Dystopian fiction is one of my favorite genres. Nothing makes me feel better about my life than reading about some completely jacked up alternate future. What better way to celebrate my dedication to the dark side than to turn the spotlight on the apocalypse scenario of the moment: ZOMBIES!
Full disclosure- I generally don’t like horror movies, books, or television shows. Psycho killers, demons, and ghosts frighten me more than zombies. I suppose I can just look at a zombie apocalypse as a far fetched scenario. I mean, even the crazy people on the Doomsday Preppers show never admit to be prepping for a zombie apocalypse. It’s always something more urbane, like a financial collapse or nuclear war. Plus, psycho killers are REAL. And demons MIGHT be real. And ghosts are PROBABLY real in some form or another. I don’t like the idea of dead people, demons, or interloping psycho killers watching me shower, so I try to avoid reading about them.
It seems like zombies are everywhere these days, and I am not immune to their festering charms! The Walking Dead on AMC is absolutely addictive. Sadly, the show runs in short seasons- what’s a girl to do when the zombie show goes on hiatus? Read zombie novels, of course! (I have not read the graphic novels the Walking Dead TV series is based on. I haven’t taken the leap into graphic novels… Yet.)
World War Z by Max Brooks was my first foray into the zombie-lore in book form and it was infectious! The book is presented as a series of articles written by a journalist after the worst of the zombie attacks are over. The stories are poignant, concise, and super creepy! They begin with the first reports of zombies, and continue through the entire “war.”
We see the military’s failures, the learning curve that comes with fighting an unknown threat. The way the public reacts is very realistic. At first people are disbelieving- I mean who would believe the dead have risen and are trying to devour humanity? Then they panic, because, HOLY CRAP! THE DEAD HAVE RISEN AND ARE TRYING TO DEVOUR HUMANITY!
Luckily, Max Brooks’s zombies have some weaknesses. They can’t climb, for one thing. Also, they freeze solid in the winter. The military eventually develops body armor that can protect against bites, and if you’re a good enough shot and have a ton of ammo, you can climb a tree and pick them off, brain by zombiefied brain.
World War Z added so many scenarios I hadn’t thought of. It explored the psychological implications of surviving such an event. Some people would actually go all catatonic, THINK they were zombies, and join the hoard. Post apocalyptic depression can be pretty crippling, too. How does one come to terms with having to see their loved ones eaten alive? Or having to exterminate the zombie versions of their families? It was a great, well rounded look at a topic that can be super campy and cheesy.
A lot of zombie movies end with the island scenario. The rag tag band of survivors go in search of an island where the zombies won’t be able to reach them. This book blew a hole in that theory. Think about it. If zombies are dead, the don’t need to breathe. What’s to keep them from shuffling their way across the bottom of the ocean to eat the survivors on the islands? Do you feel claustrophobic yet? There is nowhere to hide!
For the truly insatiable, check out this post on real life Zombie Apocalypse scenarios. I will warn you that the images are not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely a cool piece. (*Sponsored by Qwer.com*)
Just stocked up on Anti-Zombie ammo. Now I guess I’ll be needing a aiming, firing mechanism …
I’d nearly forgotten that they market Zombie ammo now. See? We’re totally prepared.
I am a dystopian fiend. I looove The Walking Dead and Falling Skies! I shrivel up when they aren’t on (like now).
I though you might like this one- I read your post on Zombie Preparedness. I am going to be like the first person eaten.
Falling Skies is fantastic! The characters on The Walking Dead bother me, but I’m equally as addicted to it. The Walking Dead Comic Books are also really great–very different than the show!
I haven’t yet tried World War Z. I have read The Road, which is haunting. And Hunger Games, of course.
The Road is the saddest of them all! Because there’s like no hope left- you can’t even grow stuff. I loved “The Road” and then read “No Country For Old Men”… which was a bad idea. I am now done with Cormac McCarthy.. Until he writes another dystopia.
Pre-zombie vampiresque beings in Matheson’s 1954 “I Am Legend.” It’s a fast and easy read. Check it out.
I saw the Will Smith movie… I was really really upset when the dog died. Does that happen in the book? I don’t know if I can take it.
Movie is nothing like the book. VERY different ending
I know I’m late to this party but I just found your blog and I’m making my way from first to last as fast as I can read while not getting caught at work.
On zombie books, have you read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?
On Dystopian settings, have you seen Jericho?
And thus ends my random but hopefully helpful post…:D
Words for Worms
Hi Milo! You are awesome. I have not read P&P&Zombies, but Jericho!!!!!!!! I sent nuts to the network when they cancelled it! The little half-season 2 they made to keep the crazies at bay wasn’t up to par, but it cannot diminish my love!
I regularly rent Jericho from our library and stay up way too late watching it. My wife complains that it gives her even wierder dreams than normal but I’m okay with that because, and I mean seriously, that girl has nutty dreams without my help.
You should read P & P & Z, it’s really good and all the cool characters are like super ninjas and kung fu geniuses. Also the Postman if you want to read a dsytopian future book with some heart and a message of hope…thought it does include super soldiers and whacked out tribes of survivalist killers.