Review: Zombies and Shit

Ah, zombies.  Like vampires before them, they are marching into that stale oblivion that we know as the mainstream.  It’s a shame really, especially if you were already a fan when the zombie boom hit.  Thanks to that boom there are no shortage of books, movies, TV shows, and pop references to the shambling dead.  This is both a good and bad thing.  Back when zombies were rare, we appreciated them more.  Now you have to slog through a lot of plain stuff that just uses on the zombie formulas that are now classic.  All so you can find a zombie story of ANY kind that does something truly different and interesting.

I say all this because Carlton Mellick’s Zombies and Shit is one of the zombie stories you SHOULD pay attention to.  It’s got a strong plot, unique characters, and a setting that provides a nice twist to the zombie apocalypse.  It’s set long after the zombie outbreak, and humanity has survived by relocating to an overcrowded island where there is a strict caste system.  The people in the Copper Quadrant are surrounded by poverty, disease, and crime.  The people in the Platinum Quadrant are ridiculously wealthy and get their kicks watching a reality show Zombie Survival.  On this show, twenty citizens from Copper are drugged, kidnapped, and abandoned on the zombie-infested mainland to see who can be the last man standing.

The contestants include punks, prostitutes, cyborg mercenaries, a Nazi from the Fifth Reich, a genetically engineered predator, and the T-2000 (with some average joes mixed in for a good body count).  Only one of them will be allowed to escape the city and win the contest, so they not only have to beware the zombies, but also each other.  Each character has a back story that lets you see who these people are, sometimes right before they’re killed and eaten by zombies.  This provides a lot of action and some cool fight scenes, whether it’s between contestants or against zombies.  But Zombies and Shit doesn’t just have demented characters competing against one another in a brutal landscape, it’s also got plenty of the undead.  And that’s what we’re here for, right?  Well I’m happy to say that Mellick delivers.  The zombies here are drippy-fleshed ghouls who cry out for “Braaains!”  They puke radioactive slime that will infect you.  They prefer to consume brains and nerve tissue before eating regular flesh.  They’re similar to the zombies of “Return of the Living Dead,” but with little extras like plants taking root in the decayed crevices of their bodies, or car parts melded awkwardly to their flesh.

Each one-on-one encounter with the zombies is memorable because Mellick makes the dead just as freakish as the living.  His talent lies in making ideas that normally wouldn’t/shouldn’t work into things that are brilliant and cool.  The T-2000 is a prime example of this.  I won’t spoil who/what he is, but it’s a ridiculous idea that wouldn’t work for anyone else but CM3.  And it turned out to be my favorite part of the book.  It’ll be your favorite, too.  I guarantee it.

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1936383195/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

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