Does the world need another zombie or vampire?

First of all, I want to be clear that this is not meant to antagonize my fellow writers who are profiting from this niche. The problem as I see it is that it’s actually no longer a niche. There are thousands upon thousands of these books and they all seem to be making money.

What does that mean? It means that you, John Q. Public, are buying these mindnumbing stories which are never more than rehashed versions of what came before. I just checked Amazon for books with the vampire tag. How many are there? 13,034. No, it’s not a typo.

Then again, I guess there’s always a way to spin a good yarn around vampires. Hey, I admit I read the Twilight books and as corny as they were I actually found myself minorly addicted. What that tells me is that it’s all in the telling. If you want to talk about vampires getting elected to the city council to implement much-needed reforms involving pesticides and school lunches, knock yourself out. It might be good.

But zombies? Really? A zombie has to be the worst villain in history. A slow walking animated corpse that doesn’t talk, doesn’t make demands, that is destroyed after receiving a baseball bat to the head or a gunshot in the brain is not my idea of an involving story. How can it be such a popular sub-genre of fiction?

Geez, we’re at the point where government agencies use zombies to publicize their announcements. Want proof? The Center for Disease Control established a blog to let the citizenry know they’re prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse. Yes, that’s where your tax dollars are going. You’re working 60 hours a week to pay for zombies.

Searching through Amazon I found 4,556 products tagged zombies and over 1,000 simply zombie. I have a feeling there might be more if you add terms like undead and living dead, etc. These stories are everywhere and I want to know why.

Maybe I’m just getting grumpy as I get older. But whatever you do, don’t get me started on those fantasy books. What the hell is an orc anyway?

 

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14 Responses

  1. Hear, hear! I second the emotion.

  2. Carol, should we launch the International League Against the Prevalence of Vampires And Zombies? I would totally bring cookies to our ILAPoVaZ meetings! LOL

  3. As someone in the process of writing a zombie based story (http://ukzombiekiller.wordpress.com/) I think they are becoming more popular for many pretty deep reasons. The idea of an apocalyptic event giving us the chance to first be a hero and fight our way through and then start over must be pretty appealing to many people in the days of bad finances and global strife. No more unemployment or government debts. Many of these zombie storys have the origin of the zombies as a virus/parasite/bacteria and often a man made one at that. Perhaps we’re reading, and writing, these stories to purge the guilt we feel about the way our society is moving.

    Or maybe they’re just a good read!

    • I LOVE apocalyptic stories. Larry Niven’s Lucifer’s Hammer is one of my favorite books. I love stories about building a new society.

      But does it always have to be zombies?

      Your diary-like story is cool though ;-)

  4. I am an avid reader of paperback and online stories, I like my sci fi fantasy, sci fi, war, biographies and especially crime.

    There honestly isn’t anything new left. Occasionaly there will be the “same story” with a new twist on the view of things.

    The anti-hero, the lesser man, the badguy, the groups, all have been constantly written about.

    So I tend to see your point, and sometimes I feel like I’ve already read some stories once before being so close to another. But nowadays, it’s the content and the approach of the stories that make the book, not the topic.

    I do however have to agree with UKZombiekiller, the idea of an apocalyptic event is an ever pressing topic on the back of our minds, with the news, movies, bbooks, etc. Whether the hero or not, the chance of a whole new life with an added challenge is appealing to a lot of readers.

  5. When I sat down to write my own zombie story, I thought pretty long and hard about putting my own stamp on them. What I ended up with were zombies that got smarter, faster, stronger, the more powerful the ‘infection’ was. Hopefully, a unique enough take on the traditional Romero style zombie to keep it interesting and fresh. http://ukzombiekiller.wordpress.com/ is one of my current favorites, mine is available from my name.

  6. It is true there is a wealth of books on zombies, but when I started writing them I wanted to do something new and original. On my blog http://aprilrdenton.wordpress.com I write ZombieROTica, and zombie poetry that is quite popular actually.

  7. Trends are…trendy?

    But really, I totally believe there is room for everyone…Vamps and Zombies included. I love an original story that pulls from old mythology or lore. What Meyer did for Vampires–pretty inventive. I hope there are more authors willing to put pen to paper in hopes of casting a new light on “overdone” material.

  8. Thanks for your comments everyone!

    It does boil down to execution, finding a fresh edge. ZombieROTica? That sounds hilarious ;-)

  9. Okay, clearly you need some educatin’

    An orc is a vampire school dropout that makes a mean zombie when he’s drunk. But only when the moon is full.

    I say we need more ant soldiers. How’s about an apocalypse with ant soldiers?

  10. LOL Will the ant soldiers be fighting against mummies? Haven’t seen those in a while…

  11. Ant soldiers vs mummies, with bigfoots (bigfeet?) playing the third team!

  12. [...] recently wrote an article about my zombie fatigue and it garnered an onslaught of comments from aficionados of the undead. To make amends, here are [...]

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