Categorized | Nonfiction, Reviews

Zombies of the World Review

Posted on October 25, 2011 by Kenneth Hite


Available at DriveThruHorror.com

    Roleplaying game scenarist, short film maker, podcaster, and graphic designer Ross Payton adds a new laurel to his crown with Zombies of the World: A Field Guide to the Undead. At only 112 trade-paperback pages, Payton does not aim for completness, but for richness. And between his light authorial tone, his slamming graphic design chops, and his slavering hunger for the topic, he shoots his target square in the head.

    Zombies of the World presents itself as a kind of all-in-one reference book, from a world in which the walking dead are, if not common, relatively well documented. If Dorling Kindersley published a zombie book, it might look something like this. Chapters cover the etiology and science of zombies, a brief history of notable outbreaks, and a simple guide to “Surviving Zombie Encounters,” all done nicely straight-faced.

    The meat of the book is the largest chapter: a field guide to twenty zombie species from the Common Gray Shambler (Mortifera immortalis romeroi) to the common Asian fiend the Preta (M. immortalis gaki). It also covers two subspecies of mummy (Egyptian and Aztec) and a revenant (M. reverto vorheesi) among its examples of the walking dead. I personally think the New England Ghoul (M. immortalis pickmani) is misclassified (M. necronomicus, surely?), but that’s just nitpickery. The entries provide plenty of fodder for exactly that kind of nitpicky fun, including a description of the thing, its “habits and habitat,” and its reproduction and range (complete with handsome world map). Each entry additionally features a grand full-page illustration by Tom Rhodes and an icon indicating the thing’s “conservation status.”

    Taken as a whole, the book is impressively professional. Payton published it himself through his Slang Design imprint, but it looks vastly better than the host of Lulu-Lightning books currently shambling through the post-apocalyptic world of print publishing. Paper stock, binding, and typography are of the highest quality, all important considerations in a book you buy sheerly to enjoy the existence of. Since it presents as an artifact of Payton’s specific zombie world, it doesn’t really work as a real-world compendium of zombie film and folk lore (although there’s a good amount of that in here, of course); likewise, adapting it for games will be slightly more difficult if you’ve already made basic decisions about your setting. But any book that carefully differentiates between the Italian Zombie (M. immortalis fulci) and the North American Cabin Lurker (M. necronomicus kandarian) is a book with brains enough to feast upon all night.

    Review by Kenneth Hite

    Tags |

    Print This Post

    Leave a Reply

    11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

      Monthly Newsletter Sign Up

      join our monthly mailing list
      * indicates required

      The Devil’s Night WoD SAS

      Free Devil's Night | White Wolf

      Become a Fan on Facebook!

      Reviews Wanted!

      The new Review Guidelines have been posted on the Flames Rising website. We are currently seeking a few good reviewers to help us expand our collection of horror and dark fantasy reviews. RPGs, fiction, movies, video games and more are all welcome on the site...

      What do you get out of it?

      Beyond helping out fellow Flames Rising readers by letting them know what you think of these products, we're giving away some pretty cool stuff. Regular Reviewers can earn free products to review, which is their to keep after the review is submitted to the site.

      Note: We are especially looking for folks interested in reviewing eBooks (both Fiction & Comics). We have lots of great titles in digital format and even get advance copies sometimes.

      Use the Contact Page to submit reviews or let us know if you have any questions.