“About as interesting as slugs and moaned so much that, were Fred alive, he’d be sporting a hell of a migraine.” – on zombies.
I’ve Been Deader by Adam Sifre is a zombie novel. You may groan audibly at the prospect of yet more zombies but it’s actually a breath of fresh air. Pitched as a comedy horror by its creator, the humour is black, though I found it much more serious than I’d expected, especially following the halfway point.
It took me a little while to get into the book, I felt the opening was more slapstick than the rest of the story – I thought it was going to be some sort of bizarre “good” zombie love story at the outset, but boy was I wrong.
Adam establishes the rules of his undead horde quickly – they are much like all the other zombies we know and love, but there’s some brilliant, gory description to prop them up. There’s also Fred, one of the primary protagonists who, as it happens, is a zombie himself.
The difference between Fred, (45, pot belly and limp, bitten by clerk), is that he’s a thinking zombie who remembers his past life. He also learns he can control other zombies. The problems, though, are evident. He has no hang-ups over eating brains like his brothers, he enjoys them as much as your next zombie. He’s also falling apart and to top it off, he thinks he’s fallen in love with Aleta, a “breather” (human, not zombie), with amazing eyes. Also, “breathers” are fewer and farther between so he’s hungry and of late they appear to be fighting back; it’s almost as if they’re going to win the war.
I enjoyed reading about the initial spread of the virus immensely – George Potts the overly-friendly zombie postman and also scenes like Janet and the severely hen-pecked Stanley and the penis incident. I did feel we were, at times, learning about slightly throwaway characters when we perhaps should have been concentrating more on the main players, but this changed as the story progressed and on the whole I thought the descent into madness and anarchy in the world of zombies was well played.
We are also notably treated to Jon Tanner’s evil descent (a truly mad bastard) and Timmy, a kid heading for what could possibly send the dead back to the grave and a reunion with his dad, who just happens to be a zombie.
Overall I’ve Been Deader is a great, snappy read and suitably different from an at times, tired genre. I look forward to what Adam Sifre cooks up next – by the looks of it, a prequel.
Buy the book here.