Thursday, February 2, 2012

Zombies Vs. Unicorns: A Short Story Anthology with Gay and Lesbian Characters!

Zombies Vs. Unicorns, Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

I found out about "Zombies Vs. Unicorns" when I interviewed Scott Westerfeld at KidLitCon 2011:

Reading this anthology was remarkably fun.

The stories are intercut with the ongoing argument between Justine and Holly, about which are better, Zombies or Unicorns.  And, perhaps more important, which are better to write about?

The anthology includes twelve alternating skin-shedding and spiral-horned adventures, three of which have main queer characters:

The Highest Justice by Garth Nix

A Princess' journey to her father, with her recently dead and now Zombie mother/Queen, wouldn't be possible without the help of Elibet.  A Unicorn. Who has his own view of justice.

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson

A romantic gay teen Zombie story, it's a new twist on the I-love-you-but-our-love-is-impossible theme.  You're a gay kid, you get some disease that turns you into a Zombie, and Jack, the incredibly hot guy you're crushing on smells like the most delicious macaroni and cheese ever.

Purity Test by Naomi Novik

Down on her luck, wearing a thrift-store Marine jacket and sleeping on a bench in Central Park, Alison's roped into helping a majestic - and rather sarcastic - Unicorn who needs a virgin to free five baby Unicorns from an evil wizard's brownstone in Gramercy Park.  Alison's not actually a... but the Unicorn's not hearing any of it - he wants a little more competence in his heroine.  Will Alison be the one?

Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan

On a pirate Island, they survive in a world where the dead return as fast-moving Lihemorto.  Surviving means you have to be ruthless.  Iza's father rules their island with a fist, keeping them all safe - but at such a cost.  Iza's mother is dead, and now Iza's faced with a dashing pirate, a dream of how the world was and might be again, and Zombies.

A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan

A drunk man follows a Unicorn to an unconscious Princess by a forest stream.  She's exposed, and he tries to cover up her modesty.  In doing so, he's caught by the palace guards.  What will be his fate?  And what of the Princess?

The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson

Sophie follows her boyfriend to work an organic farm in England for the summer.  It's hideous and more like slave labor.  After two weeks he abandons her, and she's desperate for a job to save her summer.  An American celebrity who lives nearby is desperate for some child-care help.  But there are special rules Sophie must follow...

The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund

The Unicorn Killers tried to recruit Wen to come to Italy and learn from them after she survived a Unicorn attack that killed her cousins, but her parents won't hear of it - the magic is not Christian, and they certainly are.  But Wen has a special affinity for the killer beasts, or maybe they have for her.  And when she stumbles upon a  chained and dying unicorn at a traveling circus, somehow she ends up caring for its baby... a charming baby unicorn.  She even names it 'Flower."  But as she falls in love with it, she knows she'll have to kill it eventually.  After all, it's deadly to everyone around her.

Inoculata by Scott Westerfeld

Six billion Zombies.  And only a few small pockets of humans left.  Ally's trapped with a small group of other humans on an old pot farm, with hundreds of Zombies pushing up against the chain link fence all around them.  For the last four years.  But, what if there was a way to be innoculated against the Zombies?  To escape into the Zombie-infested world without being eaten?  To finally learn to drive, and go somewhere?  When the girl Ally's been crushing on tells her there may be a way, is it worth the risk? 

Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot

It's Liz's 17th birthday, and it's the worst day of her life.  The day goes from creepy popular boy making fun of her breasts to her parent's 'surprise' party for her featuring High School Musical decorations.  And no one's really showed up at her party anyway, since uber-popular Kate has the same birthday and is doing a blow-out party at her nowhere-around-parents' place.  But then Liz gets a birthday present she doesn't expect: A real-live rainbow-farting lavender-eyed Unicorn.  What is she, seven?

Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare

James is Adele's boyfriend.  And he's due, when he turns 18, to become The Duke of Lychgate, or Zombietown, as their cursed town is known to the rest of the world.  Because Lychgate's dead come back and walk among them.  When James is murdered in front of her, Adele suspects his Uncle, the current man who rules as Duke until James turns 18.  Now James will never turn 18.  But Adele still loves him.  And justice must be done.

The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey

A first person tale, told from the point of view of a Unicorn who's lived 500 years, and can't stop his hunger for healing humans... and stealing years of their lives in that moment of healing.  Only a Virgin, pure of heart and desperate of need, can hear the Unicorn's thoughts, and there's only been two in 500 years.  But now, the Unicorn is determined to find one last Virgin, to help him end his immortal life and end the terrible hunger...

Prom Night by Libba Bray

Jeff was student body Treasurer.  Tahmina was President.  Now they're the law - after all, the adults are gone, dead or undead, and their town is a fenced-off prison keeping the infection out and the surviving students in.  But it's Prom night, and much as they'd like to celebrate, they're busy.  Their shift starts out with Jeff having to kill a Zombie - a guy that he used to think was so hot.  Not so much anymore.  And Prom night just gets stranger from there.

So which is it - are you Team Zombie, or Team Unicorn?

You'll have to read them all to decide!



ChristasBooks said...

I've never heard of this before but I have to get my hands on a copy. It sounds so interesting.

Lisa said...

I'm such a book nerd that I kept score when I read this book! And I came out Team Unicorn, though I will say "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is a story I still think about more than a year later.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Hey Lisa, love that you kept score! And Crista, I'm glad you'll give it a read.