Cerebellum Soufflé 

David P. Murphy has advice for the recently bitten.

Okay, so you've been bitten by one of the living dead. Within the first ten hours, you sweat like a pig and your tongue turns blue. Over the next day or so, your temperature soars and your knuckles swell as your skin breaks out in itchy rashes. Muscle spasms ensue. What's a soon-to-be-zombie to do?

Face facts and move on — albeit shamblingly, while spurting pus, according to David P. Murphy in his new handbook Zombies for Zombies: Advice and Etiquette for the Living Dead, which he'll discuss at A Great Good Place for Books (6120 La Salle Ave., Oakland) on Saturday, October 10. A spoof of the ... for Dummies series, Zombies for Zombies explains how to be a zombie (because, hey, you've got no choice) while retaining a semblance of style. The book, which is Murphy's first, includes fashion tips, brain recipes, fitness techniques, and a skin-care regimen. Exfoliation, after all, takes on a whole new meaning as your epidermis rots.

"I have always loved sci-fi and especially cheap sci-fi movies — but I'll gladly take a great big-budget sci-fi film, too," says the Nebraska-based author, who came up with the book's title long before he decided exactly what to do with it. As a longtime songwriter whose prairie-pop CDs include Effortless and Shining in a Temporary Sun, and whose co-lyricist and agent is the Berkeley-based novelist Laurie Fox, Murphy remembers: "I believed I had a good 'hook' with the title. I wanted to do something that addressed the needs of the recently bitten and it eventually morphed into an opportunity to make fun of the government, to satirize the world in general and our occasional tacky capitalist approach to this life." And it arrives just before Halloween in an era during which the undead have become iconic figures, as popular culture reels over the idea of "someone 'turning' so quickly after being bitten."

The book begins with a bit of history, including zombies' role in Haitian folklore. Voodoo practitioners, Murphy writes, were believed capable of reanimating the dead: "Chiefly used for slave labor by the Haitians, they were also exploited by being forced to perform in embarrassing skits staged for rich white guys. ... Little-known fact: It was zombies who were largely responsible for building the early Caribbean railway system, dozens of sugar factories, and a bitchin' water park outside of Les Cayes. I hope one day they get the credit they deserve."

One would suggest taking such lessons with a grain of salt, but anyone who knows anything about Haitian zombies knows that they're forbidden to eat salt.

Researching the book, which addresses its putative already-bitten readers as "Transitioneers," entailed much consultation of the Internet, "because it is the most reliable information source ever known to man," and watching zombie flicks. Realizing "just how many awful zombie movies are out there surprised and delighted me. One in particular, King of the Zombies — wow, just horrid and racist to boot: a complete lack of brains," Murphy muses. See, these jokes just write themselves. 7 p.m. GreatGoodPlace.indiebound.com


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Books

Author Archives

Arts & Culture Blogs

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay


© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation