cover image Reboots: Undead Can Dance

Reboots: Undead Can Dance

Mercedes Lackey and Cody Martin. Caezik SF & Fantasy, $27.99 (300p) ISBN 978-1-64710-022-3

Lackey (the Valdemar series) and Martin (the Secret World Chronicles series) go all in on the offbeat, crafting a universe where vampires, werewolves, and zombies are real—and also astronauts. Normal humans (“Norms”) have dealt with the problems created by ferocious undead beings by shipping them off-planet. Their ensuing spacefaring adventures are chronicled here in four parts. Part one, “Bad Moon Rising,” introduces talking zombie Skinny Jim who conceals his ability to speak to avoid being exterminated after an ill-fated war launched by a zombie emperor, a conflict that led to an alliance between Norms, the Fangs, and the Furs. Part two, “Just the Right Bullets,” leans heavily on Casablanca and Maltese Falcon references, introducing an ethereal parahuman PI named Boggart who quotes Rick Blaine. Boggart recurs in the following sections as well, which continue to navigate interspecies relationships in claustrophobic extraterrestrial environments. Most of the humor works (“There’s not a lot of intellectual stimulation amongst Zombies, if you don’t count munching on the occasional rehydrated brain. You don’t find us sitting around discussing Kierkegaard”) and the fast pace keeps the pages turning. The light approach, signaling that the authors aren’t taking this genre mash-up too seriously, helps suspend disbelief. It’s unfettered oddball entertainment. (Nov.)