Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review - Zombie Autopsies by Steven C. Schlozman, M.D.

Zombie Autopsies (Secret Notebooks From the Apocalypse)
Steven C. Schlozman, M.D.
Illustrated by Andrea Sparacio
208 pages
Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: March 25, 2011
ISBN: 978-0446564663


We've seen our share of zombie survival narratives, zombie war tales, zombie diaries , and even zombie romances, as well as various guides, manuals, and required weapons lists for combating the shambling-dead. Zombie Autopsies (Secret Notebooks From the Apocalypse), on the other hand, is a story that focuses on the clinical aspects of the coming zombie apocalypse. Drawn heavily on medical, scientific, and forensic jargon, exposition, and illustrations Zombie Autopsies relies too much on the quantifiable and too little on the speculative. By that I mean that this book fails to deliver a memorable piece of fiction beneath too much scientific research and medical rationalization.

At the onset I thought the premise of zombie forensics intriguing. It was, for instance, the first time I’d seen this particular living-dead trope and thought, if handled correctly, could be a unique and entertaining story. Most of you already know that I truly do enjoy a good post-apocalyptic zombie yarn but I really had difficulty with Zombie Autopsies. Mixed in with the analytical descriptions, autopsy reports, medical illustrations, and scientific journals is an interesting fictional account of the walking-dead but the plot gets overwhelmed by too much scientific exposition. This story would have been significantly better had the percentages of technical explanation and plot-driven narrative been reversed. In all honesty, the zombie tale itself, when it does surface, is really a pretty good one and the illustrations are interesting and quite graphic but, in my opinion, the story should have guided the medical reporting rather than the other way around. Mr. Schlozman would have had a much better story had he done so.

If you enjoy all the bloody, gory details of actual autopsies, like to view cross-sectioned diagrams of cancerous or diseased organs, or are curious about the anatomical changes that might occur during the process of zombification then this book is for you. Otherwise, I’d look for other, more narrative- and less clinical- driven zombie tales to read.

2 ½ stars out of 5

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

Additional Reading:

List of Zombie Novels

Ten Best Zombie Books

The Essential Zombie Book List


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