Monday, June 29, 2009

5 Books Zombie Fans Must Read

World War Z
by Max Brooks
I'm starting off with Brooks' World War Z because this book is more than just a zombie novel. It's one of the finest pieces of fiction published in the last decade or so. Really. I swear. I'm not just saying that because I like zombie books. World War Z is literature. The basis of the book is that it's a collection of stories told by survivors of a great war against the zombies. It reads real, very real. Sometimes too real. Yes, there's horror, and there's some of the humor often associated with Max Brooks (he is the son of actor/director Mel Brooks, after all), but there's also a nice touch of pathos here. The stories in World War Z aren't really about the zombies. They're about us, the humans. And therein lies the strength of this fine piece of fiction.

Book of the Dead
edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector
The oldest book listed here, first published in 1989, it's also one of the best. It's a collection of short stories about zombies, and there is some fine writing here. My personal favorite short story is probably "Like Pavlov's Dog" by Steven R. Boyett, but there's a little something here for all zombie and horror fans, including a short story by Stephen King that still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Truly, you need to read this if you're into zombies.

City of the Dead
by Brian Keene
Brian Keene's name has pretty much become synonymous with zombie fiction in horror circles. He's quite well known for his novels about the walking dead. Of the lot he's written, City of the Dead is my favorite. It's about a group of humans who have found protection of sorts in a fortified skyscraper, but hundreds of thousands of walking dead outside the building are trying to break in. And these zombies aren't slow, nor are they stupid.

by Stephen King
Cell is the closest King has come to a traditional zombie novel, though his monsters aren't exactly zombies, at least not the traditional brainless, soulless zombies. Still, they're close enough you couldn't tell the difference once you were being chomped upon. As King often does, he brings his own uniqueness to this tale, even bringing up possible terrorism which could have caused his zombie-like uprising. King fans will like this book. Zombie fans will find plenty to enjoy, too.

Monster Planet
by David Wellington
Much like author Brian Keene, David Wellington has become known as a zombie writer. He's best known for his "Monster" trilogy of books, Monster Island, Monster Nation, and the novel mentioned here, Monster Planet. This book is my favorite. Traditionalists might not enjoy this book because the fictional world Wellington has created is filled with more undead than just zombies, like mummies and even the ever-powerful liches, but there's still plenty of good reading here. Also like Keene's books, Wellington's novels tend to focus quite a bit on action and a little less on the moodiness of more conservative horror.

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