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Kelly Link, Some Zombie Contingency Plans

Kelly Link, Some Zombie Contingency Plans

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4.03

(386)
|Views: 4,744 |Likes:
Published by Gavin Grant
Kelly Link's story "Some Zombie Contingency Plans" was originally published in her collection, Magic for Beginners.
Kelly Link's story "Some Zombie Contingency Plans" was originally published in her collection, Magic for Beginners.

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Publish date: Jul 1, 2005
Added to Scribd: Oct 02, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike

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08/21/2013

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Mike said it was a painting of an iceberg.
 
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Some Zombie Contingency Plans 
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being lost in the woods.This guy Soap is at a party out in the suburbs. The thing you need toknow about Soap is that he keeps a small framed oil painting in the trunkof his car. The painting is about the size of a paperback novel. WhereverSoap goes, this oil painting goes with him. But he leaves the painting in thetrunk of his car, because you dont walk around a party carrying a painting.People will think you’re weird.Soap doesn’t know anyone here. He’s crashed the party, which is whathe does now, when he feels lonely. On weekends, he just drives around thesuburbs until he finds one of those summer twilight parties that are so bigthat they spill out onto the yard.Kids are out on the lawn of a two-story house, lying on the damp grassand drinking beer out of plastic cups. Soap has brought along a six-pack.It’s the least he can do. He walks through the house, past four black guyssitting all over a couch. They’re watching a football game and there’s somemusic on the stereo. The television is on mute. Over by the TV, a whitegirl is dancing by herself. When she gets too close to it, the guys on thecouch start complaining.Soap finds the kitchen. There’s one of those big professional ovens anda lot of expensive-looking knives stuck to a magnetic strip on the wall.
 
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Some Zombie Contingency Plans

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malrubius reviewed this
Tone is too cute for my particular disposition.
aliceunderskies reviewed this
Rated 4/5
The rare beast: a short story collection that I love. "Stone Animals" is absolutely brilliant & amazing--why do I not own this book so I can reread that story alone on a regular basis?
alwright1_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
After loving Pretty Monsters Stories, I set out to read whatever I could find from Kelly Link. I did enjoy many of the short stories in this collection Magic for Beginners, but in some of the stories, the delightfully strange and imaginative narration became too dreamlike in that it never seemed to move forward.For instance, I loved the premise of "Stone Animals." I was excited about the characters, the house, and the rabbits, just about everything, but every day, it just kept being the same characters, the same house, the same rabbits, and it never progressed or changed. It seemed like a very, very long writing exercise in strange details. "The Hortlak" dragged similarly for me. I imagine it is me not "getting it," which makes me sad, because I enjoy Kelly Link's mind so much. I really liked "Catskin," "Some Zombie Contingency Plans," and "Lull," but I think my favorites were still the two that were included in Pretty Monsters as well. (I love "The Library" so much I started reading aloud to John on a car trip just to share it.)
raschneid_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
This may be a perfect book of short stories, or Kelly Link may just be the perfect writer of spooky, poignant, surreal, fantastical, metafictional, and endlessly inventive short fiction.

Link deftly walks the line between literary and genre fiction; she's equally comfortable borrowing from Buffy or Borges. Short stories sometimes fail to draw me in because they deal with their subject matter in a cursory manner, but in this case boredom was never a problem. Link's stories are inhabited by lively characters who keep you caring and guessing, and she tends toward longer, more substantial short fiction.

As with other writers of dark/horror-infused fantasy, mysterious and unresolved endings are par for the course. Links' endings don't feel lazy or careless and are only noticeable when you read several stories back to bback. I wouldn't say the endings are as uniformly strong as the beginnings and middles, but they generally work and feel right.

Meets and exceeds my previous encounters with Link's work, and quite possibly pushes her into the select canon of my favorite fantasy writers. Amazingly there was NOT a quote from Neil Gaiman anywhere on this book, which is unusual for my reading. However, there was a Diana Wynne Jones reference in one of the stories, so I am content.

Also, speaking of metafiction, only a few days before starting this book I'd (a) gotten my first library job and (b) visited the Garment District thrift store in Boston - and the first story in this collection begins with a description of the Garment District and has scenes in libraries. It was like a spooky Easter egg just for me.
melanti_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I still don't know what to say about this collection.

I liked the style of writing. It felt like a friend was sitting in front of me telling me the stories. But... I found the majority of the stories rather incomprehensible. Most start in the beginning of their story and work their way both ways -- alternating flashbacks with things that are currently happening. Some have no discernible plot and others have either no resolution or an unsatisfactory one.

Two of my favorites in the collection -- Stone Animals and Magic for Beginners -- get to an interesting part where something new happens, or you feel it's just about to happen, then end before you figure out exactly what has happened.

Overall, it wasn't a bad selection, but it wasn't quite my cup of tea either. Though they might fare better on a re-read than they did the first go around.
disquiet_1 reviewed this
This collection of short stories by Kelly Link takes its title from one of its best, a tale that seems to simultaneously dismember and celebrate fandom of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There are stories here that are so deep in meta and/or fantasy that they're too rich for my blood, and it's on par with China Miéville at times in terms of fiction that's as much if not more about the beauty of its language as about the story the language is purportedly serving. Link's perception of story as something that one might elect to hold at a distance is especially apparent in the book's closing tale, "Lull," in which stories are told within stories told within stories, moving forward and backward, referencing and nudging each other. A looser interrelatedness applies to the book as a whole. Matters of foxes, and people seeing their lives in fiction, and mysterious phone calls, among other things, occur in such a manner that the connections seem purposeful, even if the stories were written over the course of at least three or four years.
amyjmerrick reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This short-story collection ranges from the nearly realistic to the barely comprehensible, depending on how far Link lets her imagination roam. She’s at her best when her stories have a consistent internal logic, and I prefer the ones where the fantasy is contained in a smaller capsule. In “The Faery Handbag,” for example, all the unbelievable events are part of a legend told by the narrator’s grandmother. The more characters discredit their own stories, the more I feel their desperation to believe them. In those moments, the fantastic elements become a way to express longings that can’t be satisfied.
kinsey_m reviewed this
Rated 4/5
A wonderful collection of short stories that will remain with you for years after you've read them. I bought the book because I had read "Lull" in a collection of stories by various authours and had loved it. It is still one of my favourites, together with stone animals and magic for beginners (I'd give five stars to any of these individual stories). I agree with another reviewer in that I did not like "the canon", in fact I didn't even finish it, but as it's only 4 or 5 pages long it's not as you are losing that much. It just seems weird to include it in this book, like it doesn't belong here.Kelly Link's writing is wonderful, she really makes you believe in the characters and the impossible situations. Great settings too. Not for people who don't enjoy experimental stuff, but if you do, don't miss it.
chrisriesbeck reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Fantasy, New Yorker style, but well-done enough to mostly please even someone like myself who doesn't like New Yorker stories. I disliked only one story, "Some Zombie Contingency Plans," whose title screams New Yorker and accurately so. My favorites were "The Faery Handbag," unabashedly fantasy, if you include Lafferty and John Crowley in your fantasy mix, and "Stone Animals," a tale of a haunted house with no ghosts, fair companion to Shirley Jackson. "Magic for Beginners" and "Lull" were fine but probably should not both have appeared at the end, since both work a bit heavily the tale within a tale theme. Don't expect resolutions. Just ride along for the frequent delicately carved phrase and wryly drawn characters.
isabelx_21 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
The woman stood and flicked through magazines, and at some point she realized that the man standing there with his eyes closed was wearing pajamas. She stopped reading through People magazine and started reading Batu's pajamas instead. Then she gasped, and poked Batu with a skinny finger."Where did you get those?" she said. "How on earth did you get those?" Batu opened his eyes. "Excuse me," he said. "May I help you find something?""You're wearing my diary," the woman said. Her voice went up and up in a wail. "That's my handwriting! That's the diary I kept when I was fourteen! But it had a lock on it, and I hid it underneath my mattress, and I never let anyone read it. Nobody ever read it!"What is your Zombie Contingency Plan? According to Soap in the story of that name, everyone should have one . . . just in case.The book starts with a tale about a village hidden inside a dog-skin handbag, and it is followed by some equally inventive and varied stories. "Hortlak", doesn’t seem to be fantasy at first, until you realise that the convenience store worker who refers to some of his customers as zombies isn’t just being insulting. Other stories that I loved were "The Stone Rabbits" about an unusual haunted house, and the title story, in which a group of teenage friends are brought together my their love of a mysterious and irregularly scheduled cult TV series. I didn’t like the non-story "The Cannon", and the book ended with one of the weaker stories, the backwards time-travel story "The Lull", but I loved the other seven stories.I'd never heard of Kelly Link until someone on the fantasywithbite Live Journal community recommended her, but I put this book on my wish list and came across it in the 'bad' bookshop in Birmingham (the source of many temptations at £1 per book). I'm a short story fan anyway, and this is one of the better collections of fantasy stories out there, so I will definitely be on the lookout for her other books.

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