Title: Zombicorns (a novella)
Author: John Green
Genre: Science-fiction post-apocalyptic short story
The gist: Add one part zombie apocalypse, one part genetically modified corn, and one part Persephone myth to a liberal helping of philosophy. Place in Pandora’s Box, shake thoroughly, sprinkle with Ultimate Concern, and then set on fire.
Cover art: Despite the zombified unicorn on the cover, the story has nothing at all to do with unicorns. It manages to be the perfect artistic rendering of this story anyway.
Summary: Genetically modified corn has infected people with a virus that causes them to turn into zombies concerned only with the continuation of corn, while the uninfected continue to be concerned with the continuation of uninfected people.
The best part: In between the moments of violence are moments of quiet contemplation.
The worst part: It could use a thorough copyedit, but I doubt anyone will hold a few typos against it.
Characters: Mia tells the story in first person narrative which is perfect for displaying her existential crisis. She’s smart, thoughtful, and not afraid to “complete” some Z’s with her gun of choice.
Plot: Zombie apocalypse, existential crisis, John Green – What more could you possibly need to know?
Setting: Post-apocalyptic Chicago is much like post-apocalyptic anywhere else in the U.S
Writing style: Zombicorns is a novella so it’s a quick read, but it’s as poignant and thought-provoking as any of Green’s other work and left me pounding my fists on the desk in frustration that he doesn’t write more fantasy/sci-fi.
In which I babble: Zombicorns was originally written to earn donation money for the Harry Potter Alliance. While Green has since made it freely available under a creative commons license (a video explanation here and a link to download the novella for free here), please consider donating to the HPA anyway because they are awesome.
Reminds me of: This contemplative short story on the meaning of life, death, and zombies is kind of like my Introduction to Philosophy class except more interesting, to the point, and with proper grammar and more zombie.
You might also like: This explanation of why zombies make for excellent metaphors.
Facts about the author: John Green and his brother Hank make my favorite YouTube videos, go forth and view!
Additional books by author: John Green’s traditionally published books can be found here.
Publisher: Internet only