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Zombies of the Gene Pool (A Jay Omega Mystery) Hardcover – February 15, 1992

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Jay Omega Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Continuing the delightful adventures begun in Bimbos of the Death Sun , engineering professor and famed science fiction author Jay Omega and his significant other, Marion Farley, a professor of SF, investigate the murder of another science fiction writer.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

The world of science fiction fandom forms the background for this second outing featuring engineering professor/sf writer Jay Omega and his English professor ladyfriend Marion Farley. Invited by a colleague to an exclusive reunion of a once-famous clique of sf writers known as the Lanthanides, Jay and Marion uncover a bizarre mystery surrounding a 30-year-old time capsule and a twice-dead reunion crasher. The author of Bimbos of the Death Sun (TSR, 1987) pays affectionate tribute to the sf fannish phenomenon while unraveling a mystery whose roots lie in the halcyon days of science fiction. Highly recommended for both sf and mystery collections.
- Jackie Cassada, Asheville-Buncombe Lib. System, N.C.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671705261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671705268
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,339,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a recovering fan. This means I haven't been to a con or a SF club meeting in over 5 years, but I still crave them.

I personally have a hard time viewing this as 'satirical' mystery, because I have known ALL the people in the story. I have been part of a Fen-house, full of hopeful writers and Big Name Fan wanna be's. At one point I was active in 5 different fan groups. I editted the SF club newsletter. I helped plan a moderately sized local convention for 5 years. Of course, I was quite sophisticated and not nearly as silly as all the others I hung around with...

I love the Jay Omega books and I hope Ms McCrumb is forthcoming with more. I have to say that I also enjoyed Bimbos more, but this was a close 2nd.

A word of warning for other recovering fans, reading these two novels and Highland Laddie Gone (about Scottish Recreationists (closely akin to SCA-ers)) made me crave fannish activities intensely. Fortunately, my recovery support group was there for me. If you are still active in fandom, you will probably recognize most of your friends or at least their type.

A 'must read' for anyone with a sense of humor, though those not involved in sf/fantasy fandom may not 'get' all the satire.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a sequel to McCrumb's Bimbos of the Death Sun. The former was a dead-on, if somewhat patronizing view of the Fen, but this story combines the science fiction world with a wistful look at the destruction of Appalachian towns to build the dams that power so much of our modern world. I would have suggested doing one or the other - they are not meshed too well. Bimbos was a funny and witty look at science fiction fandom, in this book, too many sad and serious things are going on in this book to work with the same light-hearted style of parody.

The one flaw with Bimbos, and it is much worse in this book, is the extremely judgemental attitude of Marion Farley. Oh, it is fine to poke loving fun at eccentrics and employ stereotypes in this sort of satire. I simply get tired of Marion's huffing and puffing as if these people were somehow impinging on her rights, were personally offensive. She really ought to take her own advice and get a life. If she doesn't like them anymore, she shouldn't go to conventions. If McCrumb meant for us to take Marion as just another passenger on the ship of fools, or an amusing crank in her own way, it didn't come across to me. I thought she was to be taken very seriously as one of the few sane commentators on a crazy world. Jay is rather bemused himself, but he doesn't take the goings on so personally. Donna Andrews has much funnier takes on these sort of things in
...Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the 1950's, a group of science fiction fans decided to drive to WorldCon to meet their writer idols (and basically to have a big blast). They didn't make it to WorldCon, but they did make it to Wall Hollow, Tennessee, where all the members each wrote a story and buried it in a time capsule.
30 years later, several of the members of the group have hit it big as SF writers. Their reunion at Wall Hollow becomes a huge media event, with publishers bidding on the rights to the stories buried in the time capsule. But just before the reunion starts, someone is murdered.
`Zombies of the Gene Pool' is an entertaining book which includes well-drawn, quirky characters straight out of the science fiction world. McCrumb's writing and characterization are right on target. The payoff, for me, wasn't as satisfying as the journey, which in itself was quite fun. Fans of science fiction will enjoy this humorous, sometimes bittersweet look at the world of science fiction authors.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Layered and nuanced, this Sharon McCrumb tale combines the Appalachian flavor of her Ballad series with her character-driven MacPherson mysteries to present a vision of life after youthful dreams have died. The "zombies" of the title are one-time science fiction Fans - that is with a capital "F" - whose juvenile attempts at deathless prose were buried in a pickle-jar time capsule in 1954. Since then, the Fan Farm where they wrote their earliest stories, and the time capsule in which they buried them, have been covered by the "Gene Pool" (a lake behind the Gene Breedlove Dam).

When the lake is drawn down for repairs to the dam, the authors get together in a well-publicized reunion to dig up the stories. But more than the pickle jar is waiting to be revealed with the mud of the lake bottom.

The story is probably appealing to some readers for its insider knowledge of SF-Fandom; I enjoyed more the characters that always populate a McCrumb novel. The perennial adolescent in his fifties, the big-name author now drifting in the mists of Alzheimers, the engineer deeply embarrassed by his authorship of "Bimbos of the Death Sun" (yes, McCrumb gives that title away to one of her characters), the schizophrenic Hollywood producer whose authorial alter-ego is occasionally allowed to surface: these characters shamble through the tale dropping bits of decayed life and strange odors of scandal in their wake.

In the end, the mystery is less about who died and how and why, than it is about why our lives take such strange turns from where we imagine they will go when we are young.

The novel is both akin to and richly unlike "Bimbos of the Death Sun", which I enjoyed as well. Whether you are a Fan of science fiction, or just of Sharon McCrumb, it is definitely worthwhile.
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