the Little Red Reviewer

Odd Men Out book review over at SFSignal

Posted on: October 16, 2013

Like this stuff?

  • Civil War era alternate history
  • zombies
  • giant lizards
  • pop culture references
  • huge explosions
  • airships
  • airships with zombies on them
  • carnies

what if all that awesome stuff was jammed into one book?  well good news, IT IS! And I reviewed it, just for you!  head over to SFSignal to read my review of Odd Men Out by Matt Betts.

odd men out


11 Responses to "Odd Men Out book review over at SFSignal"

Curious about one thing — considering this is Civil War era and that war doesn’t end, what happens to all the slaves during this outbreak of Zombies…. Does he address this? Or are the reasons for the Civil War sort of forgotten entirely for the aesthetic of the era… Weird mash-up I must confess.


it wasn’t really touched on, and you guessed correctly – the politics was put aside for the aesthetic. One of my issues was the book was the very light world building, there was just enough to get by. If he continues to write in this series, I’d love a prequel. and yes, it is a very, very strange mash-up, but all the wacko mashed up stuff, it actually works!


So, the Union and Confederates get along all nice and easy forgetting all about the reasons for the war and the human rights abuses perpetuated by the slave society south…? Yikes. ‘Tis all I have to say — haha.


Hi! First of all, thanks for such a terrific review. I’m very flattered and glad you enjoyed the book. And thanks for inviting me over to say a few words.

I can address some of the questions. It’s true that I don’t go in depth with the politics of the world for Odd Men Out. I really wanted it to serve as an intro to the characters and situation the country is in.

Basically, the Civil War comes to a halt because the North and South agree to a truce in order to fight a zombie outbreak. The truce really just calls a time-out without addressing the basic causes of the war. In one part of the novel, we hear gripes from a Union soldier about how Lincoln just gave in and agreed to let bygones be bygones.

As for the crew of the UN airship, which consists of both Union and Confederate troops, tensions are evident and there are incidents between the soldiers over basic ideology.

Again, I don’t delve too deeply into politics in the novel. I’d intended it to be purely an action adventure story, but as I wrote it I found that I certainly couldn’t ignore the issues of the times. I hope that as I continue the novels in this series, I can delve a little further into the issues of the era.


Thanks for the response — I didn’t mean to be too critical as I have not read novel and was simply curious considering the subject matter! I obviously know that the historical realities often are only touched upon of vaguely hinted at in fictional alt-history re-imaginings.

But, I’m still not convinced that despite a common cause they would “just [give] in and agreed to let bygones be bygones.” But if it did it would only be an intermittent respite.

But yes, I’m happy that you are considering delving somewhat more into the issues of the day — perhaps not to the extent of the fantastic (and terrifying) recent film 12 Years a Slave but that’s clearly not necessary!


In your “like this stuff?” list, I said No to all but giant lizards. Guess that makes this one a not for me. These days, if I see the word zombie anywhere near a book or film that’s it, I walk away. Why is everyone so obsessed with those things?


This sounds like an interesting book.I think that MAYBE in the future. Right now, my TBR list is growing and have little time to read..:((


Fun cover and fun idea. I’ll check out your review.


Hey missus, heading on over – looks like my type of book – you think???


yeah, I think you’ll like this one!


I just finished Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker and it’s also a Civil War-era alt hist with zombies and airships, but it takes place on the west coast, with no direct influence from the war. Still, interesting that this sort of mash-up is becoming a thing.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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