Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Undead Obsessed by Jessica Robinson

From the title of this book, I expected this to be a mainly literary exploration of the portrayal of zombies in various mediums (film, books, etc). However, as the first chapter defines it, using "film, literature, and interview with experts, this book examines how zombies portray real-world fears such as epidemics, mind control, what may or may not exist in space, the repercussions of playing God, and the science behind the fears."

The chapters in Undead Obsessed can be roughly grouped into three types - what I call "science" chapters, which look at the possibility of certain types of outbreaks/ways of becoming zombies, how we react to zombies, and the types of zombies.

For me, I had this impression that this book focuses more on film than literature (although Frankenstein makes its fair share of appearances). I'm not familiar with a lot of the films, but the author manages to provide quick summaries, so I managed to follow along.

Out of all the chapters, I liked "Haitian Zombies" (or should it be "Zombis") the best, as it dealt with the history of a particular type of zombi, and how it was seen in the community it was. Following that, I liked the chapters which analysed movies according to a certain theme, like "power", because I used to be a literature student.

What I didn't quite like were the science chapters, which made up the first part of the book. It may be my natural tendency to science, but apart from showing me just how possible a zombie attack was, it didn't tell me anything about human nature. I would have been interested if there was a chapter on the false science/rumours behind the possibilities of zombies, since that would talk about the fears of mankind, and our limitation to understand science/our tendency to misinterpret scientific news.

Two additional notes from my readings:

First, on jiangshi, or Chinese zombies. Apart from what the author mentions (throw rice on the ground), apparently, if you hold your breath, they won't be able to notice you either. I was hoping for more about Asian zombies, but apart from a mention in chapter 2, they were neglected in the book.

Second, about spreading zombie-making diseases through water: I wonder what the author thinks of Newater? Newater basically uses things like reverse osmosis and UV disinfection to turn used water into drinkable, super clean water. I'd be interested to know how that stands up to diseases, because Singapore is so small that we'll probably be quickly overrun by a zombie invasion.

Overall, this book will probably appeal to the person who's interested in a serious study of zombies. So, enthusiasts and writers looking to do research.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a free and honest review.


  1. Thank you so much for reviewing Undead Obsessed. I really appreciate it!


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