Posts Tagged ‘R.G. Bullet’

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The Caldecott Chronicles No. 1 – a review

July 2, 2012

Victorian England. Zombies. With an intro like this I was immediately reminded of the dire Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and more than a little apprehensive. Luckily, I was positively surprised by R.G. Bullet’s first YA book (or rather, “excerpt”) The Caldecott Chronicles. It’s a very short book, so this review will also be a compact one.

The short book of 120 pages is written in the form of a diary, and it details the exploits of the 32nd Earl of Rothshire. In 1896 everyone – aristocrat and peasant alike – is inexplicably hungering for warm flesh, and the fine Earl must adjust with the aid of a young peasant girl and a fine Purdey shotgun. What follows is a lot of fun.

What makes The Caldecott Chronicles so enjoyable? Since I can’t avoid comparisons with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, here goes. TCC isn’t too over the top. You won’t find ninjas, katanas, Shaolin monks or any of that here. What you will find is bear traps, steam technology and a somewhat stiff upper lip. Bullet is also a pretty fluent writer, and the book is an easy read. While not quite reaching “hilarious”, the book did give me a fair few chuckles mostly relating to the polite and reserved mindset of the main protagonist. The book is fairly well grounded in the period, and there weren’t any glaring historical errors. All in all, TCC was what I had hoped PaPaZ to be.

As mentioned, TCC is a quick read. I read it via Amazon’s Kindle cloud on my Android phone, and the book was nicely suited to that platform. The second book is available now, with more on the way soon.

Overall verdict: The Caldecott Chronicles nicely combines the elegance of Victorian England with shambling undead. The result is a fun, humorous mix of period and zombie fiction, and yet another great YA book. Definitely worth getting, if you’re looking to grab a quick bite-sized read.

At $3.44 from Amazon it’s a steal – and if that’s too high for you, you can get it for free for a limited time.

You can read my interview with R.G. Bullet here!

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Author interview – RG Bullet

June 27, 2012

It’s time for another author interview, this time with RG Bullet, the author of The Caldecott Chronicles – a new series of zombie fiction set in Victorian England. A review of the first book will follow eventually!

DotL: My usual question: why zombies?

RGB: They remind of my neighbors (both sides), the people I went to school with, and of course, myself. All-in-all we are somewhat predictable, smelly and driven by very base emotions.

DotL: The Caldecott Chronicles isn’t the first book combining 19th century Britain with zombies. What is the appeal in combining those two seemingly very distant genres?

RGB: I was going to stretch the zombie apocalypse back to Neanderthal times but knew I’d get hopelessly confused when it came to the fight scenes. I am British and whether my fellow “Limeys” admit it or not there is still quite dogged mentality that stems from the Victorian period. And even if there isn’t –we’re still perceived that way in Hollywood. The Victorian era encapsulates all this and is a superb mix of duty, social structure and daring adventure. Think Sherlock Holmes or Michael Caine in Iron Man or Zulu. But it’s not all stiff stuff as you can read from the stories as they unfold – eccentricity and humour is there too.

DotL: Why did you pick the style you did – journal entries, that is?

RGB: It’s was a challenge to pull it off in the form of journal entries but I enjoyed the process. I had written my middle grade adventure, The 58th Keeper in a third person narrative and although it is powerful, I felt I wanted to tackle this adventure differently. First person is always much more intimate and there’s no buffer when it comes to action. I needed to place the reader straight into the mind of the Earl – so they walk in his shoes and familiarise themselves with his hurdles.

DotL: What about the YA demographic? What lead you to target that?

RGB: When I wrote the middle grade novel, I had to withhold the spontaneous rage even if children can sometimes express it. Although it is an adventure story it still had to be tempered to appeal to children aged 8-13. The Caldecott Chronicles was my way of taking the gloves off.

DotL: What are your favourite zombie book/movie picks? The more obscure the better!

RGB: Romero’s originals/re-makes are tough to knock. Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland were great fun. And as far as books go–I really enjoy Jonathan Maberry’s stories.

DotL: Literature-wise, what does the future hold for Mr. Bullet? More Chronicles on the way?

RGB: For now I am going to concentrate on short stories. My goal is to make them fun, addictive and affordable. I want to squeeze as much as I can into a small package, so the reader is happily hooked. That’s why I got the superb illustrations by Michael Gray. The Caldecott Chronicles is my first real stab at all that.

DotL: Last but not least, how would you rate your chances of survival in a zombie apocalypse?

RGB: Wholly useless. I’d be first “meat.” My neighbors (having read the above comments) would gather around me and say: “He knows all about Zombies! Get him out there to find an escape route!” and I’d say, “I…I just… write stuff. It’s fiction! I don’t really know about flesh eating idiots except you lot. No wait! I didn’t mean it like that. It was a joke. Don’t push me…Aaargh!”

DotL: RG Bullet, thanks for taking the time to do this interview and all the best!

RGB: Thanks for inviting me, Mikko. I look forward to coming back soon.

For more info on Mr. Bullet, go check out his homepage and blog. The first two books of  The Caldecott Chronicles are out now, with 3, 4 and 5 upcoming soon. The first book of the series is currently available for free, so definitely check it out – it has the DotLOSoZA (Dawn of the Lead Official Seal of Zombie Approval), which I just came up with.

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