Keep Calm and Read a Zombie Story
It's the perfect time of year for a good zombie story! These are some of the best, or most fun!
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” Thus begins the mashup that inspired all the other mashups, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which combines the regency-era classic with zombies and ninjas! Feisty and independent heroine Elizabeth Bennet uses her skills to fight the zombie hordes and verbally spar with dashing and heroic Mr. Darcy, himself a skilled hunter. Just as her father Mr. Bennet trains all the Bennet sisters in the deadly arts, Mrs. Bennet just wants to marry them all off in spite of their talent for defending the Hertfordshire countryside. Full of action, wit, brains, blood, gore, and romance, this title has it all! For fans of Jane Austen and the absurd, this book remarkably remains true to the spirit of the original, reconciling each character’s path of true love (and zombies).
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Dr. Leviticus Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine was intended to drill for gold in the frozen Alaska wilderness at the beginning of the Civil War. After it was completed, the machine uncontrollably tunneled through several blocks of downtown Seattle, where it was built, releasing a blight gas that turns anyone who breathes it into the living dead. After the tragedy, Dr. Blue disappears. Sixteen years later, Seattle is a ghost town filled with blight gas and “rotters”, yet survivors refusing to leave their hometown have built havens underground, where they are aided in survival with incredible steampunk technology. Dr. Blue’s son, Zeke, ventures into Seattle to clear his missing father’s name and sees incredible and horrific sights. Zeke’s mother ventures in to rescue him and discovers a danger worse than just the rotters: someone is controlling the rotters to attack survivors, and evidence points to her long missing husband, Dr. Blue. This tale, the first in a series of the Clockwork Century, is full of suspense and action and will keep you up all night, by gaslight!
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
R is a zombie, and he has fallen in love. Julie is one of a group of survivors and the girlfriend of one of R’s victims. R loves collecting records and lives in an airplane and has no means to communicate intelligibly with Julie. But he loves her, intensely, and R has made a choice to protect her. As R struggles to reveal his feelings to Julie, to stop eating brains, and to escort Julie back to civilization without being shot in the head for his trouble, Julie begins to have strange feelings about R. Or for R. It’s complicated. This tale of star-crossed lovers is one of the most intensely romantic tales I have read, and full of longing. The audiobook narrator for this tale is stunning, and I highly recommend a listen. It is available to listen for free through Youtube.
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Melanie loves going to school, loves her teacher Ms. Justineau, and loves Greek myths. She waits patiently in her cell when soldiers come to take her to class, strap her to her chair, and wheel her in with the other children. Melanie jokes with them that she won’t bite, but the soldiers don’t laugh. Melanie and the other children are considered gifted by the teachers and scientists who study them, but the children don’t know that. When the military base is attacked by mysterious outsiders and Melanie, Ms. Justineau, two soldiers and a scientist are the only ones to escape alive, they have to venture through wilderness full of “hungries” to safety. The hungries are infected by a fungus that reduces intelligence and makes them crave human flesh. On the way they encounter young hungries who show high levels of intelligence, much like Melanie herself, who at last realizes what she is, and what she might unleash to save the world. Pandora means “all-gifted,” and Melanie herself is a girl with all the gifts in this post-apocalyptic world.
World War Z by Max Brooks
This horror novel contains multiple first-person accounts of survivors of the Zombie War, from soldiers on the ground, government officials, doctors, and ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The narrator is traveling across the world to get these narratives, and weaves a tale of how many cultures and countries might handle a zombie apocalypse. Brooks does a masterful exploration, in the form of riveting fiction through dozens of different voices, of the fates of humanity all over the world. Imagine such a tragedy unifying Israelis and Palestinians. Imagine the United States not handling the Zombie War as well as Cuba. The myriad of different voices is masterfully done, and though fiction, feels like real people sharing their stories. This title is also the best audiobook I have ever heard. It has an all-star cast, including Carl and Rob Reiner, Mark Hamill, Henry Rollins, Paul Sorvino, Martin Scorsese, Simon Pegg, Kal Penn, Common, Alfred Molina, F. Murray Abraham and many, many more. The large cast and the variety of voices is nothing less than transcendent.