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Month in review

Reviews:
The Alarming Letters from Scottsdale by Warner Law
Brother by James Fredericks
Bubbles Betrothed by Sarah Strohmeyer
Bunny Modern by David Bowman
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille by Steven Brust
A Day With My Dad by Lance Waite
Dirt: An American Campaign by Mark LaFlamme
Divine Freefall by Beth Wiseman
50/50 by Dean Karnazes
Game Widow by Wendy Kays
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
How the Day Runs Down by John Langan
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
Jim the Boy by Tony Earley
Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore
Margarettown by Garbrielle Zevin
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Memphis: Objects, Furniture & Patterns by Richard Horn
The Minutemen's Witch by Charles Coleman Finlay
The New Writer's Handbook by Ted Kooser
One Crossed Out by Fanny Howe
The Once and Future Celt by Bill Watkins
Peter Hatches and Egg by Louise Bienvenu-Brialmont
Raindrop Plop! by
Ripley Under Water by Patricia Highsmith
A Skeptical Spirit by Albert E. Cowdrey
Smash Trash by Laura Driscoll
Sunsets and Shooting Stars by Rick Seidel
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
Uh-oh, Calico! by Karma Wilson
We Come Not to Praise Washington by Charles Coleman Finlay
Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz
Zodiac by Neal Stephenson

Don Quixote:
Book 3
Book 4: Chapters 28-37
Book 4: End of Part 1

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish


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How the Day Runs Down: 12/20/08

The last Fantasy & Science Fiction story for 2008 is "How the Day Runs Down " by John Langan. It was first published in The Living Dead earlier this year. The title of the anthology pretty much gives away the subject matter.

Zombies, take them or leave them. They're not an instant win for me. My enjoyment of Langan's story was tainted by a very funny Zero Punctuation! review of Left 4 Dead. Had I not just watched and giggled along to his take on Zombies, I might have enjoyed the story more.

There are two things that save the "How the Day Runs Down " from a negative review: its format and its ending. Langan's choice to write the story as a play with included stage directions. I think this is my first zombie (or eater as the Stage Manager calls them) play. It reminded me a bit of the F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned. If Fitzgerald were to have written a zombie story, it might have been something like "How the Day Runs Down. "

The ending, while not a complete surprise (there are very rarely surprises in zombie stories) is an interesting twist. The ending reveals the truth behind the zombie play and the Stage Manager's role in the play and beyond. Like a good Twilight Zone episode, the ending leaves more questions asked than answered.

"How the Day Runs Down " is one of the best zombie stories I've read but it's sill a zombie story. If I were a fan of zombies, I would have loved the story. As I'm not, it liked the story for Langan's skill in telling it.

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