Hank: One Tuesday in the middle of May, Zombie God compels Zombie Moseley to demand freedom for the Zombie People from Zombie Master Jeff. Zombie Master Jeff (who has been interrupted while watching reruns of “Who’s The Boss”) finds the request reasonable. After all, he only raised the Zombies from the Dead in order to give his indie Zombie movie that extra spark of realism. And so the Zombies are freed to roam the land. All will be well for the Zombies as long as they follow two rules. 1) Be nice to each other. 2) AND DON’T WEAR GREEN SHOES ON THURSDAY. That will turn out to be important.
Thus begins “Used Zombies,” a horror / comedy / philosophical treatise by the hyper-prolific Phony McFakename. I love me a laugh in these times of constant frowning, and “Used Zombies” made me guffaw with practically every page and every clever twist. Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams are no longer with us, but “Used Zombies” suggests their legacy endures, and that makes the world a better, happier place.
Trent: This book has several awesome things going for it. One: it ain’t no James Michener’s “Hawaii” thousand-page saga that takes you five months to work through. You pick it up, you read it, your laugh your ass off, and you can finish it a couple of hours later, feeling like you had a good time and got your money’s worth. So THAT’s dope. Second: There ain’t no twist on the zombie apocalypse I haven’t seen- until I see a new one- and here’s a new one, which I ain’t gonna spoil! Three: Zombie apocalypses are fine and all, but Fred and Wilma Maggot are the ones who truly wormed their way into my hearts. One complaint: I wish I had heard more about the microscopically melancholic Harold! Cherry!
Tracey: This is a charming book, and I really liked how with a few quick strokes the writer makes us care about Jeff and Marie’s very human relationship, and Jared and Sheila’s zombie relationship, and even Chip and Tamika’s corporate-zombie-co-worker relationship. And I love the message, (or at least some of the messages, because “Used Zombies” throws around a lot of ideas for such a slim volume, and I’m not sure I caught them all on first read!) The novel tackles issues– no, it’s more like it zig-zags and then sprints THROUGH issues of race, class, society, politics, tradition, religion, but it never feels like it is forcing its perspectives on us the way a blunter parable like Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” does.
Cousin Franz: Who would have thought that BRAINS is really what Zombies are all about? This is a very smart book, and “Used Zombies” withstands several interpretations. Seldom does one see such wisdom and nuanced depth masquerading as a quirky fun fable. This is actually a deep commentary on the Biblical Book of Exodus, and on why it is that we resist the obvious. Why couldn’t Moses’ followers follow Ten reasonable Commandments? Why couldn’t Jesus’ followers follow TWO simplified Commandments: LOVE GOD a.k.a LIFE and LOVE OTHER PEOPLE LIKE YOU LOVE YOURSELF? Don’t do to other people what you wouldn’t want them to do to you? Why can’t we follow ONE commandment: LOVE? Pretty simple stuff, right? And yet I don’t think anyone’s quite got the hang of it yet.
Beatricia: I’m not sure what this “Phony McFakename” is trying to pull, but zombies aren’t real, and neither is that name, and I should I know because I traveled all over Scotland during my Belle and Sebastian days.
Grandpa Felicius: There’s a lot of history behind the proud McFakename Clan. See, they were originally the McCartneys, and fought alongside Bonnie Prince Billie during the Jacobite Insurrection of 1745. It did not go well for them. The troops of the Duke of Cumberland rounded up the survivors of the Battle of Culloden.
The Duke of Cumberland was like:
“Where are the McCartneys I’ve been hearing horrors about? We must slaughter those dastardly McCartneys! You, young one, what’s your name?”
–“Uh, Johnnie McCart…No, wait, I mean McFakename, sir.”
“Johnnie McFakename? Oh, very well. I have no quarrel with the McFakenames. Truth be told, I had never heard of your clan until now. I shall let you live. What about this here rebel?”
–“I’m Connell McFakename, sir!”
“Ah, you may live as well. What about that one over there?”
–“Ahhhh, I’m Loughlin McFakename, sir!”
“There must be a McCartney around! What about that simpering idiot there? What’s your name?”
–“Uh…I think I am… Cartney McFakename, sir!”
“Well, blasted, the McCartneys must have all escaped. Everyone here is a McFakename. Our intelligence was wrong. Alright, McFakenames, follow me!”
And so the McFakenames went and thrived under false pretense for two centuries. And it was only in the 1960s that one brave McFakename dared to admit to the world that he had been a McCartney all along. And his name was Paul.
Blurbarella: “Horror / comedy / philosophical treatise– Awesome– Charming– Smart– Dastardly.”
4 out of 6 Cherries