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Domino Falls
Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due
Atria Books, 288 pages

Steven Barnes
Born in Los Angeles in 1952, Steven Barnes majored in Communication Arts at Pepperdine University. He's done numerous screenplays and was a creative consultant on the Sakura Ninja series of action-adventure films and on the animated feature The Secret of Nimh.

With Larry Niven, he's written The Descent of Anansi, Achilles' Choice, Dream Park, The Barsoom Project, The California Voodoo Game, and (with Jerry Pournelle) The Legacy of Heorot. On his own, Barnes novels include The Kundalini Equation, Streetlethal, Gorgon Child and FireDance.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Star Wars: The Cestus Deception
SF Site Review: Lion's Blood
SF Site Review: Zulu Heart
SF Site Review: Charisma
SF Site Review: Iron Shadows

Tananarive Due
Tananarive Due is the Cosby Chair in the Humanities at Spelman College (2012-2013), where she teaches screenwriting and journalism. She also teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. The American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient is the author of twelve novels and a civil rights memoir. In 2010, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism's Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University. Due and her husband, Steven Barnes, met at a conference at Clark Atlanta University in 1997. They lives in the Atlanta.

Tananarive Due Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Trent Walters

Domino Falls In the sequel to the post-apocalyptic zombie novel, The Devil's Wake, Domino Falls becomes the destination for a band of hardened young adults aboard a bullet-riddled bus called the Blue Beauty. They seek civilization, sanctuary away from zombies (or freaks) and pirates. The characters: Native American "twin" cousins Dean and Darius, militaristic Ursalina, myopic Piranha with no access to good contacts or lenses, Sonia, and Kendra, the youngest at 16, who is in love with Terry.

They first encounter a man bent on celebrating the birthday of his zombie twins, chained up in his house -- a birthday the band watches grimly. They arrive in Domino Falls where they are immediately quarantined, in case they change into zombies. At any time they can choose to leave, a strong temptation as they have had to turn in their weapons.

When they pass quarantine, the township places them on probation--not all can stay. They have to trade and work to remain. Piranha's eyesight grows worse, reddening as his contacts no longer function. Although he gets on the scavenger crew, can he survive long enough to find saline solution and new contacts? Not only does he have to stave off freaks, some of whom can run fast, but also if the other scavengers find out he's almost blind, he'll be kicked out of the safe haven.

Sonia and Kendra are initially infatuated with the aging movie star, Mr. Wales. When they learn more about him and his compound, they're creeped out. One room in particular feels like it hides something inside. Meanwhile, the town mechanic says their bus is beyond repair so it looks like the band is stuck in Domino Falls.

This fast-paced novel will engross most SF readers. Rather than a typical zombie novel, this sparely told tale feels like a John Wyndham novel updated. Those readers who complained the promised aliens hadn't arrived in the first novel will be pleased. The series isn't over, but the ending is bittersweet and has its own sense of arc and completion so that the novel could be read alone without the others.

The characters feel fleshed out and the plot ticks without becoming a paint-by-numbers action novel. Readers wanting a slow reveal of speculative ideas should look elsewhere, but the speculation is here and plenty cool. Most will be swept away.

Copyright © 2013 Trent Walters

Trent Walters teaches science; lives in Honduras; edited poetry at Abyss & Apex; blogs science, SF, education, and literature, etc. at APB; co-instigated Mundane SF (with Geoff Ryman and Julian Todd) culminating in an issue for Interzone; studied SF writing with dozens of major writers and and editors in the field; and has published works in Daily Cabal, Electric Velocipede, Fantasy, Hadley Rille anthologies, LCRW, among others.

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