Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Zombies. Yargh.

I was recently gripped by a psychotic zombie reading spree. It started with distopic, post-apocalyptic futures ranging from human-eating plants to city-destroying sasquatches, and then eventually focused solely on zombies. Depersonalized apocalypse worked best for me, apparently.

I read pretty much every zombie book I could get my hands on, often reading one a day. With the last one I'm reading, I find myself waning. It's not the author's or the story's fault, but rather it's the fact that they're all the same.  Seriously.  With variants on the same theme, they're all the same.  The only one that stood out for me was Mira Grant's Feed, but a big part of that was the fact that she set her book years after the zombie apocalypse. All of the other ones dealt with the start, spread and immediate aftermath, so I don't really consider it in the same category.

So here are some tropes of the zombie apocalypse, in case you ever get stuck in it.

  1. The leader of your group will become unbalanced, but you know deep inside of you that he means well (sometimes a she. But usually a he.). You stick with him because, even though he's a jackass, he's the best shot you've got.  Fair enough.
  2. Any community set-up will be screwed up. Either a religious fanatic or nutcase will be leading it.  It's what your leader could be if he had enough followers (you know it's true).
  3. People will think it's funny to play games with zombies. Tie 'em up, get people to fight them, or fight amongst them, etc... It's zombies as Roman gladiator games. And yes, it's always a bad idea.
  4. There will be sex.  You stink, you haven't eaten in days and you don't know what showers feel like anymore. You barely have the time to rest, but don't worry - you'll have time to get it on.
  5. The women somehow all stay good looking. The men, not so much.  Like, not at all. I blame this on being a male-dominated apocalypse-creating industry.
  6. Kids are good fodder. Why anyone would think the kids wouldn't get it are fooling themselves. Trust me - they're there to get it. Except the hero's firstborn. They don't seem to, for some reason. Disappointing, I know.  But that firstborn will usually have to kill a person (not a zombie), so at least they get scarred for life.
  7. There will always be one person who retains their 'humanity' above everyone else. They always bite the dust or live to get a book deal out of their adventure.
  8. Someone always tries to save the zombies, under the pretence that they could be healed. Those are always backstabbing cowardly people, who somehow usually survive.  If you're in a zombie apocalypse and someone suggests saving the zombies, just shoot them in the head. Save yourself the trouble.
  9. The over-cautious paranoid people are usually right.  
  10. Vehicles don't stand anything very well in the zombie apocalypse. Clutches slip, motors stop working, they just fall apart for no reason.  Slamming into a herd of zombies is a good reason for the car to die.
  11. Wal-Mart and Costco are death traps. 
  12. If you settle and set-up your own community, you will get attacked by crazed people who want it and have more guns than brains. They will inevitably ruin the safe habitation for everyone.
  13. Zombies evolve. No one ever explains why, but they usually get smarter and stronger, especially in multi-book series.  Probably to keep things fresh. One wouldn't think that would be a concern when talking about rotting corpses, but there you go.
There are many, many more tropes.  I enjoy them all, but I think I need a break from the zombie genre, for now.

If you have any favourite zombie books that I might not have read (not likely), let me know!  Or do me a favour and just suggest post-apocalyptic works.  Too many zombie books are bad for brains. (HA!)