Thursday, July 24, 2014


All authors want people to like their books, but any sensible author also knows that you can't please all the people all of the time. Actually, most of my favorite books have been offensive to lots of people (Huckleberry Finn, Lolita, and Elmer Gantry spring to mind), so my goal as a writer has never been to please everybody. But that doesn't mean I'm okay with my work being misunderstood.

For instance, I've noticed that there are some reviews of my book Xombies that accuse me of sexism. This pisses me off, because the book is ABOUT sexism; it is a critique of sexism (among other things); but it is no more sexist than Schindler's List is pro-Nazi because it is about Nazis.

In Xombies, most of the women on Earth are transformed by an artificial virus into rampaging, unkillable demons, who then spread the disease to men via a "kiss of death." To me, this was an interesting and funny idea, turning the tables so that suddenly men are the "weaker sex," quaking in their boots at the sight of a teenage girl. Even if that teenage girl happens to be immune and thus harmless, as is the case with the book's narrator, Lulu Pangloss.

A couple of the critics wonder why I had to make women the "bad guys," implying that a gender-based pandemic is an attack on women. This is absurd. I am only positing a fictional situation: a disease that strikes women first. Although fictional, it echoes a very real situation that occurred in my lifetime: the AIDS epidemic.

AIDS first appeared among a segment of the population already treated as second-class citizens, and who hardly needed to be stigmatized further by a "gay plague"--yet that's exactly what happened. If an author had made that up, I have no doubt some well-meaning person would have accused them of attacking gays. Likewise, just before the economic collapse of Weimar Germany, a liberal government was elected, with many Jews in key positions. These Jews bore no responsibility for the Depression, yet they took most of the blame, and the Nazi Party reaped the benefits at the next election. It was a case of very unfortunate timing.

My point is that real-world events are not always convenient. Not all tragedies are equal-opportunity, so why should fictional ones be? The moral of a story is not the same as the plot--the plot is just a hypothetical situation, which can be literally anything. The plot has only one purpose: to be interesting. NOT to be safe--I have no desire to read anything designed to flatter and protect my tender feelings. Fuck that shit.

The Nazis loved kitsch. They were suckers for sentimental hogwash and bogus nostalgia. Art should challenge assumptions; it should cut through that garbage to find the truth, and the true morality, that society often conspires to hide from us.

Friday, June 20, 2014

OMG I'm frickin' exhausted.

Well, I just finished my new book, Aquarium, which is the sequel to Mad Skills.  Whereas Mad Skills practically wrote itself, Aquarium was a huge task, a crazy epic, easily my longest book at 400+ pages. For awhile I thought I'd never be done with it, but over the past six months I really doubled down on it, devoting every waking minute to obsessing over plot details and probably wrecking my health in the process. is done.

Always a bit of a downer, finishing a book.  You suddenly have all this time on your hands and nothing to do but fret over nonsense.  It's like being all dressed up with no place to go.  It should be an amazing relief finally taking a little mental vacation after having that book filling every second of your waking (and even dreaming) life, but no--you are now weirdly addicted to the constant pressure of that endless task. I can see why so many of the best writers in history were alcoholics and drug addicts--it's how they filled the void.

Just as I am filling the void with this blog post.  A poor substitute, I know, but the only other alternative is yard work.  This is why it sucks to be a responsible person.

On a happier note, let me just mention a couple of sci-fi flicks I have enjoyed recently:

The movie Under the Skin, which I desperately needed as an antidote to all the usual Hollywood summer crap.

Oddly enough, the movie Edge of Tomorrow, which from the trailers certainly looked like typical Hollywood summer crap, but is actually quite a bit better than that, mainly because of the humor and Tom Cruise's performance. The cashier at the supermarket was saying how eager she was to see Godzilla, and I recommended Edge of Tomorrow, and she just looked blank and said, "Yeah, but I gotta get me some Godzilla."  I couldn't bring myself to bust her bubble about Godzilla (and I say this as a Godzilla fan from way back--as a kid I practically memorized Destroy All Monsters and Monster Zero), but I wish more folks would try harder to see beyond the marketing to find the actual quality, whether in a big budget CGI extravaganza or a micro-budget independent film like Under the Skin. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

TERMINAL ISLAND reviewed by Library Journal!

TERMINAL ISLAND is being released Dec. 4!

"A psychedelic descent into madness and cultural insanity, Greatshell has given us a tale of ancient gods and nameless cults that practice their rites not in some wasted land far away, but right in our own backyard. This book never slows down until the high energy climax. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED."--Brett J. Talley, Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of That Which Should Not Be and The Void

"Echoing Robert Aickman and early Koontz, Walter Greatshell's prose evokes an atmosphere wherein reality and nightmare collide head-on. Terminal Island is a creepy and unsettling destination..."--Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of Occultation and The Croning

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Sci Fi Magazine (SyFy Network) Book Review:
ENORMITY by W.G. Marshall

Rating: A

Enormity by W.G. Marshall is an entirely gonzo concoction about the sad plight of one Manny Lopes, an unassuming American working in Korea who for reasons that go along with the usual amount of super-scientific hand-waving usually required with premises like this, is enlarged to a height of about one-mile. The square-cube law that would normally cause him to collapse and liquefy under his own weight is brought up, just to show that the author is familiar with it, and then waved away, just to make the story possible; and we’re left with the comical and terrifying predicament of a guy so enormous that he lays waste to the countryside not just by moving, but also by sitting, sleeping, evacuating, or even by standing still (as the tiny organisms that live on human skin have also been enlarged, and drop off him to wreak havoc of their own.)

It’s literally a novel of epic scale, both micro (the troubles of a terrified un-enlarged girlfriend who spends days clinging to one of the lesser hairs in Manny’s eyebrow) and macro (the vast geological damage caused by not one, but two, mile-high people, causing massive tsunami and vaporizing entire cities with every step). Next to Manny, and the fanatical North Korean woman who is his equally enlarged opposite number, Godzilla and King Kong were minor nuisances, easily dispensed with. The prose is a hoot, and the climactic confrontation in the Grand Canyon—which to our pair of battling giants is only about as deep as an open grave—is worth the wait. Check out enormity for a worldwide cataclysm that’ll never stop surprising you with its audacity.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Big News: W.G. Marshall's ENORMITY is due out in February, and I predict it's gonna be massive! Check out the advance buzz:

"Hits you like a laser bomb of pulp action. A page-turner that rips across the genres and leaves you gasping for more." -- Mario Acevedo, author of Werewolf Smackdown and The Nymphos of Rocky Flats

"Moves like a freight train...full of memorable characters, Enormity is a wild, genre-bending adventure!" -- Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock and Diablo: The Last Horadrim

"Instead of meekly evoking the corny goodness of creaky kaiju eiga flicks, Marshall's tragically hilarious debut pushes an amazing colossal scenario far too insane for Toho or Michael Bay, and schools us all in the lost art of making monsters walk. THIS ONE WILL BURY YOU." -- Cody Goodfellow, author of Radiant Dawn, Ravenous Dusk, and All-Monster Action

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

MAD SKILLS reviewed at Bitten By Books!

Here's the link:

Review of XOMBIES: APOCALYPSO on Fresh Fiction!

Here's the link:

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Spanish edition of Xombies--cool!

Weird--I just found out my first foreign edition is being released next week: the Spanish translation of my first published novel, Xombies (which was reissued in 2008 as Xombies: Apocalypse Blues).

The Spanish title is: Agente X - Xombis. I love that.

What's strange is that I had no idea this book was coming out at all. I remember being contacted by two different Spanish publishers a couple of years ago, and forwarding their emails to my editor at Penguin. Having lived in Spain, I was really excited to think my book might soon be on the shelves of my favorite bookstores in Madrid. But I never heard anything more, and sadly assumed that no deal had been reached.

I guess I was wrong!

The best thing about it is, now I have two foreign editions: Agente X - Xombis, and the upcoming German translation of Mad Skills, due out next June, which I think is going to be called Gefangen in Harmony. Which basically means "Trapped in Harmony." I hope they're both monster hits, so I can justify making a publicity tour of Europe. Also so my car doesn't get repossessed.

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