No spoilers here, just a quick review of Max Brooks’ new short tale of vampires and zombies, The Extinction Parade.
The story is a first person account of a modern vampire in the wake of a world-wide zombie outbreak. It features Brooks’ flair for setting stories in places other than the Western world; in this case, the story is set in Malay, Asia. This could almost be a “lost” chapter of World War Z, an interview with the vampire, one could say.
As with World War Z, Brooks does not focus on the zombies, giving neither a cause for their rise nor a real explanation for their mechanics. It’s a given; one of his greatest innovations is assuming you know what a zombie is and how it works, and he’s right on the money, eschewing the typical zombie origin for a focus on the characters.
Similarly he doesn’t spend much time discussing the nature of his vampires. This works well too, as you assume them to follow standard vampire tropes, and they don’t break from the basics in any appreciable way. Eliminating descriptions of their origins or powers helps move the story along. It also leaves to your imagination just how powerful the vampires are, but in the end, strength still amounts to nothing in the face of a zombie horde.
The story covers a period of a number of years. The characters evolve and yet do not change, really, as befits their vampire status. Brooks uses marvelous anachronistic phrasing, calling planes “metal kites” for example, to give the sense of age to the narrator.
I definitely wish this had been a novel sized story, but it clocks in at about thirteen pages and while a quick read in general, it’s quite engrossing. I’d highly recommend fans of vampires (the non-sparkly variety) or zombies take the twenty or thirty minutes it takes to read through this story.Check out my review of World War Z.