Monday, January 24, 2011

Zombie Review: Zombies for Zombies: The Play and Werk Buk

Zombies for Zombies - The Play and Werk Buk: The World's Bestselling Inactivity Guide for the Living Dead by David P. Murphy

ZPAA rating

Mature teens and up

Gore level

4 out of 10--Slightly grisly black and white cartoon images of zombies (human, clown, and unicorn), the occasional internal organ (though your brain does appear quite often), some biting and bleeding (though these incidents are mostly described; there is a funny picture of a zombie biting a manikin).

Other offensive content

One of the short stories involves torture; occasional bad language; lots of misspellings, mostly using the letter "z" (if you find misspelling offensive).

How much zombie mythology/content

For a lighter comedy book, the mythology is well developed. Zombies are the result of the P1V1 virus outbreak, though a lot of them are contained in containment zones or in upscale "Scarlet Centers" if they are lucky enough, though there are also free roamers. The USA is reduced to 37 states and many cities have been combined like Sacracisco in California. All sorts of aids and coping mechanisms and strategies are referred to throughout the book in ads. Zombies are the eating flesh, shambling around sort, though mass transit for the undead is available in this world.

How much fun

In addition to amusing short stories, this book is full of puzzles and games to keep your brains sharp. Also lots of ads for services and products aimed at the living dead are sprinkled throughout, even a home shopping network and a dating service for the "post-lifers" out there.

Synopsis & Review

The Author, lovingly cradling a brain
One of the missions of this blog is to help people who have been turned into zombies. Who knew that other kindred spirits are also working on the same problem? In 2009, David Murphy wrote Zombies for Zombies: Advice and Etiquette for the Living Dead and has followed up with 2010's Zombies for Zombies: The Play & Werk Buk: The World's Bestselling Inactivity Guide for the Living Dead. The Guide's publicist was nice enough to send me a review copy, so how could I resist reviewing it?

The Guide is fully illustrated in black and white and includes short stories, puzzles, fake ads, advice columns, and other assorted bits of entertainment focused on making the post-life of a zombie more fun. It's a nice send up of that Highlights magazine we all used to read as kids. The puzzles range from far too easy to impossibly difficult (which I mean literally, some don't have solutions as you find out in the answer key). The fake ads for skin care products, drugs to help deal with undeath, the fine line of QualiCola sodas ("as real as you are!"), and other services and products are clever and make me wish I had such sponsors for my blog.

The post-infection world is surprisingly well thought out as I mentioned in the mythology/content section. The reader is led by the main characters in the guide: Diligent (the highly functioning zombie), Doris (the female lead), Doofus (the low-functioning horde member), Your Brain (which is your brain), Chomps the Clown (because what's more frightening than a zombie clown), and Horny, the Living Dead Unicorn. But there's a host of minor characters who reoccur often and give a lot more continuity to what could have been just an extended set of unrelated zombie gags.

I really liked Zombies for Zombies: The Play & Werk Buk, so much so that it makes me want to read the original book.

Sample Text

Sally finds out about one of the zombie "assisted living" facilities in her new home town:

The evening before her adventure, Sally was talking with her new friend Rosa, a bubbly little Hispanic girl who was one year younger than Sally. When Sally brought up Scarlet Shores, Rosa's eyes grew wide and whispered several words under her breath that must've been in Spanish because they made no sense to Sally. Then Rosa proceeded to tell Sally everything that she knew about the place: no one was allowed to go near it; there were bad people in there who'd caught bad colds and they'd like to give you a cold, too; monsters lived on the other side of that fence and they'd love to escape and blow up a mall or move into your closet; and that even though the place looked fun from the outside, it wasn't. It had cooties--big cooties. Rosa yammered on and on and Sally eventually tuned her out, dreaming of dinner and candy.  (page 12)

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