by Cynthia Chow
& Jeff Conner,
Editor at IDW Publishing,
The ZvR series, V-Wars,
This week we have a review of a new fantasy/horror anthology Women on War: Zombies vs. Robots with an introduction by Buffy book author Nancy Holder and filled with great writers like Amber Benson (Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Nancy A. Collins, Yvonne Navarro & many others. There are instructions on how you can win a copy of the book at the end of this post.
We also have a guest post about the book from Jeff Connor, Editor at IDW Publishing who published the anthology, Nancy Holder and Yvonne Navarro. Amber, Jeff and another author in the anthology, Brea Grant, will all be signing copies of the book at Mysterious Galaxy’s Redondo Beach store-2810 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach, California on December 20 at 7:30 p.m.
On December 22, Nancy Holder, and Yvonne Navarro will be signing copies of the anthology at Mysterious Galaxy’s San Diego location-7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Ste 302, San Diego, California at 2 p.m.
If you can’t attend the event, you can use the purchase link below to get a signed copy of the book!
Women on War: Zombies vs. Robots Anthology
Review by Cynthia Chow
Originally created as a comic book miniseries, Zombies Vs. Robots is a world where deadly Z spores carried by a time-traveling scientist have infected Earth and humans created warbots to battle them. Unfortunately, this has left humans in the middle as very vulnerable collateral damage. In this anthology by ten female authors their characters are featured as heroes, survivors, and frequently, zombie food. While many of the authors may be new to readers, science fiction fans will recognize the inclusion of Nancy A. Collins and Amber Benson, the actress who played Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Considering the theme of this anthology, the reader should be forewarned that the stories are often dark and gruesome, with the fate of humans not ending on a high note. However, the writing in all of the tales is skillful, twisted, and often with a prevailing dark humor. In Brea Grant’s “Pammi Shaw: Creator of Gods and Also Blogger” the narration of a blogger who at first cheerfully shares her tales of survival with the world gradually becomes more foreboding as she desperately begins to seek commenters and online identities become muddled.
Amber Benson’s “Madame Consuela and Her Army of One” features a warbot programmed to protect a young girl whose hormones may doom her, and in one of the loneliest and bleakest tales by Nancy A. Collins, a young child trained from birth to battle zombies realizes just how unpromising his fate has become.
If werewolves are out and vampires so five minutes ago, then zombies are definitely in. Compelling illustrations by Ericka Lugo at the beginning of each chapter enhance each short story and highlight the beauty, menace, and uniqueness of each tale. Readers will find that many of these stories are reminiscent of Greek mythology, including how the human spirit battles against the inherent cruelty and hopefulness of life.
How Zombies Versus Robots: Women On War Came To Be
By Jeff Conner, Editor at IDW Publishing, The ZvR series, V-Wars, and others
Zombies vs. Robots began as a “two-off” from IDW Publishing: a two-issue graphic novel miniseries by artist Ashley Wood and writer Chris Ryall, who is also the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at IDW. One day Ash said to Ryall, “Let’s do a story with zombies fighting robots.” Chris said okay and wrote the scripts; then Ash drew them and history was made. They soon had a horde of rabid fans, the film rights were optioned, and I suggested to IDW that I should edit a prose line.
A solicitation document was sent out to a select group of likely contributors. I wanted proven talents with strong prose styles who could create vivid characters that would stand out amidst all the crazy chaos that makes up so much of the ZvR world. And they needed an affinity for the material, of course, and they needed to be professional and meet the logistical demands of the project.
I collected a group of 34 excellent stories, and we decided to release them in a series of theme collections. As for Women on War specifically, I must admit that at first I was resistant to the “all-women” theme. It just seemed so obvious, and could be seen as annoying paternalistic tokenism (though the publishing world is rife with female-centric anthologies, from crime to horror, and beyond). But I got over myself, convinced by Nancy Holder and the other contributors that such a collection was valid. Ultimately the book was super-fun to produce, with one of my greatest delights being to work with artist Ericka Lugo, a young new talent based in Puerto Rico (yay, internet).
As for the stories, I think all readers, regardless of how they view genre, will be impressed with the depth and originality found in the collection. Thanks to the writers, I discovered that there’s a lot more to the world of Zombies vs. Robots than I had ever imagined. (Journey of discovery—check!) This is the great thing about working with creative people–they’re always surprising you.
Nancy Holder, author of the introduction
I was so excited when Jeff asked me to write the introduction to Zombies versus Robots: Women on War. The ZvR world is near and dear to me, and I have admired Jeff’s work as an editor for many years. He was recently my editor on another IDW project (V-Wars) and it was one of the best experiences of my writing life. He really knows how to draw the best story possible out of an author. But for an editor, that’s only half the battle—you need to find authors who can do justice to the book that they will create. Again, Jeff knows how to get it done, and I couldn’t wait to read the stories these talented writers had come up with.
The result amazed me. As “Publisher’s Weekly” said, “Every story sparkles with creativity”—from Amber Benson’s strange Consuela to Brea Grant’s creator of gods to Yvonne Navarro’s touching paean to motherhood. This is one of those projects that is just really wonderful and cool. I’m giving it to the quirksters on my Christmas/Hanukkah list!
Yvonne Navarro, author of the short story, “Advanced Directive”The idea for “Advanced Directive” came to me like a lot of my ideas: part necessity (as in I’d just received this great invitation to contribute) and part just turning over the theme of the anthology and what was in the mish mash of stuff floating around in my head that might be useful. As Jeff knows, sometimes that takes awhile. In this instance I read all the background material and thought about what kind of person (at the time it was a general ZvR anthology, not yet specifically WOW) it would take to survive in such an apocalyptic climate. That it turned out to be a woman isn’t surprising– anyone who’s read Highborn and Concrete Savior knows I’m all about kickass women. And rather than build up to someone getting chased and ultimately cornered by zombies, I decided to start at my favorite place: right in the middle of the action. Going on the background material gave me the grist I needed for the robot mill. When I started I had no idea where the story was going or how it would end. I let it follow its own course and it played out perfectly!
To enter to win a copy of Women On War, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “War,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 22, 2012. U.S. residents only.