Has everyone met Angela from Dark Faerie Tales? I’m sure you have, she has an amazing site that is one of my favorite stops. Not only does she find all the new book covers, but she has these fabulous Publishing News posts with all the latest new book deals. One of my favorite features on DFT are her Debut Urban Fantasy and Debut Paranormal Romance Reading Challenges. I love finding new authors and Angela has introduced me to quite a few. But why am I still talking…Angela is here today, so I’m going to step aside.
Are Zombies Dead?
Zombies might typically be cold to the touch, but right now the genre is HOT. From movies, to comics, to gaming, the undead have never been more hip, more current. They probably aren’t quite as popular as their undead genre cousins, the vampires, thanks to the breakout success of True Blood and Twilight, but that’s probably going to change this fall with AMC’s Walking Dead. I’ve started to wonder though whether zombies or the zombie apocalypse as a genre has the same lasting appeal as vampire fiction. There have been some notable tweaks to the zombie genre in the last decade, but is it enough? Has the zombie been done to death? Is there anything left to keep the zombie genre in film, book and comics fresh?
Ever since the modern zombie movie was popularized when George Romero knocked audiences for a loop with Night of the Living Dead in 1968, zombies have been a horror staple. Being eaten alive is probably one of the most terrifying ways to die. Well, that and being buried alive. It’s not surprising that horror lovers immediately latched on to the idea of flesh eating zombies. What else would someone who’s come back from the dead want?
In the 21st century we’ve seen some tweaks to the zombie genre, some of which have played with some of the basic characteristics of George Romero’s slow, plodding, but untiring zombie. George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was successful at evoking our primal fears of death, and being eaten. More recent takes on the zombie genre include one of my all-time favorites – the fast zombie. 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead really shook things up with the fast zombies. The second tweak to the genre is the government/evil corporate biological experiment, such as – I Am Legend, Resident Evil, and Crazies. These films play to our very post cold war fears of biological attacks, dirty bombs, etc. An entire generation of kids has grown up without a serious fear of nuclear Armageddon. We’re more concerned with outbreaks of Ebola Zaire, swine flu and anthrax. These anxieties are often reflected in the new zombie fiction. These tweaks and departures from Romero’s original concept, importantly the fundamental characteristic of death (In 28 Days Later, the zombies are sick, but not dead), makes debatable whether the monsters in 28 Days Later and Crazies are even zombies in the strictest sense of the word.
Ultimately, it’s not really about the zombies. Counter intuitively, it’s not the zombies themselves that make zombie fiction so compelling. Zombies are really just a plot device. It’s the SURVIVIORS that sustain the zombie genre, and how writers and film makers tell the survivors’ stories. The zombies, be they the slow George Romero originals or the Danny Bolye sprinting variety, generally don’t have names and rarely receive any sort of characterization. So while the zombies themselves go through some evolutionary changes, the fundamental survival story keeps the genre fresh and helps zombies keep up with the (vampire) Jones.
Yes, I am totally adding a contest to Angela’s post. I want to make sure everyone knows about the fabulousness that is Dark Faerie Tales and what better way than to add a contest, right? So what is being given away? Two novels from the massive stack that I currently have sitting in my office. We’re talking newly released F/UF/PNR novels and you’ll even get to pick the two from a list (which I do not have yet). If we end up with over 50 entries, I’ll pick another winner and give away two more books. If we make it to 100, I’ll pick three winners.
Entering the contest is easy. All you have to do is tell me What do you think? Is there enough there to keep the Zombie genre fresh? Or…visit Dark Faerie Tales and let me know what DFT was able to intrigue you with. This is mainly so I don’t see “please enter me” comments; not answering the question will disqualify you from the contest.
As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):
- +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
- +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
- +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
- +10 Purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.
There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.