Before I left for Burbank last week, I decided to buy a book to keep me company for the trip.  After milling around the Borders on State and Randolph for close to an hour, I settled on an anthology of zombie stories edited by John Joseph Adams called “The Living Dead.”

Unfortunately, I had been heedless of the book’s size when I pulled it off the store shelf: It was ginormous.  Being able to cram the near-500 page tome into my carry-on would have defied the laws of physics.  I couldn’t sacrifice my laptop or portable DVD player to make room.  The book had to stay home.

Since I returned home from my trip on Friday, I’ve been devouring it, savoring every creeptastic, nerve-wracking, moment.  I can’t properly explain it, but I love zombies.  Those big, lumbering, brain-eating, sonsabitches will always have a soft spot in my (edible) heart.
Though I’ve yet to see “Zombieland” (not enough hours in the day; it’s on my “to-do” list), I thoroughly enjoy zombie cinema.  I was lukewarm on “28 Days Later,” but all-in for its sequel, “28 Weeks Later.”  I still get the chills watching the lo-fi, b&w “Night of the Living Dead.”  I can proudly say that I saw the movie “White Zombie” before I’d ever heard of the band.
What is it about zombies?  John Joseph Adams tries to explain the appeal in the Introduction section of “The Living Dead,” addressing their simplicity and our primal need to read about running from packs of predators.  For me, it’s pure apocalyptica.  I’ve always been drawn to end-of-the-world type stories, and nothing says “it’s over” like the dead rising to chew your face off.
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