This is a bad zombie apocalypse novella. It was written in a hurry. It is riddled with inconsistencies. And it never quite arrives at whatever point it sought to make. But remember: The $25 you donated to charity in exchange for this steaming mess of prose will help our species shuffle along, and I hope you’ll feel warmed by your good deed as you read. Thank you for decreasing the overall worldwide level of suck, and as they say in my hometown: Don’t forget to be awesome.
The above is the introduction to Zombicorns, John Green's 2010 NaNoWriMo attempt*, and it is a filthy lie. Okay, maybe it's all strictly true, but terrible as it may be, I loved Zombicorns. John Green writes quality teen lit, full of the sorts of analogies and deeper meanings that in most books go right over my head. The fact that he wrote it in a month may mean it's less refined (okay, completely unedited) than the New York Times best sellers he normally writes, but it's fun and still contains deeper reflection than most books. Only this time it's wrapped inside a story about a girl surviving in a world that has fallen to corn-loving zombies.
Pre-zombification, my father was already obsessed with corn. He told
me almost every day that corn was in control of us. ... We’d be eating mashed potatoes or something, and he’d say, "You know, potatoes are impossible without corn. That
corn, it’s everywhere." (He meant this metaphorically, although it is
now nearly true literally.)
It's the doomsday scenario every anti-GM activist has nightmares about: a form of corn has begun turning people into zombies. But when you get Z'd up, you don't start eating brains. You just eat corn. But you also plant corn. And try to feed corn to the un-Z'd up.
The Z’s will kill us all, and then the Z’s will die out and in sixty
years there will be no one to remember our silly war, Caroline’s
wasted ammunition, my year of zombic survivalism, Rene DesCartes’s
musings, or Michelangelo’s sculptures. And that is really only the
sadness here as I drink a thousand-dollar bottle of wine down here
in the cellar: We did a few things worth remembering, and I wish for
someone to remember them.
The story is told by a Mia Featherstone, teenaged girl who is living in a basement with her dog, Mr. President. For much of the story, she is hanging out with Caroline, another teenage survivor, and the only other non-zombie we really meet. There's not really a complex plot. As Mia writes her tale in her journal, it's a disjointed, reflective tale, a mix of memories from the Beez (Before Zombification), killing zombies, and dealing with the futility of human existence, and of holding on to things that are lost.
They kill some zombies, but for no real purpose beyond that's all there is to do. The fight is lost by this point, at least where they were, in Chicago. There's talk of a zombie-free Africa, or up north where corn doesn't grow, but they have no real information.
Last bottle, friends. Even warm, you can tell that it’s as good as
German whites get, a luxury that I am perhaps the last person on
earth to enjoy.
This book has been released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. You may download a PDF or Word Doc at no cost. It was never published in hard copy. Initially the download was offered in exchange for a $25 donation to the Harry Potter Alliance (http://thehpalliance.org/). Feel free to continue to send money their way. They work to make our futile existence a little better.
Oh, and John says you are obligated to read one of his real novels so you don't think this represents his writing ability.
* By my count, this 72-page novel is only around 17 000 words long, which isn't even half the 50 000 words required to "win" NaNoWriMo.