Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tea time of the living dead

So – like a bloody, mindless, hungry horde – the zombie books have arrived. First came Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry shambling from the dark depth of delivery trucks. Then the anxiously awaited and much feared Pride and Prejudice and Zombies burst from its cardboard box like the horribly mutilated (but strangely fascinating) corpse that it is. And the customers came, emerging from the admittedly not-foggy-at-all March afternoon and snatched away the newly-dead novels. But don’t stop panicking, more zombies will arrive in mid-April.

Both Patient Zero and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies have proved popular and received favorable reviews (from those who have acquired a taste for zombies) so I would like to frantically point out a few older zombies.

The first two books are by Max Brooks (yes, he is the son of Mel Brooks). Published in 2003, The Zombie Survival Guide is not a novel but a survival manual for dealing with the living dead. It is written in a completely serious and straight-forward tone and provides detailed instructions on preparing for an attack, identifying threats, and of course fighting the dead. The Zombie Survival Guide is often classified as “humor”, but I’m not sure why; it’s certainly not funny. What it is is very entertaining. Read it with your friends, plan your escape route, contemplate the different scenarios, give in to your inner survivalist.

Following in the dragging, shuffling footprints of ZSG and using the “rules” set down in the guide, Brooks’ next book was World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (published in 2006). This novel takes the form of a journalistic report on a recent global zombie pandemic, told through a series of interviews with survivors from across the globe. The main focus of the book is wide and satisfyingly global, including a Chinese nuclear submarine, the US government’s campaign to retake America, a disgraced profiteer hiding in Antarctica, a satellite crew watching helplessly and hopelessly from orbit, and a terrible and repulsive South African plan that may have saved the world. When the focus tightens Brooks delivers moments of gripping, personal horror. Despite its relatively low “gore-factor” this book can be quite frightening. It is also thoughtful and even moving from time to time.

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore (2004) is a short, funny novel of yuletide horror. The story is set in the sleepy Californian town of Pine Cove and features a cast of eccentrics that will be familiar to Moore's readers. Common holiday malaise turns to panic and horror when the undead shamble out of the December night. It's Shaun of the Dead meets A Christmas Story. I know it's springtime, but if Patient Zero and P&P&Z don't have to wait for Halloween I see no reason The Stupidest Angel should wait for Christmas.

And for those whose hunger goes beyond the printed word there is Zombie Outbreak 2009, New England’s own zombie parade. Cover yourself in goo! Pretend you’re dead! Shuffle in a parade! Just stay away from my brain! I have a sharpened shovel and I know how to use it! For more information go to:
http://www.meetup.com/New-England-Horror-Group

2 comments:

shrin said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Miriam

http://www.craigslistdecoded.info

Marie said...

thanks for the zombie list- very interesting!

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