Friday, September 12, 2008

Generation Dead

Some of the teenagers in Daniel Water’s Generation Dead are “living impaired” or “differently biotic.” In other words, they are zombies.

For some reason, living impaired teens are popping up all over the United States. The teens, who move and talk slower than their traditionally biotic counterparts, try to assimilate into “normal” society and have no desire to harm anyone. Phoebe, who is living, and Tommy, who is undead, develop a groundbreaking and unusual friendship that causes consternation within both communities.

The setup is intriguing. After spending way too much time with vampires, I was excited to tackle another supernatural element. Naturally, I was particularly interested in the taboo romance between Phoebe and Tommy.

What should be a fun and potentially scary romp is anything but. This is not a zombie book or a romance or a thriller. Instead, Generation Dead reads like a primer on political correctness. Now, I am all for being PC, I really am, but it’s just not what I was expecting in my sci-fi young adult fiction.

The book is overwhelmingly political. The action is cushioned between lecture after lecture about accepting those who are different from the majority. I absolutely agree with Waters in terms of minority rights. But if that is his focus, he should write about actual minority characters and leave the undead to fantasy authors and audiences.

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