Time Enough at Last?
Read your way through the Zombie Apocalypse!
Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have finally released a protocol for how to react in a zombie apocalypse, you may want to brush up on your zombie fiction in order to be extra-prepared. Zombies provide a rich literary metaphor; a post-modern memento-mori. They are our mortality terrifyingly and often hilariously personified. Zombie fiction resonates with kids, teens, and adults alike, but for very different reasons. And while the origins of zombiedom may vary from tale to tale (Voodoo priests, meteors from space, fast-spreading contagion) the outcome of a zombie apocalypse trope is, in a way that is both grim and comforting, always the same.
An excellent and comprehensive place to begin your journey into the realms of the undead is with World War Z by Max Brooks (Three Rivers Press) 2007. Global politics will never look the same once youíve seen them through the lens of a worldwide zombie attack. This surprisingly in-depth look into a possible zombiefied future is as well written as it is chilling. Fun fact: Max Brooks is the son of director Mel Brooks.
Another good starting place for those more inclined to prefer works of graphic literature is The Walking Dead (Compendium 1) by Robert Kirkman (Image Comics) 2009. A staple of the graphic novel canon, this volume compiles the first 48 issues of the epic series. Itís a weighty tome, but the series is compulsively readable and will soon draw you into its grim world.
For a local take on the Zombie mythos, check out Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (Tor Books) 2009. In her steampunk tale of an alternate 1880s America, Seattle is destroyed by a mad inventor with one of the best names in fiction: Leviticus Blue. Soon, airships, toxic gas that turns people into zombies, and a badass female heroine enter the picture.
If you like your Regency romance mashed up with a bit of ultraviolent brain-soup, look no further than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (Quirk Books) 2009. This novel, much like the undead themselves, spawned a horde of shambling imitators.
If you enjoy reading Young Adult/Teen literture (or know someone who does), you can do no better than the wonderful anotholgy, Zombies Vs. Unicorns Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (Margaret K. McElderry) 2010. Which is the more awesome literary metaphor, the Zombie or the Unicorn? Co-editors Black (team Unicorn) and Larbalestier (team Zombie) debated this important issue via the blogosphere, then decided to publish an anthology chock full of Zombie/Unicorn madness written by their YA author friends to settle the matter once and for all. Contributing to the anthology are some of the brightest stars in the teen-lit universe including Scott Westerfield (Leviathan) Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth) and Libba Bray (Going Bovine). To delve deeper into Ryanís fully realized post-zombie world, try The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (Delacorte Books for Young Readers) 2010. This tale should appeal to readers who loved the post-apocalyptic setting and love triangle action in Suzanne Collinís Hunger Games trilogy.
Add in a forestful of brain-hungry zombies, and you canít go wrong!
March 21, 2011