If there was an award for oddest genre mashup, the Peril in Plain Space series just might take the top award. Following in the vein of books like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Kerry Nietz takes a more serious look at how these two disparate genres might go together.
And it works. Nietz plays with the contrasts of a technologically-advanced age and a subset of humanity that eschews all technology—and the ethical conundrums of both sides—throughout the books, all while creating a fun monster story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I was a bit of a latecomer to this series. Amish Vampires in Space released as Life is Story was winding down. I read the book, but never reviewed it, and followed the drama of it being featured on Fallon as part of his “Do Not Read” segment. (And it’s obvious Fallon took his own advice and never read it.)
A few months ago, Kerry announced that he would be releasing a third book in the series Amish Werewolves of Space. I missed out the first time around, wasn’t even really that aware of a second book (Amish Zombies from Space), so I certainly wasn’t going to let this one slip by. I had to get Kerry on the phone to talk about his weird, wonderful series and this is the result.
Interview with Kerry Nietz
Josh Olds: First question: How? How did this story idea ever come up?
Kerry Nietz: So I started my writing career with Marcher Lord Press, a small micro press. It’s now Enclave Publishing. And the publisher used to go to all these writing conventions and whatever. There’d be other publishing companies. They’re looking for books, and because the Amish romance genre is so big, most of these other publishing houses, that’s what they’d be looking for. Lots of Amish romance.
And he, of course, was looking for science fiction fantasy. So his joke would be, you know, the only Amish fiction I’m looking for is Amish Vampires in Space. At some point along the line there he sent a mock cover to all the all the authors at Marcher Lord that had a bonneted vampire lady and they’re obviously on a spaceship because you could see a planet behind—it was just kind of a joke cover.
We got to talking about it and I said “You know, someone should write that book just on the title alone, it would be intriguing. It seems sort of campy; I’m not sure if I’m the one to write it.” Because everything I’d done before but pretty much hard science fiction. Well, a couple months went by and I started getting this idea about how it all might work, how the Amish might get into space and become vampires. From a sort of a straight sci fi—as hard as I can make it. So I started writing, and I got about 30,000 words in, and I sent him an email and said, “Hey, guess what I’m writing.” And when we got done laughing. He said, “Well, you know, if it’s good and I like it. I’ll publish it.”
Amish Vampires in Space
The Amish folk of Alabaster live a simple life with the whole planet at their disposal. Their ancestors had been transported here as part of a human initiative to colonize more planets. Instead of having just a piece of earth, the Amish now have a whole planet away from the ever-increasing evils of an “advanced” society.
But there’s something wrong with the sun. Jebediah isn’t sure what. But he knows it’s a danger. And he knows the solution. His ancestors had left him a piece of technology—which would have been forbidden—in the case of emergency. He uses the beacon, risking getting kicked out of the community.
That’s only the beginning. The Amish are saved from their dying sun, but find perhaps a worse fate. There is cargo on the ship that isn’t quite dead—or alive. It leads to a harrowing fight, one that will test the resolve and morality of all those on board.
Amish Zombies from Space
WARNING! SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1!
It’s been five years since the vampire incident and the Amish colony on Miller’s Resolve has finally gotten settled in their new home, still struggling to deal with their losses. But when they receive new and rather intrusive visitors, their tenuous stability starts to waver. A new type of threat emerges—not the vampires of last time, but some new type of undead creature.
Meanwhile, Jeb and Sarah no longer live with the community, choosing to raise their son outside of the Amish world. They connect with Greels, taking him in and giving him a chance at redemption. But Greels is still haunted by his past, and the part he played in unleashing the vampire virus. It all starts a journey that brings all the major characters back together to fight this new threat—and there are twists along the way that will just leave you stunned.
Amish Werewolves of Space
WARNING! SPOILERS FOR BOOKS 1 & 2.
Some say death comes in threes.
For the Amish community of Alabaster, it seems to. They’ve maintained an uneasy alliance with the vamperkinder, the altered humans that rescued them from the zombies seven years ago. But after several vicious attacks—nighttime slaughters that could only have been perpetrated by the kinder—the union of the two peoples is shattered.
Meanwhile, a resurgent zombie horde and mysterious nightly howls signal doom, not only for the Amish, but for the entire galaxy.
As more and more planets fall, the Raven survivors hunt for a solution.
Can they restore the peace? Escape the horde? Save the galaxy?
Or is it already too late?
The Author | Kerry Nietz
Kerry Nietz is an award-winning science fiction author. He has over a half dozen speculative novels in print, along with a novella, a couple short stories, and a non-fiction book, FoxTales.
Kerry’s novel A Star Curiously Singing won the Readers Favorite Gold Medal Award for Christian Science Fiction and is notable for its dystopian, cyberpunk vibe in a world under sharia law. It is often mentioned on “Best of” lists.
Among his writings, Kerry’s most talked about is the genre-bending Amish Vampires in Space. AViS was mentioned on the Tonight Show and in the Washington Post, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. Newsweek called it “a welcome departure from the typical Amish fare.”
Kerry is a refugee of the software industry. He spent more than a decade of his life flipping bits, first as one of the principal developers for the now mythical Fox Software, and then as one of Bill Gates’s minions at Microsoft. He is a husband, a father, a technophile and a movie buff.