Meet-Up + Tazza

A few things:

Over the last couple of weeks, Holly Black and I have been blogging over at Babel Clash, discussing Zombies Versus Unicorns, mostly. Here are the last four posts we did:

“The Meaning of Versus,” by me.
“Passing Between Worlds,” by Holly.
“Ten Reasons Why Robots Are Better than Monkeys,” by Holly.
And of course “Ten Reasons Why Monkeys Are Better than Robots,” by me.

I didn’t attend many of the Forum meet-ups last year, but I want to do better this year. So this Saturday, January 22 at 7PM, Eastern Time (in the US), I shall be at the Forum! That’s 11AM Sunday in Australian Eastern Time, and midnight between the two days in London. (Sorry.) Come and ask questions and hang out!


Via, some cool footage of an actual thylacine, like Tazza in the Leviathan series.

As you know from the Afterword of Leviathan, Tasmanian tigers are real creatures, or were until they went extinct in 1936 or so. So when writing Tazza, I had to use old footage like this to figure out how they would act and move. It’s kind of wondrous and sad, watching a movie of an extinct animal.

Home Survival

Over on the Babel Clash blog, Holly Black and I are debating Zombies Versus Unicorns. You should go check it out. We slay us.

Holly on why unicorns are better than zombies.

Me on why zombies are better than unicorns.

Holly about why we love teams. Jacob vs. Edward, cake vs. pie. You know. And then holly tells us what teams she’s on.

Me on how just adding zombies makes everything fun.

Holly on why hope is a good thing.

But my latest post at Babel Clash is a bit more serious, because it’s about apocalypse survival. You’ll see at the bottom why it’s so important at the moment, so I repost it here:

In my last post we discussed the zombie-survival-suitability of various architectural masterpieces, in particular Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin. But what happens if the zombie apocalypse goes down while you’re reading Zombies Versus Unicorns at home? ARE YOU PREPARED?

Take a moment to look through your abode, and rate it for zombie-survival characteristics. Do you have food? Water? Weapons? Strong doors? Better to find out now what you’re lacking, rather than waiting for the zombie apocalypse or the (relatively unlikely) natural disaster/terror attack/meteorite strike.

I’ve done a quick survey of my Sydney flat, to help you get started:


Remember the old saying: humans last three weeks without food, three days without water, three minutes without oxygen. How much water do you have around?

I’ve got two liters of water in the fridge, and 17 bottles of wine. (Um, good for disinfectant.) But the bathtub can be filled before city water dribbles to a halt, and the average bathtub holds about 200 liters (when full to the brim).

Minimum survival requirement are 3 liters per day per person, but I’ll say 4 for cooking that pasta (times two of us), so we have about 25 days after the apocalypse before we are forced to go outside, plus whatever rain we collect. With a bit of scrimping, we can JUST make the 28 Days Later scenario.

HOWEVER: In summer, Sydney can get up to 35C (95F), a temperature at which daily water requirements double. Pray for a winter apocalypse!

fig13-2Facty chart ganked from here.


Ten cans of beans and tomatoes, and cans last FOREVER. (Save them for currency!)

Several kilos of polenta, pulses, and pasta. Well done, me.

Lots of cheese and vegetables to eat before the pasta and polenta diet begins.

An astonishing amount of herbs and spices, and some mango chutney. Don’t laugh. For 300 years in the Ottoman Empire, the price of pepper was fixed at its weight in gold. In the post-apocalypse, Tabasco will be liquid platinum!

A “vanilla butter luxury cake” made last night.

Cinchona bark for making home-made tonic water. Full of quinine! No malaria here, dudes.

Overall, our food will run out more or less when the water does. But we’ll probably want to make a run for it in three weeks or so, while we still have the strength to clobber.



Um, not so good here.

A set of Furi knives that are great for chopping, not so much for braining.

Two CO2 canisters for carbonating home-made tonic. Can swiftly be converted into short-range rockets, unless Mythbusters has lied.


Excellent news here:

Top floor of eight-story building.

Security gate on apartment door.

Stairwell door well locked.

Elevator needs electronic fob to activate.

Only one other tenant on floor. Easily subdued. (He listens to Elton John. I can take him, especially if he’s already dead.)


Short-wave radio, for listening to those last transmissions from Julia Gillard’s bunker or the Center for Disease Control.

Lots of remotes with half-used batteries in them. (WELL DONE, SIR!)

Meade 8″ Telescope, for street recon from the balcony. (And for calculating the equinox after the calendar notebook gets lost.)

A garage full of cars to steal for our eventual getaway to zombie-free Tasmania!


In all, I think we have a chance. So what apocalypse provisions and defenses do you have at your humble abode? ARE YOU PREPARED?

As I write this, it so happens, people up in Queensland, Australia are experiencing a real apocalypse, flooding that has killed eight people, displaced tens of thousands, and had dire economic consequences. So yes, this survival stuff can be real. To help them out, go here and donate.

Fan Art Friday

Here’s a special XmE* edition of Fan Art Friday. Yes, it’s already Friday here in the eastern hemisphere, and summer down here in the southern! (I double win at life.)

It’s been awhile since I did a Fan Art Friday, and I know there are many of your efforts waiting in the queue. But I’m about to start working on the second draft of Goliath, so for this FAF I’m drawing my inspiration from all the fabulous Leviathan fan art out there, in particular the Deviant Art group known as the Leviathaneers!

So check these out.

Warning: If you haven’t finished Behemoth, the last piece is spoilery!

First up is the regal “Boffin and Count,” from KoniraThax:


Next is the dynamic and gritty “Hostage Situation,” by ComickerGirl.


The handy blog-badge: “Clanker Have Hearts Too,” by bnt800.


The mangalicious and shipper-tastic “Fly,” by WeasleyTwin.


And finally from Deviant, the quietly romantic “Sketching” by Irrel:


This is only a TINY FRACTION of the cool stuff at Leviathaneers. Go check out the rest!

And we’ll end with one last piece, not from Deviant but still fabulous. It’s the spoilery one, so if you haven’t read Behemoth . . .




eyes . . .

“Just Curious,” Allison B. Thomas.


Heh. So that’s it for me. I’m going back to being lazy now, and then working on the second draft of Goliath. Thanks to everyone for a great year of fannishness!

Happy holidays, and see you in 2011.

*Christmas Eve, duh.

Zombies Vs. Unicorns Is Out!

Today is the official release date for Zombies Versus Unicorns, an anthology that includes short stories from me, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Maureen Johnson, and Carrie Ryan (all Team Zombie) as well as Meg Cabot, Kathleen Duey, Margo Lanagan, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, and Diana Peterfreund (Team Rainbow Farts).

People have been seeing ZvU in stores for a few days now, because the contagion cannot be contained!

Here’s a cool interview with the cover artist. And click here for awesome Zombie vs. Unicorns wallpapers!

(Of which this is merely one example:)

And don’t forget the ZvU debates, one in New York on Thursday and one in Baltimore on Friday!

Thursday, September 23

Symphony Space, Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
New York City
Zombies v Unicorns Debate
Team Zombie: Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Scott Westerfeld
Team Unicorn: Holly Black, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Naomi Novik
Compere: (the totally impartial) Justine Larbalestier
$15; Members $12

Friday, September 24

Baltimore Book Festival
Children’s Bookstore Stage
Zombies Versus Unicorns!
Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld, Carrie Ryan, Holly Black, Diana Peterfreund & Kathleen Duey
Click here for more details.

Come one, come all!

Tomorrow, I’ll be unleashing the Behemoth countdown timer, so see you soon!

Zombies Versus Unicorns Trailer

Check it out:

In case you didn’t already know, Zombies Vs. Unicorns comes out September 21. It’s a collection of short stories—half zombie, half unicorn—by some YA authors you may have heard of, including me!

Team Zombie: Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Carrie Ryan, and me.

Team Unicorn: Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Kathleen Duey, Diana Peterfreund, Naomi Novik, and Margo Lanagan.

There will also be a LIVE ZVU DEBATE here in NYC, at Symphony Space on September 23. Here are the details.

In Other News, Uglies fans might want to check out the free-this-week essay over at SmartPop. It’s called “Team Shay,” and is by Diana Peterfreund.

That’s it from me, except to say send in some fan art! Don’t let another Fan Art Friday go by in sadness!

Forest of Hands and Teeth

Those of you who enjoy delicious zombies might want to check out this debut by Carrie Ryan, called The Forest of Hands and Teeth.


I would tell you more about it, but I already wrote a signature review for Amazon, which starts like this:

Teenagers love a good apocalypse. Who doesn’t? All those annoying rules suspended. Society’s pretenses made irrelevant. Malls to be looted. School out forever.

But in The Forest and Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan’s marvelous debut novel, the post-apocalypse is defined more by constraints than freedoms. The book begins seven generations after the Return, an undead plague that has ended civilization as we know it. Of course, a zombie outbreak usually means shotguns and mall looting–the very essence of freedom. But more than a century on from the Return, the malls have already been looted, and shotguns are a distant memory. The novel’s heroine, Mary, lives in a village surrounded by one last vestige of industrial technology: a chain-link fence, beyond which is a vast forest full of shambling, eternally ravenous undead–the forest of hands and teeth. No villager ever goes outside this fence, unless they want to die. (And given this bleak scenario, some do.)

Mary’s world is bounded not only by the fence but by the archaic traditions of her people, which are enforced by a religious order called the Sisterhood. Marriages, childbirth, death, every stage of life must be controlled to sustain the village’s precarious existence. Even the houses are circumscribed–literally–with passages of scripture carved into every entrance to remind the inhabitants of the rules that sustain human life amid the horrors of the forest.

After so long an isolation, the village is beginning to forget . . .

Click here to read the rest of my review.

That’s it, except . . . it’s only 13 more days until Extras comes out in paperback. W00t!

Zombies vs. Unicorns!

In case you haven’t been following the zombie-versus-unicorn thread on the internets, it has come to a mighty climax with the announcement of:

The Zombie Versus Unicorn Anthology! A collection of zombie and unicorn short stories to settle the issue for good, co-edited by Justine Larbalestier (aka, my Justine) and the fabulous Holly Black.

Justine is, of course, the head of Team Zombie, and Holly is the head of Team Unicorn.

Here’s Justine’s announcement of it, and here’s Holly’s.

Stay tuned for an amusing video on this subject.

But first, some appearance news: Justine and I will be in Austin, Texas this Wednesday night, at the awesome bookstore known as BookPeople.

Wednesday, Nov 19
7:30 PM

603 N. Lamar
Austin, TX 78703
Click here for more.

And the next night, Justine will be appearing at a Barnes & Noble in San Antonio.

Thursday, November 20
Barnes & Noble

Northwoods Shopping Center
18030 HWY 281NSuite #140
San Antonio, TX 78232

Hope to see you there!

And now, a short video from Lauren Myracle, she of the Scare-a-thon and (sadly) a member of Team Unicorn.

Let the battle continue!

A few things that I need to remind everyone about are:

Westerboard! The oldest Westerfeldian forum on the web.

Midnighters, Inc. The newest forum about my books on the interwebs.

How Bubbly Are You? A survey for everyone who comes here regularly, old or young. Contribute to science!

Zombie Zeitgeist Redux

Over at Inside a Dog, YA writer Maureen Johnson has just extended and expanded her Insert a Zombie, Win a Prize contest.

The basic concept is that any scene in any book would be better with a zombie, a truth universally acknowledged among certain of us genre fans. (Scroll down to the blue text in this post for Maureen’s own example, featuring a zombie in Pride and Prejudice.) To enter the contest, just take a scene from any book and add a zombie to it.

For the contest’s new and improved iteration, celebrity judges Meg Cabot, John Green, E. Lockhart, and Justine Larbalestier will choose the winning entry!

Here’s my entry, though I probably won’t win, given that I’m married to one of the judges.

Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Zombies.

It was the best of apocalypses, it was the worst of apocalypses. It was an age of brain eating, it was an age of shotguns. It was the epoch of damaging the head, or of removing it from the body. It was the season of light infantry weapons, it was the season of dark pursuits through abandoned sewers. We had everything at the local mall before us, but there were too many zombies in the way. In short, the period was so far like the present period—except for, you know, all the frickin’ zombies.

Go and enter!

Here are the roolz:

1) Keep it to one paragraph. (250 words or less. Less is better.)
2) Make sure to give the title and author, so we can know whose work is being zombified. If these are not given, the zombified work will not be considered!
3) E-mail the entry to Please use the subject line: ZOMBIE INSIDE! You may enter as many times as you like. (So, if you want to zombify 30 stories, you can! But they must be different ones each time.) The deadline is February 14th. You can go right up to midnight (US, east coast time).
4) All of these wonderful entries will be read by Maureen and the other judges.

Round one: this week on insideadog . . . deadline, end of day, February 14th. The first five semi-finalists will go up to voting on the 15th. The prize for winning this round is the final copy of Maureen Johnson’s Suite Scarlett.

Round two: next week on Maureen Johnson’s blog . . . all entries submitted between February 16 and February 21st, with the next semi-final on February 22nd.

This all leads up to the crowning of the ULTIMATE ZOMBIE on Monday, February 25th.

5) You know who picks the winner? YOU DO! It’s ZOMBIE IDOL!

This just in: Justine adds a zombie to James Joyce’s Ulysses.


For those of you wearying of the Great Pullman Debate, I offer a pair of podcasts to soothe the spirit.

Back in October, when I was on tour for the release of Extras, Justine and I had a chance to sit down outside of Chicago with an old pal named John Scalzi. Scalzi was writing his first YA, so his publishers thought it would be cool to record our conversation and podcast it. Well, it’s finally ready for listening.

We discuss our books, hoverboard derring-do, and of course zombie suppression.

Here’s part one and here is part two.


(No Pullman arguments in this comment thread! Here is where they go!)

Blog the Fog

Just got back from a signing at Copperfield’s Books that was unbelievably awesome. After our 7AM wake up call and three school appearances this morning, I thought I would be zombified by tonight. But the lovely, energetic crowd carried me through a really fun appearance.

Actually, all the signings have been so energy-making. Thanks for that.

And on the way out to Petaluma . . . the fog!


Another lovely thing: at one of my school visits, these four students had made a giant, hand-drawn Uglies cover.


It reminds me of the days before cheap oversized printers, when record stores would hire artists to paint giant album covers for their windows.

Thanks to the artists: Emily, Olivia, Victoria, and Namitha!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) night’s appearance is a very special one. For the only time on this tour, Justine is making a special command appearance alongside me:

Books Inc.
Opera Plaza
601 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Hope to see you there.

And for more amusing reflections on the Extras tour, check out Justine’s blog.