Deck Z: The Titanic: Unsinkable. Undead
by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon
published September 2012 by Chronicle Books LLC
This review may contain spoilers.
This book is one of the most awesome books I’ve ever read about the Titanic.
In Deck Z, a zombie virus breaks out on board the the ship, and Thomas Andrews and Captain Smith team up with a few others to battle walking dead. None of this actually happened in real life, of course, except the part about the ship sinking, but that doesn’t matter. I’d still recommend it to any person who counts the study of the Titanic among their hobbies.
I’m not a fan of the whole zombie apocalypse trend that’s been popular in the last few years. With the way the world is today, I do not want to spend my free time fantasizing about what it would be like to be one of the handful of people who survives in a world where most of the population has been turned into zombies. I suspect that this book is a product of the craze, but I didn’t care about any of that when I found it. I could not resist the opportunity to read Deck Z, which, though fiction, offers such a different perspective of the disaster.
As a person who’s been studying the Titanic since childhood, I’ve read my fair share of books about the ship, its people, and its foundering. I haven’t read much fiction about the ship, though. I’ve read some fanfiction (I’ve even written some), but now that I think about it, I can’t recall reading one fiction book about the Titanic. That’s so odd because I know that these books exist. I guess you could count Zero: 999, an interactive graphic novel that I recently completed. And of course, I’ve played games based on it. My absolute favorite was the computer game Titanic: Adventure Out of Time, but there was also Titanic: The Board Game.
I love how Captain Smith is portrayed in Deck Z. He’s one of the major heroes in the story, and he wields a bad-ass sword (which he uses to skillfully decapitate zombies). In many fiction films I’ve watched, Smith seems to be relegated to almost a supporting role in all the drama of the night. He’s the captain—it’s awesome that he gets a starring role in Deck Z.
Thomas Andrews also gets the star treatment here. How? Let’s just say that homemade grenades made out of squash balls are involved. Pure awesomeness.
I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed Deck Z. The only reason it caught my attention in the first place was the Titanic connection, and I expected it to be mediocre at best. But surprise, surprise–the plot and the writing are actually good! I’ve always wanted the chance to walk Titanic’s decks (I kind of already have if you can count visiting the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge). While I can’t say that I ever wanted to do this during an outbreak of a zombie virus, reading Deck Z made me feel like I was right there in the middle of the action. This book is a must-read for anyone who’s read extensively about the Titanic and may want a change of pace on the topic.