‘Let the Right One In’ Author Teaches Us About Zombies in ‘Handling the Undead’

by Alison Nastasi at Cinematical
Author John Ajvide Lindqvist gave us a new twist on the classic vampire tale in his debut novel, Let the Right One In and now he’s set to redefine another horror archetype — the zombie — in his follow-up, Handling the Undead. Can a film version be far behind?

Rather than have the dead coming back to life as a mindless horde of brain-craving flesh eaters, Lindqvist’s story features zombies who attempt to return to their original lives. A review at the Oz Horrorscope points out that “much of the plot hinges not upon how the zombies affect the living — an issue nonetheless well-addressed — but upon how the living affect the dead.” Sounds intriguing.

In the novel, which will make its US debut this September, appliances in Stockholm go haywire and the population suffers blinding headaches. The headaches fade, but then the dead rise from their graves — but they’re not like they were in life.

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Brains: a zombie memoir by Robin Becker

Mark Graham at Tor
In this summer’s Brains: a zombie memoir, Robin Becker tries to do for zombies what Anne Rice did for vampires in Interview with the Vampire back in 1976.  By looking at the world from the monster’s point of view, both authors offer new and sympathetic perspectives.  Although Becker’s zombie narrator, former college professor Jack Barnes, isn’t quite as fleshed out (sorry, I couldn’t resist) as Rice’s Lestat, the debut novelist succeeds in making her readers root for a shambling, slowly rotting corpse who makes his way across the Midwest along with a band of equally revolting pals, eating folks’ brains along the way.

When Barnes awakes in his basement after being bitten and infected, he discovers three important facts:  Unlike the vast majority of the zombie hordes, he can think and write, though he cannot speak; he has an intense survival instinct; and he is obsessed with eating non-infected people, especially their brains.  He starts with his unfortunate wife.

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Brains sounds kind of like Breathers, which I want to read. So I’ll have to check this one out too. Handling the Undead sounds great, I’ll look for it in September.

What do you think of the Zombie trend? Do you like that they’re becoming more intelligent, or do you prefer mindless zombies?