Be sure to check out the details of 'The Infects', read Sean's awesome guest post, and enter the giveaway below.
-- ABOUT THE BOOK --
A feast for the brain, this gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre.
Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back.
Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read—whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten—and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.
-- ABOUT THE AUTHOR --
Sean Beaudoin is the author of three cutting-edge young adult novels, including You Killed Wesley Payne. The Infects is his first novel with Candlewick Press. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Check out Sean's About page for a longer and more colourful bio.
The Timeliness of the Zombie Subgenre
I think The Infects is a good reflection of this particular cultural time and place in our history. Vampires are overdone, superheroes feel decidedly less than super, and western gunslingers are a dull anachronism. Not to mention that the Russians are our friends, and spying has morphed from black tie and martini into a series of pimply technological advancements. Even robbing banks is now so impossible to get away with that it’s barely worth buying a fake passport to smuggle a million in unmarked bills through Bahamian customs. You’re going to get nabbed, Dillinger, so you might as well put down your Tommy Gun and take that IT consulting job after all.
But zombies have (putrefying) legs. From the golem to Lazarus to 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, revenants have remained popular in the popular imagination. Z did inexplicably disappear during the 90’s, but I chalk it up to the Reagan hangover, where a misguided national rallying of greed and reactionary ignorance fed so unapologetically on the carcass of the nation that we needed a decade to recover before it was funny again.
Some people would probably point to the Z resurgence stemming from 28 Days Later, and then seven hundred and thirty days later, the remake of Dawn of the Dead. These movies, along with a multitude of imitators, spawned the idea of the “rage virus.” Not a zombie apocalypse resulting from hell being standing-room-only or some larger theological dictate, but the result of science gone wrong. For the first time doom was portrayed as entirely our fault, a winnowing of the population the overall population thoroughly deserved. Given the fact that our global numbers have now reached epic and unsustainable proportions, this seems less than a coincidence. Additionally, both movies introduced the “fast zombie.” No longer the easily avoided lurchers and moaners of yore drooling in your wake, the new brand of rage-zombie runs at full speed, making them nearly impossible to elude no matter how well-armed. Perhaps this development reflects the sense of cynicism and hopelessness that seems to have accelerated in the cell phone age. Or maybe a growing awareness of the impotence of our weaponry to keep us safe, either on the sidewalks of LA or the roadsides of Iraq.
So while zombies have recently become both a hip joke and titillating scare-source, in reality they may be indicative of the subconscious fears we all have about a planet that soon will no longer be able to accommodate us all. The larger truths of drought, food shortages, dwindling antibiotic stores, wealth disparity, and a general anger that manifests itself from our politics to our driving habits are doom-memes that seem to have settled into the national shallows.
But, hey, that’s mostly boring to talk about (and guest blog about), so maybe it’s better to express those feelings by reveling in a well-rendered fictional Z attack and some cathartic de-skulling of the random shambling dead. In fact, it’s even better than playing army, because in army games or movies or books you still have to take into account the fact that the soldiers on the other side are just doing their jobs. But zombies are fair game. Who’s going to feel bad about dropping a cinderblock on a frenzied chomper? Not only are they no longer human, they’re not even alive. So killing isn’t killing, it’s more like deactivating. Zombies can’t be talked to, negotiated with, reasoned with, prayed to, appeased, bribed, or seduced. They have no ethics, fear, or reticence. They are single-minded in their needs. Especially since it’s really a need. Flesh. Yours. Now. Which comprises the most primal brand of survival.
So our constant imagining and re-imagining of the need to respond on such a gut (intended) level, with no moral compunction to get in the way of the slaughter, is a compelling fantasy indeed. The bottom line question we keep asking ourselves is: when the Zomb-a-Pocalypse comes, will we do what it takes to live, or just give up and join the horde? It’s a question that needs answering. Especially if the “horde” is less a remnant of the communist pod-fears of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and more the sinister dread of becoming exactly the same fixie-riding, earbud wearing, wine-snobbing, Basquiat-loving hipster drone we secretly hate?
But, most importantly, wouldn’t it be a whole hell of a lot of fun to drop all our day-to-day nonsense and have free reign to loot Costco and steal cars and fire shotguns at everything that moved, or at least moved sideways, even if it meant having to maintain a constant vigil against being turned into some dead shuffler’s appetizer?
Oh, yes, it would.
In any case, we all know the Zombpocalyse is coming, so pretty soon there won’t be room for books or blogs anymore anyway. It’s priority time. Which means as soon as you finish reading this, you should steal your mother’s Visa card, buy seventeen copies of The Infects online, and then start reinforcing your bedroom door with concrete firing posts and razor wire.
-- Sean Beaudoin
I love this guest post! It's so funny, but thought provoking as well.
Well, not only do you get to read that awesome post, but Candlewick is also kindly providing 3 copies of 'The Infects' for giveaway.
3 winners. Open to US/Canada addresses. Runs until 12:01 am EST on 10/20/12. Comment appreciated, but you must fill out the Rafflecopter to be entered.
Winners will be emailed by me and have 72 hours to reply with their mailing address. These addresses will be passed along to my contact at Candlewick, who will arrange shipping of the book to each winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway