This weekend I finished Alan Goldsher’s fictional journalist romp into zombiedom “Paul is Undead”.
I picked it up off the shelf at B&N, intrigued by the title and premise and further convinced by the “Two Rotted Thumbs Up” from Jonathan Maberry, a writer I also enjoy and a player in the zombie fiction world. Check out his website: www.jonathanmaberry.com
What does this have to so with the Hero’s Journey? The story is one man’s quest to discover the “real” Beatles, in an alternate reality that includes Ringo as a Seventh Level Ninja,Yoko as a Ninth Level Ninja and Mick Jagger as a Zombie Hunter, among other clever twists. It is terrific world-building wrapped in a pseudo Rolling Stone style interview. In definitely includes the call to adventure, the test, the mentor, and bringing home the elixir (sort-of J).
Beyond the quirky humor, puns and dead-on descriptions, Goldsher’s Rock and Roll world-building is part of an expansion of the zombie myth that intrigues me. Of all the paranormals, zombies are a confused and often two-dimensional lot. Until Romero, we had the Haitian-African variety, created and controlled by magic of some form. They could be used in a focused manner without any seeming self control. From Romero on, the zombie devolved further into shuffling (although recently they seem to have picked up the pace), mindless, rotting corpses suitable only as target practice for the lucky mortal or ravenous instruments of death or undeadness for the unlucky. In terms of historical roots, neither type of zombie has an extensive mythology making them ripe for re-imagining.
Goldsher’s zombie’s are self aware, conversational and very deliberate in many of their actions. They are more akin to their undead brethren the vampire, but with a different diet. As a result they become interesting as characters themselves and are no longer props.
For anyone interested in the Rock and Roll and a new brand of zombie, I recommend it.
What other zombie books would you recommend? Who is taking it to the next level?