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  1. #1
    Couch Commander Danogzilla's Avatar
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    Is there such a thing as a good zombie book?

    I need a good zombie novel to exist. I need it. My soul needs it. I've been pouring over goodreads trying to find some possibilities and it seems like the market is so niche there are very few good authors bothering. I get the impression that "allowances" need to be made to enjoy them. Such as putting up with shallow characters and bad prose. But there simply has to be a good classic zombie story out there: zombies rise up, civilization falls, and people try to survive.

    Mira Grant's series seems to be the only consistently praised series (or even stand alone), but it also sounds like it's not the standard zombie story. I do have Feed in my TBR and I'll read it soon, but I'm really looking for the one, the zombie book that clearly stands atop the rest . . . or even just the zombie book that is actually a good book, and not just a good book for a zombie book.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    There is no such book, but you are lucky. We will provide you with one, one paragraph at a time.

    Nevermind, I was going to start the first paragraph but it was a copy of a zombie movie.
    I would stick to movies, Zombie books are terrible as far as I know.

  3. #3
    Vanaeph Westsiyeed's Avatar
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    Pretty sure there's another fairly recent thread like this, but yes there is (and I'm generally not a zombie fan).

    As you mentioned, Mira Grant's books are good, but another I would strongly recommend (that surprisingly isn't mentioned much on this forum) is Daryl Gregory's Raising Stony Mayhall - check out the reviews.

  4. #4
    It never entered my mind algernoninc's Avatar
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    If you want to give a try to zombies in space, I thought the way they were depicted in the first Expanse book by James S A Corey - Leviathan Rising - was impressive.

  5. #5
    Registered User gljones's Avatar
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    I thought World War Z was good and different. Took a writing perspective I wasn't used to seeing

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Danogzilla View Post
    I need a good zombie novel to exist. I need it. My soul needs it. I've been pouring over goodreads trying to find some possibilities and it seems like the market is so niche there are very few good authors bothering. I get the impression that "allowances" need to be made to enjoy them. Such as putting up with shallow characters and bad prose. But there simply has to be a good classic zombie story out there: zombies rise up, civilization falls, and people try to survive.

    Mira Grant's series seems to be the only consistently praised series (or even stand alone), but it also sounds like it's not the standard zombie story. I do have Feed in my TBR and I'll read it soon, but I'm really looking for the one, the zombie book that clearly stands atop the rest . . . or even just the zombie book that is actually a good book, and not just a good book for a zombie book.

    Any ideas?
    Wish I could be more helpful, but the gene for loving zombies seems to be dormant in me. Have you tried Brian Keene's novels? They came fairly early in recent wave of zombie-fanaticism and I take it are influential on later writers. Also David Wellington's novels have received good reviews.

    I will say that if all else fails, fall back on the AMC TV series, The Walking Dead is extraordinary. They find ways to push all of my buttons from terror to horror to revulsion (tie into another thread) while telling a very human story of survival after the apocalypse.


    Randy M.

  7. #7
    and I like to party. Seak's Avatar
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    This Dark Earth by John Horner Jacobs. This is easily the best zombie book I've read.

  8. #8
    I'll have to check that one out. His first novel, Southern Gods, was okay but didn't excite me. (There were zombies in it, too, but it wasn't really a zombie novel.)

    Randy M.

  9. #9
    Registered User gljones's Avatar
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    Love the walking dead, but I wouldn't want to be an actor on it, it's short term employment if you know what I'm saying

  10. #10
    and I like to party. Seak's Avatar
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    I was curious about Southern Gods after reading This Dark Earth, but that's a little disappointing.

    Each chapter in TDE takes a new character's perspective, but they all end up being interrelated somehow. Things devolve quickly and humanity ends up being the real bad guy.

    I also don't mean to insinuate that I've read a whole bunch of zombie books, I've only read a few, but TDE's the best of those.

  11. #11
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Since we don't really know what feeds your soul, this is simply another crapshoot. Try World War Z by Max Brooks and Zone One by Colson Whitehead. See if either of those takes and if they do, come back and we'll give you some more. If they aren't visceral enough for what you want, we can head you in a different direction.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Seak View Post
    I was curious about Southern Gods after reading This Dark Earth, but that's a little disappointing.

    Each chapter in TDE takes a new character's perspective, but they all end up being interrelated somehow. Things devolve quickly and humanity ends up being the real bad guy.

    I also don't mean to insinuate that I've read a whole bunch of zombie books, I've only read a few, but TDE's the best of those.
    Milage may vary, Seak. I thought it entertaining (scroll to post #50), but not as good as I'd hoped. Since it's stemming from Lovecraft, I'd be more inclined to recommend Laird Barron's The Croning or one of Caitlin Kiernan's novels.


    Randy M.

  13. #13
    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    While I liked Alden Bell's The Reapers Are the Angels, I don't think its 'the One' you're looking for. In fact, I'm not aware of any such creature.

    Which leads me to The Passage. I realize that Cronin's series is nominally about vampires, but the spreading of the hordes and its consequent near-apocalypse reads rather more like a classic zombie tale. I'd be interested in hearing what you think of it, assuming you haven't read it already, of course.

  14. #14
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    Danogzilla,

    I actually felt the exact same way so passionately that I finally just gave up on waiting and decided to try to write a book myself. I have always considered myself somewhat of a zombie aficionado. Books, comic books, movies, video games; I grew up a huge fan of horror. I always had the same problem with every new story I got a hold of though. Zombie stories often have unrealistic heroes or villains. Sometimes they take strange turns and start going way out in left field. No one ever takes the time to explain why zombies started walking around, or how they are able to accomplish such a feat. A barrel of top secret chemical falling off of a truck, or the strange patient zero from nowhere that infects the world was just not cutting it any more.

    One day I just decided that I had read my last zombie book that begins after the zombie apocalypse for a while. I want to know what happened during the first thirty days or even the first five years. I don't want to read another book where everything is just fine and then like the snap of a finger thousands of zombies just magically appear around the corner. I want some explanation. I waited and waited, but no one ever wrote a zombie story the way I thought it should be told. So.

    I started doing research on medical conditions, military history, weaponry and survival. About a year later, Atrum Terra: Dark Lands was finished. It is a zombie book that is about as real as it gets. This is a book that you can put down and think, something like this could really happen. It is written through the eyes of average people, with real emotion and real situations. It explains exactly what the zombie virus is, how it comes about, and who is responsible for it. This is not just another zombie book. This is more of a book about a world war, a final world war in which a zombie like condition plays a part. This is the zombie story I always wanted someone to tell.

  15. #15
    Here's one opinion: World War Z was readable, but not great. It was disjointed, highly implausible, and the action was told in a past tense, detached way that sucked the tension out of it. Zone One was great writing with no plot and a very very slow pace. I've also read Dust by Joan Turner and it was very original, but bizarre and with surprsingly little action. I'm also still looking. Maybe you should try the Walking Dead comic book? The show is excellent.

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