Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Top 5 riffs on the zombie myth

List by Danielle

'From the viewpoint of the fan (the ‘zombie lover’ as some phrase it) zombies are stand-ins for anything that we fear and want to see quantified. They ‘embody’ things like the fear of death, fear of disease, fear of our individual and cultural loss of identity. They’re wonderfully elastic in that regard.'
~ Jonathan Maberry, from an interview on the Mad Hatter's Bookshelf and Book Review

Zombies are so big right now. I mean, scary-huge. I was trying to compile the library's June Horror eNewsletter last week without flooding it with new zombiefic, and... yeah. Not much luck there. At the moment, I'm guessing zombies are to horror as vampires are romance, or the Seelie Court to teen paranormal.

BUT. That doesn't mean there aren't a bagful of new tunes you can play on this rotting guitar! Following some great zombie reads I've had lately, here are some of the authors' different takes on the zombie myth. I should also add, there are many recent zombie classics that I haven't read yet, so recommendations are welcome!

Honourable mentions:

Prom night / Libba Bray (from 'Zombies vs unicorns')
(Doesn't do a lot that's new with the mythology, but reads a bit like a funny yet poignant episode of 'Cops' and is just generally a kick-ass story with great characters)

Feed / Mira Grant
(Haven't read it myself, but Tosca devoured and enjoyed it recently)

Pride and prejudice and zombies: the classic Regency romance - now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem / Seth Grahame-Smith
(Because it was groundbreaking at the time, and there will be a MOVIE)

Bougainvillea / Carrie Ryan (from 'Zombies vs unicorns')
Genre: pirate zombie anti-romance
A really cool deconstruction of what it might *really* be like to be caught up in the kind of rescued damsel/alpha pirate captain dynamic so popular in bodice rippers. I also appreciated the vision of what a 'normal' suburban family might look like, post-Apocalypse, when the social order was in tatters.

Second wind / Mike Carey (from 'The new dead: a zombie anthology')
Genre: zombie stockbroker tell-all
A spin-off from his Felix Castor series, Mike Carey basically hands the reader a how-to manual on getting by, should you ever become a zombie and have the funds to set yourself up nicely.

The reapers are the angels: a novel / Alden Bell
Genre: zombie western
Nominated for this year's Shirley Jackson award, a poetic and philosophical tale of a girl on a mission of redemption in the post-apocalyptic west. Library Journal says: "This may be the most beautiful book about zombies this reviewer has ever read." The relationship between girl and pursuer was wonderfully drawn, as the author explored the meaning of honour in a corrupt world.

Twittering from the circus of the dead / Joe Hill (from 'The new dead: a zombie anthology')
Genre: zombie roadtrip tweetstream
I love Joe Hill! An awfully effective and horrible story, wonderfully told from the point of view of a teenager reluctantly dragged along on a family car trip. Bad things ensue.

Love will tear us apart / Alaya Dawn Johnson (from 'Zombies vs unicorns')
Genre: zombie high school romance
Funny, touching, totally disturbing... I put the book on Tosca's desk open to this particular story, my favourite in the anthology, and she couldn't stop reading till the last dysfunctional page. Reminds me of the father/son relationship in Heathers, if you remember back that far.

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