Thursday, April 26, 2012

Zombie Journalism: A New Sub-Genre is Born?

While stumbling about on Amazon today, I discovered a novel that seems to be so transparently aimed at fans of another series. It was so transparent, that I thought I’d scribble down some comments and share them on here.

The novel in question is Madeleine Roux’s Allison Hewitt is Trapped, which seems to bear a strong resemblance to Mira Grant’s Newsflesh novels – in theme and elements of the premise, if not in content. Just take the style of the cover artwork, as an opening example…


One thing I should stress from the get-go, is that this is not a statement on the relative qualities of the novels I’m writing about – I’ve read none of them, so I am in no position to discuss whether or not they’re any good. I have heard very good things about Mira Grant’s novels, though I hadn’t heard of Madeleine Roux’s novels until today. This is also not a statement that should be taken to suggest that one author has ripped off another’s idea (I have no proof of this and would very much like to not be sued). It’s more a statement of… well, marketing laziness, perhaps?

Roux-AllisonHewittIsTrappedUKA quick look at the novels’ synopses will show you some of what I mean. First off, here’s the synopsis for Allison Hewitt is Trapped:

Allison Hewitt is trapped. In the storeroom of Brookes & Peabody’s. In a world swarming with the Undead, the Doomed, the Infected.

Locked away with an oddball collection of colleagues and under siege, Allison takes advantage of a surviving internet connection and blogs. She writes, as the food runs out and panic sets in, as relationships develop and friends die, and as zombies claw at the door, all in the hope of connecting with other survivors out there. But as she reads the replies to her posts, Allison begins to comprehend the horrifying scale of the damage. And when no one comes to the group's rescue, they are forced to leave the safety of their room and risk a journey across the city; streets that crawl with zombies, and worse – fellow humans competing for survival.

Untitled-7And for Mira Grant’s novels, Feed:

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives – the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will get out, even if it kills them.

Grant-DeadlineAnd Deadline:

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organisation he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn’t seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has. But when a researcher from the Centre for Disease Control fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun’s relieved to find a new purpose in life. Because this researcher comes bearing news: the monster who attacked them may be destroyed, but the conspiracy is far from dead. Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

Grant-3-BlackoutAnd finally, Blackout (published in June 2012)… well, actually, that has a massive spoiler in it, so I’m not going to include that in the post. (Damn you Amazon and your spoilers!!)

Could the fact that the two of these series focus on bloggers/journalists plying their trade during zombie outbreaks suggest that we’re seeing the birth of a new, mini-sub-genre? Perhaps.

Needless to say, because the Newsflesh series sounds pretty interesting, and because a lot of people I know have tried it and enjoyed it, I’ve gone and bought the first book, which I will read and review when I get a free minute…

What do you think about this?


  1. Hmm that's a different cover from the Allison Hewitt I have on my wishlist ( the American edition). The above (which I guess is the UK edition?) does seem to be targeted for fans of Mira Grant's Newsflesh series, but having read the latter, there's only a surface similarity I think.

    Newsflesh is much more political and conspiracy driven--the search for the truth and why its being buried--some twenty plus years after the fact. Allison Hewitt (and its sequel, Sadie Walker is Stranded) is set during the Apocalypse itself and seem to focus more on the escalating casualties and insanity.

    Actually it sounds more like the 'prequel' short stories that Carrie Ryan did for her 'Forest of Hands and Teeth' young adult zombie series.

    1. Yes, sorry, should have mentioned that they were the UK covers.

      I know it was only a surface similarity, but with the UK cover design, it just felt so calculated.

    2. Hmm I'm guessing the cover designer wasn't the same either. Well it works in YA publishing (pretty girl in pretty dress phenom), so I guess they hoped the casual consumer would make assumptions.

      I do like the cover better than the American counterpart--that one feels less menancing I suppose.

    3. True. It's the same with fantasy - man in hoody, standing in shadow! :)

    4. you know I didn't even think about that--but looking at my fantasies I've enjoyed in the last few years, as well as the ones I'm looking forward too hooded men have become really popular.

      O'course I enjoy almost any fantasy that involves a thief, assassin or royal intrigue so that might be part of it XD

  2. Zombie journalism? Now I didn't see that one coming. And speaking of the living dead I read New Deadwardians and in my opinion, it's the best of the new Vertigo titles, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to review the first issue. If you want to check it out here's my blog: