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Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies
James Marshall
ChiZine Press, 215 pages

Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies
James Marshall
James Marshall's short fiction has appeared in several Canadian literary magazines including PRISM International, The Malahat Review, and Prairie Fire. One of his stories was nominated for the National Magazine Award for fiction, the M&S Journey Prize, and it was a finalist in the 22nd Annual Western Magazine Awards, 2004. A collection of his short stories, Let's Not Let A Little Thing Like The End Of The World Come Between Us, was published by Thistledown Press in 2004, and it was shortlisted for both the 2005 Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Caribbean and Canada Region) in the "Best First Book" category, and the ReLit Award for short fiction.

James Marshall Website
ISFDB Bibliography

A review by Sandra Scholes

Comedy never dies, no matter what genre it is in. This novel pretty much concentrates on the main ones that are popular right now; ninjas, pirates, and zombies and fairies. Just think of Samurai Girl, Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and Shaun from Shaun of the Dead and you'll be on the right lines. The first book in the How to End Human Suffering series, Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies starts out when GuyBoyMan, an unlikely hero (he doesn't even know it himself at the beginning) wakes in his parent's basement thinking he is their prisoner, yet erratically he isn't sure if that is really the case.

GuyBoyMan is a high school student at Scare City High School, and it's his mission to save the world. Or so he thinks. It's not going to be so easy seeing as there are a great number of zombies attending the school. GuyBoyMan might be like any ordinary high schooler, but after he killed his zombified parents he provokes a reaction from a centaur who has come from a fantasy land. He is called Centaur111 who offers him a whole load of things to get him to come with him as his ally against the evil zombies who threaten their very existence.

At the high school he meets BabyDoll15, a pink-haired girl who has a unicorn who follows her everywhere (just accept it for what it is). He thinks he is a pirate and a free-spirited spiritual leader of his own religion, and she doesn't bat an eyelid, she goes along with whatever he says.

The upshot is that if he goes along with everything that Centaur111 has to say, and goes on his adventures, he will let him have the girls that fairy land has to offer, and as he wants to take a stand against the zombie infestation that is taking over the world, the fairy world's people are in awe of his prowess as a human. Centaur111 throws something else into the bargain too, a truck load of cash from an ATM as long as he never tells a girl he loves her.

This isn't so good for BabyDoll15, as he actually has fallen for her even though he hasn't known her for that long. Other characters he meets on the way are Sweetie Honey (for those who have heard of the Japanese movie Cutie Honey, you will smile) as in this he is an African-American guy dressed up as a ninja, while from Eastern Europe there are genetically engineered and behaviourally modified girls. Did I say there was a truck full of zombies?

Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies is a comedy in a different way, more erratically than most as though it is straight from a deranged teenage mind. James Marshall's main character rambles on about who he is, his thoughts, and peeves to anyone who will listen -- and there are plenty who will. This is one of those novels that is nice and original and good enough to read almost anywhere. There is an energy it has, as though the reader has a feel for the unusual and strange. There is a lot of peculiar goings on in this book, and it all leads to a fantastical build up for the characters. Readers will like the modern setting with fantasy world characters in it as it is a fun fad for writers at the moment. As this is the first one of his I have read, I would recommend it to others, and even go so far as to say read the first one too (even though I've not read it myself -- it should be good!)

Copyright © 2012 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes is a reviewer of all things science-fiction, horror, anime and fantasy and her work has been published in Amon Hen, Active Anime, Love Romance Passion, and Love Vampires.

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