In the United Federation of Sectors, a nation of 13 Sectors altogether, the creatures of the forest, lagoon, and full moon are all real, races from beyond have landed, and the dead walk the Earth – but that’s not the real issue these days.
After the Sectors began to pass proper laws for that sort of thing, Humans and the Other-Worldly Beings (or “OWBs”) are now fairly co-existent, both together and within each other’s broad spectrum of individuals. Sure, there are Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies – but nobody gets turned without a permit and proper medical procedure these days. Helping this co-existence are people like Vic, an Ambassador for Serenity, and one of the 26 few identified as being able to keep his Sector in line. With Humans rarely holding a majority anywhere these days, one of the few groups more looked-down-upon are the Zombies, feared for their oft-inflated tendencies to become Rabid and kill. When two of exactly such Zombies manage to escape their Sector’s secured borders, hostilities brew to action on Vic’s doorstep as new “Fight Don’t Flee” laws are pushed to the forefront of public opinion, harkening back to an old thesis: The Miseducation of the Zombie, naming the new supernatural novel by Timothe Davis.
The book is a strange genre-mash of all kinds of supernatural staples in a fairly regular modern setting, giving rise to equal parts comedy and Noir. Vic’s job means he encounters all sorts of unique characters, catching glimpses of the fairytale world that seems to lack the matching ending for its residents. The waxing lyric of the Ambassador’s monologue is informative, tinged with his own perhaps misguided myriad views of affairs (even using outdated terms like “Monster” regularly), yet lacks a decent sense of direction at times, peppered with asides ranging from hilarious to plain bizarre.
It’s hardly more than a game of “spot the doppelgänger,” as themes integrated in the book can be easily seen as relabeled terms and ideas from modern America. While this is quite obviously the point, characters and groups play their roles mostly as stereotypes, communicating their facets at a surface level. This forces a change of subject fairly quickly to maintain pace. Many details are introduced as little more than throwaway gags and puns, from leprechaun Lucky Charms jokes to a nation officially referred to as “The Land of Milk and Honey.”
With such excessive stereotyping (down to a marriage equality movement for Fairies), and overstuffed comedic pace, it becomes difficult to grasp the world as anything more than Absurdist fiction, despite so strongly drawing parallels between its world and reality, points clearly not meant to be taken lightly.
The book is parody in the most basic sense, and only barely explores the deeper implications of its own original setting, but hovers on a decent premise – Miseducation only just breaches the surface of a potentially-significantly more unique, intriguing book, but maybe this could be developed in later works. Nonetheless, it’s an enjoyable read. The book is very easy to pick up, complete with an attractive cover to boot, and it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to begin jumping into Vic’s strange life as his sleepless nights get worse bit by bite.
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