Got a rejection today from the Horror Library Vol III for “Routine Maintenance.” I really thought I’d finally found a home for that story…it’s been difficult. On the brighter side, he did invite me to send something else in.
Jeff Parish’s That Ain’t A Mosey is a Wild West zombie adventure, and fun, if a little clunky at times and hardly the most original story in the collection. One is reminded of Joe R. Lansdale’s Jonah Hex adventures.
Found another Triangulation: End of Time review, this one over at GUD. The anthology received an overall favorable review:
I enjoyed this collection, and what pleased me particularly was the variety of takes on the theme. No two stories are alike; no two authors have approached the theme from the same direction. Well worth a read.
This one highlights three stories, two for how original and entertaining they are. The third was my own “That Ain’t a Mosey,” and the reviewer wasn’t a big fan, apparently:
It isn’t all fun and imagination, however. Jeff Parish’s That Ain’t a Mosey stands out for being a routine zombie story, set in the American West. No departures here from convention, I’m afraid, and the story walks an uneasy line between the truly global–America is Coming!–and the very personal–Final Episode (by Katherine Shaw). Is the possible end of the American West truly the End of Time? You decide!
It stings a bit, but as has been pointed out to me a couple of times, reviews are extremely subjective. And so far, the complaints are pretty much the same: It’s a typical zombie story without adding anything new to the genre. I can understand people wanting a new take on things, so that doesn’t particulary bother me. But the fact is, I like the tried and true zombie trope. If that puts me at odds with reviewers, oh, well. The zombie fans should like it. 🙂
At least the reviewers have gotten my name right!
At best some of the stories will stay with you. Though there is a number of old concepts rehashed and some stories are at best competent, overall it’s a nicely satisfying read.
“That Ain’t a Mosey” wasn’t one of his favorites. He echoed Jeremiah Sturgill’s thought that the zombie aspect pretty much stuck with the usual aspects of the genre. But at least he likes the way I write 🙂
That Ain’t a Mosey by Jeff Parish imagines a world reduced to zombies from a single Indian’s arrow. I’m sure that fans of Zombie stories will enjoy this, but personally it felt like a by the numbers affair, which neither added anything to the genre nor granted enough surprises not to finish it with an uninterested shrug. That’s not to say that the story is not well constructed, Parish writes well, but the story could have done with a punchier ending.
Not exactly glowing, but not really bad, either. So far, I haven’t had anyone absolutely pan the story, which is good.
Well, sort of. Mark Watson gives a brief overview of Triangualtion: End of Time over at Best SF. There’s no real critique, but “That Ain’t a Mosey” is one of five stories “picked out for particular praise at a quick re-skim of the volume.” He liked the anthology overall:
The other stories vary from short shorts, to a couple of other substantial stories – mostly pretty fine and dandy, in a volume that gives pretty good value for $12.00 for the deadtree version, and especially good value for $4.00 for the PDF version. Hopefully with some pro-active marketing, and maximum use of the Internet to promote and sell/deliver the book, collections such as these, which would typically have been produced in much lower quality and volumes for local and regional distribution, will have a chance of getting closer to covering cost, or even making a profit!
There’s another look at a few stories in Triangualtion here. Bill Moran doesn’t mention “That Ain’t a Mosey” or anything by any other authors I frequently interact with (such as Mike Stone and his flash “The Bridge”), but he seems to like the anthology, which is the really important point:
Just covering the highlights, this anthology is a must read. Sure, you may not like every story, but each one ends at the beginning of a new story by a new author, and that’s the beauty of any anthology. There are enough winners here to make anyone happy.
I ran a Google search for Triangulation: End of Time just to see what’s out there, and found what I believe to be the first review over at Son and Foe. Jeremiah Sturgill noted that “That Ain’t a Mosey” sticks quite close to the typical zombie trope, which he described as “a bit more ‘typical’ than I would prefer” — the only negative for the story, if you really want to call it that.
Then again, why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to? Fans of zombie stories will likely get a kick out of this one, and I have an inordinate fondness for the line from which the story’s name is pulled. Call me crazy, but I think it’s just plain good writing.
Sturgill seemed to like the anthology overall, saying its only real weakness is the range of stories, which go from my Old West tale to alternate universes.
But then, that’s not so much a design flaw as it is a conscious trade off, and one that is not a bad choice for an anthology to make. The stories collected in Triangulation: End of Time will help expand your reading horizons, and they will help scratch your very particular, hard-to-reach, highly personal speculative fiction itch. Not bad for $12.