I’ve been trying for days to spit out this review. But every time I think about all the things I love about this book, which is every thing, my brain starts to scream, “SQUEE! OMG OMG OMG NERDGASM!” I wouldn’t consider that a very constructive review, as it doesn’t tell you anything about why this book is so extremely wonderful and sheer genius. So please bear with me and hopefully my brain can calm down long enough to spit out some rational and helpful feedback.
The Brain Eater’s Bible, by MadTV Alum Pat Kilbane (@TVsPatKilbane), is not your ordinary zombie book. In fact, it is the first book I’ve ever read like it. I’m not even sure if another book like this exists. Instead of being about the zombie apocalypse from the point of view of the humans trying to survive it or a “How To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse” handbook for humans, this survival guide is written from the point of view of a newly reanimated zombie: J.D. McGhoul. Not only is it a guide for other zombies to survival but it is a very interesting look into the psychology and physiology of a zombie.
Reading this book was nothing but one long nerdgasm.
It can be relatively easy for something to cause me a to have a geekasm. However, whenever I’m watching or reading a work of science-fiction, there is always the nerd in the back of my brain screaming, “THAT’S NOT RIGHT! WHY DID YOU CHANGE THE SCIENCE?!” Nerdgasms are reserved for non-fiction, technology and science.
This is the first piece of fiction to cause me to have a complete nerdgasm. The reason for this is because Pat really did his research when he wrote this book. He consulted with a U.S. Navy SEAL, a paramedic and battalion chief, someone with a PhD in Immunology, a 5th level Tai Chi Chuan instructor, a neurological surgeon, and a firearms instructor. And unlike a lot of science-fiction that ignores its science advisers because the real science and facts are “boring”, Pat used all they had to say and didn’t ignore what he learned. It’s not like the new Star Trek film which caused the nerd in me to cheer when they included the fact that there is no noise in space, only to later cause me to become ranty over red matter, among other things.
Also, the nerd in me with an education background in psychology got extremely excited over this book. My favourite fields of study in psychology are behavioural psychology and abnormal psychology. I would have loved a career as a criminal behavioural psychologist and be on a Behavioural Analysis Unit. One of my favourite books is The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers and one of my favourite shows is Criminal Minds—the first one, not the new sucktastic Suspect Behavior.
For me, reading this book was like reading a case study or the journal of some pathological serial killer—but not as dark—and I was fascinated. The first chapter Eat Brains was like sitting down with Hannibal Lecter and listening to him educate me on the succulence of the human body—but in this case, brains—and the best way to prepare and eat them. However, unlike Hannibal trying to get under my skin, J.D. McGhoul is sharing this information so that other newly reanimated have the best tools for survival.
Another little bit of this book which reminded me, to some degree, of Criminal Minds is that at the beginning of each chapter, there is a quote, such as: “The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around – Thomas A. Edison” which is found at the beginning of chapter one. Each quote is suited to the theme of the chapter, just like they are suited to the underlying human theme in each episode of Criminal Minds.
Not including the introduction, there are six chapters in this guide to zombie survival: 1) Eat Brains, which gives great detail into the anatomy and function of the human brain, which parts make the best eating and why; 2) Know Your Body, which gives great detail into how the PACE virus works, zombie anatomy and more; 3) Hunt, which is a wonderful guide into hunting your prey, both as a pack or alone; 4) Know Your Enemy, which is a wonderful guide into how humans will try to defend themselves, the weapons they will use and psychological warfare; 5) Move Your Head, which is a guide to self-defence for zombies; and 6) Infect Others, which explains why it is very important to infect others, how to create both fast-moving and slow-moving zombies and why it is important to have both.
Interspersed within these chapters are handwritten journal entries by J.D. McGhoul. The handwritten journal entries are actually penned by Pat Kilbane. This leads me to the other thing I loved about this book. The beauty and design. The print version is absolutely gorgeous.
You can really tell that Pat put a lot of love into this book. Not only by his attention to detail and years of research but also because of the layout and design. Between the handwritten journal entries, fully made-up pictures of zombies with complete wardrobe, diagrams of anatomy, pictures of weapons with labels, and more, all on glossy heavy-weight paper, the book itself is a work of art. Pat took things one step further with the interactive iPad version of this book, filled with video tutorials and more.
This book really is a must have. If you are a nerd like me, you will really appreciate that this is a book of fact, as well as a work of fiction. Cleverly written and funny, Pat took the idea that one “wakes up” to find that they are a zombie and using real science and facts, created this plausible guide to survival. If you are a geek or if you don’t care about reality and facts in your works of fiction, it is also fun. Pat does a wonderful job of inserting the facts and science so that you end up learning a lot without realising that you are learning.
If you ever find yourself in a zombie apocalypse, whether you are a freshie (human) or zombie, you’ll want this book. As a zombie, this book will give you the best tools necessary to not only stop yourself from being killed but how to best go about attacking your prey. If you are a human, this book will give you a wonderful insight into how zombies work and think, both fast-moving and slow-moving zombies—Pat even has an explanation as to why there are two types of zombies. As J.D. McGhoul states about humans in chapter four, “[...] they are an enemy force whose strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities you must intimately understand.” This book does that for both zombies and humans. Also, as it explains how exactly the PACE (Postmortem Ambulation Cannibalistic Encephalophilia) virus spreads, it gives humans the knowledge necessary to hopefully stop the spread of infection, if they ever find that they have been bitten.
Thank you, Pat, for giving me the hardcover version of this gorgeous and extremely intelligent and fun book. When you come on the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show, if all I do is squee over how brilliant this book is, I apologise in advance.
To purchase this book:
Full-Length iPad App
A traditional hardcover version of The Brain Eater’s Bible with full-color photography is available on Amazon.com for $19.95. Be sure to have a look inside the book when you head on over to Amazon.