Before I get into the world of zombie fiction, I thought I'd kick off Zombie Week with the book I think every single zombie aficionado should own. Depending on how much you fear the possibility of a future zombie apocalypse (and if you are my brother, this book is your bible), you may define this work as fact, rather than dedicated fiction- I'm leaving this part to your call. Either way, this is one hell of a contemporary guide to kicking zombie-arse.
The Zombie Survival Guide is broken down into six distinct sections, all made up of meticulous research, extensive testing, lab reports and first-hand accounts and designed to prepare readers against any kind of zombie attack. Brooks starts by giving an excellent rundown on the history of the zombie, the (fictional) virus that creates them and examines a number of zombie myths (there is also an excellent comparison between the voodoo zombie and the Hollywood zombie – an excellent resource for anyone interested in writing zombie fiction). He also rates various weapons and their effectiveness in civilian-zombie combat (not something I ever thought I’d be interested in learning about, but surprisingly interesting). Brooks also gives detailed discussion of how to best protect your home and family during a crisis, as well as the pros and cons of other places of protection. There is also a great, in-depth (and amusing) section on the benefit of being on the run during an outbreak. Brooks ends with a record of (fictional) zombie attacks throughout history (which is again, very well-written and engaging) and gives you an outbreak journal – for you to use to record any suspicious events.
Ok, so whilst this is a work of fiction, Brooks has filled this handy-how-to guide with a lot of common sense ideas and good survival tips (almost every character from any apocalyptic or zombie film could have benefited from reading this!). Whilst Brooks is faux-serious about potential zombie outbreaks and The Zombie Survival Guide is centred on what is essentially a pop-culture trend, he does manage to address many contemporary fears and concerns, which I think gives the book a wider appeal.
I can highly recommend The Zombie Survival Guide as a must-read for anyone interested in the living dead. It also makes a great, quirky gift for anyone with a good sense of humour or brothers/uncles/cousins who are tricky to buy for. I’ve given away a couple of copies and they always go down really well.