Spill Zone: The Beginning

The following is a guest post from Scott Westerfeld, author of Spill Zone.

Let me tell you a little about how Spill Zone came to be.

In 2004, a Ukrainian photojournalist named Elena Filatova (aka KiddofSpeed) blogged an account of her illicit motorcycle journeys through the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the area blighted by history’s worst nuclear accident. Her photos and writing were elegiac and apocalyptic, evoking the otherworldliness of the forsaken city of Pripyat. But once the posts went viral, certain discrepancies were noted, and Filatova admitted that her accounts were “more poetry than reality.”

In short, she might have taken a tour bus. You see, it’s pretty easy to get into the Exclusion Zone these days.

But the poetic version stuck with me—a woman on a motorcycle, a camera, an empty and dangerous world.

I’ve always been a sucker for tales about exploring broken, abandoned terrain. As a kid I was an “urban explorer,” though we didn’t have that term back then. I spelunked the buildings at my upstate New York college, and I’ve explored abandoned sites in and around NYC since. There’s nothing quite like the silent loneliness of a place that has been abandoned, restricted, and left to ruin. In these spaces, the usual rules don’t apply. It feels as if the laws of physics don’t either.

So what if they really were a slice of another world?

That’s what Spill Zone is about. The ways that disasters, canny or uncanny, change the spaces that they take place in. And the ways that we survivors become explorers of those ruined spaces, picking them apart with memories, stories, and art.

My heroine, Addison Merritt, isn’t just taking strange photographs. She’s rebuilding after the fall.

Working with me to make the world inside the Spill Zone alien and unsettling are artist Alex Puvilland (Templar, Prince of Persia) and colorist Hilary Sycamore (Battling Boy, The Shade). They’ve created a world that’s both alien and beautiful, and characters and settings that look like they belong in the hardscrabble upstate Zone towns that some downstaters still call “Tawana Brawley country.”

They’ve captured the feeling I first got from a line in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (S1E12), when Buffy sees a room of people killed by vampires: “When I walked in there, it … it wasn’t our world anymore. They made it theirs. And they had fun.”

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld | On Sale May 2nd, 2017

Favorite routines by soviet gymnasts masterpost


Nelli Kim 1976 Natalia Shaposhnikova 1980 Yelena Davydova 1980 Natalia Yurchenko 1983 Olga Mostepanova 1984 Yelena Shushunova 1986 Aleftina Priakhina 1986 & 1987 Oksana Omelianchik 1987 Svetlana Baitova 1987 Olesia Dudnik 1989 Natalia Laschenova 1989 Sventlana Boginskaya 1988 Oksana Chusovitina 1990 Tatiana Lysenko 1992


Olga Korbut 1972 Ludmilla Tourischeva 1979 Yelena Mukhina 1978 Yelena Naimushina 1980 Natalia Yurchenko 1983 Oksana Omelianchik 1985 Svetlana Baitova 1987 Yelena Shushunova 1988 Olesia Dudnik 1989 Olga Stazheva 1989 Natalia Kalilina 1990 Oksana Chusovitina 1991 Yelena Grudneva 1991 Tatiana Lysenko 1992 Tatiana Gutsu 1992


Olga Korbut 1972 Maria Filatova 1977 Yelena Mukhina 1977 Svetlana Grozdova 1978 Natalia Shaposhnikova 1979 Olga Bicherova 1982 Natalia Yurchenko 1983 Albina Shishova 1983 Olga Mostepanova 1983 Irina Baraksanova 1985 Oksana Omelianchik 1985 Vera Kolesnikova 1986 Aleftina Priakhina 1987 Elena Gurova 1987 Tatiana Tuzhikova 1987 Olesia Dudnik 1989 Natalia Laschenova 1989 Olga Strazheva 1989 Tatiana Groshkova 1990 Ludmilla Stovbchataya 1990 Ludmilla Prince 1990 Svetlana Boginskaya 1990 Elena Abrashitova 1990 Tatiana Lysenko 1991 Elena Grudneva 1991 Tatiana Gutsu 1991 Roza Galiyeva 1992


Olga Korbut 1972 Elvira Saadi 1974 Maria Filatova 1976 Nelli Kim 1976 Yelena Mukhina 197Natalia Shaposhnikova 1979 Svetlana Grozdova 1979 Yelena Mukhina 197Maria Filatova 1980 Olga Bicherova 1981 Yelena Naimushina 1980 Olga Mostepanova 1980 Natalia Ilienko 1981 Valentina Shkoda 1982 Olga Mostepanova 1983 Irina Baraksanova 1984 Oksana Omelianchik 1985 Svetlana Bogisnkaya 1985 Olga Mostepanova 1985 Natalia Yurchenko 1985 Vera Kolesnikova 1986 Svetlana Lebedinskaya Natalia Frolova 1986 Aleftina Pryakhina 1986 Olga Chudina 1987 Elena Gurova 1987 Oksana Omelianchik 1987 Elena Shevchenko 1987 Svetlana Boginskaya 1988 Olga Strazheva 19881989  Olesia Dudnik 1989 Natalia Laschenova 1989 Svetlana Baitova 1989 Svetlana Boginskaya 1989 Tatiana Groshkova 1990 Natalia Kalilina 1990 Olessia Dudnik 1990 Ludmilla Prince 1990 Tatiana Lysenko 1990 Oksana Chusovitina 1990 Tatiana Gutsu 1990 Yelena Sazonenkova 1991 Svetlana Boginskaya 1992 Tatiana Gutsu 1992

This only includes optional routines and I tried not to include the same gymnast more than once unless the routine is completely different

My Top Floor Routines

A combination of boredom and sadness has inspired me to make a list of my personal top floor routines, ones I just can’t stop watching, the ones with choreography I love and music I can’t get out of my head. Enjoy

Maria Filatova 1976

Elena Mukhina 1978

Elena Davydova 1980

Oksana Omelianchik 1985

Aurelia Dobre 1987

Tatiana Lysenko 1991

Tatiana Lysenko 1992

Henriette Onodi 1992

Anna Pavlova 2004

Anna Pavlova 2008

Ksenia Semenova 2008

Ksenia Afanasyeva 2010

Zeng Siqi 2010

Aliya Mustafina 2011

Yulia Belokobylskaya 2011

Aliya Mustafina 2012

Mai Murakami 2013

*these are only my personal opinions, feel free to disagree