Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Creature Feature: Zombies

Creature Feature
This is a new feature I want to introduce every couple of months looking at some of the favourite themes and sub-genres that I read. Please feel free to join in with your own opinions!

Zombies. I avoided zombies in literature for many years as I never found them as appealing as vampires or werewolves. Why would I? Those mindless, rotting walking dead, lurching from side to side. Not a pleasant picture. They don’t have the sophistication of vampires or the primal passion of shifters. But perhaps they are scarier. After all, most zombies never asked to become one of the walking dead. They simply had the unfortunate fortune of being bitten or infected. No choice, just chance. Before that, they were regular people, like your friends, your family and like you…

Shaun of the Dead Zombies

Perhaps that’s what is terrifying about zombies…they aren’t glamorous, or strong or powerful. It is the overwhelming number of them that tends to win the day, that unrelenting step forward, the search for living flesh. And they could be you. One small mistake and you could be joining the shambling army and forget the ones you love, forget your past, forget who you are. That is a scary notion.

How do you survive a zombie uprising?
However, in best zombie books I’ve read so far, it’s not the zombies that scare me the most (although they are pretty gruesome). It’s how they make us behave as humans. Paranoia rises as caution over bites and infections take over, can you trust the person standing next to you? Has your love one turned? Will they attack if you get too close? Society as a whole works on a basis of trust – you trust the mail man to deliver your post, the utilities to stay on, that stranger opposite you on the train to politely ignore you as you ignore them in return. On a basic level you expect everyone to be like you – worrying about their own lives, wishing for a better tomorrow. What if that broke down? The person next you is a potential lethal carrier of a disease that will destroy you – not just physically, but destroy your sense of self. That is scary and when trust between people breaks down, we discover the raw elements of people beneath society. We regress to basic survival necessity – food, water, shelter…and what would we do to ensure that we survive? Would we turn on each other? Or group together? These questions are the ones that fascinate me with best zombie books and films going someway to answering the question.

Most of the zombie books I’ve read so far (by no means an extensive list!) have been set some time after the rising and look at how humans have adjusted. On the other hand the films tend to be set during the initial outbreak and immediate period after (much more visually exciting!). So what would I recommend if you want to find out more?

Top Zombie Reads:
-          Feed by Mira Grant
-          Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
-          Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield

Top Zombie Films:
-          Shaun of the Dead
-          Zombieland
-          28 Days Later

Zombies occupy that unusual situation where as supernatural creatures they have very little glamour about them, and lack any intelligence, but the feelings they provoke in readers are about being human – at least in my opinion! Do you agree? Do you love or loathe them – and why? What’s the best or worse zombie book you’ve read? Please share your thoughts as I want to pick your brains! <poor pun intended> J

Ooo, and if you're a big Zombie fan - The Book Brunette is having a Zombie Craze starting on 20th June - it looks like loads of fun and I will definitely be stopping by! :-)


  1. Eeeeek do not show pics of them! *hides*
    yes yes I know I read zombiebooks but when I tried to watched the Walking Dead I got zombie nightmares. One night I had two. Horrible.

    But best book ever, The reapers are the angel by Alden Bell

  2. I've never actually read a zombie book .... but I loved Shaun of the Dead!



    Okay, I haven't read too many zombie books, but I love zombie movies. With zombie books, I just hate that new tread that zombies are capable of intelligent thought (other than I want to eat your brain) and even romance. WHAT?

    NO! That just doesn't work for me.

    And I completely agree. The best movies and books about zombies deal with how humans react to them. Their struggle to survive against them is what's nail biting.

    Great feature!

  4. I am absolutely with you. It isn't the zombies that creep me out but the way people behave! Oh those are the creepiest. However... try Rise Again by Ben Tripp. Oh that ending... *shivers*

  5. Awww thanks for thinking of me chick!!!