A couple of posts ago, I wrote about the zombie genre and how I feel it is a dead end as a storytelling convention because it’s just the same story over and over and over again. Well, I’m not ready to change that notion just yet.
But at one point I did refer to zombie novels as the “Harlequin romance of horror”, the basic equivalent of comfort food, not loved because it’s really good or challenging or particularly interesting, but because it’s familiar and reliable and completely predictable. And I stand by that statement.
But what I want to clarify is that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Certainly, I didn’t want to insult Harlequin romances because, say what you will, romance is one of the few genres, maybe the only one, that continues to thrive while the rest of us struggle to hold onto our audience. And Harlequin is a varied and prolific publisher that deserves more respect than it generally gets.
And, I suppose, so does the zombie genre. Sure, I don’t get it, and I do think its popularity stems from an affection for something familiar and fun. (I could be wrong of course. It has happened once or twice.) But if people enjoy it, who really cares why?
I suppose I could’ve gone back and just edited the original post, but screw that. I’m not one to whitewash my mistakes. So I just want to clarify that if I offended either romance or zombie fans with my comparison that offense was intended to neither.