Book Review: Autumn by David Moody

Hi again…

Zombies. They seem to be everywhere these days. Resident Evil: Afterlife brought their biologically engineered zombies back to the big screen recently. On Halloween 2010, the Walking Dead will invade television on AMC. And there have been many recent books – from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to Patient Zero and Zombie Britannica.

So what makes David Moody‘s upcoming book Autumn different?

First of all, this is the first zombie book that I can recall that never uses the “z” word explicitly. Moody refers to them as “creatures” or “figures,” and these undead don’t seem to be of the flesh-eating variety. Other than one scene that made me wonder if they might be capable of extreme violence, it’s just the oppressive numbers of restless dead and the fact that they’re everywhere that makes them a persistent threat.

Second, though the book starts like many zombie plagues with some sort of worldwide biological or chemical event, Moody doesn’t try to explain how or why it happened. Though 99% of the world’s population suddenly dies, our few survivors are more interested in survival than a cure.

Third, the survivors themselves are just ordinary people. Michael is a bit of a loner who has a mysterious past he’s not willing to talk about much. Emma was a medical student and is more keen on finding a safe place than solving the riddle of what caused the event. And Carl was a husband and father who never quite gets over the trauma of losing his wife, daughter, and his old life.

Autumn may have the earmarks of your ordinary zombie tale, but it is far from it. Moody’s writing is just descriptive enough of the threats facing our survivors to make the whole story more psychological horror than of the brain-eating variety. It’s extremely well written with the implied silences just as important as the action. It reminded me more of classic Stephen King than George A. Romero – and I have to say I’m looking forward to what’s happening next.

If you’re looking for a different kind of horror or zombie fiction, you can’t do much better than this creepy start to a new series by David Moody. Look for Autumn on bookshelves now!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Check out Autumn and other great books below!

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Halloween 2010, the dead rise on AMC!

Hey all…

Yes, I know it’s not even September yet and I’m talking about Halloween – one of my least favorite holidays… But this year will be different.

AMC is airing the 90-minute premiere episode of The Walking Dead… This will be a 6-episode series based on the comic of the same name written by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore and published by Image Comics.

The television series based on the comic is being directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist) and has been in the works for a while now. But up to now (unless you were at Comic Con) you might have missed the trailer (though it’s been going around the internet like wildfire).

Yes, there are survivors of a deadly zombie plague. But like all good zombie stories, it’s less about the monsters themselves but how people deal with them. When the chips are down, how do they react? Do they do what’s right? Or what’s convenient?

The survivors are led by police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) who’s simply looking for somewhere safe to call home. Rick’s wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and friend Shane (Jon Bernthal) are tagging along. And of course they pick up a few others along the way.

Here’s the trailer. It looks awesome and it’s weird looking forward to Halloween for a change! Be sure to check out the premiere on Sunday, October 31st at 10/9c on AMC.

–Fitz

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Frank Darabont talks about AMC’s The Walking Dead

Hi all…

Zombies on AMC? Why not? Drug dealers (Breaking Bad) and advertising (Mad Men) executives already call AMC home. What’s a few zombies between friends?

Evidently writer, director, and executive producer Frank Darabont has always wanted to do zombies. And the comic The Walking Dead that started back in 2003 from Image Comics presents another interpretation of an inevitable zombie apocalypse. Darabont, comic writer Robert Kirkman, and artist Tony Moore (and later artist Charlie Adlard) all know the one thing about good science fiction or horror or any type of story really… it’s really about the people, not the zombies, aliens, monsters, or whatever.

I’ll be very interested to see a zombie story adapted for a television audience. From what little I’ve seen of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, AMC doesn’t seem to pull any punches. So maybe this will be well done enough so we focus on the story of the survivors and not pick apart the special effects in the background. The images here look pretty good (or gruesome depending on who you ask), so I’ll keep some hope.

In the past, I’ve enjoyed Darabont’s work on films like The Green Mile and The Mist, so we’ll see if this television project from him can avoid the sinkhole that The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones fell into in the 1990s.

Could this year or next become the year of the zombie on TV? We might see a series inspired by Jonathan Maberry’s excellent book Patient Zero as television series Department Zero currently in production by ABC. Maybe?

We can only hope zombies come to TV and are “most excellent” and not just “dead weight”…

–Fitz

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