Monday, March 21, 2011


By John Green

Four Things I Like About Zombicorns:
1. John Green*
2. Mia’s dog having an existential crisis
3. Chicago/The Bean
4. Using a library as a hideout from zombie ambush

Zombicorns is not just another clever story penned (or rather, typed) by young adult author/rock-star John Green. It’s not just a zombie apocalypse novella. It is not even just a zombie apocalypse novel written by a rock-star.

It’s a profound statement about corn**. And souls. And what makes humans human. And whether that makes us better than other living things. And what, ultimately, we live for. Pretty heavy stuff for any novella, much less one with a zombie unicorn on the cover, if you ask me.

Also, despite appearances, it’s not at all about unicorns (see disclaimer beneath title). Sorry if that revelation just dealt you a heavy blow of disappointment. You’ll get over it. I promise. Just read the real story.

Mia is one of the last of her kind – that is, our kind: humans. She has cloistered herself in a Chicago cellar, eating Spam, drinking expensive wine by the bottle, and writing her memoirs about the aftermath of the sudden outbreak of D131Y – a virus spread through corn that Z’s up (aka zombifies) all who ingest it – while she debates whether continued survival is really worth the effort, or whether she should just give up and commit Zuicide. The only living, loving soul left to her in the world is her dog, Mr. President. You know, the one who suffers an existential crisis. Which was probably just Mia projecting, but I prefer to pretend it was all Mr. President. (Incidentally, I can’t blame her for the wine. I’d probably be in the cups, too, if I survived the zombie apocalypse only to have to ‘complete’ my Z’d up family so they wouldn’t force-feed me zombie corn.)

Only John Green can make a zombie apocalypse novella a profound statement of any kind.

Exhibit A: “I came to the conclusion a while ago that there is nothing romantic or supernatural about loving someone: Love is the privilege of being responsible for another.”

Exhibit B: “Being a person, I had come to realize, is a communal activity. Dogs know how to be dogs. But people do not know how to be people unless and until they learn from other people. Which got me to wondering whether it’s possible to learn how to be a person in a world where all the people are dead.”

And these are just examples short enough to include. There were several other marvelous multi-paragraph examples of John’s evidently innate ability to profoundify anything.

Also, only John Green could make me ever want to read a zombie apocalypse novella. And like it.

That being said, it’s not perfect. But it’s not supposed to be. He wrote it for fun, he didn’t ruthlessly edit the way you do before Official Publication, and he’s disseminating it for free on the Internet purely for the enjoyment of his fans. Which I think is pretty dang cool, so I am more than happy to overlook a few typos and inconsistencies and tangents here and there.

If the idea of a novella about corn and zombies intrigues you, you can watch John read the first chapter here.

You can download your very own personal copy of Zombicorns here.

* If you know anything about John Green, you know this counts as a thing to like about something he’s written. His name on the cover of a book is like a big official seal that says “This Book Is Guaranteed To Be Both Entertaining and Intelligent,” only better, because you can trust John Green’s name more than you can trust the kind of seals they slap on to try to sell more copies of subpar bestsellers.
** You know, like how it keeps cropping up in the most unlikely of places. Sugar, fuel, plastic…

Books Read This Year: 24
Top 100 Progress: 40/100

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