Review by Nisha Ward -- The Ultimate Guide to Zombies

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Nisha Ward
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Review by Nisha Ward -- The Ultimate Guide to Zombies

Post by Nisha Ward » 15 Jul 2019, 22:18

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Ultimate Guide to Zombies" by Dave Robertson.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Gather together, dear friends, as we delve into the spooky tale of one man’s journey into the unknown. Together, let us face death as I tell you the story of Dave Robertson and his quest to produce The Ultimate Guide to Zombies.

I’m being facetious, of course. It’s not a story and it’s certainly not a quest, but it is a basic primer into all things dead, rotting and moving. Within these pages, Robertson sees fit to tell us the origin and history of the zombie, ranging from its beginnings in voodoo superstition to the current heyday of necrotic cinema.

“Now, Nisha,” you might say, “that doesn’t really tell us much about the book.”

To this, I can only reply that it does. You get what it says on the tin and oh boy, do you get it. Robertson is a self-professed zombie fan, though I would rather call him a zombie stan, am I right?

(Please note that the writer is not responsible for the facepalms that may occur upon reading the previous joke.)

On a more serious note, the author presents not just a basic history that one can look up in this age of Google, but also contextualises each historic, cinematic, musical and gaming reference for a clearer picture of the zombie’s place in each field. As I read, I found it quite informative as he didn’t just highlight the most popular films or those deemed to be the best, but also those that are seminal to the field in terms of both establishing pop culture lore and the effects of makeup and video-effects on the zombie’s image. He also includes games and music as each represents a type of art that is also rife with images of the dead and walking.

In addition to this, Robertson also ventures outside of the artistic to look at other ways in which zombies have affected the world. It’s something that surprised me as I had not realised the breadth and scope of that effect, from the Center for Disease Control’s use of zombie imagery and genre tropes to raise awareness for disaster preparedness to the various events and companies that are specifically zombie focused.

In fact, a moment that struck me was the inclusion of zombie weddings as an entire section of its own. I had no idea that cemeteries and mausoleums were available as an option for the event’s venue. It almost makes me want to suggest it to my sister instead of a traditional church wedding. It seems fun.

However, despite these features and the magic of Robertson’s humour, the book struggles to rise from the grave to become a definitive study. It reads more like a fan’s manifesto about why zombies are cool and why we, as consumers, should care about them than something academic. No doubt, this was done on purpose. Yet, when that pivotal swing from a mere observation of history to something more hobbyist occurs with the first insertion of the author’s opinion on why zombies are better than other mythical creatures, it detracts from the book’s raison d'être.

As such, it became increasingly difficult not to roll my eyes or write my own screed on why vampires are the best as the book goes on. In fact, I did roll my eyes when the author criticised the CDC’s plan for dealing with a zombie epidemic because it seemed to suggest that he knew better than the authorities on such matters. It was tongue in cheek, of course, but this is an example of the few moments where Robertson’s humour tended to fall flat.

With that said, I’m still willing to give this book 4 out of 4 stars. Not only is it well edited with only a single error, but it’s also informative, mostly funny and structured in such a way that it’s easy to follow. While the author’s love of zombies didn’t mix well with my love of vampires at some points, I still had a rollicking good time reading this, and I recommend it to anyone who loves pop culture, the undead or both.

******
The Ultimate Guide to Zombies
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"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.

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Post by esp1975 » 17 Jul 2019, 11:55

I completely get what this book is about, and I already have a list of friends in mind who would love it.
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Post by Nisha Ward » 17 Jul 2019, 15:17

esp1975 wrote:
17 Jul 2019, 11:55
I completely get what this book is about, and I already have a list of friends in mind who would love it.
It's fun, right? I loved it.
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Post by Tomah » 17 Jul 2019, 16:43

I have to confess zombies were never that exciting to me, especially with the deluge of zombie-related media everywhere. Still, the book seems really fun and insightful, so I wouldn't mind checking it out. Love them or hate them, zombies are a staple of pop culture that have even shaped other aspects of society and the way we think about the world. Thanks for the amusing and informative review!

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Post by Misael » 17 Jul 2019, 19:41

This book is very interesting to say the list. Your review made me very curious and intrigued to read this. Nice review.

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Nisha Ward
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Post by Nisha Ward » 17 Jul 2019, 20:42

Tomah wrote:
17 Jul 2019, 16:43
I have to confess zombies were never that exciting to me, especially with the deluge of zombie-related media everywhere. Still, the book seems really fun and insightful, so I wouldn't mind checking it out. Love them or hate them, zombies are a staple of pop culture that have even shaped other aspects of society and the way we think about the world. Thanks for the amusing and informative review!
They really are. Personally, as I've said, I prefer vampires but the book is pretty interesting just the same.
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.

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Nisha Ward
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Post by Nisha Ward » 17 Jul 2019, 20:43

Misael wrote:
17 Jul 2019, 19:41
This book is very interesting to say the list. Your review made me very curious and intrigued to read this. Nice review.
Have fun and thanks for stopping by!
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.

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Post by allbooked+ » 18 Jul 2019, 05:55

This is not even close to the type of book I would enjoy - but I do enjoy reading your creative reviews! I also know a few people that this book might appeal to so I can recommend it.

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Post by Misael » 18 Jul 2019, 10:30

Misael wrote:
17 Jul 2019, 19:41
This book is very interesting to say the list. Your review made me very curious and intrigued to read this. Nice review.
*correction: should be least, not list.

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Post by Areej Tahir » 18 Jul 2019, 14:04

The title itself was so intriguing and now with your review, I really want to give it a go. However, sister I love vampires more than zombies as well. So High five to that

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OK, that sounds like a crazy unique book. While not my cup-a-tea, I can think of several people who would love it!
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Post by e-reeder » 18 Jul 2019, 17:21

This sounds like a book that wouldn't interest me. However, your brilliant review has piqued my interest in this one. Thanks for the review.

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Post by kdstrack » 19 Jul 2019, 17:40

The author certainly did his research,and makes the reader laugh along the way. Your humorous comments made zombies seem like something we need to learn more about! We will all be waiting for updates about your sister's wedding plans!

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Post by racelaine » 19 Jul 2019, 18:37

The way you've described it is making me feel like I'm getting an opportunity to have my apathy towards the undead turned on it's head. Wonderful review!

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Post by Nisha Ward » 19 Jul 2019, 19:50

allbooked+ wrote:
18 Jul 2019, 05:55
This is not even close to the type of book I would enjoy - but I do enjoy reading your creative reviews! I also know a few people that this book might appeal to so I can recommend it.
Thanks for reading and yes. Please do recommend it to them.
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.

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