Series: Newsflesh #3.2
Published by Orbit on July 15, 2013
Post-Rising Australia can be a dangerous place, especially if you're a member of the government-sponsored Australia Conservation Corps, a group of people dedicated to preserving their continent's natural wealth until a cure can be found. Between the zombie kangaroos at the fences and the zombie elephant seals turning the penguin rookery at Prince Phillip Island into a slaughterhouse, the work of an animal conservationist is truly never done--and is often done at the end of a sniper rifle
Novella #3.2 for the Newsflesh series
A segment where at least two of our bloggers collaborate to share their thoughts in a joint review discussion.
Today, Bry and Fry discuss another unique novella of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series, How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea
F: Nooooooooooo, I’m out of Mira Grant until next month when she releases the next Parasitology book.
B: Alas, me too! I’ve been having withdrawals since September.
F: I was putting off reading this so I at least had something for when the Mira Grant, intelligently written, body horror itch needed to be scratched. But, it would be super weird to ignore one novella while doing ALL THE REST OF HER BOOKS (links at the bottom). Anyway, How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea takes place quite some time after Blackout, upon the continental nation of Australia. I’ve been there. I felt for Mahir’s jet lag and finding that post rising Aussies are just as weird as they are now.
B: Never mind weird, Aussies are the post-apocalyptic kings! Having grown so used to the emphasis on security and blood testing presented in every other Newsflesh book, it is bizarre to then experience the complete laxity and lack of severity of the Australian security protocols. They just can’t be arsed, and its amazing.
F: I don’t know if its that so much laxity as the rest of the world having a severe need to control everything. The rest of the world assumes the idea that you’re pretty much always infected and can go any moment. Australia may seem more lax, but they really just don’t mind if you spontaneously amplify. The body count is going to be the same whether you do 17 blood tests or 4.
B: Control, and overcompensate! I actually loved the Aussie perspective, and it provided me with intense amusement the whole way through this short little novella. Not only were they handling things smarter in my opinion and with less wastefulness, but they also were presented as being total badasses. With 90% of the world’s population of poisonous spiders, snakes and things trying to kill them, Aussies weren’t new to this.
There was a quote that summarized this feeling very well:
“There was one thing that no one considered, however: Australia was populated by Australians. When the rest of us were trying to adapt to a world that suddenly seemed bent on eradicating the human race, the Australians had been dealing with a hostile environment for centuries. They looked upon our zombie apocalypse, and they were not impressed.”
“If anything, global response to the Rising only confirmed something that many Australians had quietly believed for quite some time: If forced to live in Australia for a year, most of the world’s population would simply curl up in a fetal ball and die of terror.”
Oh man, I had a great laugh over that! Sass everywhere.
F: Mahir’s perspective and dry humor was actually great and refreshing. He’s so very British.
B: I love Mahir, and this book allowed him to be developed on a more personal level. So far, he has been the supplementary character or conducting interviews, but there has been little insight to the actual person that he is. Having him as an active character here was a lot more spotlight than he’s gotten!
F: The characters he meets on the way- other After The End Times journalists and one mooselike ex-wife- were touched on and given much depth within the small wordcount.
B: (Is that a Canadian joke?!) Can we also just point out that once again, Mira Grant is like the champion of sexual representation? I can’t think of another author who could feed in a polyamorous couple and make comment on it, so naturally in such a short story.
F: (Yes, totally a Canadian joke.)I know we keep bringing it up, but it’s so very little that we find functional representation of all walks of life that doesn’t browbeat us over the head or infuriate us in some way. The poly relationship wasn’t there to shock or bewilder, it was just there, that’s who the characters were.
B: Nor was it their entire identities. They were fun, engaging characters without any mention of their sexuality in the first place. I loved their witty repartee, and how they were able to keep up with Mahir’s bitchy British wit without being awkward.
F: Oh yes, even in the most dire of circumstances they continued to be awesome and hilarious. Not many people can banter while being chased by a herd of moaning amplified kangaroos.
B: Let that sink in for a moment – amplified kangaroos. So many in fact, that Australia has constructed a giant coastal wall to prevent the amplified population from being a threat to the rest of the nation.
F: To be fair, it’s the Rabbit Proof fence that already existed. Don’t ask me how they got all the amplified kangaroos herded over there to begin with. They didn’t really touch on that. Just that it’s a thing.
B: But the wall continues to make Australia very unique in how it handles Kellis Amberlee. This is how they handle their infected – bar them out, don’t shoot them. In fact, shooting most forms of infected wildlife is strictly prohibited by law! Additionally, the wall has become a massive center of research on the disease, how it transmits, and even resistance or immunity.
F: And yeah, a lot of that research is rediscovering what the After The End Time’s crew didn’t release following the events of Blackout. The truth is going to come out sooner or later and it might be better coming from Australia, who doesn’t immediately kill amplified targets.
B: If you’re deep into the series, reading this novella will change your ideas about what might be coming for future books, especially with those scientific developments. It adds a whole new level of excitement! But the Australian research also isn’t infallible: the wall research is being met with resistance by residents, just as it would anywhere else.
F: To be honest, that entire thing was just too, “Dingo ate my baby,” for me. I’m sure it was a parallel, but the woman encited a mob because she thought a zombie kangaroo stole her toddler.
B: Rabble rabble rabble! Sometimes, it feels like people just need something to protest for the sake of protest. Because this didn’t develop into something huge, perhaps it was a commentary on that – after all, apocalypse scenarios and zombies tend to reveal a great deal about the dark (and annoying) side of human nature.
F: Overall this was a fun novella. It had a slightly different tone, because despite the impending doom there was an air of jovial shenanigans. I hope that Mira Grant continues with the post-rising, post- Blackout world, but I’m still super pumped about the prequels happening. A full length novel and then *fingers crossed* novellas about the rest of the Monkey’s crew.
B: Oh I hadn’t even considered that!!! That would be amazing. The withdrawals hurt! Come on Symbiont! We need you!
F: If you’re really going through some withdrawals, there’s always the tumblr page therisingwall . While not written by Mira Grant, it’s still some compelling fan fun that does the series justice.
B: Aaand its binge time.