Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon is an interesting book with a fascinating and engaging premise that unfortunately never quite lives up to its promise. In Red Moon, humanity lives side-by-side with werewolves (this is a scientific form of lycanthropy; one produced by prions). The werewolves of Red Moon’s America are monitored and regulated via a change suppressing drug. The U.S. is in the midst of occupying a sovereign werewolf nation in order to maintain Uranium mining operations. There is a subset of werewolves who don’t like this blatant if socially accepted oppression and who wish to free themselves from the yoke of human oppression by any means necessary.
The Human Division is at equal measures a thrilling absolutely engaging novel and at other times wholly frustrating. By and large the latter wins out over the former and I’m willing to say that The Human Division is Scalzi at the top of his game. Originally published as a series of e-book “episodes” from January through April of 2013 The Human Division was released in its entirety in May. The Human Division encompases both the tradition of the serial novel and the advances in the series format prompted by the changing world of media entertainment (primarily television but there is a moment here and there that reminded of “the issue where the X-men play a team sport”). The Human Division typically follows a stable cast of characters with relatively few diversion from the core protagonists typically Colonial Union’s diplomatic outcasts of the Clarke advised by CDF officer Lieutenant Harry Wilson.
I won’t lie, I’m a little bit done with the whole zombie genre. The explosion of zombie related books, movies, and games over the last several years has worn me out. Every once and awhile something will draw me back to the zombie infested world. It has actually been awhile since I’ve read a zombie book; in fact I think I made a slight attempt to read Colson Whitehead’s Zone One. Aa result Peter Clines’ Ex–Heroes has likely crossed my path a couple of times without my taking any real notice. However, I decided to give the audiobook version of Ex-Heroes a shot and I’m pretty glad I did; this is an exciting mash up of superheroes and zombies with great characters and some awesome action.
Ex-Heroes and its sequel Ex-Patriots take place in a world where zombies, typically referred to in the series as ex-humans or simply exes, have essentially one. However, the world had previously seen the emergence of real superheroes from the Batman/Ozymandias mash-up Stealth to the living supernova known as Zzap the heroes run the gamut of the extraordinary and the superpowered. A group of these heroes, under the guidance of the paranoid and forward thinking Stealth, made a valiant effort to save the Los Angeles area. Having failed to slowing the emergence of ex-humans the group of heroes have gathered what survivors they could in a Hollywood studio and have done their best to survive. In addition to the threat of the ex-humans the heroes must also face the threat of a rival survivor group comprised mostly of an L.A. street gang.
You should know who Joe Hill is. Seriously. Hill is one half of the team that brought us Locke and Key (my bid for the horror comic of the century, seriously difficult to top), he brought us the delightfully twisted Heart-Shaped Box, and the exquisitely crafted collection of chilling tales 20th Century Ghosts. He is the son of horror legend Stephen King. Hill’s latest novel NOS4A2 is both a homage to his father’s legacy of chills and definitive statement that Hill is more than capable of standing not in father’s shadow but shoulder to shoulder.