3 out of 4 stars
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When I say that I’ve written stories about zombies, or that I am working on stories about zombies, sometimes those statements receive the reply of an eyeroll and the declaration that zombies are just a passing fad, much like people’s obsession with vampires. The Ultimate Guide to Zombies by Dave Robertson is proof that the interest in zombies is not just a passing fad.
According to this book, “reports of zombies first surfaced in Haiti in the early 1900s.” These reports were written by journalist Stephen Bonsal. Robertson then goes on to trace how the interest in the living dead grew, including more tales from Haiti until 1932 when “...zombies invaded America’s consciousness.” This work of nonfiction talks about it all: the first zombie stories, various movies, and even TV shows; the different types of these creatures and their characteristics (from Voodoo to Romero to Brain Craving); their anatomy (mostly focusing on their brains, of course); how they come to be (a virus, for one method); and, of course, how to fight against them and survive. Did you know that the Center for Disease Control also has a section of their website dedicated to zombie preparedness?
At only 124 pages, this can hardly be considered a comprehensive guide to the walking dead, but the title calls it the ultimate guide, and I would say that is fairly accurate. Even though I consider myself a zombie fan, I read about movies in this book that I have yet to see — but plan on seeing soon.
Each chapter has a different topic and the only one that I found disappointing was chapter four, which was two pages long, with just a list of other names for zombies (including “sickos” and “zak,” both terms being new to me). I would have liked more information about the names such as origin and where the terms were used and if any one particular story or movie was the first to coin such a term. The chapters are mostly written in a mostly formal tone, presenting information and research until the end section called “Zombie Media” which includes recommendations on a movie, book, or game. However, even during the formal sections, the author would use adjectives like “good” or “pretty good,” which are neither very descriptive nor objective. The author sometimes, but not always, explains what makes something a “good” zombie film. There is nothing wrong with giving one’s opinion, but the reader should not expect to read completely unbiased descriptions of zombie media in this novel.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I found it to be very informative, teaching me things about the zombie craze that I had not known before. I now have movies to watch, websites to read to find more information about the “skull munchers,” and events to look for. Anyone who likes movies about “returners” or anyone who wants to learn more about them should pick up this book.
The Ultimate Guide to Zombies
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