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Raising Stony Mayhall Paperback – June 28, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Starred Review and Pick of the Week. Richly textured settings and nuanced characters mark this introspective novel, in which Gregory further expounds on his fascination with an altered human condition. --Publishers Weekly

What Gregory has written is an odd kind of heroic family romance, in which the occasional limb may fall off, but the love is convincingly real. --Gary K. Wolfe, Locus Magazine

Not since Lucius Shepard's classic Green Eyes has the concept of the zombie been treated with such eloquence and panache. 
--James Morrow, author of The Last Witchfinder

Like his award-winning previous novels, Pandemonium and The Devil's Alphabet, Raising Stony Mayhall is a simply written yet complex novel that is sure to linger in the thoughts of its readers long after the book is finished.... --Horror World

Library Journal Top 10 Best SF/Fantasy Books of 2011: "A luminous tale of a love that defies standard limits."
reviews.libraryjournal.com/2011/11/best-of/best-genre/best-books-2011-sf-fantasy/

Raising Stony Mayhall, like all of Daryl Gregory’s stories and novels I’ve read, is so good that I grieved when I got to the last page, because I wanted it to just go on and on.”—Chris Roberson, New York Times bestselling author of iZombie

“A brilliant contribution to the literature of the fantastic. Heartfelt, fascinating, suspenseful, and terrifying, this book involves the reader as only the very best stories can: by entering our dreams—and nightmares.”—Jack Skillingstead, author of Harbinger

Praise for Daryl Gregory
 
“Compelling and creepy . . . evokes the best of Stephen King.”—Kirkus Reviews, on The Devil’s Alphabet
 
“A wickedly clever entertainment.”—San Francisco Chronicle, on Pandemonium

About the Author

Daryl Gregory was the 2009 winner of IAFA William L. Crawford Fantasy Award for his first novel "Pandemonium". His second novel, "The Devil's Alphabet", was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award and was named one of the best books of 2009 by "Publishers Weekly". His short fiction has appeared in "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov s Science Fiction Magazine, " and" The Year s Best SF. "He has also written comics for BOOM! Studios and IDW.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Original edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345522370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345522375
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daryl Gregory writes genre-mixing novels, short stories, and comics. His next novel is AFTERPARTY, a near-future story about consciousness, religion, and cutting-edge drugs that will be published by Tor Books in early 2014.

His first novel, PANDEMONIUM, appeared from Del Rey Books in 2008 and won the Crawford Award for 2009. It was also a finalist for several other awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the World Fantasy Award. It's a romp that takes in Jungian archetypes, superheroes, and demonic possession.

His second novel, 2009's THE DEVIL'S ALPHABET published by Del Rey Books, was named one of the best books of the year by Publisher's Weekly and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. The novel combines murder, quantum evolution, and religion in a small mountain town.

RAISING STONY MAYHALL, his third novel, also from Del Rey Books, appeared in 2011. It was named one of the best SF books of the year by Library Journal. It's a coming of age tale about the most polite living dead boy you'd ever want to meet.

Many of his stories are collected in UNPOSSIBLE AND OTHER STORIES, which was published by Fairwood Press in 2011. The collection named one of the best books of the year from Publisher's Weekly. Most of those stories appeared in Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and a variety of "year's best" anthologies and foreign editions. His story "Second Person, Present Tense" won the Asimov's Readers' Choice Award and was a Sturgeon finalist. The stories run the gamut from neuroscience to religion to superheroes.

Daryl lives in State College, Pennsylvania with his wife, a couple of teenagers, and a passive-aggressive dog. He's online at darylgregory.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Daryl Gregory is the kind of guy who writes a possessed Philip K. Dick into one of his books as a supporting character (not this one). He seems fascinated by human alterations - his first book was about people possessed by archetypes, his second was about transformation into mutants in a small Southern town (sort of), and his third novel is about people who have been turned into zombies. It provides a thesis to unify slow zombie and fast zombie fans, and examines the physics and metaphysics of being the living dead.

When people are first infected and turned, they go through a few days of fever and delirium while they lust for human flesh, so they stagger around and make weird sounds. After the fever breaks, they regain their minds, although sometimes with amnesia or personality alterations. At this point they no longer have homicidal impulses if they don't want to. So Stony, who studied his sister's medical texts and ran experiments to see why his body didn't break down, joins the L.D. (Living Dead) underground and meets all types of dead people while he is drawn slowly into L.D. politics.

Chris Roberson said, 'so good that I grieved when I got to the last page, because I wanted it to just go on and on.' It really is. Gregory's writing gets better with each book, and the plot never slows down or becomes predictable (except in that zombie trope way the fans all love).
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Format: Paperback
The thing I love best about Gregory's work is that no matter how crazy the world he presents us with is, (there's a demon trapped inside you? your former self OD'd on a strange drug and left you with no memory? you're oozing mystical mucus?) the people in that world are REAL. Vivid characters are the thing I like best in a novel, and I love how Gregory's people aren't stiff, convenient sci-fi straw men. They act and feel how you imagine real people would under these bizarre circumstances.

Stony Mayhall is no exception. So you're the undead? It doesn't stop you from being annoyed by your sisters, wanting to be allowed off the farm, conducting scientific research, or writing fan fiction.

I don't want to spoil this book for you, so all I'm going to say is - it's kind of epic. You should pick it up.
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I went into "Stony" very, very skeptically: the zombie genre is becoming somewhat of a dead horse that has been beaten to a bloody pulp, in my opinion. It actually sat on my shelf for months before I picked it up as a last resort "oh well, this will have to do until I get a new one" book. Am I ever glad that I was bored that day and made the decision to crack it open.

Raising Stony Mayhall is by far the best book I read in 2011, and the more I reflect on it, I think it is slowly eeking it's way into my top ten novels of all time, if not top five. Yes, there are zombies involved, but at its heart "Stony" is a story of life. It covers everything from coming of age to religion to politics to family without being over-bearing or preachy on a single one. It's a sprawling story of one person's life, told in a voice so fresh and so alive, so utterly HUMAN, that you will forget it is a book about the dead.

Simply put, if you do not find yourself staying up late into the night unable to stop turning pages, laughing, and crying, you may be as heartless as the living in Raising Stony Mayhall (stupidly) assume zombies to be. Long live Stony!
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Some books speak of the human condition and expand our understanding of it. Some books tell great stories, full of adventure and discovery. Some books take genre conventions, shuffle them around, stand them on end and in doing so totally revitalize the genre they're deconstructing. Some books are by turns heart-stopping in their emotional purity and hilarious in their lighter moments.

RAISING STONY MAYHALL is all of these things.

I am an author, and Daryl Gregory's books are so good, so resounding, so frickin' complete, they make me question what the hell I'm doing publishing. That I need to go back to the woodshed and hone my craft.

Like PANDEMONIUM before it, STONY is the best book I've read all year.

It's that simple.
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What a fantastic, odd, little book! In Raising Stony Mayhall, Daryl Gregory| manages to bring a heartfelt, character driven story to zombie fiction. In this modern combination of Frankenstein and Pinnochio, John "Stony" Mayhall is adopted by a recently widowed mother and her three daughters. From the moment the mother picks up the child, she knows he is special. As young Stony grows, he realizes that he is, in fact, a zombie and not a normal boy. Usually, the idea of a zombie novel would have me running in the other direction, but this book had a surprising amount of heart. For a zombie, Stony possesses a remarkable ability to feel as humans do. This is a perfect twist on a supernatural story that readers are sure to enjoy.
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I'm going to make three outlandish-seeming assertions in this brief review, but I stand wholeheartedly behind each of them:

1. Raising Stony Mayhall does for the zombie mythos what Watchmen did/does for the superhero mythos. I don't make this statement lightly. I teach Watchmen every January in an interim-term course at LaGrange College--along with Art Spiegelman's Maus, Neil Gaiman's Sandman stories, and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis--and the thoroughness with which Daryl Gregory explores this often overblown, often underdeveloped horror trope astonished and delighted me. Stony Mayhall lives and breathes as a human character even if he doesn't exactly "live" and/or "breathe" in any conventional sense.

2. In a just world, Raising Stony Mayhall--the title, by the way, deliberately works on several levels--would establish Gregory as having done for this specialized kind of dark narrative what Bram Stoker once did for literary vampires.

3. And, despite the hyperbolic edge to this third claim, Raising Stony Mayhall qualifies as the War and Peace of undead lit. You need only acquire the book and step into its world to learn how and why.

You'll find no plot summary or paean to the author's style in this review (although, with more time, I'd happily provide both), but instead my heartfelt encouragement to read this novel, because it is in fact an honest-to-God novel. Also, if you then regard it as highly as I do, tell others about it. Thank you.
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