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Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies is not Twilight with zombies. I'll admit, I drew that inaccurate conclusion about Marion's novel prior to finally getting around to reading it. I've read Twilight too, for the record. Though it does include some romantic elements involving a zombie and a human, the beating heart of Warm Bodies lays with the state of mankind, set among a zombie infested world where humanity is on its last legs and the line between the living and the dead is not divided neatly between people and zombies. Having read and enjoyed the book, I have high hopes that Jonathan Levine will capture the tone of the novel in the feature adaptation that's set to release into theaters this February. As a fan of some of his past work, which include (the underrated films) The Wackness and 50/50, I'm optimistic that we'll see something good when Nicholas Hoult assumes the role of the lead zombie character R.
The feature adaptation of Warm Bodies is apparently not the only thing fans of Isaac Marion's novel have to look forward to. Last week, Marion posted on his blog that he's writing a sequel to the novel. Marion's blog entry actually addresses the uncool factor in writing sequels, noting that, of authors like Cormac McCarthy, Douglas Coupland, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Dave Eggers, Joseph Heller, J.D Salinger, Charlie Kaufman, Jeanette Winterson, Jonathan Lethem, Chris Adrian, Stephen King, King is the only one who's ever written a sequel. "And even he only did it twice in a 50-book career."
Here's part of his blog entry:
Clearly, there is something uncool about writing sequels. None of the writers whose careers I hope to emulate have done it--in serious literary circles, it just isn't done.
He goes on to talk about what he had in mind when he was creating the story's world for the first novel, at the time having no idea that he'd have the opportunity to write a sequel. From what Marion says, it's a world he loves and he wants to show us what happens to Julie and R next. "So I'm writing another book about them. Another book-and-a-half, actually," he says. "But I'll explain that later. For now, just trust that I have a story to tell and a reason to tell it, and I'll try my best not to ruin everything."
Just the fact that he acknowledges the stigma sequels have instills confidence that his head is in the right place when it comes to taking the story further. It sounds like he has ideas in mind and a story that needs to be sold, so this is less about trying to stretch the success of the first novel as it is about telling the rest of the story.
Spoilers if you haven't read Warm Bodies yet!
On to speculation as to what this sequel could be about! I found the conclusion of Warm Bodies to be satisfying enough that I wouldn't be disappointed if Marion didn't write a sequel. But reading this comment from Marion's blog has me especially curious:
But in my head, I still went ahead and created a big, complex world full of history and mystery and people and monsters and strange things in-between, all moving toward something only hinted at in Warm Bodies' brisk 256 pages.
"Strange things in-between." Is that possibly a reference to what happened to Julie and R when they kissed? Something changed in both of them when that happened. For R, it was presumably the start of new life, but what happened to Julie? Both of their eyes changed. It seemed almost like they met somewhere in between, but this wasn't ever really addressed. By that point, the story was wrapping up.
My own take on the shift in their eyes was that this was the start of something new for mankind, with R and Julie meeting in the place among humanity somewhere between the living and the dead. Of everything in the book, that was something I wondered most about. It left off in an intriguing, sort of open-ended place that could have stayed open ended with the reader left to wonder what was next for humanity now that there was this big change.
I could also see the situation with the boneys being fleshed out (heh) and explained a bit further. There definitely seemed to be more to their story, but since it probably wasn't crucial to the one being told in the original novel, we didn't need to know about it. Just another bit of speculation. Either way, I'm not against sequels if they're written because the story isn't over. It sounds like Marion's head is in the right place here, so we'll have to keep an ear out for when this book will hit shelves. In the meantime, we have the feature adaptation of Warm Bodies set to arrive in theaters February 1. Check out the new poster for the film Here.
And you can check out Isaac Marion's blog here.