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The Vegan Revolution... with Zombies Paperback – August 30, 2010
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Has the potential to alter world views of those who read it...the social messages throughout are clear for those open enough to see, laugh, and personally reflect on it. --Dr. Colin Salter in the Journal of Critical Animal Studies
This is a comedic zombie tale that really works...enough violence and gore to satisfy the gore hounds with enough comedic relief to balance it all out. --Famous Monsters of Filmland
Never before has an attempted conversion to an alternate lifestyle been such crazily quirky fun...The author has a field day poking fun at the complications that ensue from conflicting subgroups. He is unsparing in his comic commentary --Hellnotes
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I mean, what a dream, right? Suppose eating animal flesh and secretions zombified all the non-vegans, and those who remained could create a peaceable, sustainable future? It's true, I'd lose almost everyone I love, but imagine the world that would be created if everyone descended from people who lived according to their compassionate values? Amazing. I'm pretty jealous of this fictional future.
And the way that this book takes the likes of Michael Pollan (in the book, he's "Michael Poland") to task is practically pornographically pleasurable for people like me. Although the popularly-echoed "arguments" against veganism that vegans hear wax and wane in popularity, right now, the notion I hear the most regularly is that it's OK to eat locally-raised, free-range, organic meat/milk/eggs/whatever. The people who say this almost never actually DO only eat 100% locally-raised, free-range, organic animals, but they pay it lip service. Furthermore, no matter how you keep an animal for slaughter, we're talking about keeping creatures just for the purpose of taking their reproductive secretions and then slaughtering them for meat, all so that people can eat food that is terrible for us, and drives the leading causes of death. And it seems to me that Michael Pollan was the one who really popularized this erroneous, self-serving, and hypocritical path. So when the book's Michael Poland endorses the "Stress-Free" animal products, and it ends up turning flesh-eaters into zombies, well, that's cathartic to read. Thanks, David Agranoff.
Interestingly, the other big name Agranoff parodies is Peter Singer, who in the book is "Peter Sanger." Although Peter Singer's book Animal Liberation is on my Kindle to read, I never really looked into him or his ideas, nor was I aware that there was a disdain for him among many in the animal rights and vegan communities. After some Googling, I learned that Singer is a utilitarian, meaning he believes in reducing total harm to all creatures, and for that reason he embraces some things with which vegans do not relate. In particular, he defends killing human babies who are developmentally disabled, because in his view this will reduce total harm. What a shock for me to learn this! He is not someone who believes in the moral equality of all creatures, he believes in reducing harm to creatures who have "moral standing," which he does not grant to those with very low intelligence. OMGWTF. Obviously, I'll have to read more to understand what the effing eff this ish is about and how someone who promotes animal liberation could think this way, but once again I extend my thanks to the author, this time for tipping me off.
That said, ummm, OK, I'm really not the right person to read a zombie book, or any kind of genre purely-for-fun book. I'm too darn picky. I'm that person who's all, like, "Wait, didn't even ONE human try eating this Stress-Free meat before it went to market?" And, "So, this stuff was just rolled out in Portland and some other areas, had it gone national yet? How could EVERYONE have been zombified? There must have been some meat-eaters who hadn't had any Stress-Free label yet, right?" Also, why couldn't this one book have just been a little different and had it so that people didn't turn into a zombie just because a zombie bites you? There's no reason except for zombie tropes why one of them biting a vegan would zombify them. I just think it would have been better that way, but maybe that's crazy talk. And, yeah, the typos were kinda crappy.
It's also funny! The quiz at the end of each chapter often made me laugh. Somewhere toward the end, the quizzes stopped being consistent in format with the earlier quizzes, but I'm probably the only anal-retentive freak who noticed or cared. The skewering of the hipster obsessions with bacon, beards, 'bots, bicycles and, yes, zombies, was pretty right-on. Even though we vegans often get lumped in with all that (and we do agree about the bikes), really the defining characteristic of a hipster is their tendency to grab onto miscellaneous aspects of culture that have gained temporary currency which may, for a time, include veganism. But another key aspect of hipsterism is apathy, and vegans who delve into it for true reasons (not for short-lived social currency or a temporary excuse to have an eating disorder before they give it up because "they felt sick") are far too invested in caring about stuff to fit in with the people commonly called "hipsters."
My point is, terrific parody here that was incredibly fun and refreshing for me to read. Recommended for zombie fans, vegans, or people who really like the show Portlandia.
And another reviewer said the book had too many typos in it. Ignore that. There's like four. Not a big deal.
There are humorous observations on zombie tropes, thought-provoking views on veganism in a post-apocalyptic world and a nice twist on the zombie war at the end.
This book is much more political than I expected and I learned quite a bit about veganism and its subcultures. It's also a witty comedy that pokes fun at hardcore zombie fans, classic books rewritten to include zombies and Portland hipsters. Even though the book is hilarious, it carries a strong social message and makes an extremely compelling argument for the vegan lifestyle. After all, when the zombie apocalypse hits, being vegan just might save your life.
I highly recommend this fun and intriguing novella.