Saturday, 22 September 2012

'Tell my why?' I don't like zombies...



So, I received this review copy of Zombie Apocalypse! Fightback from Robinson (the publisher, not the Crusoe). The book is a 'mosaic novel', with a narrative arc adorned by the work of many talented hands. 

It's a sequel to Zombie Apocalypse! and, like the first book, edited by Stephen Jones, which is why I've got it. Robinson sends me the Best New Horror anthology every year, while I send Stephen Jones copies of ST.

So far so good. The problem is, I can't be doing with zombie stuff. I find it about as compelling as sparky vampires, i.e. not at all. I can't get into it, and while I'm impressed by the array of good writers marshalled for this book (among them Reggie Oliver, Simon Strantzas, Paul Finch, and John L. Probert) my jaundiced view of the walking dead ain't gonna change. I may not know much about reanimated corpses that chew people's faces off, but I know what I don't like.

And it's a pity, because skimming through ZA!F I find some really nice notions, not least references to Hobbs End and some interesting historical pastiche. It's a well-produced book and may well be pop-lit catnip to zombie lovers the world over.

Now, the obvious way to deal with a review you don't wanna do is find some other literary luminary who's willing to have a go. But, though I number many writers, editors and reviewers among my Facebook friends, none of them wanted this particular gig.

So, what's an ethical-ish editor to do? I can't not mention it, but I can't give a vague-but-glowing endorsement to it. So instead, pop over to Amazon UK and check out the reviews of the first book, then make up your own mind. As one does.

4 comments:

Oscar Solis said...

While I've not checked out this book I have to admit that I checked out of the whole "zombie" bit that seems to make up what passes for half of horror literature these days. I suppose it's too easy to write rather than a

I don't consider today's flesh eating re-animated corpses to be in any way zombies, at least in the classical sense. It seems as if it was the easiest name to hang on to what is really just a bastardization of what once was an excellent genre. Unfortunately, there is a whole population that immediately conjures up images straight out of the Walking Dead, Night of the Living Dead or Resident Evil, ad nauseum, when the word zombie comes up.

Sometimes I get the sad feeling that the best supernatural writing is behind us. Sure, there are real gems like The White Hands by Mark Samuels, but it's becoming increasing rarer it seems.

Maybe I'll try out the book, but if I don't I always have my copy of "Zombie" edited by Peter Haining, a collection of excellent zombie stories in the classical sense. Now that's something worth digging up.

Oscar Solis said...

"While I've not checked out this book I have to admit that I checked out of the whole "zombie" bit that seems to make up what passes for half of horror literature these days. I suppose it's too easy to write rather than something more challenging like a ghost story."

I posted before I finished the above sentence(which I've now finished :)5

valdemar said...

Fair enough. I used to enjoy the old-style zombies more, as with the vampires of Hammer films. But times change. I'm not sure about the best being behind us - a living genre can always surprise. I think there's plenty of mileage in the Gothic yet.

Oscar Solis said...

I've done a bit of thinking about my statement about the best being behind us and I have to say it was too harsh. I have to say I agree with you and chalk up my words to exasperation. I also remember that genre fiction is especially representative of Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crud) and that those classics that we revere today were the 10% that weren't crud.

Still don't care for the zombie genre as it is today, though. :)