I can never get enough zombies and try to keep a healthy dose of zombie tales on my reader so that I can call one up when the fancy strikes. Well, it struck and I just needed a fix of the shambling undead so I looked through my reader and spotted “Paul is undead: The British zombie invasion” by Alan Goldsher and figured I would give it a go.
“Paul is undead” is neither your typical zombie book nor is it the typical tale of zombies conquering the Earth. This is the story of one special child who was turned into a zombie just after birth. As he grew toward adulthood, he discovered that he had a particular talent and formed a band of brothers to help him in his goals of taking over the world. His name was John Lennon and his band was The Beatles.
As a teenager, Lennon meets Paul McCartney and the two seem to have some sort of chemistry musically if not personally. Paul wants to be a rock star and John wants to rule the world or, as he puts it, get to the “toppermost of the poppermost.” John turns Paul into a zombie to keep him from leaving. Then Paul turns another musician, George Harrison, into a zombie to keep him in the band. They then hook up with a ninja master, Richard Starkey aka Ringo Starr, and the Beatles are born. John and Paul contemplate turning Ringo into a zombie but refrain as they do not know if the world would accept an all-zombie band and ninjas are pretty cool anyway.
The book then follows the career of the Beatles as they become the focus of Beatle Mania and their fame reaches its peak. John and Paul are constantly at odds and tearing each other’s limbs off (or tearing their own limbs off and beating the other with them, or tearing the limbs off of someone else and beating the other with them) but the band stays together until Yoko Ono at the end. It faced adversity seemingly around every corner as they are sidetracked by their own acts of zombie violence, miscalculated attempt to control the world through their music, and repeated attempts on their lives by noted zombie hunter Mick Jagger.
“Paul is undead” was a fun book to read overall. Goldsher creates a unique world in which the supernatural and natural worlds interact as being such as zombies live alongside humans. There are several different types of zombies in the book which can lead to some troubles (such as when the Beatles went to the Philippines) and the variety kept the story fresh. While I am not a huge Beatles fan, the facts of their lives and career are fairly solid in the book and simply twisted to fit the story. This, along with the litany of historical figures from Mick Jagger to Mia Farrow to the lead singer of the Zombies to Yoko One, kept the book from falling too far into a rut of repeated violent scenes starring John and Paul while George and Ringo looked on. While this is a kind of genteel zombie story in some ways, it is still filled with violence and gore. It stumbles at times and was somewhat repetitive at times, but was an overall enjoyable and original novel.
This book would make an excellent movie although I do not really see it as a major release but more of a niche, independent film. I think that the story would translate well to film and that, aside from the fact that body parts keep falling off, that it would be an easy movie to make. I know that I would definitely want to watch it and I know that there has been some pre-production work rumored to have been done on it, so there is hope that a movie could one day be a reality.