Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dead and Moaning in Las Vegas (a book review post)

I'm not much a fan of the modern zombie story. Or, actually, of any zombie stories. I just don't get the attraction. Well, from a sociological standpoint, I do get the attraction, as I've talked about before, but I am not attracted (maybe, it's the lack of a cell phone). That doesn't mean there hasn't been the odd zombie story here or there that I haven't disliked:
Resident Evil (the movie, not the game (which I've never played), and only the first one)
Shaun of the Dead
Dead Beat
Really, I think it all comes down to this whole eating brains thing, which I just don't get. Where did that idea even come from and what kind of sense does it make?

Well, it doesn't make any sense, and that's part of the charm of Dead and Moaning in Las Vegas. That it pokes its rotting finger at the whole zombie thing while adding in social commentary is what makes the book work. That and the completely unlikely heroes. And that the real villain is not one of the zombies. And that the zombies are almost lovable with their constant nose-picking and chewing on, well, everything they can get their hands on while looking for "fud."

The only drawback is that it's never really explained what's going on, but I think that's just a drawback for me, because it's part of the structure of the story and an explanation would actually weaken it. Still, for me, I want to know what's going on. How everything happened. Okay, honestly, I think that information is already in the story in that it takes place in Las Vegas, but that's all the hint from me that you're going to get.

At any rate, if you like zombie stories and you don't mind them being mixed with hilarious absurd comedy, you should love this book. If you don't like zombie stories but love absurd comedy, you may still love this book. If you take zombies just a little too seriously, you might want to hop on your Segway and look for the newest "how to survive the zombie apocalypse" book.

A note:
I'm not dealing with any editing, etc issues in this review, because my copy of the book is from the release, and it had some formatting issues. My understanding is that all of that stuff has been fixed.

19 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The title is funny - a play on another story.
You like Shaun of the Dead but not Zombieland?
I admit I've always liked zombie stories. Dig the over-the-top gore of films like Day of the Dead. Although the recent ones like Zombieland with humor are a riot. Will pick up the book.

Elsie Amata said...

Shaun of the Dead is my all time favorite zombie movie with Zombieland close behind. That's coming from an avid zombie movie fan. Not to mention my complete love for The Walking Dead.

I enjoyed Dead and Moaning. I love how they can take any subject they choose and write it well.

Pat Dilloway said...

I haven't read a lot of zombie books, but I liked this one called Night of the Living Trekkies or something that was about zombies invading a sci-fi convention.

I've watched a fair number of zombie movies, but 90% of them seem to be the same thing: the zombies are bad but the living humans are even worse.

A Beer For The Shower said...

Thanks for writing the review! This is one of our first books and the one that Random House picked up (and dangled over our heads) before our contract fell through. So it's cool to see people being able to enjoy it after being jacked around for so long.

As things would have it, we're not huge zombie fanatics. We just wanted to write a funny, satirical zombie story. We both love writing horror, but I don't think I could write a serious zombie story.

Andrew Leon said...

Alex: Oh, yeah, I liked Zombieland, also, along with Warm Bodies. The ones I listed weren't meant to be exhaustive, just representative.

Elsie: I watched the pilot for Walking Dead. I was unimpressed.

Pat: They poke fun at that notion in the book, too.
(I think I've heard of that movie.)

ABftS: Sorry it took me so long to finish it. It had nothing to do with the book; I promise.

L.G. Smith said...

I haven't been able to get on the zombie bandwagon either. I gave Walking Dead a try, but it was just too gross and violent for me. But funny is always good. :)

Lexa Cain said...

I really enjoy horror-comedy. I'll be on the lookout for this book. Thanks!!

Arlee Bird said...

I enjoy zombie movies. The only book of this genre that I've read was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and that was mostly entertaining due to the juxtaposition of the original work with the absurdity of the zombie concept.

The genre lends itself well to film due to the visual nature of it all. But like superhero films too much can eventually get tedious and stale. Adding silliness and humor might be a good thing.

As far as knowing why some dystopic or apocalyptic aftereffect has come about is not necessary for me. The uncertainty because part of the mystery and the aura of discomfort or fear. Cormac McCarthy's The Road didn't tell us what happen. There was some suggestion that might lead to speculation, but the fact that the event is essentially looked over in deference to the horror and struggle of the present in the story we are given. Actually knowing why something has occurred might discredit the story and lead to eye rolling and saying "well that probably never could happen so this story is stupid".

That's the way I see it anyway. And the eating of brains? Have no idea where that came from. In the zombie movies I've seen they're always eating limbs, intestines, and sundry human organs. I think the "brains" thing came from some zombie parody but I can't remember where.

Lee
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

J E Oneil said...

That sounds like it might be amusing. I'm pretty sick of zombie stories, but a well written comedy sounds great.

Andrew Leon said...

L.G.: But do you really want to be on the zombie bandwagon? Can you imagine the smell?

Lexa: Just don't let it find you first.

Lee: Well, part of the whole thing usually has to do with the characters not knowing what happened, so I get it. Since Bryan and Brandon are poking fun at the genre, they are somewhat obliged to not tell us what happened.

Jeanne: Sick of zombies. heh
funny

alexia said...

I'm with you - not a huge zombie fan, but the ones I've liked had humor. Shaun of the Dead is good. I really liked Warm Bodies, too (the movie, haven't read the book).

The Armchair Squid said...

The zombie craze baffles me to no end, yet I was very pleasantly surprised by the Walking Dead comics. I haven't tried the TV show, though. I like the idea of a book that pokes fun at the whole fad.

Andrew Leon said...

alexia: I did enjoy Warm Bodies. It was a sweet movie. Kinda gross saying that about a zombie movie.

TAS: I haven't read the comics, but I didn't deal well with the 1st episode of the TV show. Too much stupid in it.

Huntress said...

I'm a recent convert to the zombie stuff. I like everything from Warm Bodies, to Shaun of the Dead, and the OutSTanding The Walking Dead.

I'll check out Dead and Moaning. Thanks!

Cool blog btw, LOL.

Sally said...

My only contact with Zombies has been those awful B movies and the dreadful music. This might just change my mind.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I'm not a fan of zombies, either, and don't understand their enormous popularity. That whole brain-eating thing is more than enough to turn me off. And body parts falling off? How rude is that? I certainly would never invite one to a dinner party. But my brain? No way. I don't want anyone, dead or alive, messing with that. I'm not finished with it yet.

But a book that makes fun of the whole zombie thing? Yeah, I'd probably like that. Thanks. I'll check it out.

Andrew Leon said...

Huntress: I think I will not be converted to a zombie fan. Not a real one, anyway.

And thanks!

Sally: If you like romantic comedies, you should check out Warm Bodies.

Susan: You know, that just gave me an idea: a self-aware zombie who knows/realizes about the danger of his parts falling off.

Trisha F said...

I don't really like zombie stuff either, because they're dead and that's gross. That's probably the reason i don't like vampire stuff that much either. I don't get the attraction to dead stuff.

And I still can't believe there's zombie erotica out there. yech. :P

Anyway, this sounds like it might be a fun read. I did LOVE Shaun of the Dead, so ...

Andrew Leon said...

Trisha: It is gross! And I'm not into vampires, either.