In a recent post, I mentioned some of the great things about a new zombie book by Seanan McGuire, Feed, written under her pseudonym Mira Grant, due out April 27th. I’ve been trying to hone in on what exactly it is I like so much about Feed, and in a recent post from McGuire, she reported one of the first negative reviews for the book, which essentially summed up Feed with this: “I didn’t want to read about a bunch of politicians having tense meetings in board rooms. I wanted to read about zombies.”
And it was while reading Feed today, with about a hundred pages to go, that I realized the big why. In my review for the great zombie anthology, Living Dead, I obviously didn’t discuss every story in the review, but the ones I did talk about were stories of incredible, moving events that involved zombies in some way. There have been many stories, movies, and probably plays, written about zombies, and very little else: blood, gore, and zombies. I’ve read a number of these — and yes, there are some in Living Dead — and feel I’ve had my fill of direct and specific stories involving just zombies. Now, I know many others will disagree with me on this, for they can’t get enough of zombies. As a matter of fact, I believe Seanan McGuire is also one of those people.
Feed is not just a book about zombies, running from zombies, being afraid of zombies, killing zombies, and all that zombie jazz. It’s about a changed world that has had to deal with a zombie invasion, and how life for every living person on the planet is now totally foreign to the reader. Add to this a person who wants to become the next president, to try and make things better for the people, so they don’t have to be terrified of ever stepping outside of their homes. Finally, tell it from the viewpoint of a kickass protagonist, Georgia Mason: a professional blogger who sees the changed world very much in her own way — and because it’s told in the first person, you get to hear every thought and idea of hers — who is being attacked and threatened — as well as the rest of her team — by an unknown group, and you’ve got a story that is not about zombies, but is an incredible story with zombies in it.
In the world of Feed there are zombies, and they are terrible and terrifying and it’s very easy to become one and end your life. But as the book comes to a close, the reader realizes that there are things worse and more terrible and more terrifying than zombies. They’re humans.