Title: Lights, Camera, Zombies!
Author: Kiernan Kelly
Cover Artist: BSClay
Amazon: Buy Link Lights, Camera, Zombies!
Length: 15,400 words
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by K.C. Beaumont
Review Summary: An interesting take on a wildly popular storyline that tried to cram too much information into too few words.
After the Dante Comet passed, the dead rose and demanded their lives back. Trouble was, not everyone was happy to see their dead relatives show up for dinner. Laws were enacted, but
rarely enforced. Zombies kept at least one foot in the grave, working at menial jobs for
less pay than breathers, experiencing discrimination and hatred from almost every quarter.
Jericho and Dex are zombies living very different lives. While both have jobs on a film set,
Jericho is out, hired as a zombie extra, but Dex remains in the closet, passing as a
breather to keep his job as a make-up artist. They keep their relationship to the shadows
for fear it might out Dex, and end with both of them in jail or worse.
When a bigoted director decides the world can do with one less zombie so he can get an
Oscar-worthy death scene, both Jericho and Dex are forced to reexamine their lives and make
some decisions that might tilt their world on its axis.
I was really excited to read this novella, being a frothing-at-the-mouth zombie fan, and was
intrigued by the idea that these zombies just wanted to reenter society and have the chance
to live their lives again. Such a take on a popular theme would have benefited from a longer
One of the things I liked was the humor and witty description sprinkled throughout the
story. Jericho describes one zombie in particular as “a teenage boy who’d had the bad luck
to die with a horrendous case of acne and was now forever stuck with red eruptions covering
his face like a Google map of the Andes.” As a person who still deals with acne in her
thirties, I still found this description rather funny. Jericho’s inner musings were worth
many a chuckle. He’s a funny guy.
I liked the correlation between the zombie theme and contemporary civil rights, particularly
aligning with those within the LGBT community. Some zombies who haven’t started to decay
before reanimating manage to pass as “breathers” and choose to remain in the closet so
they’re treated as equals. “Coming out” means fewer rights than their living brethren, and
staggering discrimination from society and the government. We also see history repeating
itself as segregation is in full force with separate bathrooms, drinking fountains, and
shopping malls. The analogy is certainly a clever one. Zombies don’t want special rights—
they want equal rights, and that is a common struggle for many who don’t have the added
stigma of being undead and “squishy” with decay.
While I loved the unique take on the zombie theme, I felt that the this would have been much
stronger as a longer novella, or even a full-length novel. A simple recounting of the
Internment Camps, and the development of the Zombie Rights Groups, and even Jericho’s
relationship with his family left me feeling a bit cheated out of some interesting
backstory. I also felt the sex scenes were a tad awkward in description and brevity, and
didn’t add an awful lot to the story. I would have rather had them nixed in
favor of delving more into the Dante Comet, for example, and how it brought about The
I enjoyed being in Jericho’s head, but I failed to connect with him and his relationship
with Dex. A few months passed between the two of them meeting and the main conflict with the
story’s villain with little more than passing description. This left no chance for me to
fall in love with the characters and understand how Jericho and Dex were in love with each
other, apart from an obvious physical attraction and their zombie commonality. The conflict
resolution also left much to be desired. It was wrapped up too neatly and was too
anticlimactic for what the severity of the conflict allowed. There was a lot of opportunity
for character development and action that just didn’t happen.
I give Lights, Cameras, Zombies! two and a half stars: One and a half for the original take
on the zombie theme, and one for the humor.