How to write a book that sucks 90% of the time…Posted: July 8, 2012
How do you write a book that sucks 90% of the time? Write books about zombie survival scenarios. I shit you not. Those books suck 90% of the time (or maybe more — I’m being conservative here). And there are A LOT of them. A fucking shitload. And they multiply faster than the walking dead. It seems that anyone who ever took a creative writing class is cranking out an ‘apocalypse scenario’ book involving zombies or ‘infected’ and the like. Most of them include cute lingo that survivors employ or more detail about firearms than NRA gun porn.
Let me back up a bit. I have a Y chromosome, therefore it can be safely assummed that I am 90% likely to enjoy movies where people are running around shooting the undead in the head while trying not to get bitten or eaten or swarmed or whatever. Annie hates those kinds of movies; she finds them that awful combination of “gross and boring and scary,” which is kind of how I feel about TV shows like “Sex in the City.” Shoe obcessed narcissists prattling on about their man problems make me want to become a knuckle-dragging pig purely as a defensive mechanism. But it’s OK. I don’t make her watch “a really good headshot!” and she doesn’t make me watch shows about relationships. You don’t have to share everything. In fact, it’s probably good if you don’t. But I’m off topic here — back to zombies.
|Keyless entry becomes a selling point.|
For decades now there have been zombie apocalypse* movies and some of them are good and some of them are bad and most of them are somewhere inbetween… but they all shared one thing in common: they feed my deep rooted desire to see the whole world of corporate culture and work and school and parking tickets and putting up with douchebags all go to hell in an afternoon by introducing a scenario in which you can murder your fellow humans and it’s OK because they are not humans anymore — they are zombies. So, not only are you free from guilt about shooting your zombified co-worker in the head, you are also freed from having to go to jail because of it — as everyone knows, in zombie scenarios, the cops are the first to go because they get calls telling them to go to infection central before anyone else knows it’s infection central. Imaginary mayhem without moral or social consequences. Who can resist?
Unfortunately, no one. Which is why all things ‘zombie’ are being rushed to the production stage whether they are ready or not and whether they are worthy or not.
A notable exception is Colson Whitehead’s “Zone One.” Whitehead is apparently a ‘real author’ who has made waves by dipping his toe into ‘zombie genre fiction.’ I don’t know what other fans of all things undead think of it, but I think “Zone One” is great. I enjoyed Max Brook’s “Zombie Survival Guide” but thought his other Zombie book, “World War Z,” was weak. But, almost without exception, every other book I’ve tried to read about zombies has been shit.
A funny things happens when you finish reading a book on an Amazon Kindle. After you hit the last page, your Kindle tells you, “People who enjoyed ‘Zone One’ also read…” and then it gives you a list. And you can just click on them and it will let you read the first chapter or two for free. I know they say that ‘you can’t judge a book by it’s cover,’ but I would suggest that one could make an educated guess by the first chapter… and I read a lot of these first chapters the other night while I waiting for some software to download (another sad story)… and, without exception, they SUCKED (except for “After the Apocalypse” by Maureen F. McHugh, which is great but doesn’t really count because even though it was in Amazon’s auto-generated list, I read it before I read Zone One… and McHugh’s is a collection of short stories, only one of which deals with zombie matters anyway).
*For purposes of this rant, “Zombie Apocalypse” movies can include movies where people are getting infected with some sort of virus and becoming ravenous cannibals or whatever that are not ‘undead.’ Let’s just say that ‘infected’ movies are a sub-category within the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ genre and leave it at that.