Literature of the Living Dead

Somehow at work I seem to have become known as the girl who likes zombies. I find this somewhat perplexing given the fact that, while true, I have never really discussed zombies with the majority of my co-workers. That’s, of course, not to say that I haven’t spoken about them some, they’re bound to come up from time to time. After all, they are zombies and thus inherently awesome.

The first zombie movie I ever saw was Tom Savini’s version of Night of the Living Dead. I was at a horribly awkward party and I found that focusing my attention on the television screen was a much better use of my time than socializing with the people around me. [Yes, this is somewhat consistent in my life, I’ll admit. I’m a horrible socializer, and there was a television. Though I do think I have improved by spades, mostly with the careful (or not so careful) application of alcohol. I can be very chatty when properly lubricated.] I’d like to say that watching this first zombie film was a revelation in my life, but it wasn’t. It was just another movie; it wasn’t until much later that my love of the genre peaked, and I honestly couldn’t tell you when. But the fact remains; I love them. I even love the crappy ones. I don’t play video games, and I will say that if Resident Evil had been about pretty much anything else I might not have liked it, as it is… I’ve even watched the sequels. 28 Weeks Later… was ridiculous (I’m sorry, they flamethrowed their own, for no apparent reason. Random flamethrowation.) But I’ve considered buying it, just to round out my collection, of course, and even though they are technically not zombies.

The thing that impresses me about zombie movies is this; no matter how the dead were reanimated to become said zombies the way of killing them generally remains the same. While zombies are walking corpses with an insatiable hunger for human flesh their existence always seems dependant on one thing, the brainstem. You can shoot a zombie through the heart at point blank range with a semi-automatic Remington 1100 and all you’ll get is a hole in it’s chest. You can send a rocket launcher after those things. It might be blown apart, but so long as its mouth is still somewhat intact its head will loll and still try and bite you. What’s worse, they’re still contagious. However, destroy the brain, destroy the zombie.

K and J and I have a pact drawn from considerable zombie movie watching. It seems like, at least, once a film a character becomes unwilling to dispatch with another infected character just because of who they used to be. Newsflash: That’s not your friend anymore. Your friend, presumably, does not eat people. Your friend is gone, gone, gone. KILL YOUR FRIEND. This, of course, is the pact. I get bitten, I fully expect K to immediately blow my brains out, and I (like any good friend) would do the same.

I will not give all my (35 today!) readers a list of things to do in case of zombie attack, for that I will simply refer you to The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, which brings me to the crux of this post: Zombie books.

This is apparently the reason I am ‘the girl who likes zombies’ at The Job. I’ll admit, I suppose I have been sort of heavy on the zombie literature lately, but I do not really think that I warranted the comment “Oh yes, you only read books about zombies”. ‘This most certainly isn’t true’, I thought. Indignantly. And it really isn’t. Sure I was halfway through, and fully absorbed with, World War Z when the comment was made, but it clearly was not taken into account that it was sandwiched in between two books decidedly not about zombies. So much so that one coworker, all excited like, felt the need to tell me about how she’s never in her life picked up a zombie book and managed to pick up two on the same day. Apparently, and it’s probably true, no one else would appreciate this information but me. And, I don’t know; yesterday as I rested my insanely stupid (yet insanely entertaining) zombie Torchwood book on top of my copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I had to sort of wonder if my coworkers had a point.

We’ll begin with World War Z, again by Max Brooks, shall we? This is perhaps one of the most complicated and insanely researched books I have ever read in my entire life. Several times, while reading, I felt the need to go downstairs and start telling my mother about parts of it. The book is set up like a collection of stories collected from a man trying to chronicle the Zombie War, World War Z, whatever name you chose because in the novel they certainly hadn’t come up with anything definite. What was especially impressive was the so many different points of view the author thought up. What happens to the people left on the International Space Station while the world is going to hell? What kind of benefit can a dachshund be fighting against the undead? What happens to the blind? Those who’s lives exist more online than in the real world? Brooks answers all these questions, to just… ridiculous detail. Honestly, can’t recommend this enough.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Eh. That’s all I have to say. Eh. Okay that’s a lie; I obviously have far too much to say on the subject. This book is a great idea. The first time I saw it lying on a table at Borders my excitement levels jumped to, frankly embarrassing, heights. It took me ages to actually purchase it, as I had no money and stacks of books to get through, so when I finally did it was with great anticipation. This was proved to be stupid anticipation. Great idea, yes. Great book, certainly not. All the elements Austen’s classic are in place except all the character have been perverted by things that simply would not and could not have happened. The author clearly does not know the characters at all choosing thoughts, actions, and situations for them that are not true to them at all. The Bennet sisters have all been shipped to China at some point prior to the start of the book to train under a Shaolin monk in the ‘deadly arts’ and have returned to England seasoned and brutal warriors, ready to kill more ‘unmentionables’ than any of their peers. And somehow, in Regency England, this is a commodity. Elizabeth is still headstrong, but now she wants to slit Darcy’s throat for his insults. He calls Longbourne the town where the Bennet’s live (note: it’s their house). Also, if they know that the dead are going to rise again, which they do as they have apparently stopped buying expensive funeral clothes that will only be dragged through the dirt when they rise from the grave; why are they burying them in the first place? Or better yet, why aren’t they decapitating the corpses before burial? The whole thing is just off somehow, off. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to finish reading it, of course, but on a whole… I am unimpressed.

Torchwood: Bay of the Dead, by Mark Morris. Yes, I am reading a Torchwood book, yes its lame. But honestly, it’ll take me two days tops, I have to think about it very little, and there are zombies! Of course, I am sure that it will turn out to be some sort of alien zombie thing, but for now it’s entertaining enough. I really don’t have much to say about this cause I’ve just started, and even though I am sure it won’t bear mentioning, but it belonged in the group.

Obviously, I’ll take my zombies any way they’re available. Whether film, print, or… I don’t even know what other medium zombies can take, but I do know that when the Cleveland Zombie Walk rolls around again, I’ll be there.

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About Lindsay

I have a C'est Moi page, you should probably just read that.
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