Growing up, I knew about George Romero and his classics and I’ve seen bits of several of them but they didn’t really strike my fancy.
I watched Resident Evil because I enjoyed Milla Jovovich in the 5th Element and figured I’d give another movie of hers a try. It was enjoyably gratuitously violent. Didn’t even realize it was based on a video game till later but whatever. Found 28 Days Later and its sequel equally enjoyable but I’ve never really been a big horror fan. I don’t deal well with jump scares. Just ask Sy. He laughs at me every time I startle. Yes, I know it’s coming but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t get me.
And then I discovered the wonderful world of undead fiction. I can read it, enjoy it and still be able to go in the basement afterward. All the benefits of escapist fiction where life is more than work, dinner, laundry, rinse and repeat but I don’t have to see the blood splatter on the screen.
My imagination really doesn’t need any help.
World War Z by Max Brooks was my first zombie fiction love. It is one of my favorite books of all time. One that I’d grab in case of bug out for any kind of apocalypse or for a desert island exile. I reread it at least once a year, if not more often and my tattered paperback (with a Borders price sticker!) shows the love. As a person who plays with history for a living I love that you can take out the word zombie and replace it with Nazi, Hun or Visigoth and the story would pretty much read the same. Sure the Huns didn’t get back up after being hacked to pieces but war is war, no matter who the enemy is and I do so love a good war story. Especially one with a believable ending.
About the movie, the only thing it has in common with the book is the title. Trust me.
Sy got me an e-reader for Christmas a couple of years back. I like paper. He likes tech. I needed to find a way to use this new toy that had been placed into my hands. This is how he gets me to use new things. If it’s there I can’t possibly waste it now can I? Came across BookBub which is how I found a lot of zombie fiction that involved some pretty weak world and character building. It’s hard to care when a character dies if you can’t even remember their name or distinguish them from the person who died 10 pages ago. You can only read so many versions of the same dead rise, people die and others fight back before hunting down a dirty sink of dishes that needs to be washed immediately. What’s the point in writing if you don’t spend some time and thought building your world and who you put in it? One of the fun things about being a writer is playing God. Why skip that part?
BookBub eventually lead me to Sarah Lyons Fleming and her Until the End of the World series. She calls it “Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Chick-Lit” which I think sells it short but whatever gets eyes on the page and sells books. Just because the main character is a woman shouldn’t mean that men won’t read it but maybe they’re looking for something else? I’ve read the entire series at least three times and enjoy it every go. It’s like re-watching a movie you love or going to the same restaurant three times in a row. You know what you’re going to get and you walk out satisfied every time. I do so hope she writes more in this universe.
At ConnectiCon last year I was talking with the charming gentlemen at the only book press booth and they suggested I take a look at Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy. I didn’t get the books until a couple of weeks ago but I think I’ve added another three to the desert island reading list. I’m halfway through the second one and my heart has been broken numerous times. I both dread and can’t wait, to finish the book and a half I have left. The world building is meticulous and the mix of history, sociology and journalism rounds out an entirely plausible future where the dead don’t rest peacefully.
In the Newsflesh trilogy, George Romero becomes a world hero because his movies showed people how to survive the Rising.