Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 11649
date submitted 25.11.2009
date updated 15.07.2012
genres: Horror, Comedy
classification: moderate
incomplete

"I've Been Deader"

Adam Sifre

Being undead never felt more alive. Fred's just an ordinary zombie until one day he learns a trick.

 

The undead had a good run at the beginning, but once the breathers get organized, it's only a matter of time before zombies go the way of pet rocks and sea monkeys. They need a hero. They need Fred. Fred is a natural dead leader with a flair for poetry and a fierce love for his son, Timmy. Unfortunately, as far as the undead are concerned, the only good Timmy is a dead Timmy.

Things look grim for the undead until Fred flies into a rage trying to make popcorn and discovers he has a talent for controlling zombies. Now the undead are organized and, like the unions, in a position to destroy America. Is there no one who can stop them? More importantly, do we want them to?

"I've Been Deader" tells its story through a series of short chapters designed to read like flash fiction. Today's readers want it fast, short and entertaining, and that's what I give them.

Stick around. We'll have some fun.

 
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tags

comedy, horror, yuks, zombie

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HarperCollins Wrote

‘I’ve Been Deader’ review

‘I’ve Been Deader’ is a comedy-horror novel about a sudden uprising of zombies in America. Unlike more traditional zombie narratives, ‘I’ve Been Deader’ provides the reader with the unusual perspective of one of the ‘undead’, Fred. Unlike more traditional zombies, Fred is a ‘thinker’ and preserves memories of himself from his life; most significantly, memories of his son, Timmy. As the novel progresses, Fred discovers that he has the capacity to control other zombies. Through his ingenuity, the ‘undead’ have an outside chance of triumphing over the living.

My first reaction to this book was torn. On the one hand, it would be a difficult title to market: the writing is crass in places and occasionally clichéd; the characters are hyperbolised and largely disagreeable; and the narrative does not fit easily within any set genre. However, despite this, I found myself enjoying the reading experience and eager to continue. Whilst the comedy standard was rarely “laugh out loud”, there were moments of brilliance and, generally, a confident use of form and language that overrode many of the other issues. I have read a good number of books on authonomy and I believe this included a collection of “Shorts” by the same author, which also illustrated the same sense of craft and strong narrative voice.

To improve this book’s appeal to publishers, there are a number of edits that I’d suggest the author consider. Firstly, I often found the comedy a little too tactless and self-conscious. The humour in ‘I’ve Been Deader’ works best when it is character and/or action focussed (Jon Tanner’s conversion to a dark warrior; Stanley laughing hysterically as he prepares to burn Janet’s body; Osbourne’s bugbears about grammar – I could go on). In contrast, quips and puns voiced by the narrative often came across as either forced or overly culturally specific – sometimes both. I’m thinking specifically of lines like:

“The zombie virus, if it was a virus, had spread like wildfire, completely surprising the shit out of the world, except maybe for Haiti.”

“Those cheap fluorescents could make Mel Gibson look like a Jew at a KKK bake sale.”

Such lines generally felt like ‘cheap’ one-liners that added nothing to the reading experience. They also mean that the book will age very quickly, and may well be alienating for non-American readers. On a similar note, I found the narrative could, at times, be overly sarcastic towards the characters, which often distracted from the characterisation. For example, when describing Ellen’s fear of technology, it is not really necessary to include “shudder” in parenthesis – we’ve already been told that she finds the internet “vaguely horrifying”.

What I liked most about this novel was the construction. Rounded, stand-alone chapters that read almost as pieces of flash-fiction are very appropriate for the growing market of modern readers who expect content to be bite-sized. Occasionally this resulted in moments of repetition, but these were rare and, as with many of the other areas of weakness in the manuscript, could easily be edited out.

Even with these revisions, the question of whether this novel is too ‘niche’ to be taken on by any major publishing house will likely remain; however, there is sometimes a place for eccentricity. I was unexpectedly impressed by the chapters that I read and would be very happy to read a complete manuscript.

Sofistikat wrote 1172 days ago

Well Splinker, here I am, very respectfully taking off my imaginery hat in order to bow down to you in total awe.

Never would I have believed that I would read a Zombie story, let alone discover a fresh and fabulously funny twist to it all!

I went all the way through. Could not help myself. And now, like all those happy folk of Comfort Colorado, I want more! Yep, I definitely have a hunger for more of this particular story!

Apart from a few minor typos and errors, I cannot in all seriousness fault your work at all. Loved the characters, loved the story, and the way it kept me guessing, laughing and (I'll admit it) terrified in places!

I take back everything I said about Sean of the Dead being the pinnacle of this genre. You've got something here that I want to see made into a movie one day, and I will happily back your book all the way to the presser!!!

Skip Mahaffey wrote 1155 days ago

Should I be worried that this is one of my most favorite stories I've read since I joined Authonomy?

Should I be worried that I kinda like Fred?

Well done. In no time, I am six chapters into this story and (like a good skull full or brains) I want more!

Look forward to finishing up Fred's adventure.

One note: There is a place at the end of chapter 5 where you used a lower case 'r' in 'Rose.'

Other than that I have nothing to add but: "Braaiiinnnsss"

Br Brilliant!
Skip-
Adventures With My Father (who is NOT a zombie)

Caitlyn McRae wrote 1110 days ago

Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. I love Zombie anything and this tops anything I have ever read or watched. When I started reading, I couldn't stop.
My family is a little concerned that I get around the house in Zombie pose going "Brrraaaaiinsssss".
Your writing style is very tight and flows well but mostly I'm impressed with your sense of humour which is evident in every aspect of your concept; characters, society and plot.
Can't rave about this enough! Great work

lizjrnm wrote 23 days ago

Why am I backing this? I'm so confused.

SistersNoire wrote 644 days ago

I've Been Deader by Adam Sifre is a zombie book. You may groan audibly at the prospect of yet more zombies but it's actually rather different. Pitched as a comedy horror by its creator, the comedy is black, but I found it much more serious than I'd expected, especially after the halfway point.

It took me a little while to get into the book, I felt the opening was more slapstick than the rest of the story - I thought it was going to be some sort of bizarre "good" zombie love story at the outset, but boy was I wrong.

Adam establishes the rules of his undead horde quickly - they are much like all the other zombies we know and love, but there's some brilliant, gory description to prop them up. There's also Fred, one of the primary protagonists who, as it happens, is a zombie himself.

The difference between Fred, (45, pot belly and limp, bitten by clerk), is that he's a thinking zombie who remembers his past life. He also learns he can control other zombies. The problems, though, are evident. He has no hang-ups over eating brains like his brothers, he enjoys them as much as your next zombie. He's also falling apart and to top it off, he thinks he's fallen in love with Aleta, a "breather" (human, not zombie), with amazing eyes. Also, "breathers" are fewer and farther between so he's hungry and of late they appear to be fighting back; it's almost as if they're going to win the war.

I enjoyed reading about the initial spread of the virus immensely - George Potts the overly-friendly zombie postman and also scenes like Janet and the severely hen-pecked Stanley and also the penis incident. I did feel we were, at times, learning about slightly throwaway characters when we perhaps should have been concentrating more on the main players, but this changed as the story progressed and on the whole I thought the descent into madness and anarchy in the world of zombies was well played.

We are also notably treated to Jon Tanner's evil descent (a truly mad bastard) and Timmy, a kid heading for what could possibly send the dead back to the grave and a reunion with his dad, who just happens to be a zombie.

Overall I've Been Deader is a great, snappy read and suitably different from similar books. I look forward to what Adam Sifre will cook up next - by the looks of it, a prequel.

Tod Schneider wrote 702 days ago

This cracks me up! I like your sense of humor and your word play. Good luck with this!
-- Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

ses7 wrote 772 days ago

I’VE BEEN DEADER

This story has such a strong, humorous voice that it sucks me right in. The language is tight and witty, and I never thought I was much of a zombie-story reader, but this is hilarious. I could put up with this. I especially love the last line of chapter 1 where he says: “In his mind it was a happy, catchy tune. But when he hummed it, it sounded a lot like ‘Braaiinnss…’”

Your prose is so tight, and your writing gets right to the point. This is why I named you the winner of the first March Madness round. Well done!

interabang wrote 873 days ago

Here it is - you've found it - the best book ever written. (This and 'Take A Breather', of course.)

Exaggerating, am I? Has Tolstoy, or Tolkien, or Twain, ever penned anything with quite so many 'braaiins'?
(No? I thought not.)

Being facetious, you say? I say you haven't read 'I've Been Deader' yet. (Poor thing - you've probably never heard of it 'til just now.)

Stop wasting precious seconds! Read!

K.T.Bowman wrote 880 days ago

Having read the prequel and being left wanting more, I've read this too :)

Again, I like the style used, the chapters that are almost mini-stories themselves. Fred is definitely my favourite of these. I love the disparity between what he thinks and what he ends up saying! It's a nice touch.

Some of the pop culture references might get a bit dated, like Ashton Kutcher being mentioned. I barely know who that boy is now, in ten years he'll probably be even more obscure!

The chapter with Karen in the wardrobe really stuck with me, it's a bit terrifying.

I wasn't 100% at the end of chapter 10 about whether Fred had actually eaten Aleta. It probably becomes clear later on but I'm guessing he did. The poem certainly seems to say so.

The only part that seemed unbelievable was Kelly biting Osborne's dick off. Only because I can't imagine (no pun intended) how hard that would be! I can see her biting it, but managing to get the head clean off.... I tried to ask my boyfriend whether this was possible, but he's too busy moaning and cringing now. All I'm thinking is, I reckon it'd be more difficult than one single bite to take a section out.

Really enjoyed this :) I'm not even one for zombies normally, but Fred is somehow a very likable character, despite his decrepit appearance and desire for human flesh. Just his story would keep me reading.

KT

Lisa Scullard wrote 893 days ago

Had to put this one back on my shelf, because I can't see 'Take A Breather' :(

xx :)

kelliewallace23 wrote 938 days ago

I have to admit i love zombie stories. I love the detail in the opening chapter. Im going to rate this now!

WiSpY wrote 985 days ago

Wow - HC liked it ... this is unusual. BTW, the except Haiti comment (which I hadn't read) made me lol, so, so much for that comment!

Well done little dog puppet, well done.

andrew DOYLE wrote 1033 days ago

well done keep at it....it may take time to get full appraise but the Ed's desk is a great indicator...
Andrew David Doyle

Steve Games wrote 1034 days ago

I've read badder.

Brooklyn Writer wrote 1036 days ago

Just a thought after reading the HC review. You might consider Quark Press. My guess would be they don't take unsolicited, but it's a worth a shot.

Amanuensis wrote 1038 days ago

More yuks and laughs than your average zombie-inspired masterpiece. Congratulations on such an excellent HC review. (I was 'unexpectedly impressed' by the reviewer.)

Vixen Vex wrote 1039 days ago

Oh this is great! I can see how you made the editor desk. Do you have the review yet?

dannymckune wrote 1064 days ago

What can I say? Absolutely loved it.
Let me know when it's available - I would definately buy. It's a winner.
Congrats!

Rebekah White wrote 1064 days ago

Sheer brilliance! I haven't read anything that's left me feeling horrified and physically aching from laughter at the same time! Really witty, gritty book, reading this makes me wish I could have come up with this - it's fantastic!

Bill Scott wrote 1067 days ago

I see how you shot to the desk so quickly this is very fresh. My heart was racing with little Karen in the closet. Well done. I think there may be one typo--Easier to run into zombies out there then the one downstairs Chpt 4 is that supposed to be than? If that's your biggest problem your golden. Anxious to hear what HC has to say.

Best of luck
This is one I'll buy when it comes out in print.
Bill Scott
Haktaw Heart

Locoduc wrote 1079 days ago

I love it. Will be adding it to the shelf. Don't forget to check mine when you have time.

LuvsikPuppy wrote 1080 days ago

I just read Chapter 15. It's fast-paced and very 'visual', by which I mean that it creates the images in my head like I'm watching a film. Description of Jon's pain and the onset of a headache is so accurate it hurt. (I had to take Paracetamol). You have a slick way of offsetting the horror with humour. Loved the 'prom' queen - she must be a beauty. LOL. This would make such a good film. I know a crowd of "20 somethings" who would become addicted to it in no time. (Mental note to advise the one who reads to join up here and read this.)
You said in your thread it wasn't polished yet, maybe not, but don't polish it so much it loses its shine.
Will be interesting to see what HC have to say about this.


strachan gordon wrote 1081 days ago

Well,this is a cunning and clever book,the author seems very sure of himself in this milieu(unknown to me except at a very great distance.),and he clearly indicates(the zombies interest in the girl)what is to come to keep us reading.I would not be surprised at all if this reached a much wider public,Strachan Gordon.great title.

Red2u wrote 1082 days ago

Congrats on reaching the desk! Can't seem to send you a message so have left one here.
Red

bmlg wrote 1087 days ago

Honestly I have no useful crit to offer. I've Been Deader is pretty much good to go (lurch?). This is a gross, funny read with heart, along the lines of S.G. Browne's novel Breathers. Good luck with it!

Set Like Jelly wrote 1087 days ago

I'm sorry if this comes across as overly negative but having read the first 5 parts of this book i've discovered a major flaw. Basically...you're not published! What the hell is up with that? I dont have enough time to read books on this site :-( Thats ok for most, i'll just dip in and out and make a journey out of them. But yours...well i need it on my kindle. Please fix this as soon as possible.

But don't be disheartened. Other than this inexplicable shortcoming its really quiet good.

StaKC wrote 1088 days ago

Love it, love it, love it. Great twist on a zombie tale. Good luck on the editor's desk, zombies seem to be hot right now, and this is both good and a little different. Well written too, which is the biggest plus on a site like this. I hope the editors appreciate it.

Benjamin Gorman wrote 1089 days ago

This book is a kick! For a book that's so wet with slime, the sense of humor is so dry you could use it to get that zombie smell out of your car upholstery. Good luck!

sunrize604 wrote 1089 days ago

Movie, weekly network or cable. Think big, this manuscript could be very lucrative. Zombies are mainstream "in", in a big way.

sunrize604 wrote 1090 days ago

I love this book! I can see a screen writer turning this into a cult classic movie. I loved the movie, "Sean of the dead" and this book would definitely have that crowd. Original, well thought out and funny.

sunrize604 wrote 1090 days ago

I love this book! I can see a screen writer turning this into a cult classic movie. I loved the movie, "Sean of the dead" and this book would definitely have that crowd. Original, well thought out and funny.

cccrash wrote 1094 days ago

I very rarely giggle to myself reading on here, But I found myself doing just that with "I've Been Deader." Great comic voice. The kind I like to emulate in my own writing. My favorite lines so far were the ones about "rent controlled tenants" and "NRA double coupon day" Great twist telling the story from the zombie's POV

writingbear wrote 1096 days ago

Adam,
I backed your book I'VE BEEN DEADER. Please take a look at either of my two novels, DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS or MY GENTLEMAN FRIEND, for a possible backing. Your help will be appreciated. Thank you, good luck, and happy writing.

Dwain-Thomas

PassionForBooks wrote 1097 days ago

May I ask, is this book finished but not fully uploaded, or is it a work in progress?

Orlando Furioso wrote 1097 days ago

As one of the undead myself, I can vouch that this is crackingly accurate and a true portrayal of how we Zombos are. Only this afternoon I felt the need to eat brain and so came to authonomy, squeezed through the cracks in a joyless keyboard, into a screen, got me grappling hooks into a wannabe's eyes swarmed into said mushpod's brain and had me a tasty if someone unsatisfying snack. The outcome will be 50 chapters and a million werds which my puswet publisher will rub all over her body.

Seriously though mate, very funny. I dig your irony.

Orlando
WATCHING SWIFTS

p.s. will practice my 100 metres zomb lurch this evening. it's set to make the London olympics I'm told.

davidbowen wrote 1099 days ago

It's not often you get to describe something as horrid, grim, and extremely funny, but with this book you can. Great premise, original, and well written. What more do you want?
David Bowen
Hell on Earth.

Gaylen wrote 1099 days ago

I'm not into zombies, but you asked nicely for comments and possible placement, so I read a little of the first chapter. Well written, kept my attention even tho, like I said, I'm not a zombie person. Will shelf this and read the rest of your interesting story when I can.
Good luck reaching the editor's desk. You're a lot closer than I am.

daveocelot wrote 1101 days ago

Hello,

Read a good chunk of your book this morning and loved it. Very briskly paced, well thought through and humourous. Initially, I did find the sudden jolt into the second storyline a bit jarring, but I have every confidence in your skills, I'm sure you'll tie it all together when I get a chance to read further.

I suppose the introduction of the second storythread jolted me because I didn't want to turn my attention away from Fred. It's a testament to your abilities as a writer that you've managed to turn a one-eyed babykiller into a hugely sympathetic and likeable character, whilst still aknowledging his true nature. That said, it was probably a wise decision of yours to airbrush over any actual details of infanticide. I believe that Helen Fielding made the same choice when writing Bridget Jones.

Highly starred and shelved, hope that pushes you up towards pole position. Good luck to you on your quest, sir.

Now please stop sending me those emails.

Dave

Laura A. D. wrote 1104 days ago

Okay. So I read it. Strangely addictive,buddy.:0) I can't stomach zombie stories and I don't even"go there" at the bookstore or library...but.....you ARE a good writer with an awesome imagination and a very good storyteller..The tops in your genre I'd say. ;0)

Tony Davies wrote 1106 days ago

Read the first couple of chapters - I am enjoying it. It is so out of the ordinary and like someone aleady said it is an unusual take on the genre.
I am backing the book and I will be back to finish it
Tony
Can I be cheeky and ask you to take a look at 'The Tiger Coat' and offer your opinions
T

KirkH wrote 1107 days ago

This story is nuts! And I mean that in a positive sense. It's like a combination of two movies: "Night of the Living Dead (the old black and white version), and "Dead Heat" (with Joe Piscapo), both zombie movies. Now look out - here comes Fred, or better yet here comes Adam with a carzy, zany imagination.
Had to back it. Hope you don't get eleminated from Autho like the blue faced bloke did last week (absolution).
PS: you don't need to appeal to people with a statement that your book is christian - I find that nonsense - it isn't. You're just trying to make brownie points.
At least your Authonodrome is cool.

dstarr4ever wrote 1107 days ago

This is hands down the strangest novel I've ever read. But strangely addicting. I read until chapter 14, it's good. I can see you rising up the ranks very fast. There were a few spelling mistakes.

Best of luck with everything, I hope to see your book on Borders shelves =D

the dragon flies wrote 1108 days ago

[I've been deader]
To be honest, I'm not into Zombie fiction - it is just not my cup of tea. So why read this one? Well, because this one is different by all means. It is not just a Zombie story - it is an unexpected one. Suddenly, the zombies seem to be the good guys. And Fred immediately sets the stage.

You do what you promise: each chapter is a short story in itself, but I miss a reason to continue reading the next chapter. I mean, put in a cliff hanger so people are bound to go to the next chapter.

Well done!

Sandy Mackay wrote 1109 days ago

Hi Adam. Not what I usually read but the writing is so skillful it just draws you in . I had read four chapters before I realised I don't read Zombie books. Congratulations on a great piece of writng. Backed and starred. All the best. Sandy.

Emily Rebecca wrote 1109 days ago

I'm not a big zombie person, but I really like this. Fred is a great character and I love all the little details. I will happily back this.

todd89 wrote 1110 days ago

Man this is just awesome.

Richard Todd

The Madness of Avlon Klynn

Caitlyn McRae wrote 1110 days ago

Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. I love Zombie anything and this tops anything I have ever read or watched. When I started reading, I couldn't stop.
My family is a little concerned that I get around the house in Zombie pose going "Brrraaaaiinsssss".
Your writing style is very tight and flows well but mostly I'm impressed with your sense of humour which is evident in every aspect of your concept; characters, society and plot.
Can't rave about this enough! Great work

zaboo the great wrote 1111 days ago

I'm in. Finding myself caught up in a post apocalyptic world from a Zombie's point of view. Truly enjoy that concept. I have only finished two pages but have an intense desire to read more. Keep up the good work.
I like your style.

Robert Craven wrote 1112 days ago

Adam,

a potential cult classic, the fonts mix a bit after chapter 9 which is a layout suggestion, but Fred could be as great a creation as Arthur Dent. Original and funny - gets all the stars.

glad you spammed me

Rob

Aidan2002 wrote 1112 days ago

This is excellent, I have not seen (Note I said seen as the whole story played out in my head) anything as brilliant as this since Shaun of the dead, but it also has a darker element subtly interwoven into the text that poses the question, who are the real monsters, the zombies or the breathers. This gets top marks from me. Aidan

SRWENT wrote 1112 days ago

"The lone gunman on the grassy knoll."
I'm sorry, I could not help it and had to laugh. I realize where the comment came from and thought...GOD he went THERE.
I never knew a zombie could be a stand-up comic! Sweet idea!
I can picture Robin Williams as Fred.
Okay you have me hooked, and look forward to reading more. 6 stars and proudly backed.

Richard A. Wentworth
Aracelis

J.Kinkade wrote 1114 days ago

It must be the drugs I'm on, but I kinda like this and I didn't think that I would. So there you have it. J. Kinkade (say the magic word and I might keep it up for 24 hours :-)

Nathan Maki wrote 1114 days ago

Whenever you're writing from Fred's POV it's clever and humorous, if morbid. But whenever you change POV it just gets weird and horrifying and not at all enjoyable to read. Where Fred's unique take on things gives some relief from the horror that's lost when the perspective changes and it just becomes sickening.