Zero Lives Remaining Paperback – January 1, 2016
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"The victims in Zero Lives Remaining are different--far from being the typical lost, wide-eyed fodder, these outcasts and obsessives quickly catch on to the truth of their awful situation and come to battle armed in their own strange ways...enough to leave every joystick of the arcade drenched in blood." --RUE MORGUE
"Cesare is on the top of his game and delivers possibly hisbest story yet by unleashing a fountain of energy to keep you turning pages andenough horror to make you think twice about touching another arcade game."- SPLATTERPUNK MAGAZINE
"I've yet to read an Adam Cesare novel that didn't A)immediately reach up from the page, grab me by the Dennis Rodman lapels, andpull me facefirst into the story, or B) get me to fall head over heels for thisworld before I'm even a quarter of the way through the book."-- STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES, Mongrels and The Last Final Girl
About the Author
His books include Video Night, The Summer Job and Tribesmen. His nonfiction has appeared in Paracinema, Fangoria, The LA Review of Books, and other venues.
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I picked up Zero Lives Remaining in hopes of a nostalgia filled experience, and thankfully, that’s exactly what Adam Cesare delivered. ZLR differs from Cesare’s previous nostalgia fest in that it’s not set in the past, rather it’s set in a modern place designed to feel like a blast from the past.
ZLR starts off quick, following the untimely demise of Funcave employee Robby Asaro. Asaro never moves on from his death, remaining ever watchful of The Funcave. Fast forward to present times, where the well intentioned ghost of Asaro sets forth a series of events which turn him from a friendly ghost to a power hungry, mean spirited entity of death.
What’s written here is an incredibly fun play on the haunted house sub-genre. None of the characters were especially memorable, however they serve their purpose of being cattle for the slaughter well. The deaths come quick, are imaginative, and fun to read. They are gory, but they fit the tone of the book well. Cesare is an expert at mingling nostalgia, pop culture references from multiple time periods, and horror. He proved it with Video Night, and it’s on display here again, although on a smaller scale. The story ends on a high note, wrapping up before it becomes drawn out.
With Zero Lives Remaining, Adam Cesare has written another nostalgia fueled horror romp. The story within is a lean, blood-soaked affair meant for fans of the arcade scene. I don’t think it’s necessary to have been on the ground floor of the arcade scene to enjoy this book, but i do believe it will enhance your experience
As someone who whiled away many Mountain Dew-fueled hours playing video games as a youth, a novella about a murderous video arcade was something I couldn't pass up. Plus, it was on my kindle and I had to read SOMETHING while my tires were getting rotated. What was I going to do, talk to the other patrons?
As I've said before in other reviews, I think Adam Cesare and I would be best buds if we'd grown up in the same neighborhood. His video game references hit all the right notes for me without feeling patronizing or pandering. The Ghost and Goblins reference was spot on. That was one hard game!
Zero Lives Remaining is a survival horror tale set in a haunted arcade. For a b-horror enthusiast like myself, it reminds me of the part of Maximum Overdrive when they're holed up in the gas station. No one can enter, no one can leave, and it's only a matter of time before the next person dies. Some of the characters are surprisingly well crafted for a novella where most of the cast is destined to die horribly. Dan Bowden, in particular, really had me rooting for him.
There's a fair amount of gore but nothing nausea-inducing. I thought I knew who the survivors would be at the beginning and I was way off.
Zero Lives Remaining is a fun horror novella and a perfect way to kill time waiting for your car to get serviced. Four out of five stars.
Zero Lives Remaining brings back a chunk of my childhood - the Saturday afternoon draining of quarter after quarter in those classic standup arcade games - and melds a tidy little horror story with it. Cesare uses a bit of Wes Craven's Shocker along with grabby doses of ectoplasm, ala Ghostbusters to go along with a world of sights and sounds that those of us who grew up in the 80s know quite well. The storytelling is crisp to go with the memorable characters and unforgettable, over-the-top kills. Good stuff.
4 killer Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Sues out of 5
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The most interesting part of this for me was that the ghost in the machine, the so-called bad guy of the piece, starts off as a guardian of the arcade, but becomes corrupted as time goes on (and as certain events unfold). Read between the lines of this imaginative gore-fest and you'll find a monster fighting to stay in control of urges that are not his own, which lends a tragic aspect to the proceedings. Or you can just enjoy the dark humour and watch the patrons of the arcade get sliced, fried and squished in that good old B-movie style.
With a Hallowe'en themed bonus story to bulk out the novella, this is well worth a read for a quick blast of schlocky fun.