I have a friend who cannot get into science fiction or fantasy. It’s not that she hates them or hates the genre parameters that define them. It’s just that they do nothing for her. They bore her. They don’t tickle her fancy, so to speak.
Now, I love sci-fi and fantasy, but I understand the sentiment. Just as there are certain genres that hit our neural sweetspots (MONSTERS!) others leave us cold. So cold that even when they are mega-popular and spawning books or series of almost certain quality and artistry, we are just completely indifferent.
I realized this recently when The Hunger Games trilogy swept like wildfire across the YA and cultural landscape. Pretty much everyone recommended I read it. Pretty much everyone said it was smart, thrilling, well-written, with great ideas and characters. I believe every word of that. I am sure that Suzanne Collins’ trilogy is the masterpiece it’s made out to be.
But I’m never going to read it.
I have no taste for dystopias, or any sort of post-apocalyptic fiction. Hunger Games at least doesn’t involve zombies, because for the life of me I don’t really get why anybody bothered to make any zombie movies after the original Dawn of the Dead (though I saw 28 Days Later and I guess that was awesome and original because the zombies could run? Or something? And Cillian Murphy has weird eyes?)
As you can imagine, zombie apocalypse movies are pretty much the last movies I want to ever watch. I’ve heard good things about the Walking Dead series, but I know that watching it would give me the same vague irritation as low grade tinnitus.
I know I’m missing out on some good stuff: Hunger Games. The Road. Walking Dead. The book The Passage everyone raved about last year.
(brief side rant: The Passage, despite glowing reviews, was a trifecta of yawn for me, seeing as it was post-apolcalyptic, had zombies, AND those zombies were actually virus-created vampires, and virus-created vampire zombies are the worst. Old school Dracula vampires? Awesome. Virus-created zombie vampires? Poppycock).
((brief side rant 2: oddly enough, I did kind of want to see that Ethan Hawke movie Daybreakers last year, even though it was a dystopian movie with virus-created zombie vampires. Maybe because it so fully embraced all that is “meh” to me in our culture and made it into a stew. Also, it had Willem Defoe wielding a giant crossbow))
I’m okay with missing out, though, because the joy of our modern pop-culture is that despite all the garbage, there is a vast amount of great stuff waiting to be read and listened to and seen, and not all of it features post-apocalyptic zombie vampire dystopias. Just most of it.