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Best zombie title of the year? [Updated]

June 29, 2010 |  1:53 pm

Does Alan Goldsher's new book "Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion" have the best title of the year? Although the Paul-Is-Dead rumor happened before my time, it still made me snicker.

For those of you, like me, who missed the Beatles when they were still together, here's the back story, as I understand it. When the album "Abbey Road" came out in 1969, its cover featured a photograph of the four members of the Beatles walking in a crosswalk (across Abbey Road, near the music studio) and because Paul McCartney was barefoot -- and lots of college students were in a smoky, paranoiac haze, misinterpreting song lyrics -- a rumor spread: Paul is Dead. Speculation was so rampant that Life Magazine ran a cover story disputing it, "Paul is Still With Us."

[For the record, 2:33 p.m. Tuesday: An earlier version of this post said "Abbey Road" came out in 1966. It was released in 1969.]

The album cover that started it all:

Of course, Paul is still with us, as is Ringo Starr; and it's John Lennon and George Harrison who are gone.

In "Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion," Alan Goldsher revives them, sort of. He makes John Lennon a zombie since childhood, one who turns Paul into a zombie; George follows. The book is told as a kind of oral history (get it?), with the band members, friends and foes all getting a say. In this fiction, the zombies are all re-vivifyable, so even John Lennon's 1980 murder is only an unfortunate setback. As much as Beatles fans might desire eternal life for the band, would they really want their Fab Four chewing and chomping their way to the top?

Ringo, by the way, isn't a zombie: he's a ninja. And this is where I stop giggling. What is it with zombies and ninjas? Why, of all of film's subgenres, have these two been mashed up in fiction? Zombie fiction lurched onto the bestseller lists with the cleverly conceived mashup "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" -- which took Jane Austen's classic, mixed in zombies... and ninjas. And here we are with zombies and ninjas, again. Playing "Love Me Do."

Oh, never mind me. The book's title is still chuckleworthy -- enough to get it optioned for a film by Double Feature partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, who've made "Pulp Fiction" and "Get Shorty."

[UPDATE 6/29 2:30pm: an earlier version of this post said that "Abbey Road" came out in 1966. It was released in 1969.]

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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