I reviewed Flu by Wayne Simmons this week at SF Signal. As much as I was hoping this book would deliver in a failing market of zombie fiction, the characters and writing fell flat like so many others.
REVIEW SUMMARY: A character-focused zombie story whose characters you’d rather ignore.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A flu outbreak in Northern Ireland overcomes quarantine efforts as the dead rise and survival efforts bring out the worst in most people.
I read yesterday that Resident Evil is going to do a sixth movie. Did you pick up on the derision in my head as I wrote that? That about sums up my thoughts on the zombie genre. The potential is there to be my favorite sub-genre, but the stories out there are very disappointing. Resident Evil 5 was not worth the dollar I spent at Redbox or the two hours it took to watch. I liked some of the action scenes, but as a story it ellicits negative interest. The blonde chick with the mind control device attached to her half-exposed breasts is laughable as a plot point. When I saw the trailer that had Alice in a home getting ready for the day with her family, I thought they had rebooted and we could get back to the basics–build relationships so we care before chaos ensues–but that dream was shattered five minutes in as we returned to megabase and the boat load of bullets it would take to defeat the enemy. Yawn. Oh, look how tricky Mr. Anderson’s directing is with gunfights in rewind.
At the other end of the spectrum for zombie stories is Flu by Wayne Simmons, but not in a good way. He gives the time to build relationships, but the people he chose annoyed me from caring. Flu had a few elements I enjoyed, the first being the intro of police assigned to quarantine future zombies into their homes, meanwhile civilians are on the verge of becoming a violent mob. The story took a wrong turn for me by leaving that potential and picking up on three other sets of people that were holing up, planning for what to do next. I like this type of scenario, but the characters were dull and/or annoying.
I broke down recently and paid for a year’s subscription to Walking Dead: Season 3 [HD] because I was jonsing for quality zombie stories and needed an example that could revive my hope in the zombie sub-genre. I’m really liking this season, and am looking forward to the finale this weekend. They have the defend their post aspect with the jail, and new characters that are both interesting and unpredictable enough to keep you wondering who is going to get killed next. I’m failing to find comparable interest in zombie novels.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War was pretty good at parts, but the constant changing of characters lessened the deep interest I get in one group of people on an epic journey to survive. I hear the movie focuses on one storyline, so I’m looking forward to that, in spite of the concerns caused by delays and script rewriting. I don’t believe the zombie genre’s Hollywood future rests on the success of this movie, but I sure hope it doesn’t disappoint like Resident Evil has. The latest season of We’re Alive, a full cast audio production, also went down a path of disinterest. The problem there was lack of focus on character development, replaced with sound effects and gun fights.
A glimmer of hope is the Zombie Fallout series by Mark Tufo. I recently finished Zombie Fallout 2: A Plague Upon Your Family (audiobook version because the narrator Sean adds to the humor that makes this a standout in the genre), and thought it did well to continue Mark’s series as the top of the genre. Mark was a guest on AudioTim 45, and encouraged me not to give up on zombies, but aside from his Zombie Fallout series, where else am I to look?
Zombie Fallout is currently free on Kindle. Aside from going to Zombie Fallout 3, where else am I to turn for quality zombie fiction?