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Natalie Zina Walschots

Natalie Zina Walschots is a writer and game designer whose work includes LARP scripts, heavy metal music journalism, video game lore, and weirder things classified as “interactive experiences.” Her writing on the interactive adventure The Aluminum Cat won an IndieCade award, and her poetic exploration of the notes engine in Bloodborne was featured in Kotaku and First Person Scholar. She is (unfortunately) the author of two books of poetry: Thumbscrews, which won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains. Natalie sits on the board of Dames Making Games, a space for queer and gender-marginalized people to create games freely, where she hosts interactive narrative workshops. She plays a lot of D&D, participates in a lot of Nordic LARPs, watches a lot of horror movies and reads a lot of speculative fiction. She lives in Toronto with her partner and five cats. This is, arguably, too many cats.

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Hench: A hilarious debut

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Anna Tromedlov (try reading that backwards) works at a temp agency that supplies minions to evil villains. Her expertise is in data analysis so, typically, her jobs involve spreadsheets and reports and she gets to work from home. This fits her personality nicely, plus it’s the safest way to work for an evil villain.

When her best friend June encourages her to take an on-site job, Anna agrees that it might be good for her. She is just beginning to add new skills to her resume when there’s a conflict between her boss and a superhero and she gets badly injured by the hero. Irate, she begins calculating the actual cost of superhero encounters. This is a life-changing event that sparks a whole new career for Anna.

I loved Hench (2020), the Locus-nominated debut novel of Natalie Zina Walschots, from the first paragraph. This fast-moving story is amusing, witty,... Read More