Movie Review – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a nerd possessed of 3.5 readers must be in want of more readers.”

Pride.  Prejudice. Zombies.  Jane Austen’s classic literary masterpiece…and the evil undead.

BQB here with a view of PPZ.

Grr.  Argh.  Brains.  Spoilers.


AN ADMISSION:  I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice.  I know.  That’s a terrible thing for a magic bookshelf caretaker to say.  But it’s true.  I don’t know why.  My English teacher made us read Wuthering Heights and maybe he thought that was enough depressed British people in love for one year.

So had I read it I probably would have gotten more of the jokes, but overall I really liked this movie.

Come to think of it, PPZ now counts as my first exposure to Pride and Prejudice and that’s probably going to be true for a lot of people.  I know want to go back and read the original book.  Hopefully, others feel the same way.  So Seth Grahame-Smith did a good thing here.

I’ve always enjoyed Grahame-Smith’s work.  He wrote Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in case you forgot.  He really opened up the door to reimagine and reinvent history.

Some people are very literal.  Put zombies in 1800’s England and some people might say, “there were no zombies in 1800’s England so this movie is historically inaccurate!”

True, but there are no zombies now!!! (That we know of.)  So that means we can’t enjoy The Walking Dead.  And we have no official confirmation of life on other planets. So crap, we should stop watching Star Wars, right?

Suspend disbelief and just enjoy it.

Several hilarious parts in this movie.  I enjoyed the dainty debutantes discussing their Shaolin training, hiding knives in their garters and kicking zombie ass.  Lena Headey made me keel over laughing as Lady Catherine de Bourgh (exceptionally wealthy British aristocrat/eye-patch sporting zombie killer extraordinaire.)

As my 3.5 readers might be aware, I’ve half-written a lot of stories built around one joke, attempting to extrapolate that joke into an entire novel.

Grahame-Smith does this.  There’s the love.  The passion.  The old English speak.  Oh, and there’s also zombies.  There’s zombies in the middle of one of the greatest romantic tales ever written and our heroes must defeat them, while learning to love each other as well.

Perhaps the genius of it is that in theory, the subject matter is nothing to be laughed at.  But the actors play it all with such dead pan that there’s all this love and drama and intrigue and everyone’s very proper and British and…oh…there’s zombies!

SPOILER ALERT – I saw this movie with someone and we were a little confused by the ending.  Love triumphs but…the zombie menace seems to be brushed off?  Maybe we missed something.

This is one of those movies I’d have to watch again because there was definitely a lot of stuff I’d probably notice in a second sitting.  And though I speak English, that old English does need to be deciphered.

I suppose it is a good thing this is being billed as a Valentine’s Day movie.  I’m not sure women would have considered this a good date movie in the past.  That it is thought of that way now means women as a whole are becoming much nerdier.

So there you go male nerds.  You have more options.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 29

Louisiana, 1859


The whip cracking across Joe’s back might as well have been a knife. It cut just as deep and with as much precision. There wasn’t much he could do about it. His hands were bound tight and tied to a hook above his head. His body had already told him to fall down, but his captors wouldn’t allow it.


The man wielding the whip was Edmund Lorante, Overseer of the Marchand Plantation. That was more or less a fancy title that meant he kept an eye on slaves and made sure they didn’t get out of line. He relished “educational opportunities” and had called in over a hundred of Monsieur Marchand’s pieces of property from the field to watch. A few of his white subordinates stood by, shotguns at the ready.


“What did you do with it, n****r?” Lorante asked. He tossed out the word so nonchalantly, as though using it didn’t phase him in the slightest.  It was a word used casually in those days.

Joe was out of strength, but mustered up enough to answer, as he’d already done a dozen times, “I…I didn’t take it.”


“Enough of this foolishness,” Lorante said. “It’s no use to you. You can’t spend it. There is not a single reputable merchant that would see a n****r with money and not conclude it to be stolen. Turn it over and this all ends.”

“I didn’t take it,” Joe repeated.

Blood seeped out of Joe’s wounds, dripping to the ground below. The blaring sun didn’t help, covering him with blisters until he felt like he was inside an oven.

Lorante performed for the crowd, as he enjoyed doing. Joe’s plight was a perfect “this could be you” scare tactic to rattle the other slaves. The overseer took full advantage of it.

“Your Master, Monsieur Marchand, takes care of you doesn’t he?” Lorante asked.

Joe knew the drill on this one and knew there was no answer other than “yes boss” that wouldn’t lead to the whip being cracked again.

“Yes boss.”

Lorante turned to the slaves. “All of you! He provides you with food and water, room and board. All that he asks is that you put in a day’s work to earn your keep and how is he repaid? With thievery.”

He turned his attention back to Joe. “Come on now. Where is it?”

“I swear I don’t know,” Joe said.


Lorante shook his head and made a “tsk tsk” sound. He patted his forehead with a handkerchief, dabbing the sweat away, then continued his lecture.

“You n*****s,” the overseer said. “You all think you’re so smart, don’t you? Most of you behave and do as you’re told but then once in awhile one of you comes along and starts filling your heads with ideas – that you ought to be paid, that you ought to be educated, that you ought to hold office and become businessmen and gentlemen and take on jobs that not a one of you has the brains to handle. I’d no sooner hire a n*****r for a thinking man’s position than I would my dog. Joseph!”

Joe spit out some blood. One of the lashings had made him bite his tongue.


“You were the only n****r allowed in the house when Monsieur Marchand noticed his money was missing. Do you take me for a fool?”

Another one of those “only one answer will do” questions.


“Then tell me where it is!!!”

“I don’t know.”


Lorante coiled up his whip, walked over to the whipping post (because this was a time when such a thing actually existed) and got in Joe’s face.

“If we have to do this all day then so be it but by God…you will learn your place boy.

The boss motioned to his men. “He wants to do it the hard way. Cut him down. Bring her out.”

A knife chopped through the rope, leaving Joe to crash to the ground. Though exhausted, sick, and in tremendous pain, his blurry eyes watched as the love of his life was walked to the whipping post.

Lydia. So sweet. So beautiful. She didn’t cry or fight it. She’d seen scenarios like this before and knew it was no use to protest. She put her arms up to be tied, aware if she didn’t they’d be held up for her anyway.

“NOOOO!!!” Joe cried. “No boss, please, please…I didn’t do it. I’d tell you if I did…”

“You’re doing this Joseph,” Lorante said. “Not me.”

“I’ll help you look for it,” Joe said. “Please. I’ll look over every inch and turn over every stone until I find it for you.”

As soon as Lydia was hooked, Joe began hyperventilating. He felt like a trout pulled out of the ocean, gasping for air and unable to find any. His stomach felt sick, but far worse than any feeling he’d ever had before.

“Lydia,” Lorante said. “Do YOU know where Monsieur Marchand’s stolen bills are?”

“No sir.”

Joe’s eyes turned yellow and his muscles bulged. Sweat didn’t just drip out of his pores. It flooded out.

“Your little boyfriend here never whispered in your ear what he did with it?” Lorante asked.

“No sir.”

Lorante uncoiled his whip. “What a pity.”

There’s a little bit of beast dwelling inside everyone, some more than others. Most people go through life without ever letting their inner monster out. Most are just naturally gifted with the ability control it without even knowing its there. Others are just lucky enough to never experience an event awful enough to be overcome.

But when that whip tore across Lydia’s back, Edmund Lorante saw himself staring up at a massive growling, snarling, bloodthirsty werewolf. The last words of the slave master’s life was, “What the?” before he was ripped apart at the torso, each half of his body thrown far away from one another in an explosion of blood.

Lorante’s men were equally astonished and opened fire. The buckshot blows might as well have been kisses as that didn’t stop the beast from slashing the men to ribbons.

Though Joe intended them no harm, the slaves, as you can imagine, ran away as fast as they could. Who wouldn’t upon seeing a werewolf? Many of them were able to run to freedom. Some, sadly, were caught and held accountable by death for something they didn’t do.

Lydia felt the understandable urge to run herself but that went away when the beast cut her down with a single flick of his claw. She put her hand out and Joe met it with his paw. He stood there in disbelief at what he’d just done, his mind one big fog. He passed out, fell down, and moments later was back to his old self.

The event was written up in the papers as “The Great Marchand Plantation Slave Revolt of 1859.” An ill-tempered slave named Joseph conspired with his fellow slaves to murder the kind and noble Mr. Lorante and his dedicated assistants.

That’s the story Madame Marchand told the press anyway. She and the Monsieur had witnessed the whole spectacle from their mansion’s veranda and immediately barricaded themselves in their room afterwards. It wasn’t necessary as Joe just walked away with Lydia. He wasn’t interested in any more bloodshed and at the time, didn’t know he was able to call upon the beast inside him at will.

Astounded by the sight, the Monsieur dropped dead of a heart attack shortly thereafter. And the Madame only went with the revolt story after being laughed off as a crazy slave sympathizer by the local authorities. She never did live down her reputation as a crackpot who made up a ludicrous story about a loathsome wolf man to protect her late husband’s property from being pursued and punished.

As for the missing money, Gerard, the Marchand’s youngest son, would later confide in his mother that he took it to finance a trip to Europe to “sew his oats” as he called it.

Meanwhile, as days on the run turned into weeks, Joe, with Lydia at his side, learned all he could about his new power and sought out those who shared it.

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A Note on the Next Chapter of How the West Was Zombed


Hello.  I’m Bookshelf Q. Battler, Noted Nerdventurer, Magic Bookshelf Caretaker, and Champion Yeti Fighter.

How is it possible that a werewolf was once a slave?

That’s a fine question.  After all, wouldn’t he just slash the shit out of the slave master and walk away?

Well.  You know, I never intended to put myself in a position where I felt the need to write a chapter in which a slave turns into a werewolf and slashes the shit out of the master, but…here I am.

I did my best to handle the sensitive subject matter in a non-offensive way.  The 1800’s were terrible times.  My intent was to neither exploit nor sugar coat it.

Keep in mind the next part of this book is called “History Repeats Itself.”  That means the chapter after this one coming up won’t be much better.

But I think there might be an actual zombie so…hey, zombies!

And if you are offended – a) I’m very sorry and b) The master gets slashed up by a damn werewolf.

You could almost say its a historical revenge fantasy, just like how Quentin Tarantino was nominated for an Oscar for his movie about Hitler and the Nazis getting burnt to death in a theater.

Where’s my Oscar?  Oh right.  I’m not pretty.

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Read How the West Was ZOMBED on Wattpad

Hey 3.5 Readers,

BQB here.  How the West Was Zombed has gone up and down the Wattpad horror charts.  It’s currently #610.  Comments, reads, votes, they all factor in to moving it up the charts and the higher it goes the more readers it gets so feel free to follow me @bookshelfbattle and give me your feedback.

Not on Wattpad? You can still read it and my other stuff here at

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.51.24 PM

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Only 40 Self-Published Authors are a Success, says Amazon


Partially, it is discouraging. When you see a low number like 40, why bother?

Partially, it is validating. I always beat myself up for not fully going for it as a writer – i.e. I tell myself “If you’d of just thrown caution to the wind and gave writing your all instead of playing itself and getting a day job…”

Then another part of me asks what is the definition of success? If I can take in an extra $10,000 in income, that’d probably be enough to motivate me to write in my spare time into perpetuity.

I hope there will be a rise in middle class writers – i.e. people who are able to take in 50,000 a year with their writing. They won’t get rich but they won’t be in the poorhouse either. Writing seems like a rich or poorhouse proposition without much middle in between. Hopefully that changes.

Claude Forthomme - Nougat's Blog

The cat is out of the bag, finally we know exactly how many self-published authors make it big: 40.

Yes, that’s not a typo.

40 self-published authors “make money”, all the others, and they number in the hundreds of thousands, don’t. This interesting statistic, recently revealed in a New York Times article, applies to the Kindle Store, but since Amazon is in fact the largest digital publishing platform in the world, it is a safe bet that self-published authors are not doing any better elsewhere.

“Making money” here means selling more than one million e-book copies in the last five years. Yes, 40 authors have managed that, and have even gone on to establishing their own publishing house, like Meredith Wild. Her story is fully reported in the New York Times, here, and well worth pondering over.

That story reveals some further nuggets about the current…

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Planting a PuppyMonkeyBaby Earworm

Muah ha ha!  You’ll be singing Puppy Monkey Baby forever now!

I mentioned on Twitter that I can’t stop singing puppy monkey baby.

Mountain Dew’s response?

Umm…guys I think you automatically assumed that me not being able to get the puppy monkey baby song out of my head is a good thing.

Great, first you get me addicted to caffeine, now I’m hooked on mutant hybrid commercial song.

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How the West Was Zombed – Part 3 – The Trial

A day of reckoning comes for the Buchanan Boys.  Judge Sampson comes to town and is hankering to pass out some hangings.

But “simple country lawyer” Henry Allan Blythe and his werewolf lackeys have other plans in mind.


Chapter 21         Chapter 22      Chapter 23

Chapter 24        Chapter 25      Chapter 26

Chapter 27        Chapter 28

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 28


Inside the Marshal’s office, Slade picked up the only two possessions he had in the world that he cared about. A box of cigars and a wrinkled, grainy old photograph of his parents, who stared solemnly at the camera as was the custom at time.

Gunther reached into the desk drawer, pulled out a bottle of whiskey and poured two shots.

“Might I propose a plan since yours failed so unceremoniously?”

Slade nodded. Gunther tossed his shot back and poured another one.

“F%&k it,” Gunther said, pushing Slade’s shot closer to him. “Keep up, boy.”

Slade drank his then stared at Gunther, waiting. Finally, he asked. “What’s the plan?”

“That is the plan. F&*k….it.”

Gunther tossed another back then set himself and Slade up again. “Son, in all the years I’ve been at this, one thing has never changed. All the money in the West flows East and absolutely nothing but shit flows back this way. You got your fancy pants politicians preaching about manifest destiny, how the country is going to shine from sea to shining sea but if you walk into any town all they’re willing to pay for is one or two assholes to protect it all.”

Slade and Gunther threw back another round.

“And you know what their response to everything is?” Gunther asked.

“What?” Slade asked.

“‘Figure it out, assholes!’” Gunther said. “Don’t matter what. Tornadoes. Floods. Famine. Injuns. Criminals. Don’t matter at all. ‘Just figure it out, you two assholes we pay a pittance to!’”

“Sounds about right,” Slade said.

“It’s exactly right,” Gunther said. “They aren’t willing to pay the cost of what it will take to enforce the law proper in this Godforsaken land and men like Jack Buchanan know it. And everyone who lives here is too preoccupied with their own lives to bother to stand up and ask the political types to do right by us so honestly…f%$k it. F%$k them. F$%k Highwater. F%$k everything.”
“That’s not my way,” Slade said.

“Yeah,” Gunther said. “I know that. I knew you were different the first day I met you. I said to myself, ‘Son of a bitch, they sent a man that’s going to expect me to work for a living.’ But son you know the reason why I always try to talk you out of this shit isn’t because I don’t believe in you but because I don’t believe in the powers that be. The last two people who should have to die are the two assholes paid a pittance to protect the place just because Washington won’t ante up to provide enough manpower to send the Jack Buchanans of the world to the grave.”

Slade had always looked at Gunther as lazy and cowardly but in that moment he started to make a lot of sense. Gunther poured another round. The glasses clinked.

“Here’s to f%&king it,” Gunther said.

“F$%k it,” Slade said.

“Now you’re talking,” Gunther said.

The two men drank then sat in silence for a moment.

“I don’t know what to do now,” Slade said.

“You don’t know what to do?” Gunther asked. “Jesus Christ, you got two women after you and God knows why on account of I seen rattle snakes with better personalities. Pick one of ‘em already.”

Slade locked his hands behind his head and sat back. “I did.”

“You did?” Gunther asked. “Shit. Yet another piece of vital information withheld from your Deputy. Which one?”


“Ahh,” Gunther said. “The Widow Farquhar. A lovely woman. You’ll…you’ll make a fine couple.”

Slade noticed the hesitation. The whiskey loosened up his tongue. “What?”

“Nothing,” Gunther said.

“You said she was pretty and rich and desperate and I shouldn’t f$%k it up,” Slade said.

“I did,” Gunther said. “That was before…”

Gunther didn’t want to say it.

“What?” Slade asked.

“Before I became aware that Miss Bonnie wanted to be all over you like stink on a skunk.”

“She doesn’t,” Slade said.

“Oh you didn’t see the look in her eyes that I did, boy,” Gunther said. “The only thing stopping her from scratching out the Widow Farquhar’s eyes was fear of the gallows. She wants you and she wants you bad.”

“Yeah,” Slade said. He poured out two shots this time. “She had her chance.”

Gunther cleared his throat. “Did she really though?”

The boys drank again. “Yes.”

“But you didn’t really ask her,” Gunther said.

“No,” Slade said. “No I reckon I didn’t.”


“Doesn’t matter,” Slade said as he stood up. “I made a promise.”

Gunther got out of his chair. “You actually proposed to the Widow Farquhar?”


“Shit,” Gunther said. “Well, that’s not something easily wiggled out of.”

“I don’t want to wiggle out of it,” Slade said.

“Whatever you say,” Gunther said.

The men shook hands.

“Where are you off to?” Gunther asked.

“To see if Sarah will let me sleep on her floor,” Slade said.

“Gosh,” Gunther said. “Such a whirlwind romance.”

“You got somewhere to go?” Slade asked.

“Oh sure,” Gunther said. “Don’t you worry about me none.”

“See you around, Gunth.”

“See you.”

Truth be told, Gunther’s only real plan was to keep living in the Marshal’s office until some bureaucrat got around to filling the position.

Unbeknownst to him, a body had laid perfectly still underneath a blanket inside the cage throughout the entire conversation. A hand clawed its way out between the bars and grabbed the old man’s shoulder.

“What the?!”

It was Leo Fitzpatrick, local harmless drunk, sleeping another one off.

“Shit Leo,” Gunther said. “Scared me half to death.”

“Sorry,” Leo said. “I let myself in. Maureen threw me out again.”

“Well that’s a good way to get yourself shot,” Gunther replied.

“Can I get some of that?” Leo asked, pointing to the bottle.

Gunther handed it to him. “I thought you were trying to dry out.”

“A little hair of the dog never hurt anyone.”

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 27

Joe found Miles inside the church, drawing away. A grizzly bear this time.


“What?” Miles asked.

“Get up and go,” Joe said. “Right now. Start walking. Anywhere. I’ll find you.”

Miles stood up. “What’s going on?”

“I am your father and you will do as I say!”

Miles sniffed the air. “Blythe! He’s in town.”

“Now you know,” Joe said. “Get out of here.”

“No,” Miles said.

“Miles you know what he does,” Joe said. “He’ll use you to make me suffer.”

“I’m not going,” Miles said.

Joe grabbed his son by the shirt collar and dragged him toward the door. Miles dug his heels in and slapped at his father’s hand.

“If she were here she’d want you to go,” Joe said.

“BUT SHE’S NOT IS SHE?” Miles yelled as he struggled with his old man before finally clocking him a good one upside the head.

That didn’t go over well. Joe’s eyes turned yellow. His muscles bulged out, ripping his shirt apart. Louder than a lion’s roar he bellowed, “I…SAID…GO!!!!”

Miles wasn’t going to argue with that.

“Fine,” the kid said as he walked away. “Do your breathing.”

Joe fell flat on his back and did just that.

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 26



Halfway down the main drag, Gunther caught up with his now ex-boss. Slade was on fire and making a beeline for the Bonnie Lass, outside of which Blythe and his new gaggle of employees were congregating.

“God damn it son, will you hold up?”

Slade kept walking.

“You think you could have run that stunt you pulled back there by me first?” Gunther asked.

No response.

“I’ve had this job before you were even born and now I gotta up and leave it because of some slick sleazy lawyer?”

“No one asked you to,” Slade replied.

“Shit boy,” Gunther said. “Forty years I’ve never not once had a Marshal’s back and I’m not about to start now. Do you at least got some sort of plan?”

As Slade drew near, Jack rubbed his eyes and cried some crocodile tears. “Boo hoo hoo those poor Injuns!!!”

WAM! Slade’s right cross knocked out three of Jack’s teeth. And he needed those. He didn’t have many left to begin with.

Like clockwork, Hewett and Becker had their guns drawn and trained on Slade. The Buchanan Boys had yet to have their hardware returned to them, but they didn’t take kindly to seeing their favorite brother-cousin decked and looked ready to tear Slade apart.

“That was a horrible plan,” Gunther said.

Blythe raised a hand. “Gentlemen! Gentlemen, simmer down now. As our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ once said, ‘If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

Jack wasn’t interested in a scripture lesson. “YOU’RE A DEAD MAN SLADE!”

The counselor stepped in front of the former Marshal and flashed his red eyes Jack’s way.

“Mr. Slade is lucky you’re a good Christian, Mr. Buchanan. You won’t stoop to his level. It’s time for you and your family to celebrate.”

Jack shook to and fro like he was dizzy. He caught his bearings and pointed at Slade. “Shit Slade, if I weren’t a good Christian, I would bust you up!”

That reaction met with loud cries of disappointment from the various and sundry Buchanans. Jack quelled all dissent by yelling, “Come on, boys! Let’s get f$%ked up!”

They filed into the saloon. Miss Bonnie’s protest could be heard on the street.

Blythe turned around. “Mr. Slade. We’ve got off on the wrong foot.”

“F$%k you,” was all Slade had to say to that.

“Gentlemen,” Blythe said to Hewett and Becker, a cue for them to holster their steel. “Mr. Slade, I surely hope you won’t take this personally. Business is business and I am but a cog in the great machine that is the Legion Corporation. My superiors tell me to acquire the services of brutish men and I have no choice but to abide.”

“I’ll bring every last one of you down,” Slade said.

Blythe gave Slade a glimpse of his red peepers. “This matter no longer interests you. You’ll never give it a second thought.”

Like a confused puppy dog, Slade cocked his head to one side. “What…are you?”

The counselor was taken aback. His eyes returned to normal. “Goodness me. I could ask you the same question.”

Blythe and his bodyguards headed through the double doors.

“You know,” Gunther said. “I could use a drink myself.”

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