People who speak for me

Back when I was a high school teacher, I had a 40-minute commute each way, and I listened to a lot of audio books. Most were just okay. But I realized early on that when an audio book is terrible, it’s probably the book’s fault. No actor can save a bad book.

But when an audio book is great, it’s because they’ve found a great actor to go with a great book.

David MarantzWith the audio version of Raising Stony Mayhall, I felt extremely lucky to get David Marantz. He’s great–which means that if the book fails for you, it’s all my fault.

What I love about Dave’s performance is that his rich voice brings so much warmth to the book–which you really need in a novel that’s supposed to be about the nicest zombie in the world.

And Dave likes the book. My friend Marjie Nye pointed this out to me: has a page for their voice actors to post videos about The Best Book I’ve Ever Narrated. Scroll down that page to see Dave’s entry about about why he dug Stony.  (Or, just buy the audible version!)

Tavia GilbertAfterparty will also be available from They just finished recording, and while I haven’t heard it yet, I’ve talked to the actor and I’ve got that lucky feeling again.

The fabulous Tavia Gilbert is narrating this one. She contacted me early on to clarify some pronunciations of names in the book, and we talked on the phone a bit about the main character Lyda and her alter ego Dr. Gloria: two voices, one brain. I’m psyched to hear the results, and I’ll post a link when the audio book’s available.

Update: The version of Afterparty is now available for preorder!


Audible Stony: Best Zombie Book of the Year released their Best of 2011 List, and Raising Stony Mayhall is their Best Zombie Book of the year.  (Audible didn’t make a category for horror, but they did for zombies — which just goes to show you, those living dead guys will take over everything.) My thanks to everyone who downloaded and rated the book!

If you’re the type to read books through your ears, you can buy the book here. The narrator, a voice actor named David Marantz, does a fantastic job.

Librarians dig the Stony

The Library Journal just released their Top 10 Science Fiction and Fantasy books for 2011, and Raising Stony Mayhall made the list, along with books by some other guys. (This kid George RR Martin is supposed to be pretty good, I hear.)

Back in July, LJ gave Stony a starred review — but my Google alerts failed me, and this was the first I heard about it. Their review, in its entirety, was this:  “Part superhero fiction, part zombie horror story, and part supernatural thriller, this luminous and compelling tale deserves a wide readership beyond genre fans.”

In other review news, Paul Witcover just reviewed the book in Realms of Fantasy Magazine. The magazine is going out of business again (it’s happened a couple times before), but perhaps it will rise again, just like… but you know where I’m going with this. Here’s part of what Mr. Witcover had to say:

Richly imaginative, surprisingly funny, both grippingly and sensitively told, the novel is by turns nostalgic, grim, and redemptive. It’s also got real crossover potential, yet it will also satisfy the most demanding zombiephiles. This is a book that has brains… and eats them too.

Farewell, RoF — we hardly knew ye.

Cluting Stony Mayhall

But if it is a stricture to suggest that apophasis-ridden SF texts are time-wasters (I do mean to suggest that), then Wilson and Gregory are exempt…

That’s the logline, more or less, of John Clute’s review of Robert Charles Wilson’s Vortex and my book Raising Stony Mayhall. I love reading Clute’s reviews and essays, even when they’re not about me (and they’re never about me — this is the first), if only because I have to work so hard to figure out if I’m getting scammed. Is he serious? Is this a con job? Can a guy really create, unilaterally, new critical terms, define them as he sees fit, then club you over the head with them? And get away with it?

As it turns out, yes, yes he can. Because Clute thinks hard about SF, fantasy, and horror, and he’s wicked smart. I’ve learned a lot from his essays and interviews, not the least of which is at least one new vocabulary term per outing. (“Apophasis”, as it turns out, is a real word. I looked it up. Later in the review he uses the phrase “apophatic-lock-in.” Bonus!)  And as you can see from this blog post, if you’ve read some Clute recently, it’s inevitable that soon you’ll be writing long sentences with an inordinate number of commas and coining terms like Cluted and Clutastic-Lock-In.

Clute’s review (and isn’t it fun to say Clute? Clute Clute Clute) isn’t going to sell more copies of RSM. In fact, it may scare off a few people, by making the novel seem like a brainy deconstructionist exercise in genre-bending wankery. Which it is, in part. I only have three themes in my fiction — messiahs, the mind-body problem, and mash-ups (of genres, that is) — and RSM hits all three of those, but especially doth whale upon the genre-warping whammy bar. But as a writer, it pleases me  to have a critic like Mr. C take the book seriously for what I was trying to say about SF, fantasy, and horror  –or as he calls it, the metatext. When he says, “The first hundred pages of the book, which are sustainedly engrossing, contains some of the most quietly virtuoso negotiations of the SF megatext I’ve run across for a long time,” I get all glow-y inside. (Or perhaps that’s the Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA I just drank. Regardless…) The glow fades a bit when he says the rest of the book isn’t as good as that first hundred, I have to remind myself that he called RSM and Vortex two of the best SF books of the year.

So he liked it, right?




Stony Lives!

A reader of Stony wrote me and said that I ought to make “Stony Lives!” posters. So, courtesy of the amazing Scott Godlewski (the main artist behind the first comic I worked on, Dracula: The Company of Monsters), here’s a recruitment poster for The Living Dead Army.

Shall we make T-shirts?

In other zombie news…

Del Rey did a lovely thing at Comic Con: they did a massive giveaway of my first novel, Pandemonium, and I sat and signed them for an hour and a half, all as a way of fooling people into buying copies of Raising Stony Mayhall. This scheme kind of worked. Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, which had a booth next door, sold out all their copies, including the copies that Del Rey gave them. Thanks to everyone who came by. Hope you dig it.

io9 recently ran an interview with me, “Why Daryl Gregory created a zombie messiah for Raising Stony Mayhall“. Just for the record, I know how to spell “xenophobia.” But the interview was done over the phone, so that word became the phonetic equivalent “zenophobia”, which as one commenter pointed out, may be a reference to my fear of Greek philosophers. I think it’s a reference to my fear of half measures. (Ha! That’s a Zeno’s Paradox joke. I kill me.)

Faren Miller recently reviewed Stony in Locus, and it’s been posted online. It starts with this:

Raising Stony Mayhall should add to Daryl Gregory’s reputation as a dazzling innovator, despite being set in an alternate history whose starting point comes from the realm of pulpish horror: the zombie invasion in Night of the Living Dead

and ends with this:

…in the terms of literary scholars, Daryl Gregory has ‘‘deconstructed’’ the familiar zombie story, providing a self-reflective ‘‘meta’’ take on it. Fortunately for the rest of us, Raising Stony Mayhall is also a fast-paced, exciting narrative laced with both humor and moments of pathos.

So that was nice. And a while later the San Francisco Book Review  appeared:  “In short, this is a remarkable book about what it means to be alive. It’s destined to be a classic. Read it and find out why.”

I like reviews that end in commands.

Burn Notice: The Stony Review Roundup

So, some reviews of Raising Stony Mayhall have popped into my mailbox this morning.

Library Journal gave it a star, and ended their review with this:

The author of The Devil’s Alphabet and Pandemonium has written a masterly tale of love that defies standard limits. Stony Mayhall emerges as a unique character, defined by the people who love him, at war with his own identity, and driven to create his own definition of “being human.” VERDICT Part superhero fiction, part zombie horror story, and part supernatural thriller, this luminous and compelling tale deserves a wide readership beyond genre fans. Highly recommended.

And Karen Burnham at SF Signal gave Stony a five-star review. She starts with “So where to begin? Well, let’s start with Stony, the best zombie character ever.” She discusses many of the plot elements, themes, and techniques of the book, but then says, “I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Raising Stony Mayhall is also a lot of fun… He’s playing with the forms, asking questions that only parodists or satirists usually ask.”

And then she ends with this:

I suspect (and hope) that with the upcoming publication of Gregory’s first collection of short stories (Unpossible and Other Stories, Fall 2011), more thorough critical attention will be heading his way. More than many novelists, Gregory’s work not only withstands but grows richer with re-readings and sustained attention.

Last but not least, Kel Munger of the Sacramento News and Report. became so engrossed in Stony that he got a sunburn.

So the score this week  for those playing at home: One star, five stars, and intense solar radiation. I’m happy.

More Stony Giveaways

Over on the SF Signal website, you can win a copy of Raising Stony Mayhall just by leaving a comment.  How easy is that?

Here’s the deal. I wrote an article called Anti-Horror: A Modest Proposal for Yet Another Subgenre. It semi-seriously proposes a new branch of fantasy called anti-horror (which I’ve of course placed my novels in), and asks for other examples of books that would become canon in this new subgenre. Why not play along? All you can lose is your time, and you may win a book.

Pimping Stony Mayhall

Hi, folks.

RSM coverMy third novel, Raising Stony Mayhall, will be out in stores on June 28. The book is my skewed take on the zombie genre, featuring a kid who thinks he’s the last living dead boy in the world. Publisher’s Weekly just gave it a starred review and named it their Pick of the Week — which is nice. You can also read the prologue and the first chapter at

If you pre-order Stony, I’ like to thank you by sending you a signed bookplate. (Which is just a fancy sticker with my actual, not-scanned, handwritten signature and a nice thank-you message that you can paste into your book.)  And if you do so right away, I’ll throw in these lovely Ginsu knives. Okay, that last part’s a lie. Sorry about that.

How to do it

Just pre-order from anywhere (some possible links below), then, before June 28, send me an email with your mailing address. That’s it. No proof of purchase necessary, though if you send me box tops from your favorite cereal, that’s cool.

I’ll mail you the bookplate, with of course an inscription. Make sure to let me know if you’d like me to mention something specific–like, say, that this a gift for your beloved spouse, ex-girlfriend, or dog. However, I will not participate in gifts for beloved ex-dogs.

The best place to order is your local bookstore — support those people! But you can also order from any of these fine places, listed in alphabetical order:
Barnes & Noble
Flights of Fantasy Books (great indie bookstore)
Powell’s Books

Feel free to pass this link around. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.

How to keep your favorite authors around

If you have a writer you love (you know, besides me), pre-ordering their books really helps them out. Bookstores are increasingly deciding on what to stock on their shelves based on the number of pre-orders. So if you already know you’re going to buy the book, buy it early. And if you love it, make sure to leave a review online–those reader reviews sometimes have more of an impact than magazine reviews.

Free Stony! Free Him Now!

Over on, we’re giving away 20 copies of Raising Stony Mayhall. It’s been up for a day, and we have (as of the moment I type this) 170 172 people signed up. (I need to publish this quick.)

( 5/22/11 udpate: We’re up to 420 people, with 9 days to go…)

But even if you win, you’ll want a second copy for your mom. Moms love zombies. You can pre-order at any of these fine establishments:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Powell’s Books.

RSM cover