August 22, 2011

Currently Reading: Zombies of the World

Right now, I'm smack-dab in the middle of generating new content for The Zed Word's month-long HOT ZOMBIE NIGHTS special, including reviews of Zombie Strippers, a zombie porno called Dawna the Dead, and the necro-licious book Zombiewood Weekly by our very own Sexy Zombie Contest judge Rob Sacchetto. However, I wanted to take a moment to share with you a fantastic book that I'm currently reading.

Zombies of the World by Ross Payton is one of the smartest tongue-in-cheek zombie guide books I've read since Rob Sacchetto's The Zombie Handbook. Like The Zombie Handbook, Zombies of the World displays a clear love for and knowledge of the entirety of zombie fiction and mythology. Presented as a field guide to zombies from an alternate reality in which the undead are a scientific fact of life, Zombies of the World manages to describe twenty species of undead, including "zombies" inspired by such well-known films as Night of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and 28 Days Later but also zombie genres (i.e. Italian zombie films and slasher films featuring undead killers like Jason Voorhees). The guide even draws inspiration from international mythology and literary fiction (especially the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft). There are even profiles of zombie species inspired by the smallest niches of the zombie genre, such as the dancing zombies of Thriller which get a whole page devoted to their physiology, behavior, and reproduction.

I hate when I pick up a zombie book that was clearly written to quickly cash in on the popularity of zombies. Some writers don't know their fingers from a Fulci film. Ross Payton, however, is either a devoted zombie fan or, at the least, has done some mad homework. Zombie fans of all stripes will have a great time picking through Zombies of the World to find all the little references to zombies in film, literature, and mythology, as well as some other fun B-movie Easter eggs. While I don't normally consider mummies and some of the other undead creatures Payton catalogs as "zombies," the way he frames the concept makes total sense in sections titled The Mystery of Zombies, Zombie Species, Surviving Zombie Attacks, A Social History of the Zombie, and the Science of Zombies.

Zombies of the World also sports awesome full-colour zombie art and illustrations by artists such as Tom Rhodes. I can't recommend this enough from what I've read so far.

Find more information and how to order your own copy from