For All the Zombie Authors Out There

Today’s post is a plea to zombie authors everywhere.

Please consider writing about the good side of the zombie apocalypse.

Signs of the zombie apocalypse

Signs of the zombie apocalypse

I know that a world covered with hordes of shuffling, brain-eating, slobbering, mindless idiots makes us think about purchasing firearms, stockpiling food and water, and, if we are lucky, shooting our way to the top of a new world order. Thinking that the police and our armed services will totally fall apart in a battle of these proportions and that only the heavily fortified and amoral will live is a tempting thought.

In a zombie apocalypse, anyone could be the next President.

But ponder the shift that has taken place around the idea of being overrun by intelligent beings from other planets. Movies like “Independence Day” and “Men in Black” show that we aren’t totally outmatched in a battle against superior beings, so why would be outclassed by zombies? Stupid, slobbering, brain-eating zombies. It doesn’t make any sense.

There have been a few zombie novels that have attempted to show an alternate vision of the zombie virus. Brains by Robin Becker, Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory and Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion all find the humanity in zombies. They look deep into the abyss and return with a message that mankind will be okay if we just stop trying to kill that which we don’t understand.

Perhaps we spend too much time focusing on the downside of the zombie apocalypse, and not enough time imagining all the good that might come of it. There will be bravery. There will be sacrifice. And, at the end, I believe there will a kinder, gentler society.

I’m probably in the minority on this one.

Still, I challenge zombie authors out there to show us a different side of the apocalypse. Stop relying on blood and  gore and sex and if you must show us the worst in people, show us the best too.

If this idea intrigues you, and you’re not sure it will work, I invite you to watch this short (7 minutes) film that hauntingly portrays all we are capable of.  Warning, kleenex may be necessary.

 

Free Stuff Sunday: Miss Burton’s Class

Starting with the plaintive plea “Is anyone out there?” Miss Burton’s Class is an ongoing journal by Miss Burton, a 5th grade teacher who finds herself trapped with a class full of students during the zombie apocalypse.

Miss Burton’s Class is imaginative, fun, and best of all free. Despite the student-centered storyline, this blog is squarely in the PG-13 category – emphasis on the gory. From the bathroom situation in the media room to the description of the undead, particularly the zombie nurse, Ms. Burton is not afraid to tell all the nasty details of what’s going on during the zombpoc.

Miss Burton has been cataloguing her experiences for over a year now. There’s a huge backlog of adventures to catch up on. If you want a hair-raising and scary zombie story, head over to Miss Burton’s Class for our Free Stuff Sunday pick of the week.

March Into Madness: Freebies Worth Missing

In the quest to bring you the best in free zombie stories, features, and swag, we end up wading through a lot of ‘not so great’. Most of the time, these are read, discarded, and we all go on with our lives. Sometimes the bad sticks with us.

Of course, bad isn’t necessarily bad. Sometimes bad transforms into camp and ends up being so-bad-it’s-good, as is the case of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or The Room (considered by some to be the Citizen Kane of bad movies). The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest annually looks for poorly written prose to honor the memory of the poorly written introduction to a novel that starts: “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

Though the staff members of the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization have chosen labels for these books according to our individual tastes, remember not all tastes are the same (which is why zombies love to eat brains and most humans don’t). We challenge our readers to try out some of these less-than-masterpieces and see what you think. Perhaps we’ve mislabeled the next cult classic.

Most Age Inappropriate Character: Victor Standish Must Die! by Roland Yeomans and Leonora Roy

 VICTOR STANDISH MUST DIE!

Victor Standish cracks jokes like an old school private eye, swears like a sailor, and makes one-liners following zombie dismemberment like Jason Statham in every movie he’s ever starred in.

 Victor Standish is also seven years old.

 

Most Unlikely Setting for a Zombie Uprising: Zombie High by Roger Laird

zombie high

 

Zombie High tells the story of a high school overrun by energy drink swilling student zombies. Thankfully, the high school also happens to be a retired military base which can be locked down into three separate zones. And the lockdown feature still functions. And the principal has the code.

While I agree that all high schools should have the capability of a modern prison to lock students into a specific area, I don’t think it’s a reality anywhere.

 

Biggest Paranormal Mash up: Bloodbath on the Titanic by Stewart King

bloodbath-on-the-titanic

 

Suppose the Titanic didn’t sink because it hit an iceberg. It really sank because it was infested with superhuman zombie-mummy-werewolf hybrids. Bloodbath on the Titanic explores the horrific events, and the story is as melodramatic as the cover’s promise: “They didn’t know it would be their last buffet – or that they were on the menu…”

 

Worst Portrayal of Women: The Last Mailman by Kevin Burke

the last mailman

 

It’s hard to top The Walking Dead in their portrayal of woman as incompetent zombie-bait, but top it The Last Mailman did!

In The Last Mailman, Mitt Romney’s dreams come true and binders full of women are sent among the menfolk so they can choose who to spend the night with. Bonus: The women are totally into this! Sure, they don’t like being traded like prize calves, but even the married women are happy to jump into bed with the next john…er, I mean survivor.  

 

Most Uncomfortable Stereotype: Victor Standish Must Die! by Roland Yeomans and Leonora Roy

Victor Standish Must Die! scored a two-fer when he introduced the character of Leroy. Like young Victor, Leroy swears and cracks jokes. But apparently it wasn’t enough to introduce the only black character in the novel by mentioning his ethnicity. He also needs to talk like Black Dynamite the entire novel, fools!

 I am cringing just writing that…

 

Most Misleading Title: Now It Begins: HoMombies by JS Desiato

now-it-begins-by-js-desiato-21693958

 

This story is not about homosexual zombies nor is it about ho’s.

 

Zombie Novel Ready for a Screenplay: C’mon and Do the Apocalypse Vol 1 by Brian Panowich

 Apocalypse Vol 1 cover

I’m not awarding this because I believe it should be turned in a movie, but C’mon and Do the Apocalypse jumped the gun a little. Half the dialogue is in quotes and the other half is in stage direction. For example:

            Dawn: Go look (Calm.)

            Me: Go look at what?

            Dawn: Go look. (Less Calm.)

 I wasn’t sure if I should be reading it or acting it out with friends. Of course asking friends to act out “28 Days of Mutilated Zombie Whores Later” will probably decrease the guest list at my next party.

So, check them out, let us know what you think, and try to guess which one of these gems will make the jump from bad fiction to cult classic.

Your friends at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization, still feeding the zombie children so you won’t have to.

Friday Book Review: Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

hollowlanad

“This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

Remy King, the 19-year-old action heroine of Amanda Hocking‘s Hollowland, is a fascinating character who grabs the reader’s attention from the first page. When the government safe-haven she lives at is overrun by zombies, Remy picks up the guns of fallen soldiers and joins the battle.  She’s not just fighting for herself, she’s also fighting for her 8-year-old brother Max, the only other member of her family to survive the zombie apocalypse.  When she finds out he’s been spirited away to another safe-haven, she heads out to find him.

Remy’s no-nonsense kickassery in her quest to rescue her brother moves the story along at a brisk pace. The supporting cast of characters, including a washed up rock star and Remy’s pet lion, Ripley, are entertaining and interesting. The obstacles they find on their path keep the tension high.

The underlying message, which Z.E.R.O. has seen firsthand throughout the years, is the importance of familial bonds. Remy’s dedication to her brother is beyond admirable. No matter how slim the odds, she keeps focused on her mission to find him.  Hocking’s action-packed, young adult novel is thrilling for all ages and is worth the read.

Did I mention it’s free on kindle? Click Hollowland (The Hollows, #1) to get it at Amazon.

Fast, Fun, Free: The Living Dead 2

Sorry for the late post but until the Zombie Apocalypse comes to pass, some of us still need to work the occasional weekend. Thankfully, the ZERO organization has found an amazing collection of short stories available for Fast, Fun, and Free this week.

https://i0.wp.com/www.johnjosephadams.com/the-living-dead-2/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/1597801909sm-200x300.jpg

The Living Dead 2 is the second collection of short stories gathered by Night Shade Books. To whet your appetite, they present eight stories completely free here. The stories run the gambit of creepiness without ever venturing into too much gore.  Who We Used To Be by David Moody is particularly haunting, presenting a world where everyone dies and comes back. Mouja by Matt London melds the world of samurai with the walking dead. The Skull-Faced City by David Barr Kirtley is a stand-alone sequel to the Pseudopod Podcast The Skull-Faced Boy, a podcast I can’t wait to go back and listen to.

If you like what you read, you can buy the entire collection of 44 stories direct from The Living Dead 2 or  Night Shade Books.

Fast, Fun, and Free: The Peeling by Iain Rob Wright

The Peeling: Book 1 (Jeremy’s Choice) by Iaian Rob Wright is a new twist on zombie lore. Rather than the stereotypical walking dead, Wright creates a world in the midst of a horrific plague, one that peels the skin off its victims leaving those around them untouched. As their skin, nails, and mind start to go, the survivors are left in an increasingly violent and unstable world.

The Peeling contains two short stories from two different characters point of view and then a collection of various short stories authored by Iain Rob Wright. The writing is very gory but both stories are interesting reads with solid characters. The entire book is approximately 130 pages but the Peeling stories are about 30 pages each.

If you enjoy the premise of The Peeling and Iain Rob Wright’s writing, he continues the series in The Peeling: Book 2 (The Stadium). You can find The Peeling: Book 1 (Jeremy’s Choice) at Amazon and Kobo.