Sunday, November 10, 2013

Night of the Living Trekkies in Academia

Any writer that says he doesn’t read reviews is someone you shouldn’t stand too close to, because there is a good chance that at any moment their pants may burst into flame. When it comes to reviews, I can’t say I read them all… just the ones I find. Recently there have been some very flattering ones about my collection, Blood, Gridlock, and PEZ:Podcasted Tales of horror. Just thought I’d throw that in there. Reviews for my novel NotLT, which Sam Stall and I always appreciate, range from fantastic to less than fantastic. One phrase I’ve seen in many of the reviews, even the positive ones, goes something like Night of the Living Trekkies is not great literature, but…then it would continue on and say something nice. Okay, truth here, when I sat down to write that first draft of Night of the Living Trekkies, I wasn’t trying to be Hemingway. Hell, Hemingway couldn’t even be Hemingway, and he had 61 years to try. Point is, I didn’t sit down to write great literature, but I didn’t sit down to write mediocre literature either.  

So after reading that NotLT is not great literature line about a million times, I was pretty excited to hear that NotLT is required reading at Cayuga CommunityCollege in Kelley E. Rowley’s, PHD professor of English, Science Fiction Literature course. It has been for the past few years along with two other novels about the undead, World War Z by Max Brooks, and S. G. Bowne’sBreathers. Here is a little bit of what Professor Rowley had to say about why NotLT fits well into his class.

“The novel brings up veteran issues.  Our community college is close to Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division.  We get a lot of veterans.  Our students understand PTSD and recognize it in the Jim. (Jim Pike) Those that do not see Jim with PTSD identify a post deployment angst.  So one group sympathizes with the PTSD most all groups feel the angst that he does.  This universalizes the novel for any student going through a transitional stage.  What I like about the novel is that the angst is not a permanent condition.  It gives strategies to overcome the angst.  

Last, NotLT fits into a zombie trilogy that chronicles the post 9/11 world.  Many researchers are identifying the modern Zombie as a metaphor for fears of globalization and the struggle that is involved in the geopolitical boarder zones.  In these zones we are combating terrorists.  The first book we read is WWZ which introduces the common use of extreme violence to subdue extreme evil.  This was the zeitgeist of the early part of the Afghan/Iraq war.  Your novel provides a different prospective; rather than a zombie that is irrational, unpredictable and extremely violent, yours are intelligent, connected and persuasive.  They are recruiters that persuade some to their cause.  They are the ones that radicalize citizens into domestic terrorist through the use of the internet.”

And I’d just like to add a big fat, “Yeah, what he said.”

Along with NotLT being required reading, a student in France, ChloĆ© Royer, is currently translating the novel into French as a part of her Master's dissertation. Before she was allowed to use the novel it had to pass the scrutiny of her professor to make sure it was a proper literary challenge. It passed.   

In other news signed copies of Night of the Living Trekkies were a big hit at this years’ New York Comic Con. Looked like fun.

Few months back (September) marked the three year anniversary of NotLT release, and cosplayer, Lady Beth Vader, sent us a Happy Birthday picture. Thank you Ms. Vader.

Christa Abernathy-Meredith seven-year-old son drew this image for us. I assume he hasn't read the book but it’s a pretty nice rendition of Jim Pike taking on the Trekkie undead. 

There is a bit of movie talk going on again for Night of the Living Trekkies. Some nice folks with some interesting backgrounds and connections (which I’d love to share more about - not the right time) are working toward obtaining the novel’s film option. Like I said, I’d love to share more, but if it goes through I’ll be blogging and posting about it daily. 

Over at the Night of the Living Trekkies Facebook page I’m getting ready to roll out some new Geeky Holiday Wreaths for 2013. I have half a dozen ideas, but could always use a few more. Feel free to send me yours.

My collection Blood, Gridlock, & PEZ:Podcasted Tales of Horror, had a really good October, climbing up the Amazon rankings to hit #41 in the comedy horror category, right in-between Jeff Strand and S.G. Browne. Not bad for a collection with no traditional publisher, marketing plan, or any kind of promotion whatsoever.

My new novel Night of the ZomBEEs which was targeting for a Fall release will most likely get pushed back to Winter. After the holidays is not an ideal time to release a novel but we have fallen a bit behind on the editing, not my editor's fault, it’s pretty much mine. So we may be looking at an early Spring 2014 release. Either way, I’m very excited about this one!

Lastly, my flash fiction story, The Delivery, debuted in the anthology Dark Bits from Apokrupha press. Its 52 pieces of flash fiction that are not only a fast fun read, but the antho has been converted into a 52 week planner for 2014. (Sold separately) My story is on week two!   

And for those who give a ninja’s butt, here is what I’m reading, have read, and my reviews from GoodReads.

Currently Reading Death Troopers, Odd Thomas, and Forever Odd.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fantastic idea and execution. A retelling of Star Wars as if written by William Shakespeare. I hope English teachers tasked with the responsibility of teaching Shakespeare to middle and high school students jump all over this. What a great tool to introduce Shakespeare to students. I’m sure the publisher, Quirk Books, is planning to do Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but I’d really like to see William Shakespeare’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, or Serenity. Just a thought. 

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Masello is a fantastic writer. The narrative jumps back and forth through the centuries and never becomes jarring. I did get a little impatient waiting for the supernatural elements of the story to kick in but when they did it was worth the wait. It did seem that the story could have moved a little faster up front but overall a wonderful read.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A very nice read. Not thrilling, but nice. I was a bit disappointing, and it is entirely my fault. I skimmed the jacket cover just enough to get the impression that it was a ghost story. It isn't. Well not the kind of ghosts you would think. Valentine is a wonderful writer and spins a thought provoking, coming of age, self discovery, put away the past, and get on with your young life kind of story. A very good, solid young adult read.