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Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Paperback – December 1, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Lovers of the (zombie) genre will certainly enjoy Fabian's spin on things. ...true to the horror/sci-fi theme, (with) great deal of humor. Neeta is to zombies what Buffy is to vampires. --By Nicole Langan, tinyurl.com/nlzereview
From the Author
From a guest post on naomi-jay.livejournal.com/
In the Beginning, there were...
Well, no, that's not quite how it worked. True, I knew I had to make a world with zombies for Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, but before I could bring in zombies, I needed a world to bring them into. When I worldbuild, I try to look at all angles, from the geography to the vegetation, the habits and cultures of its inhabitants, and how it all fits into the story.
Fortunately, Neeta Lyffe was unique to me in that it takes place in our world--Los Angeles--just a couple of decades in the future. So Hollywood (or Hollyweird, as some of my friends called it) happenings, American culture and politics, and international events and history became my template.
Now, enter the zombies.
That, of course, was where the fun began: how would the emergence of zombies affect the world? Being optimistic about the future in general, I didn't want an apocalypse. I think we're too smart a race for that kind of runaway contagion. We'd get smart on zombie combat and prevention, fast. However, being somewhat cynical about human nature when taken en masse, there was a lot of fun to be had in twisting our practices and beliefs in reaction to the rising undead. So I plucked some things from my own experience, and applied them to zombies.
Voter fraud: Now they really can have the dead vote!
Government regulation: The federal government does a great thing by mandating that all dead must have their spine severed before burial, which has cut down the emerging zombie population greatly. However, LA refuses to put money into tearing down a known zombie hot-spot because it's too much trouble and the zombies aren't doing anything at the moment, anyway.
Conspiracy theorists: One expert blames the H1N1 vaccine for causing the pandemic, and the government and pharmaceutical companies are covering it up. (You can read about it in his book.)
Radical Environmentalism: Global warming causes zombie-ism!
Blatant commercialism: "Ms. Lyffe, we want you to be the spokeswoman for our newest line of health drinks--Longevitize." (The photo the lawyer shows her is of her standing knee-deep in zombies and holding a can in her hand. Caption: After the re-kill, Longevitize.)
International wars: Iran invades Afghanistan, and the dead afghan freedom fighters come back to attack them.
And of course, the main idea of the story, Reality TV: Neeta Lyffe trains up apprentice exterminators in Zombie Death Extreme. The contestants have a shot at winning a million dollars--if they survive.
The process itself is pretty intuitive to me. It's just a matter of asking "What if?" and coming to what I think might be a logical (or sometimes, just comical) conclusion. When intuition fails, you can look at similar examples in our history, or draw parallels from mythology or even other stories (but don't just copy--make it your world's.) These ideas work the same whether dealing with a nearly real world, like in Neeta Lyffe, or a completely imaginary one.
Worldbuilding is a lot of fun, and sometimes, it doesn't take a lot to create a new and believable world. Sometimes, all you need to do is toss in a zombie.
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In this look into the not too distant future, zombies have arrived and since the government can’t be everywhere or do much more than moan about it, professional exterminators are springing up to rid the country of these pesky pests. Neeta’s mother died heroically in one of the earliest
exterminator businesses and Neeta has taken up the mantle.
During one infamous zombie run, Neeta chases a flaming zombie onto a man’s porch which catches on fire and now she is being sued. To earn some major money since the lawsuit is going to cost mega-bucks, she agrees to star in a reality TV show where she is training up-and-coming exterminators. A huge prize awaits the winner, but they still have to kill off a few zombies.
The backstage stuff on this reality show is hilarious. But the zombies are still threatening the country. They gotta go. Neeta’s newly formed team of wanna-be exterminators grow and bond and entertain the reader as the cameras roll.
This is a fast read, but the juxtaposition of the reality show angst and the zombie hordes is really fun. Grab the popcorn and enjoy.
Twenty-six-year-old Neeta Lyffe is the host of Zombie Death Extreme (ZDE). Over the past six weeks, Neeta has been training apprentices on zombie extermination. As with most reality shows, these apprentices are out to win the one million dollar prize. However, by the end of the season all of them would be ready to begin working in their chosen career. Neeta's company, Lyffe Undeath Exterminations, has financial problems due to a law suit and the show will help her pay part of it off. But Neeta is growing to loathe Director Dave Lor, who only cares about the show's rating and nothing about the safety of the players. (In fact, Sharon, Dave's assistant, is so stressed out that she keeps her DoDroid SuperSmartPadPhone tuned in to anything about bunnies. They are safe, cuddly, and soothing.) Neeta could care less about glamour or glory. She even refuses to sponsor products for money. Neeta only wants to teach her plebes everything her late mother had taught her, to keep her plebes alive, and perhaps teach Joe and Jane Public that if a zombie invades their home, their best line of defense is not the butcher knife on the counter, but the household cleanser under the sink.
As the story opens, Neeta and her seven plebes are battling zombies in Warehouse Eight. Bernie has been too cocky and it is currently costing the hot surfer-dude his life. Director Dave, of course, wants to exploit Bernie's death, as well as the emotional after effects the horrific death has on the other plebes. One plebe is unable to take any more and walks off the show. The turnover rate is sixty-five percent a year in the exterminator business. Neeta is determined that her remaining five plebes will not only survive, but flourish. As the public watches, the plebes will learn to use various methods in dealing with zombie-ism. Whether it be using a chainsaw to decapitate a zombie, tossing napalm bombs/grenades, or using the delay tactics of undiluted household cleaners, Neeta is a hard core trainer. And after every epidsode's "challenge" each plebe must get on the ZDE web site and post a video blog. There is also a ZDE forum where viewers chat about the show and swap gossip on the ZDE cast members.
But when a horrible road accident has hundred os shuffling zombies en route to a civilian buffet, can Neeta and her plebes rescue the living from the walking undead?
**** FOUR STARS! Usually I tell if a book is funny, serious, or whatever. Well, this book is funny, serious, or whatever. I opened this book expecting something along the lines of a cheesy B-Grade movie. Though this story does have a bit of that tongue-in-cheek flavor, it is written in a serious tone. The ZDE forum breaks in on the story at times and I found these sections to be realistic of how today's on-line forums read. Each forum member has a handle with a small avatar/icon. The ZDE forum even has the typical, ignorant troll that everyone loves to hate and gang up on. (Note: The wrong icon is used once for the troll. At least, it is wrong in my Kindle version. Rigromortis's avatar is used in error.) The author tosses in some well known name brands, but gives them a futuristic tag. (Example: Neeta's chainsaw is a cheap Craftsman Treesplinterer 5000. Then there is mention of a PeopleSpace fan page, the 2041 Jaguar, the H5 [Hummer], and even a 2042 HumVan Sport.)
Producer Alberts is only given limited time in the story; however, other non-plebe characters are given time in the spot light. Many chapters begin with Gary Opkast, one of the show's writers, typing up a documentary, The Zombie Syndrome. Personally, I believe Gary's documentary sections to be a stroke of genius on the author's part. It gives the entire story a touch of realism, as does the forum threads. When it comes to ZDE's cast of plebes, each player has his/her own personality and set of personal quirks. They each have a well developed background which is slowly revealed as the story progresses.
All-in-all, I thoroughly enjoyed this insane look into the world's future zombie problem. Ignoring the spelling and grammar errors (that are on purpose) from the forum's troll, the only real irritating thing I noticed is that the editing got worse during the last quarter of the story. If I recall correctly, no promises though, it begins somewhere around the area that the troll's avatar/icon is wrong. Still, I am happy to be able to highly recommend this tale to zombie-genre fans, whether they prefer the movies or the books. Author Karina Fabian has a sassy, take-no-prisoner writing style that will keep you hooked from page one. ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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