Christy J. Leppanen is from northern Minnesota, grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and has worked for twenty years as a field biologist and research scientist throughout the eastern United States and the islands of Micronesia and the Hawaiian Archipelago. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biology and a Master of Science in Toxicology from the University of Memphis and a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Maine. In her science fiction debut, the BULLETIN OF ZOMBIE RESEARCH: VOLUME 1, she applies robust research approaches to the everyday, post-apocalyptic challenges that plague human society, with the emphasis on the science.
Christy's transition to science fiction was driven by a combination of influences: her expertise in ecology and evolution, teaching experience in the life sciences, involvement in science translation, and her desire to develop new, creative approaches to coerce science into education. Via popular culture, the BULLETIN OF ZOMBIE RESEARCH: VOLUME 1 introduces readers to the methods, language, and structure of scientific literature. The effort applies the same skills and knowledge that a scientist uses, but in a different application that relies heavily on the creativity that is fundamental to good science (and good science fiction!). The BULLETIN OF ZOMBIE RESEARCH: VOLUME 1 is intended for science fiction and ZOMBIE enthusiasts as well as for use in education. Enticing readers with unconventional topics contained in chapters that mimic authentic scientific journal articles will help dissolve barriers to accessing and understanding science.
Christy is passionate about finding the information necessary to demystify the unknown and fit what seems implausible into our reality. She continues to apply these concepts in her work as a scientist and in her next book.
“Morbidly fascinating... likely to become a staple in zombie collections.”
– Kirkus Reviews
Leppanen’s sci-fi debut is a collection of scientific reports on how best to control and manage the worldwide spread of Zooanthroponotic Occult MetaBiomimetic Infectious Encephalitis—zombies!
The Society of Zombie Research and Management conducts studies on zombies, who have been a serious concern for about 50 years—long enough that undead test subjects can be selected from a containment facility in Minnesota. The research involves people in various stages, such as asymptomatic humans who have tested positive for ZOMBI Encephalitis or those in the more advanced stages, typically demarcated by the consumption of human flesh. Experiments range from the effect zombies have on monarch butterflies, which seem to prefer them as hosts for feeding and pupating, to the public’s association of baldness or thinning hair with infected humans. Leppanen commits completely to her book, abandoning a standard narrative and writing in the cold voice of a scientific study, including graphs, tables and selected literature (both genuine and fictional) at the end of each study. But hidden within the technological jargon is the story of a world surviving a devastating epidemic. Aside from the Convention on Global ZOMBIE Safety, there’s mention of humans killing other humans based on the mere probability that individuals with different colored eyes could be infected. There are also instances of utter creepiness: In one experiment, humans are dosed with aminopyralid, an herbicide, in an effort to combat the problem resulting from weeds growing at a faster rate in zombie tissue; and expectant mothers should be wary of the study involving infected pregnant women (hint: “cannibalistic offspring”). But it’s Leppanen’s academic approach to ZOMBI Encephalitis that resonates loudest. Zombies are unmistakably the norm, and the research nonchalantly takes into account a few horrifying issues—e.g., an inability to determine a test subject’s time of death, since he or she may appear alive, and in a study on zombie communication, speculation that zombies are frustrated because there’s no one to eat. The studies do become progressively more intense (one dealing with infected cancer patients surviving longer than uninfected ones), but the eight experiments, presented as separate sections, could be ingested in any order.
Morbidly fascinating, even in its deadpan style; likely to become a staple in zombie collections.
Pub Date: June 17, 2014
Page count: 184pp
Review Posted Online: July 31, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014
Bulletin of ZOMBIE Research: VOLUME 1: Kirkus Star
Bulletin of ZOMBIE Research: VOLUME 1: Named to <i>Kirkus Reviews'</i> Best Books, 2014
Bulletin of ZOMBIE Research: VOLUME 1: Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award BRONZE WINNER: Horror (Adult Fiction), 2015
Bulletin of ZOMBIE Research: VOLUME 1: Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist: Science Fiction (Adult Fiction), 2015
Bulletin of ZOMBIE Research: VOLUME 1: Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist: Humor (Adult Fiction), 2015
Bulletin of ZOMBIE Research: VOLUME 1: Five Star Review, Foreword Clarion Reviews, 2014Best Books of 2014: A Magical Year in Indie Books, 2015 8 Zombie Books to Feed on for Halloween, 2014 The Indie Books That Stand Out—And Don't Fit In, 2014 Why Reviews Matter: Kirkus Indie’s Karen Schechner Weighs In, 2014
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