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Tour: 6. Deadtown by Nancy Holzner (and a little bit more)...

January 15, 2010
Today, we have the lovely Nancy Holzner stopping by to share some thoughts on zombies. Yes, I said zombies. Because guess what? She's got zombies in her book, Deadtown! Welcome, Nancy!!

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Deadtown was provided by the author for this tour. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

nancy holznerAbout the author:

Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts with her nose stuck in a book. This meant that she tended to walk into things, wore glasses before she was out of elementary school, and forced her parents to institute a “no reading at the dinner table” rule. It was probably inevitable that she majored in English in college and then, because there were still a lot of books she wanted to read, continued her studies long enough to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D.

She began her career as a medievalist, then jumped off the tenure track to try some other things. Besides teaching English and philosophy, she’s worked as a technical writer, freelance editor and instructional designer, college admissions counselor, and corporate trainer.

Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband Steve, where they both work from home without getting on each other’s nerves. She enjoys visiting local wineries and listening obsessively to opera. There are still a lot of books she wants to read.

Find Nancy online at her blog,

Now, a lil' something from Nancy, for you...

Why Zombies are NOT the New Vampire

I first heard the murmurs last spring, with the releases of Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth and Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It built through the summer and into the fall, as more books came on the market and movies like Jennifer’s Body and Zombieland appeared in cinemas. Zombies were hot. Zombies, people were saying, are the new vampires.

Cute phrase. 

Except it’s wrong—you could even say dead wrong.

Saying that zombies are the new vampires is like saying that apples are the new oranges. The two don’t compare. Even though they’re both undead monsters, vampires and zombies hold such different places in the worlds of fantasy and horror that one can’t take the place of the other. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Vampires are sexy. Zombies are, well, gross. Google “sexiest vampire” and you’ll get over a million results. Then try Googling “sexiest zombie.” Not so many. There’s a reason teenage girls swoon over Edward Cullen and adult women go weak at the knees for characters like Jeaniene Frost’s Bones or Charlaine Harris’s Eric Northman. It’s a lot harder to imagine kissing a zombie. I mean, what is that black stuff they spew? (Um, please don’t answer that.)
  3. Vampires are orgasmic. Zombies are apocalyptic. Building on the idea of vampiric sex appeal—vampires tend to seduce their victims. The relationship between vampire and victim (or vampire and human lover) feels intensely personal and intimate, and novels are full of scenes testifying to the erotic rush of a vampire encounter. Zombies, on the other hand, attack not because they want you in particular but because it’s the end of the world. Zombies are all about hordes of the rampaging undead. The zombie apocalypse means the breakdown of society and the toppling of humanity as the dominant species. When the zombies are coming for you, the last thing you’ll be thinking about is sex.
  5. Vampires want your blood. Zombies want your brain. Although vampires and zombies both use humans as food, there’s a world of difference in how. When a vampire bites you, it’s a kiss. When a vampire sucks your blood, it’s a drawing out of your life force, your soul. In contrast, a zombie just wants to smash open your skull and gobble your brain. If you’ve gotta be somebody’s dinner, which would you choose?
  7. Vampires are subtly powerful. Zombies use brute force. Zombies and vampires are both relentless, but in different ways. Vampires are masters of manipulation. They’re often adept at using flattery and psychological maneuvering to get what they want. When a zombie sees something it wants (like your brain), it makes a grab for it. And the zombie keeps trying and trying and trying until you either kill it or escape.

    Vampires sometimes have other cool powers, like shapeshifting, superfast speed, or the ability to levitate. Not zombies. They’re usually slow, always earthbound, and rather than changing their shape they’re lucky when body parts don’t fall off.
  9. Vampires are intellectual. Zombies are instinctual. Vampires are known to be calculating and rarely do anything without a reason—usually a reason that benefits the vampire. Zombies are driven by unthinking hunger. While it’s not unusual to see a vampire control a zombie horde in horror fiction, it’s almost impossible to imagine things the other way around. Can you picture a zombie mastermind training and unleashing a horde of vampires? Didn’t think so.
  11. Vampires represent dangerous pleasures. Zombies symbolize the things we fear most. If vampires are all about sex appeal and going too far with pleasures of the flesh, zombies are all about fear. That’s why they’re so effective in horror. They’re the perfect symbol of whatever it is that scares us, whatever it is we can’t control.

    Admittedly, I’m dealing with stereotypes here. Not all vampires are sexy. For example, Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series turns that convention on its head with ugly, shrunken, brutal—and incredibly dangerous—vampires that have to be piloted by a necromancer controller. And not all zombies are shambling, inarticulate brain-munchers, either. In my novel, the zombies who populate Deadtown have been physically changed by dying and coming back to life, but they can think and talk and they retain their prezombie personalities.
Even so, vampires and zombies each occupy their own niche in fiction. If you’re in the mood for a sexy, dangerous monster who’s seductive but deadly, you’ll reach for a vampire novel. If you want to be scared by a relentless, mindless monster with an insatiable appetite that just keeps coming no matter what you do, it’s time to hang out with some zombies. These are two kinds of monsters that are not in competition. There’s room on your bookshelf for both.

Wow. How cool is that?? And I agree, there's definitely room on the bookshelf for both!!

deadtownAbout the book:
They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders — but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.

But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.
drey's thoughts:
When Nancy approached me about reviewing Deadtown, she mentioned there were zombies in the book. Now, so you know where I was "at", I'm not a big fan of zombies. The only ones I've ever "met" were in games where they're all kinda dead and draggy and yucky and ... You get the picture. But she thought I might like her zombies...

Well, I read Deadtown. And I liked it. Vicky is a really cool character. She hunts demons haunting people's dreams. She has a zombie apprentice, Tina. She has a way cool sword. She has a busy boyfriend, and a cute detective showing interest. And she has one very very nasty Hellion coming after her...

The action moves quickly. The characters are a mite predictable at times, but they fit the storyline. And you will want to get to the end to find out who the bad guy is, and whether Vicky survives saving the day, intact. Because you KNOW she's going to save the day, right? Like, hellooooooo! Cool sword!! *grin*

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Title: Deadtown
Author: Nancy Holzner
ISBN-13: 9780441018130 
Paperback: 374 pages
Publisher: Penguin, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+


You know you want to check Deadtown out! So... Here's your chance! Nancy is giving away one SIGNED copy of Deadtown to a lucky duck. US and Canada only, please. To enter, tell me which paranormal creature you think is the new vampire? AND fill out the form. All before January 28th!


Anonymous said...

great review! i love zombies so i'm definetly checking it out, I think werewolves are the new vampire shiver was amazing :)

ninefly said...

my friend thinks (fallen) angels are the new vampire, though I'm kinda suspicious about fairies too =T
the vampire vs. zombie comparison was nice, I've seen similar comparisons in one of my media theory classes lol
thanks for the giveaway!


drey said...

Y'know, I've run across the fallen-angels = vampires theory too, and I'm not so sure how I feel about that. Luckily, I'm not one to dwell on the how-they-came-to-be, but rather more on the story and characters.

I am very glad Nancy stopped by, and I'm still chuckling over the zombie-vampire comparison. I mean, blood vs. brain? Well, duh! That's like asking if you'd like a diamond engagement ring or a rubber band, lol...

Virginia C said...

I don't think that Vamps will ever be removed from their throne. Their deadly allure cannot be equaled. I nominate a whole new Paranormal Species:

The "Werelock"! A hybrid werewolf/warlock!

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

elaing8 said...

I'd say Zombies are the new vampire.i've been seeing alot of books about them.

holdenj said...

Love her thesis on why zombies and vampires are really like apples and oranges! Too fun.
I think werewolves will be the new vamps this year...they can still be dark, brooding, handsome but feel warm!

Benita said...

Fallen angels are, they say!


Anonymous said...

Hi :)
Thank you Nancy for the excellent post on zombies! :)
I think Angels & Demons are the "new Vampires".

Andrea said...

I think werewolves are the new vampires!


throuthehaze said...

Demons and Angels are the "new vamps"

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

lag123 said...

Definitely werewolves! thanks for having this giveaway!

lag110 (at)mchsi(dot)com

Mishel (P.S. I Love Books) said...

I just won a copy of this book from a different giveaway so no need to enter me Drey. Just wanted to say I enjoyed both the guest post and your review!! Definitely looking forward to reading it =)

Jess. said...

Either werewolves or fallen angels are the new vamps. I'm not even gonna joke. Although fairies are making a close second!

I laughed so hard at the vamp vs zombie list, it sounds like something my friends and I would talk about!

Bingo said...

DREY!!!! I feel so dumb! I think I may have filled out your form twice. Anyway, I just signed up to follow you on Facebook. I just put a widget on my blog for people to follow my blog and have NO idea if I did it correctly (STILL techno challenged). MIGHT you perhaps like to come over and try to follow me to see if it works? Meanwhile...I think it is werewolves that are the new vamps!

Sage Ravenwood said...

Great interview. I would have to say shapeshifters. Most people confuse them with werewolves, wereis a shapeshifter doesn't always shift into a wolf - it can be a bird, bear, wildcat, etc.

CherylS22 said...

I'd say fallen angels are the new vampires. Thanks for the great giveaway - I filled out the form!

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