“The Creature That Wouldn’t Die”
a blog by
Unlike the creature it portrays, the zombie genre isn’t dead, as so many so-called pundits have prematurely claimed. Just look at the success of The Walking Dead on TV and that of World War Z at the movies.
The success of the zombie genre, more than any other genre, is in large part due to the popularity of the Internet. You need go no further than Facebook to see the proliferation of zombie groups. I would say zombies are becoming even more popular than ever due to their omnipresence on the Internet.
My favorite zombie book is Dead City by Joe McKinney. It is one of the few zombie books that match the intensity of George Romero’s groundbreaking zombie flick Night of the Living Dead. Romero’s movie breathed new life into the walking dead, or ghouls as they were called in the movie. They were never actually called zombies.
Before Romero’s movie, zombies never ate people. Mostly, they lumbered around in a trance like the ones in White Zombie, which starred Bela Lugosi. Lugosi commanded his army of zombies to attack people, but they didn’t eat them. The zombies’ taste for living human flesh was dreamed up by Romero.
Romero’s flesh-eating zombies are the zombies as we know them today. But not quite. Modern zombies have mutated over the years. Some of the more recent zombies, such as the ones in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later move faster than Romero’s shambling hordes. However, they still crave the taste of living human flesh. These newer zombies tend to be products of disease. Radiation from outer space caused the dead to walk in Night of the Living Dead. Today’s zombies are more likely to be caused by the spread of a plague.
Though it’s true that the popularity of Max Brooks’s horror novel World War Z hasn’t been duplicated recently in the publishing world, I don’t believe the zombie genre in fiction is, for that reason, dead. It’s still out there, and the Internet is keeping it going. There are plenty of zombie books being written. You can’t write these dead guys off. They may seem like they’re dead, but that’s the way it’s always been. Zombies look like they’re dead, whereas in reality they’re not. The same could be said of zombie books.
Another one of my favorite zombie books is Jonathan Maberry’s Dead of Night, which is a really creepy book about zombies created by a madman. I also like David Moody’s Autumn series. And don’t forget Stephen King’s Cell, in which the transmissions by cell phones are turning people into zombies. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stephen King cooks up another zombie book in the near future.
The bottom line is the zombie genre is not dead.
Another factor that is keeping the genre alive is the explosion of self-publishing. Many of the zombie books that are coming out these days are self-published. Zombies are circumventing the Big 5 New York legacy publishers and continuing to thrive in self-publishing. Nobody can stop zombies. They have a life of their own. They want their day on the printed page, whether it be on paper or on a Kindle-type reading device, and they will get it, one way or the other—if not in New York, than in the rest of the country.
In my most recent Chad Halverson zombie apocalypse thriller Poxland (http://www.amzn.com/1492739715) I explored the political aspect of a zombie apocalypse and how the politicians would respond to it, how the apocalypse favors the politicians because they have the resources to take refuge from it, whereas the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves as the world collapses around us. The zombie plague in my book is spread by conspirators who have a hidden agenda when they precipitate the disease.
To see a list of all the zombie books I have written in my Chad Halverson zombie apocalypse series, see my Web site at http://www.BryanCassiday.com. Also connect with me on Facebook.com/bryancassiday.author and on Twitter.com/BryanCassiday.