Saturday, August 07, 2010

Paul Is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion

I've been "into" the Beatles since high school, and I know their history better than most people who lived through the 1960s (I was born around the time they broke up). I've never been interested in zombies -- and I'm sooo damn sick of vampires -- but a book retelling the story of the Beatles as zombies was irresistible.

Writing in an oral history style, Chicago author Alan Goldsher casts John, Paul, and George as zombies. Ringo, on the other hand, is a ninja. Why? Oh, why not?!? He quotes all the major players including George Martin, Brian Epstein, and Neil Aspinall, even tossing in characters like Apple electronics "wizard" Magic Alex (though he neglects the Beatle wives aside from Yoko). Especially amusing is the conflict between the zombie Beatles and Rod Argent, whose band the Zombies ("She's Not There", "Time of the Season") are not actually zombies. Mick Jagger is a zombie hunter, adding a new dimension to the "Beatles vs. Stones" rivalry.

I wish Goldsher had included more about the music; he misses many opportunities to zombify the titles and origins of songs. There are a few too many zombie fights, but I suppose they appeal to the zombie fans in the book's target audience (as opposed to the Beatles fans). Also, the book wraps up too quickly, covering 1968-69 as if the author had a maximum page limit or a too-tight deadline. Oddly enough, the book's title is its only reference to the rumors of Paul's demise.

Despite those flaws, Paul Is Undead is an entertaining book for any hardcore Beatles fan willing to accept the inherent silliness of it all.

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