Friday, May 25, 2012

Scenes from a Zombie Infestation: Or, What Kind of Zombie Reader Are You?

By Rusty Fischer

Buy Zombie Interrupted HERE
Last year I was fortunate enough to be on an author’s panel at a local horror convention. The topic was “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse.”

I say “fortunate” because even though me and my little YA tales of friendly zombies and dating zombies and driving zombies and writing and reading zombies were WAY out of place on this panel of hardcore zombie authors, I got to see all the different kinds of zombie readers there are:

There are the diehard fans, who are purely out for blood. They like their zombie books hard and fast and full -- FULL -- of gore. The gorier, the better.

There are the lookie-loos, who have maybe seen a zombie movie or two and would like to know more about how an author makes zombies, you know, interesting. (I think this is my favorite type of zombie reader because they’re a blank slate and could go either way.)

Buy Project Z HERE
There are the 'fraidy cats, who don’t really like zombies but are curious as to what the fuss is all about and would like to get their feet wet by opening up their first zombie book and getting over that fear.

There are the serious zombie students, who take their zombies very, very seriously. They treat zombie books like nonfiction. Try telling them your YA zombie character became a zombie through lightning -- lightning! -- and they roll their eyes dismissively.

And finally there are folks like me, open-minded, curious, who don’t take ourselves too seriously. We like zombies the way we like vampires, werewolves and other paranormal creatures: dark and deadly but also with a few more dimensions than the ones who stumble around in the dark grumbling “Brains” all day long. We’re able to laugh at our zombies, feel for them and even sympathize with them.

Don’t get me wrong; all types are awesome in their own, unique way. I can totally get behind the serious, academic types and why they’re so “into it.” I just can’t really speak to them as well because my books are so non-academic, even non-scientific.

I can’t really relate as much to the 'fraidy-cats because my zombies aren’t that scary, but I know many, many books that have scared me and I dig those too.

Buy Private Eyes HERE
I think what was so encouraging about being on this panel was how diverse the (standing room only) audience was! Men, women, young, old, some were dressed up as zombies, some looked like businesspeople, some just wanted to know more and others thought they knew all there was to know.  

So, I have to ask, which type of zombie reader are YOU?

Yours in YA, 

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