Monday, 5 October 2009

‘I Am Scrooge (A Zombie Story for Christmas)’ – Adam Roberts (Gollancz)


There seems to be a conspiracy to make me read more of the classics by cleverly inserting zombies into the mix. I say, bring it on! We’ve already had ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ and in a minute I’ll tell you what I thought of ‘I am Scrooge’. What next though? Instead of ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ we could have ‘Sitting in the Greenwood Tree, grateful that Zombies cannot climb’. ‘Treasure Island’ would become ‘Zombie Island’. ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ would become... actually, maybe we had better leave ‘Lady Chatterley’ as it is!
Is the market about to be overloaded with zombie adaptations? It could well be but it’s a wave of zombie fiction that I’m going to be surfing! ‘I Am Scrooge’ is a great place to start, a Halloween treat and Christmas stocking present all rolled into one...

It’s the night before Christmas, a time when you might expect people of a miserly nature to be taken on a metaphysical trip, to realise the error of their ways, not facing off against their undead business partner. Scrooge has no time to set his life straight and give the Cratchits the Christmas they deserve; Marley’s dead (again), just a whole city full of zombies to go...
The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are on hand to guide Scrooge through the zombie hordes but will they be enough? Especially when the true (and tiny) threat is finally revealed...

‘I Am Scrooge’ is a mere slip of a book, weighing in at an almost anaemic one hundred and fifty three pages long. This is certainly one of the reasons why I finished it off so quickly but it could have been five times the length and I still would have gone through it in one sitting. ‘I Am Scrooge’ is nothing less than great fun from start to finish.

The feeling I got from the book was that Adam Roberts really enjoyed himself pitting Ebeneezer Scrooge against zombie hordes across the gulf of time. The book flies along at an exuberant pace and while this may cover over the fact that explanatory pieces are pretty thin on the ground (as well as authors and fictional characters mixing together), you’ll be enjoying yourself too much to care. ‘I Am Scrooge’ isn’t so much about why things are happening as it is about shooting zombies, name dropping everyone within arms reach and having fun with the English language. If you find this book in your stocking on Christmas morning then it will get you through to Christmas Lunch rather nicely :o)

I’m a fan of books (especially re-imaginings of established works) where the villain is the last person you would ever expect; ‘I Am Scrooge’ takes one of Dickens’ cutest characters and turns them into an evil mastermind. I never really got much of an idea behind this character’s motivations but, again, that’s not really the point. The point is that Roberts did this for the simple reason that he could and who else would be better for this villainy than... that would be telling.

A short book never equates to a long review here so this is where I’ll be tying things up. ‘I Am Scrooge’ is never going to stand up to a more in depth read but if that’s the kind of read you’re after then you’ve picked up the wrong book! If you’re after something irreverent and good old honest fun then pick up ‘I Am Scrooge’. You’ll be glad you did.

Eight and Three Quarters out of Ten

4 comments:

Joe McKinney said...

We are seeing a lot of these literary adaptations lately, aren't we? Personally, I'm waiting for Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener, with Zombies." Bartelby is something of a zombie already, isn't he?

robertsinferno said...

I usually only watch movies about zombies, not a big fan of the literature. However...this is such a great concept, I might have to pick it up.

Ladytink_534 said...

Lol, a classic Nightmare Before Christmas! Now I really could enjoy something like this!

xalwaysdreamx said...

Haha I really enjoyed reading your review. Especially the possible titles in the canon that could be zombie-fied :P

--Sharry