. You may even find yourself wiping a little tear away from your eye as you’re pulling the trigger…

‘Zombie Apocalypse’ – Stephen Jones (Robinson)

Not your average run of the mill zombie novel; this one combines all kinds of written media to give us a chilling rendition of the world’s slide into zombie enforced mayhem. It may be a little too similar to ‘World War Z’ but don’t let that stop you from picking it up.

‘Pariah’ – Bob Fingerman (Tor)

If it hadn’t been for ‘The Reapers are the Angels’, ‘Pariah’ could well have been my ‘zombie book of the year’. As it is, ‘Pariah’ runs it a very close second. A good zombie book barely features zombies at all, preferring to concentrate on the humans trying not to get eaten instead. This is the approach that Fingerman takes and he pulls it off in fine style, taking the lives and relationships of a bunch of ‘barricaded in’ survivors and weaving it all into something truly compelling. Just read it, you can thank me later.

‘Night of the Living Trekkies’ – Kevin Anderson and Sam Stall’

I’ve been getting a little tired of ‘zombie classics’ just recently but ‘Trekkies’ really got me back into the swing of things. It’s just what you’re after if you like Star Trek, zombies or if you just want a good laugh. I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did, glad I picked it up though.

‘Day by Day Armageddon’ – J.L. Bourne (Pocket Books)

Any zombie book featuring radioactive zombies gets my vote but ‘Day by Day Armageddon’ also happens to be a well thought out tale of survival at the same time. Two very good reasons to pick it up!

‘The Reapers are the Angels’ – Alden Bell (Tor UK)

I know at least one Book Smuggler here would disagree with me but ‘Reapers’ is my stand out zombie book of the year with everything that I look for a zombie book sat perfectly inside. Temple’s story has stayed with me ever since I read it back in April and I reckon it’s one that will stay with you as well. If you pick up one book from this list, make it this one (no matter what certain Book Smugglers say!)

I reckon that has to be enough for you guys to be going on with if you’re after a slice of zombie fiction. Honourable mentions have to go to Joe Schreiber’s ‘Red Harvest’ (Star Wars Zombies!) and Joe McKinney’s ‘Apocalypse of the Dead’ right at the end of this post. The thing is, as much as I know they’re going to be good… I haven’t actually read them yet so really couldn’t put them on the list!

Have a great Smugglivus folks and a Happy Christmas too! Just remember, shoot em’ in the head…

Thanks for the tip, Graeme. (And Happy Smugglivus to you, too!)

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  • alana
    December 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    How is Rot and Ruin not on this list? It was so good!

  • Graeme
    December 8, 2010 at 3:36 am

    I never got round to reading ‘Rot and Ruin’ but I did read Maberry’s ‘Family Business’, the short story it was based on. It was an excellent tale but the anthology as a whole didn’t make the cut here…

  • Thea
    December 8, 2010 at 7:05 am

    I’ve read most of the titles on your list, except I haven’t yet received my copy of AUTUMN! And I’m dying to read that one.

    Also, surprised not to see any Walking Dead television show mentions 😉 Wildly different from the comics, but I’m pretty sure you will love it just as much as I did!

    And hey, I liked Reapers are the Angels! Just…not as much as The Passage. But zombies and telepathic genetically mutated inmate vampires can get along, can’t they? CAN’T THEY!?

  • Graeme
    December 8, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I am so behind with my ‘Walking Dead’ watching that I didn’t feel right mentioning it. I’ve still only seen the first episode… 🙁 There is no way that I won’t catch up with it though!

    I couldn’t find the post but… I was sure one of you guys didn’t like ‘Reapers’. Oh well, look at me being all wrong like 😀 And I still need to read ‘The Passage’ as well. I for one am sure that zombies and telepathic genetically mutated inmate vampires can be the best of friends given half a chance! 😉

    And get yourself a copy of ‘Autumn’, it is so worth it!

  • Thea
    December 8, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I gave it a 7/10 – I quite liked Temple’s story! But I hated PARIAH with a passion, maybe you’re thinking of that one 😈

    I have a copy of AUTUMN that is supposed to reach me at some point from the UK. I cannot wait!

    And dude, you HAVE to read THE PASSAGE. It’s epic. I think you’ll love it (at least I hope so!).

  • Graeme
    December 8, 2010 at 7:54 am

    You know what, that’s the one I was thinking of! We might just have to resolve this one the old fashioned way, pistols at dawn? 😯

  • Graeme
    December 8, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Forgot to say, if I get half a chance I’ll check out ‘The Passage’ but the baby hates having my attention stolen by big thick books… (she tries to eat them so I can’t read them)

  • Thea
    December 8, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Dawn, you say? I’m there. Pistols blazing wild west style. 😈

    And yes, THE PASSAGE’s heft is pretty impressive, but I finished it in about 2 days – I’m pretty sure you’ll blow through it pretty quickly. But the baby does present a conflict! I guess you’re off the hook for this one…for now.

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