Deck Z

I’ve never seen James Cameron’s Titanic and, I’ll be honest, a large part of the reason that I’ve never seen it was due to the distinct lack of zombie action.  If you think about it, there are many great films that miss out on a chance of some really solid undead opportunities.  Gone with the Wind, for example, has that amazing shot where Scarlett O’Hara is standing in the middle of the street, and the camera zooms out revealing just how surrounded she is by the dead and the dying.  It’s a great shot, and a really poignant moment highlighting the horrors of war.  Unfortunately, it’s also a really terrible waste of a great zombie movie.  If, at that moment, the soldiers had stood up, shrugged off their bayonet wounds and gone clawing after Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley and Prissy then there could have been a really great movie.  And there could have been a bit where Melanie gives birth in a house surrounded by the return of the Confederate dead.

Anyway, the bit in Titanic where Leonardo DiCaprio slides off of the door or bit of wood or whatever it is and sinks down to his watery grave?  How much better would it have been if he’d leapt back up out of the water like Jason at the end of Friday the 13th?  I mean, this is James Cameron!  He gave the world Aliens!  He can do jumps and scares, if he wants to!  What the hell is this soggy romance about?

So, Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon have given us Deck Z: The Titanic, a story which singularly fails to capitalise on the fact that there are dead and dying everywhere, and instead decides to shoehorn a tired old “oh, no, not a T-Virus-like-thing escaping into a confined space” story.  I’m not sure exactly why they looked at a genuine tragedy like the sinking of the RMS Titanic, in which at least 1,490 people were deaderised in a horrifying manner, and then proceed to just chuck some zombies in for cheap laughs and tittering. 

Is it just me that’s had enough of these shitty “Situation X + Monster Y” novels that have been gradually filling up the shelves since the comedy abortion of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies shambled its way into view?  It’s the laziest form of cut and paste horror writing, and – while it’s not Shaun Hutson levels of derivative – it is a rather feeble nonetheless.  

Anyway, there’s a scientist, named Theodor Weiss (magician’s tip: Never trust a guy with the surname ‘Weiss’), and he has this T-Virus knock-off, and it turns people into zombies.  The military want to use it as a weapon, and he tries to sneak it to America, aboard The Titanic.  Chaos ensues, people are bitten, some minor concessions towards pathos are made, and a bunch of mildly interesting characters try and escape from the sinking boat.  Along the way they learn to live, laugh, love, languish, liquorice and liger.  Probably.

Some of the characters are enjoyable.  Louise and Weiss, in particular, show the most humanity throughout, but the rest of the cast appear to be mere exercises in stiff upper lippedness and shooty-bang-death-killeration statistics.  The zombies aren’t especially scary, and while the action scenes are sometimes enjoyable, there’s never any real attachment or involvement for the reader in what’s happening.  I just couldn’t find myself able to care about what happened to most of them.  Probably not helped by the fact that I was already resigned to the fact that they were probably going to drown or freeze to death in any event. 

On the plus side, it’s very short.  On the down side, it’s very short (barely 220 pages).  Normally I don’t make a big deal of price, but…£9.99 for 200 pages?  Really?

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

2 Comments on “Deck Z”

  1. Rawrsetta says:

    i don’t know man, does this t-virus bollocks malarky have anything to do with the actual and inevitable sinking of the ship? Turning the tragic tale of a maiden death trip into all-out zombie warfare SOUNDS wicked, but surely the story arrives at the same conclusion, in much the same way? Yeah, it’s a little overdone, and trite, but unless we’re delving into some sort of Rec sicky puppy scenario is it any more ridiculous than a zombie attack of “natural” causes?

    i think you’re missing the main point though, which is that the book is probably severely lacking in a plot-line a la Ghost Ship. Which is the best film ever. oh no wait, that other thing.

  2. Lee Enfield says:

    It’s also crippled by the fact that zombies don’t work in books. Ever.

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