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Archive for January, 2010

Zombieman Zero: Death is Not an Option


Ted Seko’s favorite movie is The Omega Man. He also likes Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green, and (I presume) Charlton Heston.

Seko, a talented artist from Torrance, Calif., has parleyed his obsession with World Gone Mad movies into a brand new comic book called Zombieman Zero, A Science Fiction Comic Book Fantasy. See the promo trailer here.

Like the movies he loves, Seko has delivered a Post Apocalyptic comic book with a “freakin’ hardcore hero.” In line with Heston’s memorable movie characters, Zombieman Zero fights for mankind (The Omega Man), for the truth (Soylent Green), and for Lady Liberty (Planet of the Apes). “The funny thing is,” writes Seko, “even in Pre Apocalypse we all struggle desperately to survive and find peace.” That’s true, but thankful we have yet to encounter any mutant cults, talking apes, or evil companies like Soylent Corporation. For the first issue of Zombieman Zero, contact the artist at pictureperfectpress@hotmail.com

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Jeff Somers goes Hollywood!

When I first became aware of Jeff Somers, he was living in a hovel in Jersey City (as was I, though we only communicated with one another online) and editing the wonderful fanzine The Inner Swine (What was he a fan of? Why Jeff Somers of course! The zine’s slogan was “Everyone’s An Asshole, Especially Us.”) We’ve both since moved on—now Jeff lives in tony Hoboken and writes the neat Avery Cates series of SF novels and, garsh, I live in tony Berkeley CA and edit SF novels. Must have been something in the Jersey City water. You know, lead. See, we know stuff about slums. And things online.

Jeff was pleased to blurb the forthcoming Slum Online, writing, “Online slummer Etsuro’s quest to find and defeat ‘Ganker Jack’ is exhilarating, but his parallel search for love and purpose (and a blue cat) in Real Life is just as affecting. Intriguing, thought-provoking, and unexpectedly action-packed!” He’s right.

You’ll be hearing more from Jeff in the future since SONY just bought the movie rights to Jeff’s novel series. Clearly, given the parallel tracks of our lives, soon my own biography will be made into an anime. Right? Right?

Anyway—Slum Online, coming soon. Jeff Somers likes it. Everyone likes Jeff Somers. So everyone will like Slum Online. That’s math!

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The evening meal was punctually observed. In fact, this was the only part of the schedule that was. Like clockwork, the five Chinese strictly adhered to the two-hour meal period, but there was no private time afterward. The five crew members never observed the scheduled start of the sleep period at 22:00. Instead of private time, they worked late into the night on facility repairs, harvesting the experiments in the White Tiger module and preparing for the next day’s tasks. Once, around 4:00 a.m., Sohya woke to use the toilet and heard the animated voices of Peng and Cui coming from the White Tiger module, audible over the round-the-clock basso profundo hum of fans that pervaded the base. It sounded more like an argument than a discussion.

And after every task was completed, there was communication with Beijing Flight Control. Cui had constantly checked his wearcom during that first day’s tour―not only to monitor the time, but to send text updates to Beijing. His refusal to do updates via voice link reflected his irritation with having to do it at all. This was not hard to understand. It was his duty to contact Control even when he visited the toilet.

Yet there were times when Cui set aside his usual dour mood. One evening after dinner, Ma suggested they watch a movie together, and Cui revealed another side to his personality.

The movie was not streamed from Earth. Ma had carried it with him on a memory card. It was not the kind of entertainment Beijing would have transmitted via one of their communications satellites; it was an erotic comedy from Hong Kong. Taé averted her face in confusion. Sohya was embarrassed for her, but Cui paid no attention. For a short time, he became a different person, exploding with laughter throughout the film. Still, the rest of the time he remained difficult to approach, while Commander Peng and Jiang were easy to deal with.

After several days, the reason for the irregular scheduling suddenly dawned on Sohya.


“That’s… the elevated freight road. What they used to call the highway.”

“It’s the North-South Line,” Ayumi said nonchalantly. “It’s bright,” Mio said, and she lowered her binoculars.

“It’s the lamps on the side of the road. This makes everything look a lot brighter.”

“You can’t see without that thing?”

“Human eyes aren’t that good. If you can see it, that means you’re the unusual one, Kono.”

Mio shrugged, bored, and approached Ayumi, holding the piercing between her fingertips and bringing it up near Ayumi’s cheek.

She wasn’t sure what it was reflecting—Hazuki thought maybe the moonlight—but for a moment, the pink stone glittered.


Ayumi moved only the pupils of her large eyes over to where the object reflected light.

“What about this?” she said.

“This was left at my house.”


“Isn’t it yours?”

Mio leaned in toward Ayumi.

“It isn’t?”

Ayumi suddenly dropped her shoulders as if they lost all strength, and crossed her arms. She compared facial expressions on Hazuki and Mio.

“You came all the way here… for that?”

“Was that wrong?”

“It’s weird.”

“It’s fun,” Mio said as she walked around Ayumi.


“Yeah. Isn’t it, Makino?”


What does fun feel like? Hazuki wondered.

But before she could answer her question, Ayumi plucked the piercing from Mio.

“This thing.” Ayumi stared into it.

“I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that,” Mio said.

“Then we’ll just have to put it on you after you’ve died,” Ayumi said.

Mio narrowed her eyes.

“I’ll let you because you’re special. But if it’s not yours or Makino’s, whose is it?”

“This is Yabe’s.”


Yuko Yabe… soaked by the rain, pale skin. Pink pupils.

It matches her pink contacts, Hazuki thought.

“You mean that Yabe?”

“You know any other Yuko Yabes?”

“No… but why would Yabe’s piercing be in my house? I don’t even know what she looks like. I’ve never connected with her online and her house is nowhere near mine.”

Her house was far from hers?

Nowhere near?

If Mio said so…

But that day… Yuko Yabe was in Section C, where Mio lived. Moreover, that girl with the drenched pink hair was the one who told Ayumi and Hazuki exactly which building Mio lived in. What was that all about? Was that some kind of mistake?

Could have been a mistake, Hazuki thought.

Just because they’d seen and heard her didn’t make it a reality.

“It’s my fault.” Ayumi said unexpectedly.

“Your fault?”

“I had a physical exchange with Yuko Yabe a couple nights ago.”

Real contact? You met?”

“Liar,” Hazuki blurted out.

“Liar?” Ayumi made a puzzled look.

Ayumi didn’t meet with people.

Ayumi hated being looked at directly.

Ayumi would never exchange words directly with someone.

Ayumi had never even made eye contact with Hazuki.



Yuko Yabe and Ayumi…

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