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Installing Linux on a Dead Badger [Paperback]

Lucy A. Snyder
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Oct 2007
Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (and other Oddities) is a collection of Lucy Snyder's humorous essays, fiction and articles, some culled from places like "Strange Horizons" and "Spacesuits and Six-Guns" and some brand new. This collection of thirteen short stories, articles and essays from Lucy A. Snyder will appeal to any fan of zombies, aliens or installation manuals. Here's what Wikipedia said about Lucy, last time we checked: "Lucy A. Snyder is an American science fiction, fantasy, humor, and nonfiction writer. She grew up in San Angelo, Texas but moved to Bloomington, Indiana for graduate studies at Indiana University and currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Gary A. Braunbeck. Snyder served as an editor for HMS Beagle, an online bioscience publication produced by Elsevier. She has also contributed technical articles to publications such as Electronic Products."

Product details

  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Creative Guy Publishing (15 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894953479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894953474
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 577,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess as well as the collections Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Hellbound Hearts, Masques V, Doctor Who Short Trips: Destination Prague, Chiaroscuro, GUD, and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet.

She was born in South Carolina but grew up in San Angelo, Texas. She currently lives in Worthington, Ohio with her husband and occasional co-author Gary A. Braunbeck.

Lucy has a BS in biology and an MA in journalism and is a graduate of the 1995 Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers' Workshop; her classmates included authors Kelly Link and Nalo Hopkinson. Since January 2010, she has mentored students in Seton Hill University's MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction.

She has also worked as a computer systems specialist, science writer, biology tutor, researcher, software reviewer, radio news editor, and bassoon instructor. In her past life as an editor, she published Dark Planet and selected poetry and software reviews for HMS Beagle. She currently produces a column for Horror World on science and technology for writers and coordinates the writing workshops at the annual Context conference.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny 2 Aug 2008
By Steven R. McEvoy TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Snyder is hilarious. Her use of characters and creatures from myths and legends, to re-depict IT situations by superimposing these beings from a supernatural realm onto real-life computer industry events, describes them in a new light, with tremendous insight and humour. The twelve articles collected here are fun for any Geek on your gift list.

The wit and wisdom displayed in this book are exceptional, with everything from step by step instructions on how to install Linux on a dead badger, to using your dead badger to fight zombies. This book has it all, from stories about IT helpdesks starting to staff with zombies to cut down on cost, to using vampires as supervisors to keep the zombies under control and working, to management having no brains to begin with so the zombies have no interest in eating them anyway.

Pick this book up for yourself, for your geek friends or anyone in IT or computer science; they will ROTFL while reading it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll Need Your Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaains! 16 Nov 2009
Format:Paperback
In this book, Snyder succeeds in making zombies (both human and animal) wickedly funny--no matter how jaded you are by cries of 'Braaaaaaaaaaaains!!!' Either this book will make you laugh out loud at least once, or you should consider having yourself checked for signs of death.

Snyder's work first came to my attention when the cover story, 'Installing Linux on a Dead Badger' was submitted to SFF webzine Strange Horizons, where I was then an articles editor. I can't take much credit for discovering her, though--there wasn't any debate in the articles team about whether we should publish Badger. It remains easily my favourite of the articles published during my year at SH. So it's a treat for me to see it appear in print, along with eleven companion stories that also explore ideas surrounding cybermancy, badgers, and the undead.

Throughout the book, Snyder's style is light yet assured. She makes no effort to convince you of the validity of any of her claims, or to justify them, but just writes as if it's all true. The effect is almost to convince you that it is true--that you, too, could install Linux on a badger. Or maybe a wombat. Or even an entire replacement workforce, with all the advantages and strange happenings that would bring. If only you had a Duppy card, and a herb-scented application.

The focus on cyber-zombies does become a little too much at times, especially when one story contains virtually a re-run of the badger installation instructions, so my recommendation would be not to try to read this book at one sitting. Carry it with you--it's neither large nor heavy--and dip into it in a spare moment, on the train, or when you desperately need cheering up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The literary B-movie 5 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Snyder's eclectic mixture of horror, sci-fi and comedic elements creates an atmosphere reminiscent of the B-movies of the 50s and 60s which I have yet to find in a literary form until now. :D
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4.0 out of 5 stars Installing Linux on a Badger 13 Oct 2011
By BigAl
Format:Kindle Edition
Although each of the short stories or essays in "Installing Linux" stands alone, you'll find a few common themes. Most touch on technology. Many have mythical creatures: zombies, fairies, trolls, and such. Some may have a dark side, but all are humorous, with many satirizing something or someone in the process.

The title story gives directions for installing the Linux operating system on a badger. When you're done you'll have a zombie badger that can be operated like a robot. Doesn't that sound like fun? This piece satirizes computer installation manuals.

Multiple stories imagine a future where reanimated corpses or zombies provide a cheap workforce for corporations. This example passage is the response of the owner of a fast food restaurant, addressing concerns that his "zombloyees" (zombie employees) present a health risk, and clearly satirizes a typical corporate spokesperson putting a positive spin on a situation for good public relations:

"There's still this perception that they're these oozing corpses dropping parts everywhere, but that's completely outdated. When properly plasticized, our zombloyees are cleaner than our regular employees - all you do is wipe them down with orange cleaner every shift to get the grease residue off."

Of course this brave new world isn't good for everyone. We also get to meet the IT employee injured while trying to exterminate trolls from his company's computer network and the unemployed worker who masquerades as a zombie to get a low paying job in a call center. Overall, I found "Installing Linux" to be a quick (just shy of 20,000 words) and fun read.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Collection that blends humor, speculative fiction, and the surreal... 4 Feb 2008
By Daniel R. Robichaud II - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Installing Linux on a Dead Badger is one of those rare treats: a book that, when you're finished, you feel impelled to share with all your friends, if only to have someone else to swap the jokes with.

The collection is a slender volume, maybe 110 pages long, with about 12 stories or so. The titular piece is written as a set of instructions for using Linux to create your own zombie badger (with an Appendix for additional instructions and warnings for use with alternate species or unsupported animals). The following eight stories are written in a journalistic style, immersing the reader in an alternate universe where this sort of software opens up whole new vistas. In the manner of Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, these individual stories combine to create a strangely familiar world. The author blends humor with eeriness in a heady, must read mix... In this world, teens run wild with their borderline illegal Linux installations, zombloyees usurp the jobs of less cost efficient living employees, companies install a new requirement for the ruthless (some might say bloodsucking) world of middle management, IT networking goes to extreme dimensions, playing dead might be the only way to survive, and the relentless killing machines of a previously unknown "pest" become the season's hottest pets...

I found the last three stories in the volume to be somewhat less involving. Perhaps this is due to the shift to a more "familiar" writing style, less "you are there" gonzo and more traditional first/third person narratives.

While the first of these ("The Great VuDu Linux Teen Zombie Massacre") is certainly a part of the previous world, it makes the mistake of repeating the content of the titular piece. In its previous appearance as a story in Spacesuits and Sixguns, this repetition would have been necessary to keep unfamiliar readers up to speed. Not so here. I wonder if the piece might have benefited from more insight from the complexities of an actual wetware install, instead of a seemingly verbatim recounting of the manual... However, the rest of the tale proves to be a hoot, bringing a whole new levels of fun to the terms "IKnowKungFu" and "fire fire fire".

The final two stories are disconnected, though they each have their charm (particularly the piece titled, "In the Shadow of the Fryolater," which involves the hilarious and bizarre encounter between a restaurant worker and a rather megalomaniacal sea critter). That they seem related to the other stories only thematically seems to detract from their punch somewhat... At least for me. Then again, by this time I was chugging along at a pretty good clip, with all the previous pieces buzzing around my brainbox.

Still, good stuff.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Install this in your bookshelf 6 Nov 2007
By Scott Slemmons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a short story collection about cybermancy and necrotechnology -- most of the stories are set in a parallel reality where you can use the dark arts to raise the dead, and then use the other dark arts -- computer programming -- to control them.

One of Snyder's strengths in this collection is disguising her fiction as news articles or technical writing. The title story is actually written like a software guide, instructing readers on what kinds of software will need to be installed to raise the dead (like a Duppy card, FleshGolem software, or ItzaLive programs, for you Mac users), and well over half of the other stories read like something out of the business or technology sections of your local paper or a national newsweekly.

Can't imagine necromancy as big business? Obviously, you've never considered the financial benefits of replacing your living employees with zombies who will work for 20 hours a day for a bucket of cow brains. Not to mention the benefits of networking your office computers with eldritch extra-dimensional demons who will deliver your e-mail and make market predictions for the price of a few delicious kittens. Sure, there's a problem with cthonian horrors sucking out your soul, but everyone's gotta make sacrifices in business, right?

Verdict: Thumbs up. If you like your fiction with healthy doses of humor, horror, and computer in-jokes, this is definitely something you're going to enjoy.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny 2 Aug 2008
By Steven R. McEvoy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Snyder is hilarious. Her use of characters and creatures from myths and legends, to re-depict IT situations by superimposing these beings from a supernatural realm onto real-life computer industry events, describes them in a new light, with tremendous insight and humour. The twelve articles collected here are fun for any Geek on your gift list.

The wit and wisdom displayed in this book are exceptional, with everything from step by step instructions on how to install Linux on a dead badger, to using your dead badger to fight zombies. This book has it all, from stories about IT helpdesks starting to staff with zombies to cut down on cost, to using vampires as supervisors to keep the zombies under control and working, to management having no brains to begin with so the zombies have no interest in eating them anyway.

Pick this book up for yourself, for your geek friends or anyone in IT or computer science; they will ROTFL while reading it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funnier than Stephen King, more terrifying than Terry Pratchett 4 April 2008
By Michael W. Lucas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you made the Monty Python crew work in an office and left a copy of the Necronomicon in the bathroom for breaktime reading, you'd wind up with this book. These stories occupy a delightful cross-genre place between humor, horror, technology, and business.

The author has obviously read too many tech manuals and too many business books, and been driven mad by them. But fortunately it's one of the good kinds of madness, not something scary like a CEO.

I do feel obliged to mention that NetBSD's dead badger support is far better than Linux's. But the book is absolutely fabulous nonetheless.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zombies, and Vampires, and LINUX - Oh my! 1 May 2008
By Muffie79 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lucy Snyder has one of the most unique voices in speculative fiction, and this book is an example of her at her best.

What Terry Prachett does for fantasy, what Douglas Adams did for S/F, what Christopher Moore does for horror, Lucy Snyder does for technogeekism. She twists it, she warps it, and she makes it side-splittingly funny. She is well on her way to creating a lexicon of humor that will have the whole Gen X and Y community feeling even more smug and geekier-than-thou.

The title piece in this collection is a beloved classic to the online crowd; anyone who's ever suffered through a technical manual will be at home with the zombie badgers.

This book also contains one of my favorite stories of all time, "In The Shadow of the Fryolator". Chick lit meets Cthulu via the brain of Lucy Snyder.

I highly recommend owning this book if you want to be cool.
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