[Video Link] Last month I found myself in Palo Alto in need of an espresso. Yelp directed me to a place called ZombieRunner, which turned out to be a running shoe store with a zombie-themed espresso bar. The espresso turned out to be excellent, as did the selection of books, all of which were about zombies. One book caught my eye: Dead Inside: Do Not Enter: Notes from the Zombie Apocalypse.
I had planned to leave the store as soon as I'd quaffed my doubleshot, but the book was so engrossing that I parked myself on the couch for nearly an hour, reluctantly leaving only because I had a scheduled appointment. I would have bought the book, but it was not for sale. But I emailed my friend Steve at Chronicle Books and he sent me a review copy, which was waiting for me when I got back to LA. I picked it up and finished it in one sitting.
Dead Inside: Do Not Enter was crowd-written by Lost Zombies, a zombie themed social network and it tells the by-now familiar story of a zombapocalyptic virus that whips across the planet, but presents it in the form of realistic-looking notes written by people trying to survive and help other uninfected people survive. The introduction to Dead Inside explains that all of these hand-written and computer-printed notes had been found in the blood-stained backpack of a little girl who had apparently been collecting them until she herself got sick with the zombie virus.
The notes are presented in chronological order. The first notes express mild concern ("Remember to get your flu shot - @ the clinic they say it's really bad this year and I don't want you to get sick"), followed by annoyance ("Some kid bit our son at school - I took him to the doctor. Dinner is in the microwave" -- I'm paraphrasing because I don't have the book with me right now), a growing sense of panic, and a grim acceptance of the new world disorder (“I hope I get bit first so I don’t have to shoot any of my family”). The variety of notes, with different handwriting styles, stationery, stains, and rips adds to the realism of the story, and gives it a delicious creepiness, even though the reader never sees a photo of an actual zombie or zombie attack.Note: We talked about Dead Inside on Gweek 054.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.