Slaughter the Tropes

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We all know and love a good zombie flick. We know the tropes: the girl who walks away at the end covered in blood; the slowly opening door and the shamble, all background noise going dead; the sound of someone crying and the hero walking towards the sound, only to find a zombie at the end of the hallway.

You can’t have a zombie story without these things. But some people have a knack for looking at a story we all know and understand, and turning it on its head. Making it just familiar enough to bring us along for the ride, and just strange enough to make us love every moment.

World War Z was that kind of book, a zombie infestation at the macro- and micro- level, a globalized world in a globalized epidemic, everyone responding in ways that made sense.

Raising Stony Marshall is that kind of book, too. What if there were a zombie who was a baby? What if that dead baby grew into a boy, then a man?

If zombies weren’t just shambling hulks, what would they be? What would they mean? How would we deal?

That’s what the immaculate Daryl Gregory asked himself. That’s the story we lucky readers got. Tropes both present and sliced open, exposed, completely understood and embraced for themselves, and yet re-framed so expertly it’s like you’re reading the story for the first time.

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