This book made me appreciate what Max Brooks did in World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, because I don't think I appreciated how hard it is to manage a bunch of first person narratives through an institutional lens and, you know, not be boring. A series of hand-written and illustrated journal entries intercut with inter-departmental-ish memos about the diary, The Zombie Autopsies
describes a series of, ahem, zombie autopsies. I almost wrote "tells the story of several autopsies", but this is not the case. This is not a story; this is a situation.
As a medical examination of how zombies might be possible, this is bang-up stuff, although I completely admit I have no way of assessing the accuracy of the medical descriptions. There could have been something cool here about the...what? The way mental illness are pathologized? Something like that. There is a lot of talk about what makes a human, and how the zombie stricken are made inhuman institutionally. But a few references to some treaty defining the edges of our humanity without actually having anyone come up against the gray areas and larger implications, this is like Asimov imagining the three laws of robotics, and instead of writing I, Robot, he just wrote a series of memos.
The art is cool, although not nearly as cool as the art in Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection
. This may just be that I like some color in my gross zombie pictures - red ink especially - because the the drawings here are well done. It's kind of perfect that these are b&w in a way, because even though there's a fair amount of gore-talk here, it seemed remarkably bloodless. There are flashes of interesting stuff in the appendixes - and Karen is right about them
- but not enough to cohere into a narrative.
This would have made an interesting appendix in and of itself, tacked onto some larger work, one that I hope Schlozman is working on. He's clearly worked out the plot of the ZA, and maybe this bit of plotless world-building is a throat-clearing exercise. That would be cool. I'd read the crap out of that.