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Intensely Focused

I'm not obsessed, I'm just intensely focued.

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Home Improvement: Undead Edition
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Arthur Conan Doyle
The G.O.R.E. Score: A Review Guide to All Things Zombie - Tony Schaab This is a collection of reviews from a website dedicated to reviewing zombie related material. Schaab reviews movies & TV episodes, books, graphic novels, music and video games and his interest in media seems to be in that order. Personally, my interest is as follows: books, video games, movies, graphic novels, music.

The first time I read the introduction I managed to miss that he was going for more obscure titles though it didn't take long for me to realize that was the purpose based on the content he reviewed. I think it's commendable but I also found myself distracted by the core things that were missing (but occasionally referenced).

Each thing is given a G.O.R.E. score.

G - General entertainment
O - Originality
R - Realism (This doesn't necessarily mean actual realism. Schaab is willing to suspend disbelief. But points are lost for things such as continuity errors).
E - Editing/technical.

The number is then divided by four to give the final rating.

Actual gore seems important to Schaab and can also figure into the score. Personally, I want to know a zombie is a zombie but don't require large amounts of blood and intestines.

Unfortunately, if I were using Mr. Schaab's system I'd have to deduct points in the editing category.

His writing style is fine for the more permissive web where some or all of these reviews first appeared. There are references to reviews that are new for the book but they aren't distinguished from the existing web reviews in any way. There were several times I found myself thinking that he should tighten things up on a sentence level. (N.B. I don't claim to be a shining example of a reviewer, far from it. But I also have my review on review sites like this rather than an entire personal website and book dedicated to reviews).

Although he calls himself a Grammar Nut he repeatedly commits a grammatical sin that's inexcusable no matter what the medium. He is overly fond of the word "unique" and it occurs at least once (but often two or three times) in probably 95% of his reviews. This would be nothing more than a mildly irritating verbal quirk were it not for the fact that he insists on placing a modifier in front of it the vast majority of the time. The word unique literally means one of a kind. Therefore, something cannot be "very unique" "pretty unique" or "so unique." A thing is unique or it is not. It may not bother most readers but I found it very distracting.

Movies & TV Shows:
I think it's pretty clear this is where Mr. Schaab's primary interest lies. In fact, I believe there's a reference to a forthcoming book that's just dedicated to zombie movies. There's an interesting mix of notorious and well known films. I'm not sure how useful reviews of individual episodes of serial programs are. I'm not sure you get much out of a random episode of X-Files or Dr. Who without the larger context of the series.

What's missing: 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead. I believe both are referenced but neither is reviewed.

The two books I think absolutely must be included, Max Brooks'World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and ]The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead, were given glowing reviews. He also liked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which I didn't care for. There are a couple of reviews of books published by a small press which will also be publishing his forthcoming novel as well as a review of a self-published book under a creative commons license. I couldn't help feeling like he didn't enjoy reading as much as the movies and tv shows, though I can't pinpoint anything specific. There was one book mentioned that sounded interesting but generally speaking I wish there had been more books included.

What's missing: Books from Permuted Press, which is one my go to publishers for zombie and post-apocalyptic fiction (for example Day by Day Armageddon and Plague of the Dead). Dead City and Autumn are also core novels. For the lesser known I would suggest The Living Dead or Bone Song. I'd also strongly suggest Feed but it may have been published too late to be included.

Graphic Novels:
This is almost exclusively the Marvel Zombies series, although I believe one other graphic novel is mentioned. I'm not particularly into graphic novels so I don't have a lot to add. I'm not familiar with the Marvel universe beyond the basics.

What's missing: The Walking Dead. Even before the TV show I think it was the go to series for graphic novels. They're referenced but not reviewed.

He only reviews the songs from one album on the Internet. It certainly sounds interesting but since it's the only entry in the category I think it may have been better to eliminate music and maybe include it in the introduction.

What's missing: They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh! by Sufjan Stevens (opening lines: We are awakened with the axe/night of the living dead at last) and re: Your Brains by Jonathan Coulton

Video Games:
Unfortunately, this section was more like an endorsement of the Wii than anything else. Despite the wide consensus that Dead Rising on the Wii is inferior to the 360 version it's the Wii version that's reviewed.

What's missing: Left 4 Dead (available on xbox 360 and PC/Mac). Each campaign only takes an hour to an hour and a half and could have been played on a computer relatively inexpensively.