They'll eat your brains for that • 8 May 2007 • The SnowBlog
They'll eat your brains for that
Not for the first time I find myself in agreement with Scott Pack. Nick Cohen was searching for an angle for his piece on judging the Blooker, and came out with this charmlessness in the Observer on Sunday: "We had the escapades of an American who moves to France, which was Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence redone for a US audience; Breakup Babe; a well-written piece of chick-lit whose author admitted her debt to Bridget Jones's Diary; and Monster Island, a seventh-rate horror novel, which ripped off every zombie movie ever made. (The author's only original touch was pitting his zombies against a fantasy army of assault-rifle-bearing, 14-year-old Somali schoolgirls.)"
Oh, and what about the fact that some people have figured out that if they keep oxygen flowing to their brains they can be a thinking zombie, or that Monster Island's zombies don't roam around saying 'braiiins'? Not original enough for you?
"In journalism as in publishing, fine writers and commentators have broken through from the blogs to the mainstream and it is good to see them succeeding. But, dear God, there are too few of them, far too few: tiny islands of talent in a roaring, foam-flecked sea."
I don't think Nick Cohen has done his homework, or knows much about the zombie genre. Monster Island was written for the web: without promotion or expensive PR it built up a huge online following. A publisher offered to publish it in book form because they could see that it had been critiqued by those that matter - the readers - and had been found to be excellent. I don't mind people offering criticism of our books, but to criticise something that everyone who knows anything about zombies has raved about - just to support a (derivative) angle for his column about, you know, books from the web generally being a bit crap - is nasty and lazy.
I'm going to stop buying the Observer if it considers such small-minded, defensive writing to be journalism. And I hope zombies eat Nick Cohen's brains.