11 Books with Inventive Takes on the Zombie Genre
Whether they're mindlessly craving brains or struggling to remain human in the face of a debilitating disease, zombies are great at capturing the imaginations of readers and writers who have a taste for the macabre. The eleven books listed here offer fresh takes on the concept of the undead that horror fans are sure to enjoy. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
Original Zombie Books: Our 11 Picks
Fun Activities for Horror Fans
For some of us, Halloween is a year-round event. Whether you want to prepare for next October, or always enjoy bringing a little spookiness into your life, here are some fun ideas you could try:
- Read horror books and Creepypastas
- Get a fog machine and make your own haunted house
- Bake spooky desserts, like zombie gingerbread men
- Decorate with cauldrons and skeletons
- Use a Ouija board to hold a seance
- Make a spooky playlist on your favorite music app
8 Great Zombie Movies
- Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
- World War Z (2013)
- Shaun of the Dead (2004)
- 28 Days Later (2002)
- Night of the Living Dead (1968)
- Warm Bodies (2013)
- Dead Snow (2009)
Common Zombie Tropes
There are plenty of fresh and original takes on zombies out there, but there are still a lot of tried-and-true themes, characters, and plot devices that writers come back to again and again. Here are a few of the most popular tropes used in zombie stories:
- The apocalypse
- Destroying the brain or decapitating the zombies
- An army of the dead
- Ragtag group of survivors
- Zombies being slow and stupid
- A virus that infects the world
Could We Survive a Zombie Apocalypse?
Whether rising from the grave or newly turned from a fresh bite, zombies are the subject of nightmares that thrill and excite. Crafting a story that presents the undead in a new way is a difficult feat. Here, in no particular order, are eleven of the most refreshing twists on a classic horror genre.
At #1 we have "Rise of the Corpses" by Ty Drago. Middle-school student Will has the ability to see what only a few can, that Corpses are living in his neighborhood. Aliens have inhabited dead bodies as a form of camouflage, allowing them to infiltrate the town. When Will joins a group called the Undertakers, who also have the ability to see the creatures, their special sight is the only thing keeping the town safe from complete invasion. Young readers will enjoy the exploits of someone their own age taking on a deadly threat.
#2 is "Fortress Britain" by Glynn James and Michael Stephen Fuchs. When the rest of the world collapses after an outbreak, Great Britain's security wall protects them from Zulu attacks. But merely staying alive isn't enough, and the survivors want to find a cure for the infection. Military operatives are deployed to search for medicine to create a vaccine, but the team that has been sent to the U.S. is in for more than they expected. The soldiers must find a way to complete their mission while avoiding hordes of undead creatures.
The soldiers must find a way to complete their mission while avoiding hordes of undead creatures.
#3 on the list is "The Ugly Beginning" by T.W. Brown. Unprepared and doing their best to survive, Brown's many characters quickly realize that the biggest threat to their safety comes from the living, not the dead. Heroes and villains emerge, spurred by murder, raids, and the ever-present threat of being eaten alive. With a focus on the human condition in times of crisis, this novel offers many viewpoints of a terrifying situation.
In the #4 spot is "Zombie-saurus Rex" by Mark Souza. Rex is a typical teenage boy in every way except one: sometimes he gets hungry for flesh. He has ways to fend off his cravings, like snacking on animal body parts. But despite his attempts at normalcy, being infected with the Z-virus brings him to the attention of the government. With internment camps being set up to quarantine the infected, he must find a way to prove that he, and others like him, are not dangerous.
#5 is "Sleep With One Eye Open" by Beau Johnston. The zombie craze has inspired a fun run in Australia, with participants dressed up in costume and wearing makeup to mimic their favorite creatures. When a real outbreak occurs, devastation ensues as the actual monsters are indistinguishable from costumed humans. John is able to use his martial arts skills to escape the initial attack. However, without easy access to guns, he and his fellow Aussies will need to use every available resource to survive.
When a real outbreak occurs, devastation ensues as the actual monsters are indistinguishable from costumed humans.
Next, at #6, is "Zombie D.O.A." by J.J. Zep. As the madness spread, Chris' unborn baby was ripped from his wife's womb and became a zombie. Now, years later, he is still searching for his daughter in the hope he can rescue her from her captors. His fatherly love gives him the courage to fight countless enemies across the country. Chris knows that he can build a relationship with his little girl, despite her hunger for human flesh.
#7 is "Zombie Fallout" by Mark Tufo. To combat the flu pandemic, H1N1 vaccines are distributed widely across the world. But the disease the medicine creates is far worse than the one it treats, as vaccinated people are transformed into zombies. Michael Talbot has been waiting for this day, an apocalyptic outbreak where he can prove his skills against hordes of animated corpses. His journal entries detail his heroic fight, and how his survivalist methods are put to the test.
At #8 is Jake Bible's "Z-Burbia." Whispering Pines subdivision becomes a fortress after the infection, with all the same amenities of pre-apocalyptic life. They have running water and electricity, and kids spend their time playing video games as if the world outside their walls wasn't crumbling from attacks by Zs. With corruption inside their barriers and danger outside, the citizens must determine the best way to survive.
With corruption inside their barriers and danger outside, the citizens must determine the best way to survive.
#9 on the list is "Comes the Dark" by Patrick D'Orazio. Survivors tend to have one priority: just keep surviving. For Jeff, his only priority is vengeance for his family. He cares only about killing as many of the infected as he can. Through numerous mistakes, close calls, and lucky chances, his quest for revenge continues, with no consideration for his own well-being. D'Orazio creates a relatable protagonist in an unbelievable scenario with his realistic representations of human behavior.
Next, at #10, is "Zombie Britannica" by Thomas Emson. The world was warned of an impending outbreak when researchers released the findings of their studies. Because their predictions were ignored, the dead rise again and infect the living. Civilization quickly crumbles and societies collapse as attacks spread across the world. Emson describes the fallout through the viewpoints of multiple main characters across Great Britain.
#11 is "Infected" by James Schannep. If you've ever wondered how you would fare in a zombie apocalypse, you can safely find out with this book. You are the main character, with the story progressing differently based on the decisions you make. Scavenging for food, where to hide from undead hordes, and how to fight off enemies will all be up to the reader, with multiple outcomes possible. Will you survive, thrive, or die? The ending is up to you and the choice for survival is yours.