Oct 1 2011 4:00pm

Not Every Zombie Is Created Equal…Or Craves Brains

The Walking Dead posterWhen you hear about zombies in fiction, what do you think?

Yeah. I know.

I’ve broached the subject of zombies on our Facebook page and was met by lots of “Hell NO!” I’ve tried to reason with you all, but you don’t listen. So listen now: Not all zombies are the same. I blame Night of the Living Dead for you all thinking they are. Yes, most zombies need brains to stay animated but they’re all not beasts. Okay, maybe they are, but I’m trying to help you all see the light.

When I asked why the lack of zombie love on Twitter I got this:

  • They eat brains

So what? Vampires drink blood, people! Vampires sip and zombies have to chew a little bit.

  • I have a mental block against zombies as romantic or hormonally attractive figures

When I asked my friend why she replied with this:

  • I see them as gruesome rotting figures and I can’t let go of that enough to believe.

And there is the problem that no-one can let go with zombies, yet we can with vampires, weres and all types of other “supernaturals.” I don’t understand why! Vampires drink blood and weres have been known to eat a full person! Never mind the fur issues, yuck.

The First Days by Rhiannon FraterOne of my favorite books this year was Rhiannon Frater’s The First Days, it was dark and disturbing. So disturbing the publicist warned me ahead of time, but it was brilliantly written and the darkness was perfect! There’s something beautifully haunting in her writing that captured my attention, and months later I can still quote the scenes that freaked me out.

On the other side of the scale, there are books written by authors like Mark Henry and Diana Rowland that bring the funny side of zombies out into the open. I’ll never forget the search for funeral make-up in Mark Henry’s book or the ’what the hell happened to me?’ in Diana Rowland’s book My Life as a White Trash Zombie.

It seems the YA set is the better buyer in terms of zombie novels; they keep getting put out and the teenagers keep buying them. So I’d like to know why the adult market is lacking for zombie Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana RowlandThat said, zombies are always said to be a metaphor for the times. The release dates on some of the big zombie movies are during times of economic turmoil. To me, they are just a character. They don’t need to represent the oppressed; they don’t need to represent the apocalypse. We don’t see vampires or any other “supernatural” this way, why pin it on the zombie? Are they the most human? Doubtful, but they were humans at one time or another.

So I will share with you, some great zombie novels that need a little loving. Please note, most are YA.

Zombie Books to Sink Your Teeth Into:

  • Mark Henry – Amanda Feral Series**
  • Sophie Littlefield – Aftertime Series
  • Diana Rowland – My Life as a White Trash Zombie**
  • Rhiannon Frater – As The World Dies Series
  • Joanne Frances Turner – Dust Series (YA)
  • Daniel Waters - Generation Dead Series** (YA)
  • Mira Grant – Newsflesh Trilogy Series (YA)
  • Rachel Caine – Working Stiff **
  • Carrie Harris – Bad Taste in Boys (YA)
  • Amy Plum – Revenants (YA)
  • Jonathan Maberry – Rot & Ruin (YA)
  • Max Brooks – World War Z

** denotes humor

At least try one zombie novel, I promise you they aren’t all created equal. Have you read any zombie novels you loved and think I should read? Want to share your zombie hate? You can do that too. 


Natasha Carty reviews Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy on her website Wicked Little Pixie and lives in Toronto, Canada, with her cat, Seamus.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. JoeBoBean
I love zombies even if they are eating brains and I fully understand what you mean about the vampire double standard.

I will admit though that apart from Daniel Waters Generation Dead books that I adore, I haven't read that much zombie fiction (because Skullduggery Pleasant) doesn't really count. I now have one huuuge list to make my way through, thanks for this. (^_^)
3. Billy London
Great post! I was totally on the non zombie love until me and my fellow authors at BTP got a challenge to make them sexy. Violette Dubrinsky brought it hard in Under A Crescent Moon - brain eating aside. One love for the Zombie Nation. Nothing young or adult about mine though!
Marcela Fandino
4. BookaholicCat
I don't have a problem with zombies especially if they are humorous and if they can keep themselves in one piece.
I may have a problem with them as heroes/heroines if they start to fall apart in pieces and can't have a coherente thought.
I love Amanda Feral series and two of my favorite books this year are My Life as a White Trash Zombie and Working Stiff.
Natasha Carty
5. WickedLilPixie
@ Billy - Thanks! Going to have to check out Under a Crescent Moon for sure! @ Cat - Yay! So glad you liked them...even if they fall apart
Anna Bowling
6. AnnaBowling
I think zombies could be interesting in the hands of the right author. I haven't read any myself, outside of a zombie appearance in Zoe Archer's Blades of the Rose series, but the Bianca D'Arc/Zoe Archer anthology Half Past Dead looks intriguing.
7. CdnMrs
Great post! I'm just starting to come around to Team Zombie and Diana Rowland's My Life as a White Trash Zombie absolutely helped. As long as everybody's bits and pieces stay in place zombies are ok with me.
Natasha Carty
8. WickedLilPixie
@ Anna - I agree, certain authors make them better. @ CdnMrs - LOL you have to read Working Stiff, you'll love it!
9. mochabean
I love you guys. I am a long-time fan of zombie movies, books about the zombie apocalypse, Plants vs. Zombies...I am not sure I am quite ready for zombie romance, but perhaps it is time to branch out...thanks for the good ideas!
Christopher Morgan
10. cmorgan
"We don’t see vampires or any other “supernatural” this way, why pin it on the zombie?" I blame romero and that blasted originall "Dawn of the Dead" and every movie after night by him. We get it people suck, let's move on...jeesh...

I know it's not a romance, but one of the greatest zombie books, and one of my all time favorites in general, is Mel Brooks's World War Z. Where a lot of zombies are shambling, cannabilistic metaphores, Brooks just writes to show how awesome humanity can be in a crunch... Also Brad Pitt is set to play the lead in the movie version, so there's that...
Pamela Webb-Elliott
11. Spaz
Awesome awesome awesome post Nat!

I have to say that Lia Habel's Dearly, Departed book that comes out in two weeks is an awesome take on zombies. She pulls off the romance aspect of the story so freaking well! I am shipping it to you btw :)
12. LaLaLaila
Another good zombie paranormal romance novella, or as she would say "revenant," is Katie MacAlister's story in "Just One Bite," a piece of her Dark Ones series. Ysabelle is the Beloved of Sebastian and she's not only a revenant, but she coaches other zombies on how to continue to function as a normal person and not fall into the "BRAAAAAAINNNNNNSSSS" stereotype. It's short, but really funny and a cute story. Also, she and Sebastian make cameos in several other short stories and full-length novels.

So you can get your zombie paranormal romance fix without the blood and body parts flying everywhere and being ingested.
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