Review: Ninja vs Pirate Featuring Zombies (4/5) and Zombie vs Fairy Featuring Albinos by James Marshall (4/5)

One Fucked-up Book

I bought NVPFZ on a whim as part of the first order I ever placed with ChiZine Publications. Look at the title and tell me how could I not.

Some time later, an award-winning writer/editor/publisher told me that it was “one fucked-up book.” He meant, and I interpreted, this as a GoodThing(tm).

He was right and I am so very glad of it.

I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore when I saw that the damned prologue consisted of a single sentence. I don’t mean a Dan-Brown-nothing-is-happening-here two line chapter. I mean a William-Faulkner-is-a-pussy three and one half page monster of a sentence.

And it only got better.

James Marshall skirts stretches pushes breaks smashes the crap out of boundaries for what may be acceptable in terms of both content and format, using both to make some interesting statements about life in an absurd, mindless, consumerist society that thrives on sound bites and internet memes.

NVPFZ and ZVSFA give us a new generation’s take on McLuhan’s “medium as message”.

These books need to be to be experienced rather than read and I have no doubt that some people will have a problem with that.

NVPFZ from ChiZine Publications

ZVFFA from ChiZine Publications

Those Books Turned My Kid Into a Thief

The best part of these books is that my elder son liked them.

In fact, he stole NVPFZ from my TBR pile.

The boys and I were driving with my parents and we ended up in a painful Toronto traffic jam. Elder son squirmed in his seat and reached into his pocket. I expected him to pull out his phone or iPod to find some digital diversion.


He pulled out a book. Cool.

One of my books. Fucking cool.

Wait, is that really appropriate for a boy his age? Shut up! He’s reading. And he’s thinking.

While I wouldn’t recommend either of these books for a middle school reading list, my son read, enjoyed and reported on them for school (I am so very grateful for the openmindedness of his teacher)!

And then we talked about them. He may not have taken away the same things that I did, but he did manage to see beyond the intentionally obvious while appreciating the hilarious. We have had some cool discussions about these and other books as a result.

That, for me, is the absolute best thing that a book can do and merits more stars than I can possibly allocate.

The only downside is that the kid keeps stealing my books.


  1. We’re so pleased you liked the books!! FYI…if you don’t know yet, we also run the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, second Wednesday of every month. Next one is tomorrow (Nov. 13th), 8pm at ROUND, 152A Augusta Avenue, 2nd floor (Kensington Market area). Readings will be from Christopher Rice, Melia McClure and Michael Rowe. Come on out! It’s free…!
    –Sandra Kasturi, Co-Publisher, ChiZine Publications

    1. Hi Sandra — thanks for visiting and congrats on the BFAs!

      I am definitely planning on being there on Wednesday — I suppose it would be too much to hope that there will be copies of Wild Fell for sale, right?

      1. For those who aren’t familiar with ChiZine, let’s change that right now:

  2. SAME HERE! My daughter stole my copy of NVPFZ when she was in Gr. 8. No book report, but she tells me that there were a few questions she slipped into the classroom “Awkward Box.” Love to have heard the teacher explain some of THAT stuff lol.

    1. That is awesome! Thanks for posting.

  3. Yeah, sorry, WILD FELL won’t be out till the first week of December, but please do still come tonight! 🙂 And thanks so much for the kind words about the Marshall books!

    1. Hey Brett. Thanks for stopping by. I had to ask! And congrats!

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