Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Written by Lucy A. Snyder
Published by Creative Guy Publishing
Horror and humor often go hand-in-hand. Following that logic, so do horror and satire. Don’t believe me? What do you think Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (the original, not the crappy remake) was really about? Yes, for as long as horror has been a genre, writers and filmmakers have used monsters to portray everything that’s wrong in the world. Blood-sucking lawyers become vampires, emotionally castrating women become harpies, etc. Following in the footsteps of Romero comes Lucy A. Snyder, with her contribution: The Tech-Zombie. If, like me, you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the Information Technology departments of large corporations, this book will either open your eyes to new possibilities, or just confirm what you’ve suspected all along.
Installing Linux on a Dead Badger is actually a collection. One part tech manual, eight parts articles, and three parts short stories, it skewers the world of tech support and IT with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Witness the first section, the title portion of the book. Inspired by a 2004 message left on an E2 message board, this handy set of instructions tells you not only the best way to install an operating system on a recently deceased critter, but also tells you which of the fuzzy buggers it works best on. It also gives you the handy advice that, should there be no badger available for your cyber-necromantic needs, a European Otter or even a Hairy-nosed Wombat will suffice.
Moving on, the reader finds the first in a series of articles that show the tech world for what it really is: black magic and bullshit. Oh sure, the first article documents an alarming rise in Linux-based gangs of street thugs, but the second deals with the forces of darkness and the networks being used in corporations. “Cybermancy,” as it is called, is a new technology that allows company big-wigs to continue oppressing their employees, even after they are dead! By communing with the Great Old Ones (read Lovecraft if you don’t know what I’m talking about), and allowing the random sacrificing of a few unnecessary employees, corporations are able to communicate faster than ever, through the netherworld.
Following are articles concerning the hidden dangers of the new trend of “faery-cats,” and an enlightening piece detailing the reasoning behind corporations hiring zombies instead of live people. As stated simply in the title, “Dead men don’t need coffee breaks.” Anyone who has ever called tech support for anything has had the same mental image: A room full of somnambulistic creatures reading scripts with little light, often chained to their desks. This article cements that image. There are also articles about families who volunteer their deceased to go to work for a signing bonus, corporate vampires, and even an expose about living unemployed who act like zombies just to find jobs. Perhaps the most revealing article is about the subject of trolls. You know, those idiots that have nothing better to do than start flame-wars on message boards? According to this article, they’re not “trolling for trouble,” but are in fact real trolls that get sexual pleasure from their own idiotic diatribes. Makes perfect sense to me.
The final three sections are short stories. The first, “The Great VuDu Linux Teen Zombie Massacre” is not only a well-written horror gem, but also details how installing Linux on a dead badger can save the lives of anyone who is in the unfortunate position of being holed up in a shed with hordes of brain-hungry zombies trying to get them. Installing the OS on the dead critter makes it into one ferocious zombie-attacking machine, controlable from any OS 9 or above Mac laptop. The second story, “Wake Up Naked Monkey You’re Going to Die,” is an equally well-written slice of time in which the readers get to visit the final moments of a pair of unfortunates who are about to be sacrificed to a giant, outer-space dwelling, big jiggly sonic death slug. Nope, not kidding about that one. The final entry in this volume, “In the Shadow of the Fryolator,” is a Lovecraftian case of mistaken identity involving a squid, a short-order cook, and the french-fry cooker. Sure, you can see this one coming, but it’s still one darned entertaining read.
So for whom is this book intended? Horror fans? Check. Techno-geeks? Double check. Humorists? Check with a gold star by it. Anyone who’s ever suspected that the tech-nerds in our offices are full of crap and have, in fact, made deals with some dark power to get their jobs done? Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
5 out of 5
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