Friday Fiction Feature

FictionReboot2One time-honored tradition of the beginning of a new year is the “Where are they now?” when television hosts and internet writers track down formerly well-known celebrities and remind us all that they’re still alive. We at the Fiction Reboot have decided to take part in this annual reminder with a literary bent and show our dear readers a glimpse of their favorite characters; what they have been doing, what challenges have they faced, what monsters have they slaughtered. With tales varying from the chipper to the catastrophic, we invite  you all to read on and find out Where are they now?
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Pinocchio by Michael Morpurgo & Emma Chichester Clark 

PinocchioTo start off our first entrant, we’ll let our protagonist tell us not only where he is now, but how he got there. This Pinocchio is the tale of the puppet who never got to be a real boy, told by the little liar himself. Here you can find out why on earth he thought the trip to Pleasure Island was a good idea and the proper etiquette for not tripping on your own strings.

Pinocchio as you’ve never seen him before: telling his own story through the master storyteller and award-winning author of War Horse.
“Now – there’s no point in pretending here – I was, and still am deep down, a puppet. Everyone knows Pinocchio is a puppet. I reckon I must be just about the most famous puppet the world has ever known. But the truth is I’m not just a puppet, I’m more than just bits of wood and string. I’m me. So I thought it was about time that I, Pinocchio, told you my story…”
Michael Morpurgo channels Pinocchio’s words to tell the famous puppet’s story in his own inimitable, cheeky and always funny way. Lavishly illustrated throughout in black-and-white by the acclaimed Emma Chichester Clark, this is a must-have for all book lovers, and an utterly charming and surprising adaptation of a much-loved tale.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer (Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer #1) by Van Jensen & Dusty Higgins

Pinocchio, Vampire SlayerUnfortunately, after this more lighthearted tale, Pinocchio’s life took a dreadful turn. He learned some hard lessons on Pleasure Island, but that was nothing compared to the changes he had to undergo to become Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer

After seeing Geppetto die at the hands of vampires, Pinocchio swears revenge in this darkly funny graphic novel. As the vampires plot the enslavement of mankind, only a one-puppet army stands in their way. But will a wooden boy and his endless supply of stakes – courtesy of plenty of lies and his elongating nose – be enough to save the day?

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas by Adam Roberts

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for ChristmasPerhaps our most chilling ‘where are they now’ is I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for ChristmasThis epilogue follows Scrooge after his fateful Christmas night, after he has become a good and cheerful man, after he has been accepted warmly into his community, and after his community has begun salivating over his warm brain. This contribution to the “and zombies” genre maintains the original’s focus on right and wrong and turning Scrooge’s moral compass towards the good of the community, whether he wants to or not.

The legendary Ebenezeer Scrooge sits in his house counting money. The boards that he has nailed up over the doors and the windows shudder and shake under the blows from the endless zombie hordes that crowd the streets hungering for his flesh and his miserly braaaaiiiiiinns! Just how did the happiest day of the year slip into a welter of blood, innards, and shambling, ravenous undead on the snowy streets of old London town? Will the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future be able to stop the world from drowning under a top-hatted and crinolined zombie horde? Was Tiny Tim’s illness something infinitely more sinister than mere rickets and consumption? Can Scrooge be persuaded to go back to his evil ways, travel back to Christmas past, and destroy the brain stem of the tiny, irritatingly cheery Patient Zero?

The Last of the Spirits by Chris Priestley

The Last of the SpiritsOf course, Scrooge’s moral quandary may never come to pass, if the ghosts that tormented him cannot convince someone else. In The Last of the Spirits we find what may well be the last chapter in Scrooge’s ever-changing story and an unequivocal answer to ‘where is he now?’ When his miserliness becomes too extreme, Scrooge’s fate falls out of his own hands and even the heroics of fighting in the zombie takeover cannot redeem him again, as he finds out why that gravestone the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed him had such an early date on it.

Sam and Lizzie are freezing and hungry on the streets of Victorian London. When Sam asks a wealthy man for some coins, he is rudely turned away. Months of struggle suddenly find their focus, and Sam resolves to kill the man. Huddling in a graveyard for warmth, Sam and Lizzie are horrified to see the earth around one of the tombs begin to shift, shortly followed by the wraithlike figure of a ghostly man. He warns Sam about the future which awaits such a bitter heart, and so begins Sam’s journey led by terrifying spirits through the past, present and future, after which Sam must decide whether to take the man, Scrooge’s, life or not.

The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley

The Land of Green GingerWe’ll end our look into the epilogues of our favorite characters with the most upbeat edition (unless you count the heroics of quashing a monster uprising as a happier ending). The Land of Green Ginger will catch you up on the lives of the entire Aladdin crew; from the eponymous carpet-flyer himself to the freed genie and into the second generation, you can learn what happened to each beloved character. The author has even thrown in an adventure with magic and incompetent wizards to fill in all those empty spaces between catching us up in our most complete ‘where are they now’.

This beloved classic is a funny, clever, and original novel that opens with Aladdin, now Emperor of China, trying to decide what to name his new son, a child who won’t stop talking and is already far too articulate for his own good. The Genie of the Lamp announces that Abu Ali should be the child’s name and that his destiny is to rescue the magician who created The Land of Green Ginger (a sort of fabulous floating garden) and then turned himself into a Button-Nosed Tortoise by mistake. Abu Ali is told he is the only one who can find the peripatetic island, locate the Button-Nosed Tortoise and reverse the spell. And so begins a series of adventures that invoke a memorable cast of characters, some despicable, some feckless and some (no surprise) beautiful and feisty. It’s all here – Flying Carpets, Green Dragons, Magic Phoenix Birds, Boomalakka Wee, the dysfunctional infant son of the Genie of the Lamp, the displaced mouse who was supposed to have been a donkey, even Omar Khayyam himself… adding up to a fantastical tale of adventure and mayhem, fabricated by the screenwriter of The Wizard of Oz and illustrated by the inimitable and beloved Edward Ardizzone.

Friday Fiction Feature

FictionReboot2Hello and welcome back to the Friday Fiction Feature! Series Editor Tabatha H. here once again with, surprise-surprise, more monsters! Dear readers, I want you to know that I really was going to lay off of the monsters and mayhem for a while (or at least the monsters). Really! But then I saw these books… For today we’ve got something very special: romance, adventure, mystery, folklore, history, and fairy tales…with a twist. Courtesy of these intrepid authors, you can now reread your favorite literary classics and still not know how it ends or which character you want to punch in the face most as each well-known tale is infested with cyborgs, ghosts, zombies, vampires, and kittens!

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Treasure Island (the sequel) Treasure Islandby Phillip Tomasso III

In keeping with the blog’s joint interests in the medical and fictive worlds, our first contribution is a sequel to the classic Treasure Island featuring the return voyage of the sailor with a heart-of-gold and the pirates who wanted a chest-of-gold as they head back into the grippe of a deadly virus. As English sailors, these men are accustomed to the idea of  deadly viruses . But there’s one problem: they have never faced an un-deadly virus before. What’s a villain to do when shooting the enemy through the heart just wastes ammunition?

A virus similar to the Black Death outbreak has struck England. Mrs. Hawkins soon learns there are things worse than death. The dead have come back to life, and they are hungry.
Jim Hawkins is on his way home with treasure in the belly of the Hispaniola. Captain Smollett is back in charge of the ship, and Long John Silver has agreed to stand trial at home, if only for the chance to make it home.
Wanting only to save his mother and seek sanctuary, Jim realizes survival comes down to instinct and sacrifice in this continuation of Stevenson’s timeless classic, Treasure Island.

Robin Hood & Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers by Paul A. Freeman

Robin Hood & Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers is another sequel in our lineup of ‘extended histories’ showing us yet again that “happily ever after” is a very broad phrase, especially if your heros think an action-packed-thrillride is the only way to really enjoy a slow Monday.

After Robin and Tuck defeated the evil Prince John and condemned him to life as the namesake of all toilets and carried the Sherrif of Rottingham to marry the unsightly village witch (this was an unabridged recreation right?) they went on to fight an even graver foe.

Medieval civilization was under threat from the undead.
Robin Hood & Friar Tuck: Zombie KillersWhen lion-hearted Richard ruled the roost
Of England, he decided that to boost
His regal reputation he should mount
A war to wrest from Turkish men the fount
Of Christendom; yet in that desert land
A zombie plague emerged from midst the sand.
A necromancers alchemistic spell
Reanimated corpses bound for Hell
(And even bound for Heavens pearly gate).
Soon after twas apparent that the fate
Of all on Earth–the evil and the good—
Was in the hands of Robin of the Hood
Whose outlaw men, along with Friar Tuck,
Against rampaging hordes of zombies struck.
They fought to save the likes of you and I,
Not caring that one slip might make them die.
Their tale lies here, within this humble book—
I pray you’ll spare the time to take a look.

(P.S. If this is all written in verse I strongly encourage everyone to buy a copy just on principle.)

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer (Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer #1) by Van Jensen & Dusty Higgins

Pinocchio, Vampire SlayerYou all know Pinocchio the lovable puppet who only wants to be a real boy! Those viewers who watched a little more closely also know Pinocchio the delinquent: the ‘real boy’ who drank liquor, committed theft, and carried out a number of other small crimes. But there is yet another side of this little wooden boy for his audience to meet: Pinocchio Vampire Slayer.

After seeing Geppetto die at the hands of vampires, Pinocchio swears revenge in this darkly funny graphic novel. As the vampires plot the enslavement of mankind, only a one-puppet army stands in their way. But will a wooden boy and his endless supply of stakes – courtesy of plenty of lies and his elongating nose – be enough to save the day?

Android Karenina by Ben H. Winters, Leo Tolstoy, & Eugene Smith

Android KareninaMany know of Leo Tolstoy’s classic Anna Karenina (and some dedicated readers even know the contents of the book too). It is a story of love, hard work, adultery, farms, and the tragic loss of…well, adultery. With Android Karenina you can see the tragedy and romance set against a backdrop of a dystopian world with alien-worship, androids, and space travel. How can true love conquer when the threat of husbands and rust stand in the way!

As in the original novel, our story follows two relationships: the tragic adulterous romance of Anna Karenina and Count Alexei Vronsky, and the much more hopeful marriage of Konstantin Levin and Kitty Shcherbatskaya.These four, yearning for true love, live in a steampunk-inspired 19th century of mechanical butlers, extraterrestrial-worshiping cults, and airborne debutante balls. Their passions alone would be enough to consume them-but when a secret cabal of radical scientific revolutionaries launches an attack on Russian high society’s high-tech lifestyle, our heroes must fight back with all their courage, all their gadgets, and all the power of a sleek new cyborg model like nothing the world has ever seen.”

Mansfield Park and Mummies: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights (Supernatural Jane Austen Series #1) by Vera Nazarian & Jane Austen

Mansfield Park and Mummies: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights Our next novel asks us ‘why stop at just one monster when you can have them all!?’ Mansfield Park and Mummies: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights brings in all of the monsters and dire threats of our preceding selections and mashes them all into a single blood-curdling horror (and not just because of the marriage plot). The first in a series of novels…spicing up some well-worn classics, the Supernatural Jane Austen Series provides readers with another full set of Austen novels to enjoy.

Ancient Egypt infiltrates Regency England in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic monster parody of Jane Austen’s classic novel.
Our gentle yet indomitable heroine Fanny Price must hold steadfast not only against the seductive charms of Henry Crawford but also an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh!
Meanwhile, the indubitably handsome and kind hero Edmund attempts Exorcisms… Miss Crawford vamps out… Aunt Norris channels her inner werewolf… The Mummy-mesmerized Lady Bertram collects Egyptian artifacts…
There can be no doubt that Mansfield Park has become a battleground for the forces of Ancient Evil and Regency True Love!
“Gentle Reader — this Delightful Edition includes Scholarly Footnotes and Appendices.”

The Meowmorphosis by Coleridge Cook & Franz Kafka

Of course, these preceding selections might tend to give our audiences the idea that monsters are invariably bad. We at the Fiction Feature do not condone such one-sided representations of the over-clawed and underprivileged (see our feature on Death–with personality). Carrying on Kafka’s what-the-why-would-what-how-on-huh? spirit of writing, Cook has taken it upon himself to remind us all that kittens are more than YouTube fodder, and in The Meowmorphosis shows us how a kitten can wreak more havok than an unidentifiable bug-monster. (Because when you start with Kafka, the only place to go is what!?).

The Meowmorphosis “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten.”
Thus begins The Meowmorphosis—a bold, startling, and fuzzy-wuzzy new edition of Franz Kafka’s classic nightmare tale, from the publishers of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! Meet Gregor Samsa, a humble young man who works as a fabric salesman to support his parents and sister. His life goes strangely awry when he wakes up late for work and finds that, inexplicably, he is now a man-sized baby kitten. His family freaks out: Yes, their son is OMG so cute, but what good is cute when there are bills piling up? And how can he expect them to serve him meals every day? If Gregor is to survive this bizarre, bewhiskered ordeal, he’ll have to achieve what he never could before—escape from his parents’ house. Complete with haunting illustrations and a provocative biographical exposé of Kafka’s own secret feline life, The Meowmorphosis will take you on a journey deep into the tortured soul of the domestic tabby.

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas by Adam Roberts

Finally, I want to send you off today with another inversion. Surely you remember cheering along when Scrooge saw the light (of the Christmas dawn) and brought a big roast goose to Kermit’s family and thereby cured Tiny Tim (another unabridged version right?). Scrooge learned his lesson from his ghostly business associate and would never harm another living being! But what if I, or rather Adam Roberts, told you that this was the worst possible series of events? What if Scrooge living as a cantankerous old…well, scrooge, was the only way to save Christmas, and life, as we know it?

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for ChristmasIn I am Scrooge the legendary Ebenezeer Scrooge sits in his house counting money. The boards that he has nailed up over the doors and the windows shudder and shake under the blows from the endless zombie hordes that crowd the streets hungering for his flesh and his miserly braaaaiiiiiinns! Just how did the happiest day of the year slip into a welter of blood, innards, and shambling, ravenous undead on the snowy streets of old London town? Will the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future be able to stop the world from drowning under a top-hatted and crinolined zombie horde? Was Tiny Tim’s illness something infinitely more sinister than mere rickets and consumption? Can Scrooge be persuaded to go back to his evil ways, travel back to Christmas past, and destroy the brain stem of the tiny, irritatingly cheery Patient Zero?