No doubt about it – vampires are huge business. A day at the store isn’t complete unless I’ve sold at least one Stephanie Meyer book. Charlaine Harris isn’t far behind, and at this point more people have seen Sookie topless than have read a Michael Chabon book. On top of that, there are plenty of imitators similarly vampire-obsessed books (Vampire Academy, House of Night), parodies (Nightlight, Dick and Jane and Vampires) … hell, there are even vampire-obsessed hit squads. These books might even be changing the way teen brains work. I’m not a huge fan of the books I’ve mentioned so far, but I even got in on the fun with Justin Cronin’s The Passage.
But maybe you’re feeling a little vampired out. You need something new to read, and you’ve proven you don’t mind getting a bit of the supernatural into your fiction. However, jumping into some of the popular genres of genre fiction – horror, fantasy, sci-fi – can be super intimidating. What’s a guy to do, or where’s a girl to start?
Have no fear, gentle reader. There are plenty of awesome genres out there, and even more great jumping-on points. Scroll on down for a look at a couple fantastic species of stores, good books to get your feet wet, and where to go from there.
The Pitch; The dead live! The rules vary from book to book, but generally speaking we’re looking at undead (or, optimistically, re-alive) monsters with poor motor skills and a thirst for brains.
Start with; World War Z by Max Brooks. In his “oral history of the zombie war”, Brooks details the outbreak and spread of a virus (Solanum) that turns the living into flesh-hungry undead. WWZ is a big book with lots of ideas, and by writing it as an oral history Brooks is able to explore the political, environmental, and cultural impacts of an undead plague – along with all the action and tension you’d expect in a zombie movie.
Then read; The Walking Dead and The Reapers Are The Angels. In his ongoing comic series The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman basically looks at what happens in a zombie movie after the credits, exploring how a group of survivors could continue to function over a long period. In The Reapers Are The Angels, Alden Bell does his best Cormac McCarthy impression with a story of a 15-year-old girl struggling to survive in a crumbling US that isn’t dissimilar from the nation in The Road. Continue reading