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Deadlands Paperback – September 30, 2005
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Scott A. Johnson was born and raised in a swampland coastal town in Texas that was rife with folklore and ghost stories that greatly influenced him as a child. While most children were content to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings, Scott watched "Chiller Theater" with his brother, reveling in the performances of Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi and Borris Karloff. In junior high school, he discovered a deep love for the written word when he was introduced to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado." He excelled in his English classes all through High School, though he did not begin writing fiction until he reached college. Scott attended Texas State University-San Marcos (then Southwest Texas State University) and received his BA in Mass Communication-Advertising. He decided he loved the school and took a full-time position, working as a Media Technician for the Department of English. It was at this time that he was exposed to many great authors, both faculty and visiting. During a class on short-story fiction, he began to put his childhood memories and imagination to good use, bringing praise from his instructors and fellow students alike.
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Top Customer Reviews
But, just as you are starting to think that you've read it all before, Johnson pulls the rug out from under you with a unique plot twist and keeps you reading until the end.
With each book, Johnson's prose and character development are getting stronger and stronger and he may be a very strong voice in the future of horror.
The book could benefit from a little editing as there are a few mistakes that pulled me right out of the story. (For example: instead of saying that something wasn't to be taken lightly, it said that it wasn't to be taken likely.) However, such errors were few enough that they didn't really stop my enjoyment of the tale.
In addition, one of the characters, Tierra, seemed more silly than sympathetic. I'll admit Johnson lost me a bit with this one. I just didn't believe in Tierra at all.
However, as a whole, the book is worth reading and I'm looking forward to Mr. Johnson's next offering!
What I have liked-
* the idea of a super-zombie, the Necrosapien. This is a nice change from the usual dumb-minded, slow-moving living corpses. I don't think the author went far enough in developing the full potential of this dreadful enemy...
* the section describing Christian's turning out into a zombie. Although too short, the idea is good and hasn't, to my knowledge, been previously addressed. That was somewhat moving.
* the concept of the "interspecies mating". Terrifying, disgusting, but interesting, although not explored to its full potential.
* the world/environment of the story. A desolate, post-war world in which hope is like grass or life: much desired.
What I have not liked-
* Cain's death. Way too abrupt. Given the viciousness of the character, the reader would have expected a more gruesome "death".
* the total absence of any rational explanation for the war, the spread of the "disease", the glass lake, the human capability to have retained the technical and scientific knowledge of making the foil suits etc, etc.
* the lack of development in the things I have listed as good points above. Just to expand on one point: why would someone prepare at the same time the advent of zombies, including the Necrosapiens, and store so many means of getting read of them and restarting life all over again? Wasn't the initial war supposed to be total? How could the finders of the zombie apocalypse have predicted which environment the world would end up turning into? Lots of weaknesses in the rationale...
There is a new and creative slant to the zombies of old here. I do feel that it works well in a nuclear devastated wasteland where this story takes place and makes it interesting. It does drive this tale along so is certainly worthwhile without overshadowing the story itself.
I myself have no preference for new vs. traditional zombies. Some folks might complain about more stories with the old Romero zombies, saying "its all been done before" but the best out there, in my humble opinion, are "Day by Day Armageddon," "World War Z," and "The Walking Dead" series, all of which deal with traditional Romero-esque type zombies. What makes any zombie tale great is the story telling and the characters that inhabit it. Of course, there are good stories where there is derivations from the traditional as well, such as Brian Keene's "The Rising" and "City of the Dead" as well as a plethora of short stories in the various anthologies out there. The derivation works here, but it does not elevate the actual story so much as move it along. It is fun and interesting, but not totally fascinating or outright terrifying.
Since this story was so fast paced, I did not invest too much in either of the main characters. They were pretty flat and lacked a great deal of depth. Their actions weren't necessarily always predictable, but how they react seemed pretty straight forward and simplified. This is not a sharp criticism...afterall, there is only 190 pages in fairly large print which doesn't give a lot of room for more indepth analysis of each individual's psychy.
The quick pace does have its failings. At one particuarly dramatic and critical point near the end of the book an action and its results are explained in all of one paragraph, which is tremendously anti-climactic. I refuse to play the spoiler here, but something so key to the story development is over and done before you know it and we are on to something else. I feel that a few more paragraphs could have been spared to detail things out a bit at that point.
Overall though, a creative zombie story that was fun to read and quick to finish.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Eric S Brown, author of World War of the DeadRead more
Zombie fiction can typically be pretty hit or miss, but "Deadlands" is a fresh take on the genre.Read more
Someone should make a excellent movie from it...Read more