Ever got a funny look from someone when you say that you love books about zombies or horror? That slightly puzzled and amused expression as if they’re questioning your sanity. Yep, I’ve been there. My initial thoughts are always the same - how could you not love zombie stories? They’re bloody awesome:
- Monsters that are insatiable, unrelenting and uncompromising.
- Raw, visceral terror.
- A set of characters that must confront their fears to overcome huge odds.
- Often, a good dose of humour.
- And of course, kick-arse action that gets your blood pumping.
Zombie books have got a lot to love. Whatever the story, you can’t help but ask a question of yourself as you read – what would I do if I was placed in the same situation?
At their heart, they’re often simple tales; but with that comes a degree of honesty. When life is stripped back to the bare bones of survival, base human characteristics are displayed in vivid clarity. Gone are the trivialities that plague our own everyday lives. Instead, we see the best and worst of which humans are capable. There’s loyalty and honour as characters place themselves at risk or even sacrifice their life so that another might survive. But just as often, there is failure. Whether it be outright cowardice that makes us squirm as we read, or an understandable fraying of nerves under insurmountable pressure until the character finally cracks.
In the end, I think it’s the characters that make or break a novel. I wanted ones in my book that the reader could cheer onward, the sort of characters who’s death would hit like you like a punch in the guts. But the world isn’t all good, so I also wanted villains to make your skin crawl and monsters to stalk the reader’s mind long after putting the book down. ‘Plague War: Outbreak’ has it all. Real humans forced to adapt to hideous circumstances and doing their best to save friends and family. Some succeed. Some will fail despite doing everything right. Life isn’t always fair – and neither is the apocalypse.
So for me, it’s the zombies themselves, and seeing how the characters react under pressure that make me love a great zombie book. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what drew you into the genre, and what it is about your favourite zombie book that made it stand out for you.