Max Brooks explains why zombies are cooler than vampires
I’ve always preferred vampires, which in the age of Twilight makes me appear a bit of a sissy I realize now, after reading an interview with Max Brooks, author of the surprise bestseller The Zombie Survival Guide. Yet he offers the best defense of Stephenie Meyer I’ve seen anywhere.
In my behalf: My taste for vampires goes back to my own teenage reading, when I devoured Stoker’s Dracula, then John Polidori’s short story “The Vampyre” (featuring the proto-Drac, Lord Ruthven), and encompasses such unassailable cultural touchstones as Christopher Lee, Joss Whedon, Nosferatu, Count Yorga, Blade, Underworld.
But I have to say that Brooks makes a compelling argument for the supremacy of zombies in this Q&A at Shelf Life, Entertainment Weekly‘s book blog.
In case you didn’t know, Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide came out to little fanfare in 2003, in part because the author, son of Mel Brooks and a former writer for Saturday Night Live, had no cred in the geek universe, where potential readers thought he was making fun of their beloved obsessions.
Brooks worked hard to win over his natural audience, however, and the book gradually gained momentum. Recently it passed the one-million mark in sales — not bad for a zombie self-defense manual that sat in a drawer for nearly five years before Brooks got up the nerve to show it to an agent. Brooks’ 2006 novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War has done well, too, with a move version in development at Plan B Entertainment, Brad Pitt’s production company.
Now considered a zombie expert, Brooks gives lectures on how to survive zombie attack and has appeared with his hero, George Romero, whose 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead, is the ur-document of zombie culture. He felt compelled to include a section in the book titled “Obey the Law,” lest the more impressionable among his readers take it upon themselves to proactively chop people’s heads off.
If this kind of geek lore is to your taste, be sure and read to the end of the somewhat lengthy interview for Brooks’ incontrovertible explanation for why, in “a battle royale,” zombies would prevail over vampires.
Meanwhile, let me close with Brooks’ defense of Stephenie Meyer and Twilight:
“I think the vampire craze, particularly the Twilight movement, is great, because there has to be a market for tween girls who are afraid of penises. Clearly there’s a large demographic that thinks that male genitalia is scarier than vampires. And I think, ‘Good for them.’ Everybody’s gotta have something. So good for the vampires. Never been my thing.”