Vampires vs Zombies vs Me

TwilightSomeone asked me the other day if I was obsessed with vampires. The answer was a puzzled and resounding ‘no’. Prior to the recent glut of young-adult vampire fiction that I have delved into in recent years, I’ve never so much as looked sideways at a vampire book or film.

The main reason for this is that I have an insanely overactive imagination and am also easily, utterly terrified. The combination of the two mean that I’ve forever steered clear of anything vampire-y. Anne Rice books or films like Interview With A Vampire will forever remain peripheral items that I will understand in pop-culture theory but not in practice.

The only reason I’m not scared silly of vampires is because I’ve only been reading young-adult vampire romances. I blame Twilight and its myriad doppelgangers—like many of us do for many things, but that’s perhaps another blog for another time—for teaching me that vampires are sexy, six-packed hotties who will do anything and everything to love and protect you. And once you read one…well, it’s a slippery slope.

My dirty little secret is that while I’m not terrified of vampires, I am unreasonably afraid of zombies. Yeah, as in vampires’ slower moving, less dangerous poor cousins. I realise it’s an irrational fear, but I’m also scaredy-cat proof that fear is rarely rational.

The Forest of Hands and TeethI blame Carrie Ryan’s young-adult zombie romance series, which starts off with The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Note the qualifying words ‘young adult’ and ‘romance’. I totes thought that far from being brainless brain eaters, zombies defied the genre and fell in love. It turns out not.

The romance unfolds between the non-zombie protagonists who are living in a post-apocalyptic outpost surrounded by hoards of perpetually hungry, perpetually stalking zombies. Oh, and they set off down a mysterious, labyrinth-like path that’s in ruin, that contains a bunch of dead ends, that’s narrow and unsealed, and that leaves them just a finger’s whisper away from being infected by the very zombies that shuffle and moan alongside as they chase them.

The strangely addictive trilogy scared the bejeepers out of me so comprehensively that I am and forever will be terrified of zombies. For the record, I know the books aren’t scary. You can spare me outraged emails going, ‘Um, you’re exaggerating’. I wholly admit that I’m a wuss.

Said zombie fear was unforgivably cemented by an ex-boyfriend and his flatmate who found it funny to impersonate zombies at every opportunity—even if it was as banal as while hanging clothes out on the washing line. They found it hilarious. I found it horrific, although I realise it’s pathetic and that you probably find it funny too. Please see my previously stated point above re: I know it’s lame to be so afraid, but fears are rarely rational. And as I said, unforgivably cemented.

That’s a long-winded way of saying that I’ve realised that, for me at least, vampires are indelibly tied to pleasure, which is in turn tied to procrastination. I’d write more about that but I’m actually in the throes of vampire-led work avoidance and had to bargain with myself big time to even tear myself away to write this post. The reward is that I’m heading back to the welcoming arms of young-adult vampire romance. I’ll explain more if/when I resurface…

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.