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Saul Tanpepper has done it again. And this time, he’s transformed an endearing children’s classic into a terrifying zombie thriller, one that will raise more hairs on your neck than anything you’ve read in quite a while.
In this telling, the rabbit’s owner is Cassandra “Cassie” Stemple, a six-year-old girl zombie who encounters the stuffed animal locked in a dark bathroom in an abandoned house inside the walled Gameland arcade – literally, the walled city of New York, where “reanimated” zombies are “played” by ordinary people. Velveteen is told through Cassie’s point of view, giving it a child’s perspective in keeping with the original classic.
“Everyone was sick in those days, sick and dying. Even me,” says Cassie. “Especially me.”
Shortly after the tragic loss of her baby brother, as her parents struggle to protect Cassie from the terrifying disease swiftly overtaking them, Cassie’s beloved pet rabbit suddenly dies and her health begins to fail.
Cassie’s parents make one last desperate attempt to escape the island. But Cassie refuses to leave her rabbit behind. She knows she can save him; she just needs more time. A long, long time. Because that’s how nursery magic works.
Although a part of the dystopic world of S.W. Tanpepper’s Gameland series, Velveteen is a standalone novelette for readers age 14 and older.
The story was developed after Tanpepper received numerous requests to tell Cassie’s story.
“As her creator, the connection I’ve felt with Cassie since first meeting her in Sunder the Hollow Ones has been both deep and personal,” said Tanpepper. “Nevertheless, for a character whose entire contribution to the nearly half-million-word series occupies just eight of those words — a single gesture in a single sentence — her impact on readers continually impresses me.”
Then look for it on the big screen, because I am quite sure it will end up there as well.