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What the World Needs Now Is Zombies, Gay Zombies

Erin reviews short stories from Zombies vs. Unicorns. Which team will emerge victorious from this epic battle?

What the World Needs Now Is Zombies, Gay Zombies

BOOK REPORT for some of the stories from Zombies vs. Unicorns by lots of people, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

BFF Charm: Yay! Sometimes!
Swoonworthy Scale: -15! or a 10!
Talky Talk: It Could Be Anything!
Bonus Factors: Zombies! Unicorns!
Relationship Status: Surprising Red-Hot Affair

Okay, this is sort of a complicated book report, since the book is actually a collection of short stories. So I've selected the stories in the first half of the book to review (I'll review the second half in a few weeks!). In one corner, we have zombies, weighing in at Overtired, Overproduced Schill, and in the other, the white, majestic beasts known as Unicorns, who think they're sooo special, just cause they're mythical beasts and their horns can cure cancer, or whatever.

In typical deathmatch fashion, all short stories will be rated on the Erin Scale of Awesomeness, which goes from 0, i.e. lentils to 5, i.e. delicious french cheese.


The Highest Justice by Garth Nix

BFF Charm: Yay!

Jess, girl, I feel ya. Your mother's been murdered, and all she wants is to confront her killer. So what's a daughter to do? OBVS magick up a unicorn and have him turn your mom into a zombie so that she can kill your dad and the lady he's cheating on your mom with. OBVS!

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Oh, I think I caught you makin' eyes at one of those castle guards, Miss Thing.

Talky Talk: Ye Olde Tale of Revenge

In typical Garth Nix style, his kickass heroine weaves through a world of magic and mayhem, which as Meg Cabot has told us, is actually better than the Hogwarts ride at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Bonus Factor: Zombie AND Unicorn

I like that Garth Nix did not limit himself to only one or the other. Inclusionary tale!

Casting Call:


Evanna Lynch as Jess

ILU LUNA LOVEGOOD. I take it all back about what Meg said about Hogwarts!

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 3


Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson

BFF Charm: YAY!

OH MY GOD, Phillip A. Grayson, please be my new best friend!! Okay, so, yes, you will probably try to eat my brains, on account of how you're a zombie. And I wouldn't even be able to Dramatically Seduce you, like Olivia Benson just did to Stuckey on the episode of SVU I just watched, because you aren't into women. But maybe I could keep you from enjoying my delicious grey matter by distracting you with talk of music! It almost always works with the zombies from the NME!

Swoonworthy Scale: 10

A RED HOT TEN. Um, apparantly the only thing I was lacking in my life was a gay zombie romance? The fact that Phillip compares Jack to mac and cheese only ups the swoon scale for me.

Talky Talk: Rock On With Your Straight Up Self

Why haven't I read any other Alaya Dawn Johnson books? This chick kicks ass. Her short story is peppered with bits of rock and roll, and she makes me laugh when she's not making my heart beat a bit faster with sexy gay zombie love!

Bonus Factor: Gay Zombies!

Why hasn't more been written about gay zombies in love? I demand a full series featuring gay zombies in love, IMMEDIATELY!

Casting Call:

Ha ha ha, I had to do this:


Paul Wesley as Jack and Ian Somerhalder as Phillip

Oh, like you don't want to watch them make out.

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 5


Purity Test by Naomi Novik

BFF Charm: Yay!

Alison, GIRL, I feel ya! Many a time have I found myself hungover in the middle of Central Park, having spent all my alcohol on money, being poked by a unicorn and told I have to help him rescue some babies. Well . . . okay, that has never actually happened to me. But many a time I have found myself hungover!

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

There's no real swoon factor in this story. I wish I could say, "Duh, of course there's not; it's a story about a girl and a unicorn" but you will soon see that THAT DOESN'T MATTER.

Talky Talk: Snarktastic

Naomi Novik, you are a breath of fresh air! I loved her sarcastic heroine, and her equally - if not more - sarcastic unicorn.

Bonus Factor: Sarcastic Unicorn

"But will anyone in the herd listen to me? Of course not! They go off and grab the first thirteen-year-old who coos at them, and then it's all, 'Their purity will lead the way,' blah, blah, blah. Lead the way to a whole bunch of dead baby unicorns, maybe. I want a little more competence in my heroine."

Casting Call:


Kristen Bell as Alison

A snarky heroine whose virginity is technically absent? Who else but my girl, VMars!

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 5


Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan

BFF Charm: Meh

Well, Iza, you're certainly the smartest of Carrie Ryan's heroines, but that's not saying all that much. Plus, I'm not sure I could deal with your imperious attitude, or your father's tyrannical behavior. Still, I have to give you props for your show of kickassery at the end.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

I mean, the guy in the book IS pretty cute. It's too bad he is a ruthless cold-blooded killer, and all. Plus, he wouldn't even play Risk with Iza! What kind of assclown doesn't like to play Risk?

Talky Talk: Mudolicious

I'm not sure what one should expect in an anthology entry about zombies written by a person who writes about zombies. I was sort of hoping that Carrie Ryan would take this time to just go crazy and have her zombies sing the Robin Sparkles classic, "Let's Go To the Mall!" while performing intricate jazz choreography. But, no, it's a story set in the same world as her other stories, though at least this time we got a little Caribbean flavor.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Mudo


Casting Call:


Naya Rivera as Iza

She has to have something warm beneath her so she can digest her food.

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 1


A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan

BFF Charm: Nay! 

Listen, Unnamed Princess. It's not that you like to have sex with unicorns that makes me not like you. It's that you don't OWN that you like to have sex with unicorns. Why make poor Manny suffer just cause you can't own up to the fact that you've been schtupped by a horned beast?

Swoonworthy Scale: -15

Okay, BUT SERIOUSLY? SEX WITH A UNICORN? NO. Also, if you're going to have sex with a mythical creature, at least practice safe sex.

Talky Talk: Ye Olde Confusion

I have to admit; I didn't really get this story. Normally I'm totes cool with stories written like pamphlets from the Rennaissance Festival, or whatever, but this one proved just a bit too much for me. I kept thinking, "So . . . she's dead? Or . . . not really? And there's a unicorn? Why is she crying?"

Anti-Bonus Factor: Sexing Unicorn


Casting Call:


Bill Bailey as Manny

For some reason, even though Manny is meant to be young, this is what my mind imagined. I can't help it! He's the only Manny for me!

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 0


Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson

BFF Charm: Yay!

Oh, Sofie, I will be your best friend! I can totally see how you found yourself stuck on some dumb organic farm picking blackberries. I, too, have fallen for boys who seem to be all soulful and artistic and are actually just high as a kite. Luckily, I never got eaten by zombies because of it. I don't . . . think.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

Sofie's boyfriend is a jerk, even if they do end up happily ever after.

Talky Talk: Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Zombiegirl

MoJo (that's what I call her in my head) continues her streak of fun, light-hearted, snarky commentary. She makes being eaten by zombies a real kick!

Bonus Factor: Scientology Zombies

OH MAN ILU MAUREEN JOHNSON. She made the zombies Scientologists. Er, sorry, Lazarologists. Also, Angelina Jolie is the bad guy. Ace.

Casting Call:


Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Sofie

Dear MEW, IDK if you read this website (why wouldn't you?), but we've got you really busy for the next few years.

Erin Scale of Awesomeness: 4


Relationship Status (For the Whole Book): Surprising Red-Hot Affair

I'll be honest. When I first heard about this book, my eyebrows shot up to my hairline. (which, if you've seen my forehead, you'll know they have a long way to travel.) "Zombies? Vs Unicorns? Seriously?" I said to myself. But then I thought, "Well, I've probably got a friend who would be interested in a book. Or maybe a stranger! I could be a matchmaker! Oh my goodness! I could totes be responsible for someone else finding love with Zombies vs. Unicorns! I'd be their hero!" So, I picked up the book, promising it that I'd hook it up with someone really cool. But I had to take a cursory look through the book, right? Just to make sure I matched it with the right person? So I asked the book about itself, its likes and dislikes and turn-ons.

And what followed was a totally surprising, red-hot affair! I can't keep my hands off this book! Oh, I know it's probably bad for me, and I can never bring it home to meet my parents. And there are plently of parts I don't agree with. But . . . well, I just can't help myself!

Sorry, potential dates of this book! I'm only matching you up after I've used him up myself!

And the winner of this round?

Team Zombie!

Justine Larbalestier, editor of Team Zombie

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.