Do you have a favorite zombie book or three, the stories that hooked you as a reader or perhaps made you want to write zombie fiction?
I do and since this post is about me and not you, I’ll list my top five Zombie stories that got me started on this crazy career path. These are the stories that influenced me and also showed me (and hopefully everyone else) how you could write a different zombie story and not just use the Romero tropes and settings to do the same thing over and over. This list is far from exhaustive. Hell, I could list ten times as many zombie books I loved but these are the ones that still have a hold on me, some after many years.
Let’s dig in… shall we?
5. WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks reads like a nonfiction, dry case study for after the zombpoc. And it is brilliant. Forget the movie. Read the book and see another take on zombie fiction and another way I saw you could do something different.
4. BONESHAKER by Cherie Priest was another influence. It’s an awesome steampunk novel with zombies and showed me another way to make zombies relevant without dominating the story. To me it’s always about the characters dealing with the zombies and not the other way around.
3. Adam-Troy Castro wrote a short story, “Dead Like Me,” which I read in the zombie collection THE LIVING DEAD. Despite the many, many solid stories in the anthology this is still the one that I think about. I’ve talked to other authors and they often cite it as an influence as well. Seriously, you need to read it. The perfect zombie story to me.
2. Joe McKinney was an author I knew nothing about. I was going through the local Barnes & Noble looking for a new book to read and came upon DEAD CITY and had to have it. I’m glad I did because it kicked off a bunch of really solid books by Joe and I always look forward to the next one, be it zombie or horror.
- I always say I’m a horror author because of Dean Koontz but a zombie author because of Brian Keene. His novel THE RISING was the first zombie fiction I ever read and I’m glad I started with the top guy. When people say ‘The Rising’ you know who wrote it and the significance, too. It’s like saying ‘The Stand’ or ‘Gone With The Wind’… there doesn’t ever need to be another book titled The Rising as far as I’m concerned. This one is perfect.
Don’t agree with my list? Think you can do better? I really don’t care, to be honest… we all have an opinion. Seriously… what are some of the zombie books that influenced you as a reader and/or writer?