Saturday, 13 November 2010
Zombies: A Hunter's Guide by Joseph A. McCullough
Its premise is that zombies are real and have been around for millenia, much like Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide. The zombies covered in the book include Necromantic Zombies, Voodoo Zombies, Nazi Zombies, Revenants, Atomic Zombies (the most popular and prevalent kind), Viral Zombies (the fast moving zeds), Zombie Masters and Viral Hounds and other Zombified Animals. There are some fascinating stories told here. I particularly liked the Re-killing of Billy the Kid, who apparently came back as a revenant. Apparently, Billy's grave is covered by a steel cage (there are photos showing it as it is today) and it posits that the cage is to keep Billy in, not to keep sightseers out!
There is a small section in the chapter on Zombie Hunter Weapons and Equipment that I'd like to share with you. It is headed Reaper 1 and Reaper 2 and will surely appeal to gamers everywhere. "During the 1988 Cerro Gordo, Iowa outbreak, local landscaper Neil Bower used a John Deere combine harvester to single handedly eliminate a 300-strong zombie horde. The incident did not go unnoticed by the US government. Three years later, the military began field testing Reaper 1, a purpose built zombie harvester. Initial trials found that the blades had a tendency to gum up after the first few dozen zombies, and the designers had greatly underestimated the "splatter effect," which sent potentially deadly zombie-infected matter in all directions.
By 1996, the military had created Reaper 2 as the ultimate zombie-fighting weapon, incorporating the lessons learned from Reaper 1. Smaller than a full-sized combine harvester, Reaper 2 still towers twelve feet above the ground. It has a cockpit team of two, a driver and the commander, who also rides shotgun, picking off any zombies that manage to survive the blades and cling onto the side. The vehicle can also carry six passengers and a full communications array. The designers created Reaper 2 so that it could be disassembled into eight component parts, allowing it to be airlifted to trouble spots. While the deployment of Reaper 2 remains highly classified, there is evidence that it has been used on at least five different occasions in the last fifteen years."
Okay, who else wants a model of Reaper 2? I think that is awesome! Sadly there are no pictures of the vehicle but it makes me think - just what would it look like? Also, what a prize to acquire in a game of ATZ!
Speaking of which, the book ends with a far too brief look at recommended books, comics (actually only one, and yes, it is The Walking Dead) games and movies that may interest the zombie fan. It was nice to see ATZ included in the list of zombie games.
If I have one criticism to make of the book, it is that it is far too short. With a page count of just 80 pages, it only scratches the surface. On the plus side, the writing is first rate, as it takes the subject very seriously. There is some nice humour in the book. Check out the Indiana Jones reference in the section on Nazi Zombies! Add in some gorgeous artwork, especially the full colour plates, and you end up with a book that ought to appeal to zombie fans everywhere. It is published by Dark Osprey Productions and retails for £10.99 or $17.95 if you live in America. I ordered my copy from Amazon.UK for a mere £6.42. It pays to shop around!