A while ago, I was asked to share my feelings about Drake Vaughn’s new zombie title, The Zombie Generation. I’m truly happy for any zombie title that crosses my path, and this one gets the distinction of being a very unique story in both approach and execution.
From the beginning, it becomes obvious that the main character, Warner, is severely mentally ill. I found this aspect of the character to be very well done. You can feel his agitation when he’s bothered by hallucinations, or figs, that force him to listen to lectures from his overbearing father and former coworker. He’s looking to the zombies (buggers) to find a cure, but quickly becomes infected. While Warner isn’t the most likable guy out there, you really do get a feel for his plight. You might not like him, but you understand him and even feel sorry for him.
What’s most telling about this story is how well Vaughn managed to mess with your sense of reality. Because he’s so unwell, Warner isn’t the most reliable of narrators. It keeps you guessing–most zombie books end up being one rote event after another, but this one is different because of how far gone Warner is.On the other hand, Warner is a pretty clever fellow, and some of his survival-inspired contraptions/inventions actually do work. He alternates between brilliant/pathetic throughout the story.
I found the Buggers to be particularly hilarious, as well. In addition to dining on the finer things (like brains), these zombies are icky fat, garbage-eating, alcoholic nymphomaniacs (Social commentary, perhaps?). They are pretty gross, but I loved it. They’re the “worst” of humanity rolled into one nasty, hungry package. One win was having Warner narrate how amazing garbage tasted to him. It was so nasty, yet absolutely awesome.
The book was full of surprises, and always kept me guessing. It’s well worth a look.