When Night Shade Books and I put the first The Living Dead anthology together a couple years ago, we had the sense that zombies would be big, but I don’t think any of us realized just how big they would become.
When the book actually came out in September of 2008, it seemed like the timing was perfect, that we would be hitting right at the crest of the zombie’s popularity. But now it looks like they’ve only become more popular in the intervening period, spreading throughout an unsuspecting population like zombiism itself.
In the last couple years there have been a slew of new zombie entertainments released, across all media. There have been new movies (Quarantine, REC2, Deadgirl, Diary of the Dead, Survival of the Dead, Dead Snow, Zombie Strippers, Zombieland); video games (Plants vs. Zombies, Dead Rising 2, Dead Space, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2); and a veritable horde of books (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its sequel, books from several of the contributors to this anthology, and even a Star Wars zombie novel called Death Troopers). Plus, a film adaptation is in the works for Max Brooks’s World War Z, and Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead is being made into a television series.
And all of that’s just off the top of my head—if I wanted to make an extensive list, I’m sure it could be ten times longer. If you were inclined to have zombies in all of your entertainment, I expect you’d have very little trouble finding things to watch, play, or read, all of them chock-full of zombie mayhem.
So with that in mind, where to start? Well, you should pick up The Living Dead and The Living Dead 2—obviously!—but after that, you should start by consuming the Unholy Trilogy—George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead. Once you’ve seen those, what then? Well, I listed some recent zombie entertainments above, but my list is hardly comprehensive, and is limited to the last few years. So again I’ve turned to my Living Dead 2 contributors for help and asked them: What are your favorite examples of zombie fiction?
[More recommendations than you can shake a boomstick at on the other side of the jump!]