September 15, 2011

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies (Review)

REVIEW

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies

By Matt Mogk

Gallery Books: 2011

RATING:

5 / 5 zedheads



Whether you're new to zombie culture or you've been a diehard zombie fan for years, there's one book you need that's even more important than Max Brooks's classic Zombie Survival Guide. You need Matt Mogk's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies. Why? Because it lives up to its title completely.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies is the perfect summary of everything that's developed in modern zombie entertainment and popular culture since the 1968 release of Night of the Living Dead. In this accessible yet comprehensive guide to everything zombie, Matt Mogk (founder and director of The Zombie Research Society) tackles zombie basics, zombie science, zombie survival, and zombie popular culture with the attention and love the subject deserves. Never have I read a non-fiction zombie book from a major publisher that manages to cite obscure zombie films like Raiders of the Living Dead while demonstrating an insightful understanding of the academic thought that real researchers are giving to the theoretical zombie apocalypse. At the same time, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies remains accessible enough for readers whose only zombie experience extends to a few rounds of Left 4 Dead or staying up late once to watch the Dawn of the Dead remake.

As someone who has immersed himself in zombie culture, I didn't find that Matt Mogk's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies presented me with much information that I didn't already know, but that's okay. I still devoured this book in only a few sittings. Mogk's enthusiasm and love of the zombie genre is embedded in every page. As you read, Mogk's snappy style synthesizes developments in theoretical zombie science and zombie survival by digesting a flooded market of other zombie guides into their most vital and essential points. A lot of zombie survival books are overwrought, but Mogk's section on zombie survival is concise and hits you with the cold, hard, reality of a potential zombie apocalypse with more impact than even Max Brooks's Zombie Survival Guide.

Even though a lot of information wasn't new to me, that's not to say that Mogk's book isn't original. It is equal parts summary of zombies in popular culture and exposure of myths and inaccuracies that infest the glut of poorly researched zombie books on the market by authors who can't tell a zombie from a mummy. No one I've read until Matt Mogk has been able to lay out every important development in zombie media so clearly without simply rehashing the books and movies that have come before. I am thoroughly impressed.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies is now THE required text in the world of zombie studies. With Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies, Matt Mogk has put a cap on the last 43 years of zombie entertainment and fan culture. Most importantly, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies is more than a guide book. It's the best summary of what zombies are in fiction, what they could be in reality, and exactly why our society would collapse in the zombie apocalypse.

If you're an author currently working on yet another zombie survival guide or zombie guidebook like the ones that already flood the market, you should just give up now. Mogk has closed that door. If you want to contribute something new to zombie culture, you have to contribute something that Mogk doesn't write about in Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies, because if Mogk did write about it, chances are it's already been done to death. The future of zombie culture starts with Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies.

So start making the future already and stop rehashing the zombie survival guides of the past.