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How Brian Keene Reinvented the Zombie Genre with The Rising (PDF)


The Rising by Brian Keene: A Review




If you are a fan of zombie fiction, you have probably heard of The Rising by Brian Keene. This novel, published in 2003, is one of the most popular and influential works in the genre, spawning a sequel, a comic book adaptation, and countless imitations. But what makes this book so special? In this review, I will try to answer that question by analyzing its plot, themes, style, and reception.




THE RISING Brian Keene.pdf


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The Plot




The Rising is set in a world where a mysterious event has caused the dead to rise from their graves and attack the living. These zombies are not mindless flesh-eaters, but intelligent and malicious creatures that can use weapons, communicate, and even drive vehicles. They are also possessed by demonic entities that claim to be from another dimension.


The story follows Jim Thurmond, a father who is trapped in a bunker in West Virginia after his wife becomes a zombie and tries to kill him. He receives a phone call from his son Danny, who is alive and hiding in a boarding school in New Jersey. Jim decides to leave his shelter and embark on a perilous journey across a post-apocalyptic landscape to find his son.


Along the way, he meets other survivors who join him in his quest, such as Martin, an elderly preacher who still clings to his faith; Frankie, a former heroin addict who has a strong will to live; Baker, a soldier who has gone rogue; and Mouse, a young girl who has lost her family. Together, they face hordes of zombies, hostile humans, and other dangers as they try to reach Danny before it's too late.


The Themes




Horror




One of the main themes of The Rising is horror. The book creates a sense of dread and terror through its depiction of zombies and their origins. Unlike most zombie stories, where the cause of the outbreak is unknown or irrelevant, The Rising reveals that the zombies are actually vessels for evil spirits that have invaded Earth through a scientific experiment gone wrong.


This adds a supernatural and cosmic element to the horror, as well as a moral one. The zombies are not just mindless monsters, but agents of evil that want to destroy humanity and claim Earth as their own. They also have personalities and memories of their former lives, which makes them more disturbing and tragic.


The book also shows how the horror affects the characters psychologically and emotionally. Jim struggles with guilt over his wife's death and his failure to protect his son. Martin questions his faith and his role as a man of God. Frankie suffers from withdrawal symptoms and flashbacks of her past. Baker becomes obsessed with revenge and violence. Mouse is traumatized by the loss of her family and the horrors she witnesses. The book does not shy away from showing the dark and brutal side of human nature in the face of apocalypse.


Survival




Another theme of The Rising is survival. The book explores the challenges and choices faced by the survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Jim and his companions have to deal with scarce resources, hostile environments, and constant threats from zombies and humans alike. They have to make difficult decisions about who to trust, who to help, and who to leave behind.


The book also shows how the characters cope with their situation and find reasons to live. Jim is motivated by his love for his son and his hope to reunite with him. Martin is inspired by his faith and his duty to help others. Frankie is driven by her desire to overcome her addiction and redeem herself. Baker is fueled by his loyalty to his comrades and his hatred for the zombies. Mouse is comforted by her friendship with Jim and her innocence.


The book also raises questions about what it means to survive in a world gone mad. How far would you go to protect yourself and your loved ones? What would you sacrifice for the greater good? What would you do if you had nothing left to lose? The book does not offer easy answers, but challenges the reader to think about their own values and morals.


Faith




A third theme of The Rising is faith. The book examines the role of religion and spirituality in a world where evil seems to have triumphed over good. Martin, as a preacher, represents the voice of faith in the story. He believes that the zombie invasion is a sign of the end times and that God has a plan for humanity. He tries to spread the word of God and offer hope and comfort to the survivors.


However, his faith is tested by the horrors he witnesses and the doubts he faces. He wonders why God would allow such evil to exist and why he would abandon his children. He also questions his own actions and whether he is truly following God's will or his own ego.


The book also shows how other characters react to Martin's faith. Some, like Jim and Frankie, respect him and appreciate his kindness, but do not share his beliefs. Others, like Baker and Mouse, are skeptical or indifferent to his preaching. Still others, like some of the human antagonists, mock him or try to kill him.


The book does not take a definitive stance on religion, but rather presents it as a complex and personal issue that can be a source of strength or weakness, depending on how one uses it.


The Style




Writing




The Rising uses language, dialogue, and narration to tell the story in an effective and engaging way. The language is simple and direct, but also descriptive and vivid. The dialogue is realistic and natural, but also witty and memorable. The narration is fast-paced and suspenseful, but also emotional and insightful.


The book uses different types of language to create different effects. For example, it uses slang, profanity, and humor to convey the personalities and attitudes of the characters. It uses metaphors, similes, and imagery to create vivid pictures of the settings and events. It uses repetition, parallelism, and contrast to emphasize important points and themes.


The book also uses different types of dialogue to reveal character traits and relationships. For example, it uses banter, jokes, and sarcasm to show the camaraderie and tension among the survivors. It uses confessions, arguments, and speeches to show the conflicts and emotions of the characters. It uses questions, answers, and exclamations to show the curiosity, confusion, and fear of the characters.


The book also uses different types of narration to create suspense and coherence. For example, it uses short sentences, paragraphs, and chapters to create a sense of urgency and action. It uses cliffhangers, twists, and surprises to keep the reader hooked and guessing. It uses flashbacks, foreshadowing, and hints to provide background information and clues.


Structure




The Rising organizes its chapters, scenes, and perspectives in a way that creates suspense and coherence. The book consists of 48 chapters that are divided into four parts: Part One: The Call; Part Two: The Journey; Part Three: The Siege; Part Four: The Rising.


The chapters are short and focused on one or two scenes that advance the plot or develop the characters. The scenes are # Article with HTML formatting (continued) The Style




Structure




The Rising organizes its chapters, scenes, and perspectives in a way that creates suspense and coherence. The book consists of 48 chapters that are divided into four parts: Part One: The Call; Part Two: The Journey; Part Three: The Siege; Part Four: The Rising.


The chapters are short and focused on one or two scenes that advance the plot or develop the characters. The scenes are alternately set in different locations and time periods, showing the events from different angles and creating a sense of simultaneity and connection. The scenes are also arranged in a nonlinear and nonchronological order, jumping back and forth in time and space, creating a sense of mystery and confusion.


The book also uses different perspectives to tell the story. The book is written in third-person limited point of view, switching between the main characters and some minor ones. This allows the reader to get into the minds and emotions of the characters, as well as to see the bigger picture of the situation. The book also uses first-person point of view in some chapters, where the characters address the reader directly or write in their journals. This creates a sense of intimacy and urgency, as well as a contrast between the subjective and objective views of reality.


Genre




The Rising fits into the zombie genre, but also subverts some of its conventions. The book is influenced by classic zombie works, such as George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, as well as by other horror and science fiction works, such as H.P. Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror and Stephen King's The Stand. The book follows some of the typical elements of zombie fiction, such as the outbreak of a deadly virus, the collapse of civilization, the survival of a small group of humans, and the confrontation with zombies and other enemies.


However, the book also challenges some of the clichés and expectations of zombie fiction, such as the nature and origin of zombies, the role and fate of humans, and the tone and message of the story. The book presents zombies as intelligent and evil beings that are controlled by demonic forces, rather than as mindless and infected creatures that are driven by hunger. The book also portrays humans as flawed and conflicted beings that are capable of both good and evil, rather than as heroic and noble beings that are superior to zombies. The book also ends with a bleak and ambiguous climax that leaves the reader with more questions than answers, rather than with a hopeful and clear resolution that restores order and justice.


The Reception




Critical




The Rising was received by critics and reviewers with mixed reactions when it was first published and later. Some praised the book for its originality, creativity, and intensity, calling it a masterpiece of horror fiction that revitalized the zombie genre. Some also appreciated the book for its depth, complexity, and relevance, saying that it explored important themes and issues that resonated with the contemporary world.


However, some criticized the book for its flaws, inconsistencies, and weaknesses, calling it a failure of horror fiction that ruined the zombie genre. Some also disliked the book for its violence, profanity, and negativity, saying that it was too graphic, vulgar, and depressing for their taste.


The book received several awards and nominations for its quality and impact. It won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 2003 , the Dead Letter Award for Best Novel in 2004 , and the World Horror Grandmaster Award in 2014 . It was also nominated for several other awards, such as the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel in 2003 and the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 2004 .


Popular




The Rising became a bestseller and influenced other works of zombie fiction and media. The book sold over 100,000 copies in its first year of publication and was translated into several languages, such as German, Spanish, French, and Japanese . The book also inspired a sequel, City of the Dead, which was published in 2005 and continued the story of Jim and his son. The book also inspired a comic book adaptation, The Rising: Necrophobia, which was published in 2004 and featured four stories set in the same universe. The book also inspired a collection of short stories, The Rising: Selected Scenes from the End of the World, which was published in 2007 and featured stories by Brian Keene and other authors that expanded the world of The Rising.


The book also influenced other authors and filmmakers who created their own works of zombie fiction and media. Some of these works include World War Z by Max Brooks, The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, 28 Days Later by Danny Boyle, and Dawn of the Dead by Zack Snyder. These works borrowed some of the ideas and elements of The Rising, such as the intelligent and supernatural zombies, the diverse and dynamic characters, and the bleak and ambiguous tone.


Personal




I enjoyed The Rising and learned a lot from it. I found the book to be thrilling, terrifying, and fascinating. I liked the book for its originality, creativity, and intensity. I was impressed by the way the book reinvented the zombie genre and added new twists and dimensions to it. I was also captivated by the way the book told the story and developed the characters.


I also appreciated the book for its depth, complexity, and relevance. I thought the book explored important themes and issues that resonated with me and with the contemporary world. I was also challenged by the way the book raised questions and dilemmas that made me think about my own values and morals.


I would recommend The Rising to others who are interested in horror fiction, zombie fiction, or just a good story. I think the book is a great example of how horror fiction can be entertaining, innovative, and meaningful at the same time. I think the book is also a great way to experience a different perspective on reality and humanity.


Conclusion




In conclusion, The Rising by Brian Keene is a remarkable work of horror fiction that revitalized the zombie genre. The book has a captivating plot, rich themes, effective style, and mixed reception. The book is not only a thrilling and terrifying story, but also a deep and relevant one. The book is one of my favorite books and one that I would recommend to others.


Frequently Asked Questions




  • What is the main conflict in The Rising?



The main conflict in The Rising is between humans and zombies, who are possessed by evil spirits that want to destroy humanity and claim Earth as their own.


  • Who are the main characters in The Rising?



The main characters in The Rising are Jim Thurmond, a father who is trying to find his son Danny; Martin, an elderly preacher who still clings to his faith; Frankie, a former heroin addict who has a strong will to live; Baker, a soldier who has gone rogue; and Mouse, a young girl who has lost her family.


  • How does The Rising end?



The Rising ends with a bleak and ambiguous climax that leaves the reader with more questions than answers. Jim finally reaches Danny's school, but finds out that he has been turned into a zombie. Jim shoots him in the head, but then realizes that he might have killed his son's soul as well. Jim then decides to kill himself as well, but before he can pull the trigger, he hears Danny's voice in his head, telling him not to do it. Jim then sees a bright light in the sky, which could be either a nuclear explosion or a divine intervention.


  • What is the sequel to The Rising?



# Article with HTML formatting (continued) Frequently Asked Questions




  • What is the main conflict in The Rising?



The main conflict in The Rising is between humans and zombies, who are possessed by evil spirits that want to destroy humanity and claim Earth as their own.


  • Who are the main characters in The Rising?



The main characters in The Rising are Jim Thurmond, a father who is trying to find his son Danny; Martin, an elderly preacher who still clings to his faith; Frankie, a former heroin addict who has a strong will to live; Baker, a soldier who has gone rogue; and Mouse, a young girl who has lost her family.


  • How does The Rising end?



The Rising ends with a bleak and ambiguous climax that leaves the reader with more questions than answers. Jim finally reaches Danny's school, but finds out that he has been turned into a zombie. Jim shoots him in the head, but then realizes that he might have killed his son's soul as well. Jim then decides to kill himself as well, but before he can pull the trigger, he hears Danny's voice in his head, telling him not to do it. Jim then sees a bright light in the sky, which could be either a nuclear explosion or a divine intervention.


  • What is the sequel to The Rising?



The sequel to The Rising is City of the Dead, which was published in 2005 and continued the story of Jim and his son. The sequel reveals that Jim did not kill himself or Danny, but instead joined forces with other survivors who had escaped from a fortified skyscraper in New York City. Together, they try to find a way to stop the zombies and their demonic masters from destroying the world.


  • Who is Brian Keene and what are his other works?



Brian Keene is an American author and podcaster who is primarily known for his work in horror, dark fantasy, crime fiction, and comic books. He has won several awards and honors for his writing, such as the World Horror Grandmaster Award and two Bram Stoker Awards. He has also written for media properties such as Doctor Who, Hellboy, Masters of the Universe, and Superman. Some of his other works include The Conqueror Worms, Ghoul, The Complex, Dark Hollow, and Kill Whitey.


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