Before I begin I just want to thank our kind host for having me here
today. For those who don't know me, my name is Jaime Johnesee and I am a zombie
fan. A friend of mine recently asked me if I thought "this whole zombie thing"
was going to die down (pun intended). They wondered if the love for zombies had
reached its peak and, if so, would it flatline or begin to die out?  
             
I told them I'd have to get back to them, then I dug out my notes on
zombies throughout history and reread everything I had. It was a massive but
enjoyable read and it hit me that we, as a species, have been telling tales
about the undead from before we even had written language. These stories span
all of recorded history, and, what I found to be more interesting they are told
in almost every culture as well.  
             
Sure, zombies may have gone in and out of vogue throughout the centuries
but they were never in any danger of going away permanently, and they still
aren't. At least, not that I can see, thankfully. I think we'd have a lot of
forlorn zombie fans throughout the world if they did. In truth, there are so
many variations of zombie, and so many ways to tell those tales, that they seem
a very integral part of the horror genre.  
             
My friend asked if I thought the zombie would go the way of the vampire;
becoming tired and played out and they inquired as to whether I thought zom-coms
(zombie comedies) were bringing down the genre. As an author of a zom-com series
myself I felt somewhat well equipped to speak on this subject. I told him that I
didn't think zombies would become too predictable because of the fact that there
are so many ways to write a zombie story. As for zom-coms, I think it is its own
separate animal. Remember "Dracula: Dead and Loving It", I think Leslie Nielsen
rocked that role and it definitely wasn't responsible for killing off vampire
fiction. No, I believe we owe that death to the sparkly crybabies masquerading
as vampires that came decades later.  
             
Zom-coms are merely a different lane of the zombie fiction highway. There
are several subgenres of zombie fiction --with the standard zom-poc being the
most popular currently-- and  there's more than enough room for
everyone in the horde to do what they want to do. Readers enjoy both the zom-poc
and the zom-coms because they present two very different types of stories, two
very different style of zombies. Heck, even in zom-com the style of zombies
varies greatly.
             
Zom-poc is all about survival and life, zom-com is about finding the
humor in the worst situations imaginable. Two very different subgenres with the
same sort of theme; be grateful for what you have today for tomorrow you might
die... and be reborn. It's an effective and accurate theme. With the spread of
disease becoming more and more prevalent and far reaching, and those bugs
becoming more and more drug resistant, the possibility of a zom-poc isn't as
unlikely as it once was.
             
I think that very likelihood also plays a big part in the popularity of
zombies; the story is quite plausible. As diseases ravage entire villages and
spread throughout the world, faster than ever before, one is left to wonder if
the idea of a zombie apocalypse is entirely ridiculous after all. Imminent or
not, we do know that it's no longer impossible. As more drug companies
experiment with unstable drugs (with unknown side effects), and as viruses like
Ebola continue to hold the world hostage with the fear of a global contagion,
the absurdity of the zom-poc no longer seems so absurd.              
As for the zom-com, well, if you laugh at what you're afraid of,
sometimes it can make it seem less scary. I know some folks who take this whole
zombie apocalypse thing very seriously, they are actually stockpiling weapons,
food, water, and other supplies. With the way the world is today, I don't blame
them. I can't say I am one of them, however. My zombie preparedness plan is
pretty simple actually; get bit and start chomping. 
 * 
The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air!
Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie
authors spreading the disease in the month of November. 
 
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't
miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well!
Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!
#WinterZombie2014 
https://www.facebook.com/events/1524813084430035/?ref_notif_&source=1
AND so you don't miss any of the posts in
November, here's the complete list, updated daily:  
http://armandrosamilia.com/2014/11/01/winter-of-zombie-post-list-winterzombie2014/


 
 
 
 
 
 
It is better to be pleasantly surprised by an unsung novel, than to be disappointed by one which is unjustly praised and overly hyped. World War Z definitely falls in the latter category. Billed as the "Intelligent" alternative to the usual hackneyed zombie novel, it falls flat in a number of places: starting with the zombies.


Brooks' zombies defy logic--they can bash through a windshield to get at you if you're inside a car, but for some reason if they find themselves stuck in one they can't bash through a windshield to get out??? They also defy physics. Picture this: Zombies twenty thousand leagues under the sea and still walking around attacking submarines, because they just know there's human in them even though it's pitch black and there's no way they can smell anything but salt water and metal, but hey, it's at least warm. Question: Wouldn't their skulls implode from the pressure? Wouldn't their eyes burst and all their internal organs rupture? Not these zombies because...well, just because.


Yes, you must suspend some belief to enjoy these sorts of books, but even an ardent fan has to draw a line somewhere. For me it was the 84-year-old blind gardener who turns into a killa-ninja,slaying zombies with a stick. Or maybe it was the super-dogs who have the intelligence--on their own mind you--to run to the top of a skyscraper, somehow getting past every door along the way, in order to bark at zombies in another building to get them to "Lemming" off the top. I like dogs, but please! They lick their own butts for goodness sakes.
Unlike the dogs, the rest of the military is portrayed as complete idiots. One word: Yonkers! It is simply the worst, most poorly written zombie battle ever--it would take intentional stupidity on the part of everyone involved for the battle to have gone down the way it did. Let me give you an idea--


Big General: "Here's the plan: we'll expend all of our ordinance in the first ten minutes of battle against one percent of the zombies."


Other Generals, Colonels, Lt Colonels, Majors, Captains, etc: "That's a swell idea, but for fun can we also fight wearing gas masks and MOPP 4 equipment though we know it's useless and will completely hinder our soldiers?"


Big General: "Of course, duh. Also let's not bother with recon. It's a waste of gas. And those satellite photos are terrible. There are so many zombies stretching back for miles that I can't tell what's what."


Other Generals, Colonels, Lt Colonels, Majors, Captains, etc: "Do we have a contingency plan?"
Big General: "Yes, we're going to assume everything will work out for the best. Being positive is the way wars are one, damn it." Yes that's how the big "show piece" battle went down.


Here are some other issues that made reading WWZ a chore:
1)There was a complete lack of real fear in the book--it wasn't gripping or terrifying in the least. Not for a single second was I worried about anyone because all the people interviewed were alive telling us what had already happened. Duh.
2) Worse, the idea that the Prezzy of the U.S.A would waste time and energy having elections in the middle of the apocalypse was ludicrous. With half the country destroyed he's campaigning in Des Moines?
3) Worse, worse, every character sounded like every other character. It didn't matter if they were a Chinese sub driver with a heart of gold, or a female pilot who was as tough as the next guy, or the black Vice President, or the sight impaired ninja, or the cuban businessman...wait I'm seeing a pattern here, a very Politically correct pattern. Did you cover enough bases here, Max? Not one of these people seemed at all vital to the story, and I was really completely detached from them because they were all forced in to the book to get the right demographics. Ridiculous.
4)Worse, worse, worse--I put this last since I find it the most obscene thing about this drivel. One of the ending chapters has a character blaming the American way of life for the zombie apocalypse. Yes, the zombie menace started in China but who cares as long as you can blame America. Why was this in the book? What did this serve? How did this advance the plot in anyway? Does Max Brooks have feelings of guilt about being American?


The only answer I can come up with is that this book wasn't written for fans of the genre. Judging by the blurbs on the back, the book was written for the legions of "zombie" aficionados at NPR, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Hollywood certainly agrees with me. When making World War Z they kept the Title and the fact that there was indeed zombies in it, but almost nothing else. Never was a movie so divergent from the book than this.
All that being said, the writing and editing was top notch and the effort was very intriguing and at times thought provoking--unfortunately the thoughts were usually: really? Really did you just write that?

2 stars because I managed to finish it, something that can't be said for every zombie book.