Today’s book review is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey.
The Book on Killing Zombies by G Wright MD
Have you ever wondered if a Zombie Apocalypse could actually occur?
Well now you finally have these answers.
You will learn how to kill zombies during an apocalypse using knowledge now bestowed upon you by an actual medical doctor. Learn how to neutralize a zombie and learn indirect ways to ultimately annihilate its brain by way of:
- Zombie Hydration
- Zombie Blood Loss
- Zombie Immunology & Infections
- The Zombie Cardiovascular System
- Zombie Lung Function and Oxygenation
- Zombie Orthopedics
- Zombie Digestion & Metabolism
- Thermal Conditions & Injuries
- Zombie Neurology
Finally, a brilliant work written by a medical doctor who, unlike most authors of this popular zombie genre, has the ability to get down to the root the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of any would-be zombies and incorporates that knowledge to give his audience a fascinating read that can be satirically macabre in a way that can only be best captured by a physician. Even if you aren’t a zombie fan, this conversation starter is a must read that should be on everyone’s coffee table, or in their Kindle or other ebook reading device.
Dr Wright spotted me offering reviews on Twitter and emailed me this book. I used to be a horror fan and blame Stephen King for me wearing glasses (I’d read Christine, Firestarter etc. under the duvet with a torch when I should be sleeping) but have since ‘softened’ to crime. I’m a big fan of quirky titles so when Dr Wright asked, and I realised it was only 34 pages (according to Amazon), I couldn’t say “no”. Well, I could have done but I didn’t want to.
As usual with my busy life, I ended up reading it the morning the review was due to go up. I was going to start the night before but had forgotten to charge my Kindle so had enough power for two games of Solitaire and that was it. Of course I could have started the book but then I didn’t want to get hooked then not be able to read more. So here I am at 6.30am embarking on The Book on Killing Zombies.
Although the chapter headings had a clinical feel to them, I knew I was in for a fun ride. I smiled at the Preface’s “my mother would have been so proud”. Being British, I didn’t know what the CDC stood for, although I guessed it was a medical organisation. Good old Google (other search engines are available) told me it was the ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’ so having it in full in the first instance would have been useful. We first get a taste (pardon the pun!) for the potential of zombies in the Preface with true reports of humans feeding on other humans. We know it exists, but the Preface ends assuring us that “Zombies can’t exist, but if they could, I now present to you the methods to get’m good!”. I can sleep easy.
Chapter 1 is Zombie Hydration and as the title suggests, is all about water. Again we’re reassured that as long as zombies don’t have access to anything containing water (animals, human etc.) then they’d “dry out like shoe leather”. At the end of each chapter we have ‘How you could use this information to your advantage’ so more reassurance that everything will be OK and tips on how to ensure that.
Next up is Zombie Blood Loss. A very short but vital chapter on other reasons why zombies wouldn’t last long (especially if bumped off by their still-human counterparts). Patience and determination are definitely themes to this book.
Chapter 3 Zombie Immunology & Infections, subtitled ‘Bacterial invasion of decomposing flesh in the face of a severely-compromise integumentary system’). I think I get the gist of that (other than the ‘integumentary’). All, I’m sure, will be revealed. Oh yes, revealed in lovely gory detail. 🙂
Chapter 4’s The Zombie Cardiovascular System is something I can relate to. I do cardiovascular exercises. This chapter concentrates on the heart, its functions and how “if the heart can’t pump oxygenated blood to the brain, the brain dies, and if the brain dies, the zombie dies. That’s good to know. So, all those movies about piercing Dracula’s (yes, I know he was a vampire, not a zombie but really, is there much difference?) heart with a stake are spot on.
Zombie Lung Function and Oxygenation, chapter five, again concentrates on what we (and zombies) need to survive. I feel like I’m accompanying Bear Grylls here although I don’t suppose he’s used cyanide in his travels.
Possibly the shortest chapter in the book is the sixth, Zombie Orthopedics which informs us that ‘Disruption of these (skeletal) structural elements can easily render any terrestrial mammal useless’. As Dr Wright concludes, it’s is so intuitive if not obvious. This chapter’s ‘How you could use this information to your advantage’ has us wielding baseball bats and I can now see why Buffy Summers must have had such a fun time slaying all those vampires. Fans of the show can tell me whether baseball bats were involved.
As we know, food is vital to any human’s existence so the next chapter, the seventh, brings ‘Zombie Digestion & Metabolism’. It hadn’t occurred to me that zombies would eat. I don’t recall them doing so, other than other humans, which of course makes sense. The ‘How you could use…’ mentions ATP (another term I’m not familiar with) which http://uk.ask.com/question/what-is-atp-in-biology tells me is ‘Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the energy of life. It is a molecule that stores all the energy that comes from foods. It is present in every cell. It is estimated that more than 160 kg of ATP is formed in the body everyday’ and again this recommends patience. Starve our zombies and “they’ll start dropping off”.
‘Thermal Conditions & Injuries’ heads up chapter eight and informs us that ‘the human body in many ways is strong and durable, yet very frail’. The chapter concentrates on burns and how they need to be dressed (so of course an image of a mummy popped into my head) including those by chemical agents before moving on to thermal (extreme cold / wet conditions. Zombies wouldn’t last long in Scottish winters.
The final chapter, the ninth, is Zombie Neurology, which I know from watching almost all of Grey’s Anatomy (although I did know already) is the brain. This again is explained in wonderful detail and this time we’re invited to sever a zombie’s spinal cord by the likes of a heavy-weighted sharp sword or if you don’t have one to hand (not sure where I put mine), a motor vehicle could do the trick.
Lastly we have the Epilogue which advised us to find an abandoned gated community with a 10-foot surrounding wall. Having seen World War Z (twice, for my sins!), I know that a stone wall far taller didn’t put of Brad’s zombies (which were attracted by noise, as Dr Wright confirms) but other options include going out to sea (I get sea sick) but above all, as Dr Wright requests “Always be kind and humane in your actions zombie killer”. I’ll do my best.
Although this book is written from a technical point of view and gives explanations as to why zombies couldn’t actually exist, it never felt daunting or preachy. It’s written in an authoritative yet accessible way and I now feel confident that should one, or both, of my two housemates succumb to zombieism, I’ll be prepared. In good old girl scout fashion. Not only that, but I know have some great techniques for committing murder… but only on paper, of course.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition), Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page). She also recently created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has six others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
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