Zombos Says: Very Good
(but is it really everything?)
Like zombies, books about zombies are unstoppable and indefatigable. Matt Mogk's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies joins the horde with an informative--although we've read much of this information before--and concise rundown of the zombie-scene in chapters like Zombie Basics, Zombie Science, Zombie Survival, and Popular Culture. The tone is light and the handling movie-centric, with a welcomed focus on George A. Romero's influence on the genre.
Zombie science bores me to tears. I realize serious work is being done here, with practical applications, by imaginative professionals in the sciences, but I can't force myself to get through all that neuro-science and biological what-if and suppositional analysis. But the Popular Culture chapter is one I devoured with relish. Mogk mentions video games, those wacky zombie walks, zombie organizations, movie zombies, and even asks why the undead are so popular. At this point in time, I'd be asking instead why we aren't all dead tired of hearing, reading, and seeing zombies in everything from publishing to commercials, but hey, I don't want to be a killjoy or derail the gravy train; although Mogk does question hopping onto that train ride in regard to The Writer magazine's article Dawn of the Undead, which encouraged amateurs and pros alike to bask in the zombie apocalyptic glory, no experience needed, to make an easy buck or two.
More meet and greet (ironic, isn't it?) with Zombie LARP (live action role playing) sounds like it would be fun and that tag game called Humans vs. Zombies would seem likely to put a little kick into an old pastime. Given the popularity of zombie walks these days, Mogk pinpoints the necessary blame to Thea Munster's instigation in starting the first one for her Toronto neighborhood. Very appropos last name, don't you think? Beyond the cultural nerdy-byproducts, mention of the fast versus slow zombie conundrum and the realization that in some movies, like 28 Days Later, the zombies aren't dead, helps to fortify the book's title and shows Mogk's versatility.
As an introduction to the modern zombie phenomenon, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies is hearty in its coverage, from Romero's take on zombies being heavily influenced by Richard Matheson's I am Legend (and the movie version, The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price), to beer-goggle zombies, Mogk's term for characters, like the Frankenstein Monster and mummies, often mistakenly referred to as zombies.
Arguably the strongest chapter is Zombie Survival, which has nothing to do with zombies surviving, but does concern potential ambulatory food-stuffs--that would be you and me--staying alive when the undead hordes arrive. Mogk reveals the single most important item you must have in your survival kit and he nails it; most would-be survivalists toting their M14s would be surprised. I was because it's so obvious, so essential, and yet so overlooked. This chapter will help keep you going during any disaster, not only end-of-days, so read it well.
A courtesy copy was provided for this review by the Zombie Research Society.
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