A neurodevelopmental biologist with the Centers for Disease Control gets down with the sickness when he’s tasked to investigate the roots of a zombie apocalypse.
Lately in pop culture, coverage of zombies has shifted toward the burlesque with movies like Zombieland and novels like S.G. Browne’s Breathers. But usually, authors chase the Max Brooks money, aping his innovative oral history World War Z. Here, Schlozman (Psychiatry/Harvard Univ.) marries his interest in science and the undead to a gruesome but convincing relic from a humanity-killing plague. The book purports to be a copy of the handwritten notes of Dr. Stanley Blum, a scientist tasked to study zombie biology. By this point, the world has been decimated by a new virus—Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, or ANSD for short. Blum is sent, along with Sarah Johnson, a Scottish specialist in brain infections, and Jose Martinez, the chief forensic pathologist for New York City, to a creepy lab dubbed “the Crypt,” on a small island in the Indian Ocean, in order to dissect the walking dead and record the findings. At first, Blue is chillingly clinical in his notes. “We need to study the hypothalamus, especially as it relates to the rest of the brain structures,” he writes. “This is a primitive region of the brain that, among other things, tells us whether we’ve eaten enough. Zombies never seem to have eaten enough.” But as the horror escalates, even Blum starts to grasp the situation. “We’re dissecting crocodiles…crocodiles that used to be human. We’re dissecting monsters.” It’s a slim volume, but Schlozman weaves a frightening scenario, and horror fans will admire illustrator Sparacio’s grisly drawings of the disease’s progress.
A superfluous but entertaining sideline to the current zombie craze that nicely complements Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide.