We’ve picked ten zombie books for you to choose from-vote, and then let us know why the book you voted for is the best (in a paragraph or more) and you could win a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! Your favorite not make the list? Let us know!
Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S. G. Browne: Andy’s life is a mess. A newly risen zombie, he’s forced to live in his parents’ basement, attend Undead Anonymous meetings just to get out of the house, and endure abuse of all kinds from the living. To make matters worse, he can’t even talk, though that’s because his mouth was sewn shut prior to being embalmed. Things begin to look up when Andy meets Rita, a gorgeous zombie who slashed her own wrists and throat; nebbish, vegetarian Tom, whose arm was stolen by a pack of drunken frat boys; and Ray, an undead renegade who introduces the gang to the wonders of eating “breathers.” Some die-hard horror aficionados may find this take on zombies too full of shtick, but Browne confidently balances a love story with ample amounts of gore and gags that should win over fans of George Romero (Night of the Living Dead et seq.) and fans of Shaun of the Dead, too. A welcome deviation in zombie lit.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith: This may be the most wacky by-product of the busy Jane Austen fan-fiction industry—at least among the spin-offs and pastiches that have made it into print. In what’s described as an “expanded edition” of Pride and Prejudice, 85 percent of the original text has been preserved but fused with “ultraviolent zombie mayhem.” For more than 50 years, we learn, England has been overrun by zombies, prompting people like the Bennets to send their daughters away to China for training in the art of deadly combat, and prompting others, like Lady Catherine de Bourgh, to employ armies of ninjas. Added to the familiar plot turns that bring Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy together is the fact that both are highly skilled killers, gleefully slaying zombies on the way to their happy ending.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks: “The Crisis” nearly wiped out humanity. Brooks (son of Mel Brooks and author of The Zombie Survival Guide, 2003) has taken it upon himself to document the “first hand” experiences and testimonies of those lucky to survive 10 years after the fictitious zombie war. Like a horror fan’s version of Studs Terkel’s The Good War (1984), the “historical account” format gives Brooks room to explore the zombie plague from numerous different views and characters. In a deadpan voice, Brooks exhaustively details zombie incidents from isolated attacks to full-scale military combat: “what if the enemy can’t be shocked and awed? Not just won’t, but biologically can’t!” With the exception of a weak BAT-21 story in the second act, the “interviews” and personal accounts capture the universal fear of the collapse of society–a living nightmare in which anyone can become a mindless, insatiable predator at a moment’s notice.
Patient Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry: When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills… and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good, and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance….
The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks: In this outrageous parody of a survival guide, Saturday Night Live staff writer Brooks prepares humanity for its eventual battle with zombies. One would expect the son of Mel Brooks to have a genetic predisposition to humor, and indeed, he does, and he exhibits it relentlessly here: he outlines virtually every possible zombie-human encounter, drafts detailed plans for defense and attack and outlines past recorded attacks dating from 60,000 B.C. to 2002. In planning for that catastrophic day when “the dead rise,” Brooks urges readers to get to know themselves, their bodies, their weaponry, their surroundings and, just in case, their escape routes. Some of the book’s more amusing aspects are the laughable analyses Brooks proposes on all aspects of zombiehood, and the specificity with which he enumerates the necessary actions for survival-i.e., a member of an anti-zombie team must be sure to have with him at all times two emergency flares, a signaling mirror, daily rations, a personal mess kit and two pairs of socks.
Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection by Don Roff: The year is 2011, and what starts as a pervasive and inexplicable illness ends up as a zombie infestation that devastates the world’s population. Taking the form of a biologist’s illustrated journal found in the aftermath of the attack, this pulse-pounding, suspenseful tale of zombie apocalypse follows the narrator as he flees from city to countryside and heads north to Canada, where he hopes the undead will be slowed by the colder climate. Encountering scattered humans and scores of the infected along the way, he fills his notebook with graphic drawings of the zombies and careful observations of their behavior, along with terrifying tales of survival. This frightening new contribution to the massively popular zombie resurgence will keep fans on the edge of their seats right up to the very end.
Zombies: A Field Guide to the Walking Dead by Bob Curren: In the myths, legends, and folklore of many peoples, the returning, physical dead play a significant role, whether they are the zombies of Haiti or the draugr of Scandinavia. But what are the origins of an actual bodily return from the grave? Does it come from something deep within our psyche, or is there some truth to it? In Zombies, Bob Curran explores how some of these beliefs may have arisen and the truths that lay behind them, examining myths from all around the world and from ancient times including Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Celtic. Curran traces the evolution of belief in the walking cadaver from its early inception in religious ideology to the “Resurrections” and cataleptics of 18th century Europe, from prehistoric tale to Arthurian romance. Zombies even examines the notion of the “living dead” in the world today–entities such as the “living mummies” of Japan. Zombies is a unique book, the only one to systematically trace the development of a cultural idea of physical resurrection and explore the myths that have grown around it, including the miracles of Old Testament prophets. It will interest those enticed by the return of the corporeal dead and also those curious as to how such an idea sits within the historical context.
History Is Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Kim Paffenroth: Our team of crack historians has uncovered the truth you never learned in school: the living dead have walked among us since the dawn of time. In this collection of gruesome tales from throughout the ages, the ravenous undead shamble through bloody battlefields, plague-ridden cities, genteel country estates, and dusty frontier towns. They emerge from foggy cemeteries, frozen barrows, loamy bogs, cursed mines, and gore-spattered operating rooms to prey on the living. But these zombies don’t just eat people. They help painters and writers save their faltering careers. They unwittingly push humankind on the quest for fire. They topple evil capitalists and their corporate empires. They fight crime. They fall in love. Join us on a journey into our zombie-filled past… Neither history nor the living dead have ever been this exciting!
Eden by Tony Monchinski: Seemingly overnight the world transforms into a barren wasteland ravaged by plague and overrun by hordes of flesh-eating zombies. A small band of desperate men and women stand their ground in a fortified compound in what had been Queens, New York. They’ve named their sanctuary Eden. Harris–the unusual honest man in this dead world–races against time to solve a murder while maintaining his own humanity. Because the danger posed by the dead and diseased mass clawing at Eden’s walls pales in comparison to the deceit and treachery Harris faces within.
all summaries from Book List/amazon.com
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