I've tweeted photos of these books many times. I'm drawn to them for whatever reason in the slowly dwindling horror section at my local bookstore. The titles pounce out at me like lionesses on the hunt and I'm forced to pick them up and examine the cover. The genre is Zombie Romance and I'm frightened. Who thought it was a good idea to eroticize the living dead? These are rotting heaps of flesh bent on eating sweet sweet human brains and someone wants to imagine their sexual behavior? I just don't know what to think anymore.
I'm not trying to judge these authors unfairly. I have not read any of these books all the way through and I just don't care to. It freaks me out. What I'm suggesting is that maybe, just maybe, it would be rather difficult to turn this burgeoning genre into something accepted by the mainstream.
Vampire Romance is nothing new. Charlaine Harris has made a career out of it and the sweet sweet Gothic loving going on in Anne Rice's vampire novels made her a major success in the publishing industry. The difference there is that vampires have been eroticized since their inception. Large-breasted she-vampires appear in works earlier than even Bram Stoker's Dracula. Vampires and vampiresses hunt nubile young pray to make them eternal lovers. They've done it for centuries and it's not stopping anytime soon.
I can see the logic behind a werewolf romance novel. These are men and women who are forced by the light of the full moon to live out their basal animalistic instincts and go on the hunt. It's only natural that they'd be drawn to mating when the survival instincts kick in. That doesn't bother me at all.
Zombies, however, are traditionally mindless bodies created by unknown means that feast on human flesh. There is no cognitive ability. The fact that screen and print writers have given them more and more abilities over the years (running? weapon use? lock picking?) is a detriment to what makes these mindless monsters so mysterious. We're afraid because they are the ultimate unknown.
It's hard enough to get along with other people until we get to known them. Now imagine that total stranger lumbering at you, arms straight out, licking his lips and trying to eat you alive. You can't reason with him, you can't understand him, and you can't do anything but flee in terror and hope he doesn't follow; he does. Now he's outside your door moaning, salivating, scratching at the chance to eat you alive. You can't make him stop unless you kill him, but his call already drew the attention of others.
Now what's so romantic about a zombie? I could buy a romance between survivors as the zombies descend upon a city. I could buy a bittersweet love story about a partner being bitten and transforming into one of the creatures. What I can't buy is a love story between two mindless zombies or a mindless zombie and a human who previously didn't know them.
Which brings me to these book. You tell me if they're aiming for human interaction or zombie/human/zombie lasciviousness.
I would consider reading the second book. It's two humans fighting off the zombie invasion. The first book might get a quick read because of the title so I can say I've read a book about zombie jailbait. But the third book? The anthology of zombie romance with a hulking zombie carrying his swooning betrothed in a cover that Fabio could slip into for a non-zombie anthology? No thanks.
I know you can't judge a book by its cover, but seriously? These are kind of ridiculous.
What do you think? Yay or nay on the zomrom genre? Can I make zomrom happen if I say it enough even though zomcomrom didn't take off when Simon Pegg pimped it nonstop? Should authors stick with vampires for their erotic thrillers or would you actually crack open a period romance about a zombified soldier returning to his home village to claim his betrothed?