Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies (Book Review)

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies by Matt Mogk (Gallery Books, 2011)

From where did George Romero get the idea for the modern zombie?  Can zombies learn?  Do they actually moan?  Feel pain?  What is a zombie's life span?  Which state in the Union is least likely to survive a zombie outbreak?  Why is May designated as Zombie Awareness Month?  These are just some of the questions that you need not be afraid to ask, because Matt Mogk has the compelling answers.

Part scientific study, part survival guide, part pop cultural survey, Mogk's book works on many levels.  The author offers witty commentary and flashes a mordant sense of humor throughout, but make no mistake about it: Mogk takes this subject matter seriously.  He adheres to a strictly rational definition of the zombie, insisting that such an entity is "biological in nature, not supernatural or magical."  Moreover, Mogk talks constantly of "the coming zombie pandemic," deeming it a matter not of if, but when.  Such earnestness at first might be off-putting to some--considered willfully naive at best or alarmist at worst--but by the time you finish reading you'll be plenty wary of an impending apocalypse.  In fact, one of the most surprising aspects of this well-researched book is the amount of scrutiny currently being given to zombies by the medical and scholarly communities.

Filled with rigorous speculation and a slew of fun extras (e.g., profiles of iconic movie zombies, quotes from zombie films and fiction), Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies is at once enlightening and entertaining.  Mogk states that he wrote the book "for people who don't know anything about zombies but would like to learn," but there are two other prime audiences as well. First, fans of all things zombie, who (the fans, not the zombies) will delight in the breadth and depth of Mogk's knowledge.  Secondly, this aptly-titled tome is a veritable treasure chest for any writer aspiring to write zombie fiction.  The information presented here is bound to spark a multitude of story ideas, proving that there is still plenty of meat to be picked from the bones of this thriving subgenre.


Joe Nazare said...

In which state in this country are you least likely to survive a zombie pandemic? According to Mogk, my native New Jersey. So maybe someday readers of this blog will get to meet me in the (rotting) flesh as I shamble across the Macabre Republic.

Matt Mogk said...

Thanks for the great review of my book! If you ever want to talk zombies you know where to find me.


Matt Mogk

Joe Nazare said...

Thanks, Matt. Will do!