Tag Archives: jonathan maberry

The Grump Report

We’ve been busy over at the Journal of Unlikely Entomology. First off, we’ve wrapped up our selections for Issue #4, and we were delighted to officially unveil the ToC. Come November, we’ll present the following buggy tales for your reading pleasure:

The Famous Fabre Fly Caper by Matthew Bennardo
Deep Dark by Jonathan Maberry
The Candy Aisle by Joanne Merriam
Invasives by Sunny Morraine
In Your Own Backyard by Michael D. Winkle

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know what comes before 4 is 3.5, and if you haven’t read our third-and-a-half issue, you really should. It recently picked up a nice review at Locus Online, but to paraphrase Levar Burton, you don’t have to take their word for it. Go check it out for yourself! (And if you’re so inclined, let us know what you think.)

In case you missed our various announcements, we’re currently reading for our special one-off architecture issue. We’re looking for tales of odd buildings, unlikely cities, strange towers, and weird tunnels. Basically, if you build it, they will come. (I don’t know who they are, but I’m all about the quoting and paraphrasing tonight.) Which is to say, if you have an architectural story, please send it our way. While we’re reading for the architecture issue, we, of course, remain open to regular submissions, and we’re looking for art submissions for all our issues, too.

Finally, I have it on good authority that sometime in the near(ish) future, we’ll have fabulous entomologically-themed merchandise for sale! Including, but not limited to, products featuring the gorgeous cover art from our ‘hello, world’ mini issue. Stay tuned! But for now, that’s all the grumpish news that’s fit to print.

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It Girl

Women in Horror Month is over, but that won’t stop me from carrying right on talking. This time, it’s women on the page, and I’ll be picking on Stephen King’s It, and the problem of the token girl. In the interest of full disclosure, I liked It, but Beverly has always kind of bothered me, and my thoughts about her character have only recently crystallized.

So, right up front, she’s a token girl in a story about a group of boys. She’s a tomboy, because she has to be to fit in, right? She can’t just be a girl, because girls have cooties. She has to be a girl pretending she’s not a girl, and that’s just for starters. As both a child, and an adult, she faces abuse/sexual abuse, first from her father then from her husband. It defines a large part of her character; when the monster comes for her, it comes for her in the form of her father, wanting to hurt her all over again. As a child, within the group, her usefulness is limited. She’s a whiz with a slingshot, so she has that, but her ability to use it against the monster in its werewolf form amounts to nothing much, and she mostly fades into the background again, until the final showdown.

Uh, spoiler alert below the cut.

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Building the End of the World

This is a post about worldbuilding, and the end of the world. Which may seem contradictory at first, but every good spec-fic fan knows that the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t really the end. Humanity survives, because that’s what human-type folks do. Against the worst of odds, and in the most dire situations, we hold on.

But I’m not here to talk about humanity and its ability to adapt to deadly situations. I’m here to talk about worldbuilding, which is frequently so very necessary to making the reader buy into the story you want to tell. As an author, it’s your job to get the reader lost, to make them forget themselves and believe in your world so completely that there is not, and never was, and never will be, anything else. One way to do this? Good worldbuilding. Another? Good characters.

Enter an ideal case study of how to both these things effectively – Rot & Ruin and Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry. As an aside, the series isn’t yet done, but I am addicted. As a reader, I devoured the first one voraciously, and I’m doing the same to the second one. As a writer, I absolutely appreciate what the books do from a craft standpoint. If you’re interested in the finer points of worldbuilding, you could do far worse than follow Mr. Maberry’s example.

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Filed under Advice, Writing