"Paul is Undead"
by Alan Goldsher
read by Simon Vance
published by Blackstone Audio (2010)
Approx 8 hours
As the kids say, "OMG," I am still giggling thinking about this book and I finished it 2 days ago. "Paul is Undead" has got to be one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. This book is written in the format of the many biographies of rock stars in that it is a series of interviews that tell the story. This time though the story is not the story we all know as the rise of The Beatles to the "Toppermost of the Poppermost," a phrase used by John Lennon throughout the book and the definition is not fully understood until the very end.
In the tradition of all the horror mashups that have been released recently, (e. g. "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," and "Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters," and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") Alan Goldsher gives it a go, mashing up the supernatural and the Beatles. The entire history of The Beatles is retold with The Beatles now being Zombies and wanting to take over the world. Okay, really only 3 of the Beatles are zombies, Ringo is a 7th level Ninja, of course.
When you rush out to get this book, I would HIGHLY recommend getting the audiobook version. Simon Vance does a superb job of not just reading the book but performing it as well. Vance does his best impression of all celebrities mentioned in the book including the Fab 4, but with more, he does the voice of the Chicago reporter who is writing the book, Mick Jagger, Ed Sullivan, Elvis, Rod Argent, Yoko Ono, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Satan and more. At times I felt as though I were listening to an audio biography produced by Ken Burns (but without the long drawn out scenes.) Vance had me laughing out loud with my headphones on with his presentation of this already hilarious book.
The book opens with Howard Cosell breaking in and announcing the attempted beheading of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman. Lennon's head is reattached and Chapman is arrested. From there we go back to the birth of John Lennon when as he came out of the womb he was zombified via the "Liverpool Process." The "Liverpool Process" of creating zombies is different from many other zombie creations known around the world. The "Liverpool Process" produces a super human zombie that can think, has supernatural powers, great speed, can hypnotize anyone, and can tear off and reattach any limb and more. Oh they still hunger for the gray matter but they can also eat , drink and experiment with drugs, the brain eating is saved for special occasions.
John then recruits/turns Paul and the duo are unstoppable, George Harrison is turned by Paul because John thinks he is too young. Stu Sutcliffe doesn't get turned to a zombie instead after quitting the Beatles he becomes a vampire. After the three play a few gigs they realize they need to replace Pete Best because they need a drummer who can protect the band. Enter Ringo Starr, a 7th level ninja, who can turn himself invisible (great subtle joke there).
Sure they have their problems, after all the world doesn't quite know what to do with zombies, but they make great music. Even worse, world renowned zombie hunter, Mick Jagger, is always trying to destroy them. Rod Argent is accused of riding the Beatles' coattails by naming his band The Zombies, even though they aren't undead. Roy Orbison is a deity of unknown proportion who doesn't allow Paul to steal his glasses. Smoking marijuana creates zombie flatulence which creates a purple haze of a more potent material that takes Bob Dylan by surprise. The Mahareshi Yogi gets dismembered, and finally Yoko Ono a 9th level ninja, has it out for Ringo.
All the stories are there, from their first Ed Sullivan appearance, the Shea Stadium troubles, and the band playing a concert on the rooftop of Abbey Road Studios, but with the hilarious zombie twist. For any Beatles fan this book is a must, it will have you laughing throughout.
Lots of gory laughs to be had.