Thanks to Pump Up Your Book, we here at Working for the Mandroid are happy to host Bram Stoker Award winning author Lisa Morton for the next two days on her blog tour for Monsters of LA, a crazy story collection about all your favorite classic monsters living in... well, LA. Morton puts these classic movie monsters in real-life situations that almost makes me think that there could be real Draculas, Werewolves and Mummies roaming around the City of Angels. Tomorrow I'll be reviewing it, but if you're looking for a preview, let me just say I've had so much fun reading this book.
Here's the official GoodReads synopsis:
In these pages you'll find the dark stars you grew up watching: Frankenstein, Dracula, Mr. Hyde, the Phantom, the Hunchback...all the silent ones and the first to find their voices are here, and they're even presented in roughly the order in which they first appeared on a silver screen. The Haunted House of the '30s gives way to the Werewolf of the '40s, the Monsters of L.A. Creature of the '50s, and so on, all the way up to our favorite modern boogeyman, the Zombie.
In some of these stories, you'll find an earthly incarnation of a famous namesake: Frankenstein is a patched-together, homeless vet, the Invisible Woman is so ordinary you'd never see her; but some of these familiar friends - Dracula, the Devil, or those seriously creepy Clowns - will be instantly recognizable.
Ugh, clowns are seriously creepy. And now that you know a bit about Monsters of LA, I leave it to Lisa.
Hello Leslie and Fernando! I think we’ve got some things in common…like a love of books and robots. And cupcakes. And I think I’ve worked for a mandroid or two in my time…
I’m sorry to say there are no mandroids in my short story collection Monsters of L.A., but there are things called “manobots”. The premise behind the book was: Twenty stories, some of which are interconnected, that take classic movie monsters and plunk them down into contemporary Los Angeles (my hometown). You’ll find Frankenstein here (although he’s now a patched-together homeless vet), Dracula (an arrogant celebrity), Dr. Jekyll (an expert in gender reassignment), the Devil (who lives in a Southern California amusement park), Urban Legends (lizard people beneath the downtown L.A. Public library) Killer Clowns (yes – killer clowns)…and of course our favorite modern monster, the zombie.
I love zombies. I still think George A. Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead is the most disturbing movie I’ve ever seen. I saw it as an impressionable teen, and it left a bloody mark on my consciousness. I’ve already written a lot of zombie stories. A quick look at my list of credits will reveal appearances in anthologies with titles like Mondo Zombie, The Dead That Walk, Zombie: Encounters With the Hungry Dead, The Living Dead, and – the most awesome title ever – The Mammoth Book of Zombie Apocalypse. However, as much as I love the stomping, chomping variety of zombie, when it came time to create a zombie story for Monsters of L.A., I knew I wanted to have a little fun with the stereotype.
My zombies are introduced in “The Mad Scientist”, which takes SoCal’s biotech industry and extends it into the far reaches of nanotechnology, as a scientist experiments for the first time with using tiny robots – nanobots – to heal someone who has been involved in a severe car crash. By the time of the last story in the book – “The Zombie” – the world has succumbed to hordes of “manobots”, humans controlled entirely by self-replicating nanobots with a rather sinister agenda. This concept allowed me to have a little fun with the traditional zombie and its attributes; I tried to find new ways to deal with everything from the shuffling walk to cannibalism. And because every good zombie holocaust tale must involve human survivors, I also wanted to do something fresh with that aspect (here’s a hint: the story is set in Beverly Hills). It remains to you, the readers, to tell me if I succeeded or not.
Even if you don’t like zombies, there are wolfmen, catwomen, haunted houses, phantoms, creatures, aliens and more all on display here, wandering locales as diverse as the Los Angeles County Arboretum to the La Brea Tar Pits to the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. If enough people like Monsters of L.A., maybe I’ll do a second collection…and I promise I’ll work in some robots.
Thank you, Lisa, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk zombies with us. Yours are both horrifying and terrifically different. Though you're right, the book was missing one thing - ROBOTS! The world needs more robots!
To learn more about Lisa and her story collection, Monsters of LA, visit her website - http://www.lisamorton.com/. Return tomorrow to hear all my detailed thoughts about Monsters of LA!