Why We Can’t Quit Zombies: The Undying Attraction of a Rotting Romance

Delve into the undying appeal of zombie fiction with a dark twist. From the joys of Schadenfreude to our primal survival instincts, explore why we’re eternally hooked.

Ah, zombies—the shambling, drooling darlings of the fiction world that we just can’t seem to get enough of, like a parasite-infested car crash we can’t look away from.

From George A. Romero’s genre-defining flicks to the highly-addictive The Walking Dead, the appeal of zombie fiction endures much like the zombies themselves: sluggish yet relentless, decaying yet indestructible.

But why do we, a sophisticated society who can split the atom and invent lab-grown meat, have this ceaseless attraction to the undead?

Nihilism Never Looked So Good

Let’s be honest, the real world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Climate change, political ineptitude, and existential dread serve us daily reminders that perhaps, we’re on a sinking ship.

Enter zombie fiction, the lifeboat you didn’t know you needed.

When you watch a decaying corpse gnaw on human entrails, your own problems seem, well, less problematic. After all, your boss may be a tyrant, but at least he’s not trying to eat your brains—yet.

The Schadenfreude Factor

Nothing screams ‘guilty pleasure’ louder than watching a fictional character meet their end in the most gruesome manner imaginable.

Did that annoying bloke just get torn apart by a horde of zombies?

Oh, what a pity—pass the popcorn, please.

In the survival-of-the-unfittest landscape of zombie fiction, Schadenfreude is king.

We love the idea of justice being served, one grisly death at a time.

Rekindling Our Primal Instincts

Buried under our layers of civility and table manners is a primordial beast that relishes the idea of survival at its most basic.

Zombie fiction taps into this by stripping away the societal constructs that usually bore us to tears.

No more mortgage payments, no more queuing, no more pretending to enjoy your cousin’s one-man show.

All that’s left is you, a cricket bat, and the gnawing question of whether you can smash a zombie’s head in before it takes a chunk out of yours.

Carpe Diem with a Side of Brains

We’ve all heard the adage ‘live each day as if it’s your last,’ but nothing drills this message home like the imminent threat of becoming zombie chow.

When characters in zombie fiction wake up, they don’t dread the monotony of another day at the office; they dread the possibility of not seeing another sunset.

And while we wouldn’t recommend adopting a zombie apocalypse as your new life coach, there’s something darkly invigorating about embracing life in the face of death.

A Zombie by Any Other Name…

Finally, let’s face it, zombies are the ultimate metaphorical blank canvas.

They can stand in for anything—consumerism, governmental decay, viral epidemics, or even just the fear of the Other.

These flesh-eating fiends are a literary gift that keeps on giving (or taking, depending on how you look at it).

So there it is. The grotesque allure of zombie fiction might be as complex as the tax code and as mysterious as why cats hate water, but one thing’s for sure—it’s not dying out anytime soon.

And even if the genre did meet its untimely demise, it would probably just come back to life and keep shambling along, much to our dark delight. Cheers to that.

If you’re a fan of zombie stories, check out my ongoing serial Punks Versus Zombies!

Jon’s author diary – September 29, 2023

Hello from sunny Morecambe!

In this episode, we’re talking about some exciting updates, despite having a bit of a rough week, health-wise.

🎉 BIG NEWS: Episode 1 of “Punks Versus Zombies” is Now Live on Substack! 🎉

That’s right! I’ve officially launched the first episode of my new serial, Punks Versus Zombies, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Dive into a world where rebellious punks face off against the undead. You won’t want to miss it, and you can read it exclusively on my Substack. Visit: joncronshawauthor.substack.com

📉 Productivity Slump 📉

This week has been challenging in terms of productivity. I’ve not been feeling my best, so things have moved slower than usual. But hey, we all have those weeks, right?

📖 Currently Reading: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher 📖

In between bouts of resting, I’ve been delving into Grave Peril by Jim Butcher. It’s an excellent read, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on it with you all.

🔮 What’s Coming Next Week 🔮

I’m aiming to get at least the next chapter of Guild of Assassins out on my Substack. Fingers crossed my energy levels co-operate!

Announcing: Punks Versus Zombies!

Dive into a world where rebellious punks face off against the undead. You won’t want to miss it, and you can read it exclusively on my Substack.

🎉 BIG NEWS: Episode 1 of “Punks Versus Zombies” is Now Live on Substack! 🎉

That’s right! I’ve officially launched the first episode of my new serial, Punks Versus Zombies, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Dive into a world where rebellious punks face off against the undead. You won’t want to miss it, and you can read it exclusively on my Substack. Visit: joncronshawauthor.substack.com

Our heroes, Tommy and his fearless bandmates, are far from home—stranded in Berkeley, California. When they play their dream gig at the legendary 924 Gilman Street, little do they know they’re about to headline the zombie apocalypse.

🤘 Get Involved

Engage with me and fellow readers in an interactive Substack community. Share your theories, your fgedback, or even your own apocalyptic playlist.

🌐 Subscribe to my Substack and join the rebellion today.for FREE!

🔗 Yes. I’m making the entire serial available for free.  See you there. 🤟

The Power of Grimdark: How Dark Fantasy is Reshaping the Landscape of Epic Fantasy

Explore the transformative power of grimdark fantasy in reshaping epic fantasy. Discover the darker tone, morally ambiguous characters, and realistic worlds that have redefined the genre’s landscape.

The world of epic fantasy has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, with the rise of dark fantasy playing a major role in its development.

Grimdark,is a subgenre of fantasy that features a darker, grittier, and more morally ambiguous world than traditional epic fantasy.

This new trend has not only attracted new readers to the fantasy genre, but it has also influenced the way in which epic fantasy is written and perceived.

What are the differences between epic fantasy and dark fantasy?

One of the key differences between dark fantasy and traditional epic fantasy is the tone.

Dark fantasy often explores the darker aspects of humanity and the world, such as death, murder, evil, and corruption—a stark contrast to the more optimistic and hopeful themes found in traditional epic fantasy, where good and evil are often clearly defined and the hero is often destined to triumph.

Where did dark fantasy become popular?

The rise of dark fantasy can be traced back to the early 1960s. However, the success of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, more commonly known as “Game of Thrones,” brought grimdark fantasy to the mainstream. Its popularity has inspired a new wave of grimdark writers.

How has grimdark fantasy influenced epic fantasy?

The influence of grimdark fantasy on epic fantasy can be seen in the way that stories are structured, the themes authors are choosing to explore, and the types of characters who take a central role.

In grimdark fantasy, characters are often morally grey and their motivations are not always clear-cut. This has led to a shift in the way epic fantasy is written, with more complex and morally ambiguous characters being introduced into the genre.

The world in grimdark fantasy is often darker, grittier, and less magical. This has led to a trend in epic fantasy of creating worlds that are more realistic and less fantastical with fewer mythical creatures and low magic.

The influence of grimdark fantasy has had a significant impact on the epic fantasy genre. Its darker tone has challenged the traditional themes and structures of epic fantasy, leading to a shift towards more complex and realistic stories.

If you love grimdark fantasy, you can get my novel Birth of Assassins for free as part of the Ravenglass Universe starter library.

Jon’s author diary – September 22, 2023

Hello from sunny Morecambe!

Welcome back to another episode of my author diary series. In today’s video, we’re diving deep into the world of creativity, ideas, and a pinch of heavy metal!

🗡 Guild of Assassins Update

I’ve made some substantial progress on my upcoming novel, ‘Guild of Assassins,’ and I can’t wait to give you all a sneak peek of what’s to come. This book is shaping up to be an exhilarating adventure you won’t want to miss!

🧟‍♀️ Introducing: Punks Versus Zombies

That’s not all! I’m thrilled to announce a brand-new project: ‘Punks Versus Zombies.’ The first chapter will be posted on my Substack next week. Get ready for a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse that’s as rebellious as it is spine-chilling.

🎵 Currently Reading: Doomed to Fail & Jeish Space Lasers

On the reading front, I recently finished ‘Doomed to Fail,’ a fascinating dive into doom, sludge, and post-metal music genres. If you’re a fan of heavy, slow, and loud music, this book is a must-read.

Now, I’ve moved on to ‘Jewish Space Lasers’’ a book that explores the history of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. It’s an eye-opening read that I highly recommend.

👉 Get Involved

I’d love to hear from you. What are you reading at the moment? Are you excited about ‘Guild of Assassins’ or ‘Punks Versus Zombies’? Let me know in the comments below!

🔔 Don’t Forget!

If you enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up, and if you haven’t already, consider subscribing for more updates. Your support means the world to me!

💌 Stay Connected with Substack

For exclusive content and to be the first to know about my latest projects, subscribe to my Substack: joncronshawauthor.substack.com

Thanks for watching and catch you in the next video!

Cheerio! 📚🎉

From Zelda to Epic Tales: Tracing Hyrule’s Footprints in Contemporary Fantas

Dive into how The Legend of Zelda’s Hyrule influences modern fantasy literature. From time-bending tales to silent heroes, Zelda’s essence lives on in today’s epics.

The Legend of Zelda, with its green-clad hero and captivating world of Hyrule, has been more than just a digital escape for many.

Beyond the pixels, heart containers, and haunting ocarina melodies, it seems Hyrule’s winds have whispered inspiration to the realms of modern fantasy literature.

Let’s dive into that Deku Tree of influence, shall we?

A Link to the Past (and Future):

Time is but a playground in Zelda, particularly in “Ocarina of Time.”

This playful approach to chronology is mirrored in novels like Mark Lawrence’s “Red Queen’s War” series.

Just as Link jumps between timelines, some protagonists grapple with a fluidity of past, present, and potential futures.

Silent Protagonists with Loud Legacies:

Link, the hero of few words, lets his actions speak.

This archetype is echoed in characters like Fitz from Robin Hobb’s “Farseer Trilogy,” whose quiet demeanour masks his true heroism, proving you don’t need words when you’ve got courage (and a Master Sword).

Landscape as Character:

From the fiery depths of Death Mountain to the serene Zora’s Domain, Hyrule is diverse and alive.

Similarly, authors like George R.R. Martin give settings such as the Wall in “A Song of Ice and Fire” a heartbeat, making locales as vital as any character with a speaking role.

Enigmatic Mentors:

Zelda games abound with wise, enigmatic figures, like the owl Kaepora Gaebora.

In literature, the mysterious mentor figure has roots in characters like Gandalf, but newer figures, like Jasnah from Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archive,” carry that torch (or staff) forward.

Puzzling Plots:

Much as Link often faces intricate puzzles to proceed, readers find similar brain-teasers in books like Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus,” where deciphering the plot feels like unlocking a complex Zelda dungeon.

The Eternal Triangle: Power, Wisdom, Courage:

The Triforce’s triad has found its way into modern tales, symbolising the balance of strengths needed in a hero (or anti-hero).

Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicle” displays this balance, with Kvothe seeking power, wisdom, and courage in his tumultuous journey.

Benevolent Royalty and the Weight of Duty:

Princess Zelda is no mere damsel; she’s a beacon of hope, often bearing burdens beyond her royal title.

This theme resonates in characters like Maia from Katherine Addison’s “The Goblin Emperor,” where royalty is both a privilege and a heavy chain of duty.

Linking (pun completely intended) it all together, The Legend of Zelda hasn’t just been a game series.

It’s been a rich tapestry from which contemporary fantasy authors have, perhaps unknowingly, snipped threads to weave into their own sagas.

As the lines between Hyrule and the written page blur, one truth stands tall: in every heart piece of fantasy, a bit of Zelda’s legend lives on.

Capers and Castles: A Guide to the 10 Must-Read Fantasy Novels Featuring Thieves

Discover the captivating world of thieves in fantasy novels. From daring heists to cunning schemes, these must-read books offer action, suspense, and thrilling twists. Explore the top picks that will keep you on the edge of your seat. #fantasybooks #thieves #mustreadnovels

Trial of Thieves by Jon Cronshaw

Fantasy novels often offer a unique twist to traditional crime stories, and tales about thieves are no exception.

Whether it’s a heist gone wrong, a daring escape, or a cunning scheme, these stories are full of action, suspense, and thrilling twists.

Here are ten must-read fantasy novels about thieves that will keep you on the edge of your seat:

1. “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch.

Set in the city of Camorr, the Gentlemen Bastards series follows the adventures of Locke Lamora and his band of thieves. The books are filled with complex heists, daring escapes, and political machinations, and the characters are both lovable and deeply flawed. Lynch’s writing is sharp and witty, and the world of Camorr is a rich and fully realized setting.

2. “Thief of Time” by Terry Pratchett.

Set in Discworld, this novel follows the adventures of thief-turned-monk Lu-Tze and his journey to prevent Time itself from being stolen. Pratchett’s signature wit and humour shine in this book, making it a must-read for fans of his work.

3. “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo.

Set in Bradugo’s Grishaverse, this story follows a group of six criminals hired for a nearly impossible heist. With a diverse cast of characters and fast-paced action, Six of Crows is a thrilling ride from start to finish.

4. “Farseer Trilogy” by Robin Hobb.

This classic fantasy series follows the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, an assassin and thief who is forced to navigate the dangerous world of the Six Duchies. Hobb’s writing is rich and descriptive, and the characters are complex and fully realized. Fitz is a compelling protagonist, and his adventures are both thrilling and thought-provoking.

5. “Riyria Revelations” by Michael J. Sullivan.

This six-book series follows the adventures of Royce and Hadrian, two thieves who find themselves caught up in a web of political intrigue and ancient magic. The witty banter between the two leads, combined with Sullivan’s intricate world-building and fast-paced action, make Riyria Revelations a must-read for fans of the genre.

6. “The Master Thief series” by Ben Hale.

A delightful romp through a world of thieves, con artists, and other unsavoury characters. The main character, Jute, is a street thief who finds himself drawn into a larger scheme that will test his skills and loyalty. The books are filled with twists and turns, and the writing is both witty and action-packed.

7. “Lightbringer series” by Brent Weeks.

This series follows the adventures of Gavin Guile, a powerful magician and master thief who must navigate the dangerous world of the Chromeria. Weeks’ writing is fast-paced and action-packed, and the world of the Chromeria is rich and complex. The characters are fully realized, and the twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat.

8. “Mistborn series” by Brandon Sanderson.

Set in the world of Scadrial, the Mistborn series follows the story of Vin, a young thief who discovers she has the ability to use magic. Sanderson’s writing is fast-paced and action-packed, and the world of Scadrial is rich and complex. Vin’s journey from street urchin to powerful Allomancer is both thrilling and heart-warming, and the twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat.

9. “Thief of Magic” by Trudi Canavan.

This second book in the Millennium’s Rule series follows the adventures of Rielle, a young thief who discovers she has a talent for magic.

10. “The Thief’s Gamble” by Juliet E. McKenna.

This book is the first in a series of novels that follow the adventures of Kaira, a young thief who finds herself caught up in a world of magic and political intrigue. With a strong and likable protagonist, fast-paced action, and intricate world-building, The Thief’s Gamble is a must-read.

If you love fantasy with thieves, you can get my novel Birth of Assassins for free as part of the Ravenglass Universe starter library.

Jon’s author diary – September 15, 2023

Welcome back to another edition of my weekly Author Diary.

🚨 This week is a bit different 🚨
I haven’t managed to write any fiction this week. I’ve been under the weather and taking it easy to get back to full health. 🤒 However, I’ve been doing some reading in between my rest periods. I delved into “The Ultimate History of Video Games Volume 2,” explored the intricacies of “Colonialism: A World History,” and also read “Sellout.” Fantastic reads and highly recommended!

🎉 Exciting News! Indie Author Mastermind is LIVE 🎉
Though I’ve not been working on my stories, I’ve been super productive in another realm. I’ve set up a brand new blog on Substack—Indie Author Mastermind. It’s designed to help aspiring indie authors navigate the maze of self-publishing and create a sustainable income from their writing.

🔗 Check it out here: Indie Author Mastermind

Imaginary Icons: The Coolest Mythical Creatures in Fantasy

Discover the coolest mythical creatures in fantasy! From dragons to unicorns, explore the fascinating world of fantasy creatures and their powers. Unleash your imagination with these legendary beings.

Fantasy is a genre filled with endless possibilities and imagination.

One of its defining features is the presence of mythical creatures, each with its own unique powers, abilities, and backstory.

From dragons to centaurs, these creatures have captured the imagination of people for centuries.

Here are some of the coolest mythical creatures in fantasy:

1. Dragons.

One of the most iconic creatures in fantasy, dragons have been depicted in countless stories, films, and games. They are known for their immense size, strength, and the ability to breathe fire.

2. Griffins.

A hybrid creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle, griffins are known for their courage and strength. They are also associated with guarding treasures and acting as protectors.

3. Merfolk.

Mysterious creatures of the sea, the merfolk have captivated audiences for centuries. They are known for their singing voices and enchanting powers, but also for their dangerous and unpredictable nature.

4. Centaurs.

Half-horse and half-human, centaurs are known for their speed and strength. They are often depicted as wild and untamed creatures, but they can also be wise and noble.

5. Minotaurs.

With the head of a bull and the body of a man, minotaurs are fierce and powerful creatures. They are often depicted as living in labyrinths and guarding treasures.

6. Unicorns.

These majestic creatures are known for their beauty and grace. They are also believed to possess magical powers and bring good luck to those who see them.

7. Phoenixes.

Mythical birds known for their ability to rise from the ashes of their own death, reborn anew. They are associated with renewal, hope, and immortality.

8. Goblins.

Mischievous and malevolent creatures, goblins are often depicted as living underground and causing trouble for humans. Despite their dark reputation, they can also be portrayed as creative and resourceful.

9. Giants.

Huge and powerful beings, giants are often depicted as lumbering and slow, but their size and strength make them formidable foes.

10. Elementals.

Creatures made of earth, air, fire, or water, elementals are known for their mastery of nature.

These are just a few of the many cool mythical creatures found in fantasy. Whether they are depicted as fearsome beasts or magical beings, they continue to capture our imaginations and inspire new tales and legends.

Don’t miss out on your chance to claim the free Ravenglass Universe starter library today!

Dive into a captivating world of fantasy, adventure, and magic with this exclusive collection of books.

How Final Fantasy Has Shaped Modern Fantasy Literature

Explore the influence of the iconic ‘Final Fantasy’ video game series on contemporary fantasy literature, from world-building to character complexity. Dive into the parallel universes!

Final Fantasy, the video game series that’s been anything but ‘final’, has made a considerable impact not just on the gaming world, but also on the pages of contemporary fantasy literature.

So, how exactly did a bunch of pixelated characters hopping across our screens wield such influence over authors and their hefty tomes?

Chocobos to Giant Hawks?

The first, and possibly most important, aspect is the sheer scope of the worlds Square Enix created.

If you’ve read any of Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicle”, you may have noticed his world’s depth, from the currency system to the layout of the University.

Much like the intricate maps and city layouts of Final Fantasy, it seems Rothfuss might’ve spent a wee bit too much time in virtual taverns.

Eco-Crisis Alert!

Environmental issues, from the lifeforce-sapping Mako Reactors in FFVII to the Sin-tainted oceans of FFX, run deep.

N.K. Jemisin, in her “Broken Earth” series, paints a world under ecological collapse.


Well, maybe. But who wouldn’t fancy a ride on the Highwind while navigating through a post-apocalyptic Earth?

Character Complexity

You thought Cloud’s and Squall’s angst was reserved for teenagers with oversized swords?

Think again.

The nuanced character development we see, especially in later FF titles, mirrors the emotional depth and complexity found in characters like Kaladin from Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archive.”

Moody hero with hidden depth? Check.

 Not-so-Side Quests

Just as in the games, where a side quest could lead to acquiring that elusive ultimate weapon, authors like Sarah J. Maas in her “Throne of Glass” series often indulge in side plots that are just as compelling as the main narrative.

Sometimes, they even steal the show.

 Mixing Technology and Magic

FF has always toyed with the balance between the mystical and the mechanical.

A theme picked up by authors like Brian McClellan in his “Powder Mage” trilogy where gunpowder sits alongside sorcery, lending the stories a similar charm to FF’s technological landscapes brimming with magic.

In the end, while it’s a playful stretch to claim that every modern fantasy author has a hidden stash of FF games under their bed, there’s no denying the influence of this legendary series.

It’s as if the literary realm looked at Final Fantasy and thought, “Well, why should video games have all the fun?”

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