Guilty: I write about Zombies but no longer watch The Walking Dead

I got into a little argument the other day with someone while I was writing at the Java Joint… I go there every morning, Monday through Friday, grab my reserved seat and plug in the laptop, and write. I love the coffee and the food, and the waitresses and waiter are awesome to chat with, and they love talking me up to customers.

But when I mention I write about zombies, most people immediately ask what my thoughts on this season of The Walking Dead are. I usually put it off and say something dodgy like I haven’t caught up this season yet I’ve been so busy, or I’ll watch the rest in one shot this weekend.

But I probably won’t.

It isn’t like I’m not a fan of the show, because I watched from the first episode of season one and was hooked. I loved it. I considered myself a big fan, and even sat through the (mostly) pointless fanfest that followed, Talking Dead. But since I moved last September I have rarely watched television. My 52 inch TV isn’t even plugged in in my bedroom right now. I could care less, to be honest, about anything having to do with television.

But I always feel like I need to lie about it and say I watch. I have no idea why. So, the other day, when asked, I politely said I hadn’t watched this season at all. Not even seen a preview of it, a commercial… nothing. I had no immediate plans to rent it, youtube it, watch it, etc.

And the guy (in his late twenties, I’m guessing) asked how I could be a good writer of zombie fiction if I didn’t know what was out there…


I pointed out I was currently reading Mutated by Joe McKinney and Skin Trade by Tonia Brown. Had he read them? Nope. He had no clue what I was talking about. I said I was well-versed in The Walking Dead up until this season, and I was more interested in reading about zombies than seeing them on the small screen. He said I was out of touch with zombie fans.

Really? Out of touch? I smiled (I really wished I was twenty years younger, so I could drag his skinny ass outside and beat him and dunk him in the ocean with glee) and told him to give one of my stories a try and see what he thought once he’d read it. His answer? He could see The Walking Dead for free on TV. Why should he buy my book? I asked him how he’d made such a score by getting his cable for free and he looked confused and left. I wasn’t trying to be an ass to him (OK, maybe a little) but I wonder how many people think this way when it comes to books and movies about zombies?

Will the average The Walking Dead fan read a zombie book now they’ve been immersed in the series so many seasons if they’d never read a zombie book before, or was it a different customer entirely? I wonder how many zombie readers came into it because of the series? I wonder…




21 thoughts on “Guilty: I write about Zombies but no longer watch The Walking Dead

  1. This made me stop and think. I never watched or read zombie stuff before. Then I got The Walking Dead Season One at Christmas and ended up hooked. I got caught up and became a huge fan. I really liked the characters–how they evolved. But honestly I had not considered reading any zombie books. I am not sure why. I love books. Hell, I write books. When I think about it, I guess I am afraid of being disappointed. How unfair is that? The thing is, I hadn’t really thought of it before. I mean, I want people to be open to my work….

    Ok. So which of your works would you recommend for a zombie book virgin?


    • I did the same thing when I first started, only watching classic zombie movies until I stumbled upon “The Rising” by Brian Keene and was hooked. Then I began my “Dying Days” zombie series and I can’t get enough of the written word when it comes to them. But I was hooked way before season one of TWD, and when it eventually goes away I will still be hooked.



      • I was never interested in Zombies period until I saw the Walking Dead. Never even thought of reading a book about them till meeting Armand and reading “Dying Days”. I am pretty darned hooked. Not to compare it to the tv show, but the pace of the story and your own imagination goes so much further in the written word then on a show or movie. i dig it


  2. It’s sort of funny that the more I read zombie fiction, the farther away I get from liking “The Walking Dead” type stories. For the most part, it’s a one-dimensional look at the adventure/horror genre. I don’t plan to stop watching but with more zombie stories like Warm Bodies getting mainstream press, I don’t think ignoring TWD is putting you out of touch with the zombie genre. In fact, it probably makes you more on the pulse of what’s going on.


  3. Most people can’t see past the end of their nose… Let’s not forget that the series is based on BOOKS, as are most movies and a lot of TV shows. Granted, in this case they’re comic books, but still.

    That said, this season of TWD has been great. But, I do understand where you’re coming from with regards to not watching TV. Honestly, until this season, the only TV I even watched was Supernatural and TWD. This season has been an anomaly for me, with a lot of shows catching my interest. However, two of them have now been canceled and my interest in a third is a bit faded. Now I’m back to TWD and Supernatural again, with only Elementary* remaining outside of those.

    Honestly, TV is just so… BLAH. There are good things on, but they’re few and far between. Besides, TV watching is so PASSIVE. You switch the TV on and you switch your brain off. I usually prefer more engaging entertainment.

    But, I feel like the most egregious comment from this individual is the idea that you’re somehow “out of touch” with the zombie scene if you don’t follow TWD. You are a PART of that scene. TWD is great, but it’s only one facet of a HUGE array of content within the zombie sub-genre.

    I would posit that he is the one who is out of touch, if the sum total of his zombie experience is TWD and that alone.

    Hell, I consider myself a “horror writer”. However, I rarely watch actual horror movies. They’re just not my thing usually. I read plenty of horror novels, but if I don’t watch the movies am I somehow “out of touch” with horror fans? LOL!

    *Elementary is freakin’ badass, by the way.


  4. SciFi has been fighting this same battle for decades. Someone who thinks they have SF cred because they have seen every episode of Star Trek, but never heard of (not just not read, but never heard the names!) Ben Bova or Charles Stross.

    The thing about The Walking Dead show is it is at the end of the sequence. The comic (I’ve read up to issue #48) does some great stuff, but the TV series is a derivative work with a lot of hands in it. It is avant garde for TV, but not the horror genre.

    Writing work based on vibe of The Walking Dead is putting that work even further away from the where the genre is now. Work being written right now is what will define the popular mediums of TV and movies in about 5 to 10 years.


    • As a writer of zombie fiction, I hope some of the TV viewers will switch over to the great literature out there as well. I hope, once the fad runs dry in movies and TV, people will still find the stories that have been around.


  5. If you see that guy again tell him TWD reached its peak when Sophia walked out of the barn and it’ll never get that good again. You may as well have stopped watching at that point.

    As for the quality and sophistication of zombie movies and tv shows being so far behind the literature, well, that happens in every genre and has been frustrating science fiction and fantasy fans for a hundred years.


    • I love TWD, my argument with him wasn’t about where it ‘jumped the shark’ or if it is still good but why he thinks he knows more about zombies than I do, based on a single TV show… I don’t think someone like him will listen to reason, and I hope I don’t ever see him again, to be honest. People like that drain me.


  6. I have to say that I see your point…to a point. I certainly do not believe that a writer of zombie fiction needs to watch The Walking Dead, or any other visual representation. I believe that it might be good to see what is being done, and certainly dial in to where the culture has its eyes focused. However, to that end, The Walking Dead was an exceptional graphic novel LONG BEFORE it came to the screen.

    Do I think that some people will delve into the written word versions of these monsters that people like you and I love so much? Sure…some. But others will let the screen be their only source of input. I feel sorry for non-readers because they are missing out. And as a side note, if somebody wants to know what book of Armand’s is the “must read” in the genre… it is his Miami Spy Games book. So AWESOME. Someday, a gruff old zombie writer will be blogging about not seeing that.


    • Thanks, Todd! I wish more people would read our zombie books, but I know it’s easier to sit and watch it instead of actually having to read… but I will try not to judge them if they stop judging us readers! lol



  7. This reminds me of when I talk to young people about science fiction. All they know is movie and television SF. Written SF is so much richer than media SF, but for the most part its ignored.


  8. I gotta say, we’re very spoilt for choice in modern pop culture. There’s so much out there in the information age,and so much being added every day, that it seems unreasonable to expect people to be in touch with everything. Personally, I don’t think walking dead is bad, but it’s not exactly quintessential. But that’s just my opinion. 🙂


  9. First: I watch TWD and love … Second: I still read zombie stories/books. It’s apples and oranges – two different medias and the enjoyment is not the same. To say you don’t read zombie stories because you watch a tv show is a bit lame. My bet is that he doesn’t read anything.


    • Yes, I’m assuming he doesn’t read at all and has ‘no time for it’… he can get instant satisfaction from an hour TV show without the work of reading something.Sad, since nothing beats a book.



  10. Hi Armand.
    I am a huge fan of TWD and I loved Warm Bodies.
    I just started a collaboration idea and I’m looking to write in different genres (my upcoming book will be fantasy) I want to encourage my readers to read different genres..
    I’m not sure if it interests you or not but take a peek and see what you think.
    Not trying to spam you, wasn’t sure what other way to reach you!


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