Saturday, December 14, 2013
Booster and Reeves: The Night of the Revenants by Troy Blackford
If you like: fun * valets * zombies
Booster and Reeves: The Night of the Revenants takes place on a night that begins like any other, and ends with a witch and the undead. While playing a video game and enjoying himself, Booster is alerted by his trusty valet, Reeves, that the dead have begun rising from their graves and wandering about New York City. When Booster’s late aunt pays him a visit, he and Reeves learn that they must play an active role in ending this apocalypse. With Reeves’ wit and skills of observation and Booster’s humor and willingness to jump in head first, the two quickly learn how to handle the undead and save their city.
In a few short chapters, Booster and Reeves manage to humorously encapsulate many of the common genre tropes. Not only do they raid a hardware store, discussing the merits of many conventional and unconventional tools-cum-weapons, but they also stop to rescue a stranger in need. Unlike so many traditional damsels in distress, local reporter Rena Crustenhower is far more concerned with getting the story than standing around and letting someone take care of her. Though she fails to understand the gravity of their situation at first, she is quick to provide help and assistance rather than be sidelined by our heroes. Readers will be satisfied that not everything goes smoothly for the protagonists, but they fail to make the stupid decisions that so often plague characters in the genre. Without the benefit of long term planning, they still manage to obtain enough supplies and contingencies to survive the night. Having protagonists who don’t rush to sacrifice themselves for the greater good raises the stakes as the danger unfolds, and also makes them much more human.
Booster and Reeves closely examines the real and the perceived. Booster should be more prepared than anyone for this situation, having played countless video games and consumed other zombie media. It is Reeves who is quick to abandon expectations and analyze the real world interactions before making a move that could lead to harm for himself or his charge. Booster makes many assumptions, both about the way the undead will behave, and how the living will act according to his expectations. Before long he understands that the undead are not the only ones he has made incorrect assumptions about. The world does not conform to one’s own internal narrative, and the faster we realize this the more successful encounters we will have in daily life. Once he follows Reeves’ lead and begins to take a more obersvational approach, he understands his place in the world and the battle much more. There is no guarantee this lesson will carry over into everyday life, but it would not be unexpected that a night spent battling revenants could lead to lifelong change. Viewing the world with eyes wide open is not just useful when fighting the undead. All human interactions become easier when all parties set aside assumptions and have a candid discussion about their hopes, goals, and desires. Additionally, Booster learns that the unpredictability of the real world will always leave simulations lacking. No scripted and programmed story can ever compare to the one waiting for you to open your door and find it.
If you would take advice from your dead relatives, read Booster and Reeves: The Night of the Revenants.
Blackford, Troy. Booster and Reeves: The Night of the Revenants. 2013. Kindle Edition.