“My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid, to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment. My companion will be of the same nature as myself, and we will be content with the same fare. We shall make our bed of dried leaves; the sun will shine on us as on man, and will ripen our food. The picture I present to you is peaceful and human.” — Frankenstein, (1818)
Did you know that Mary Shelley’s monster in Frankenstein is vegetarian?
Although perhaps not destined to be a classic, David Agranoff’s The Vegan Revolution…With Zombies, (2010), follows this tradition of using monsters to talk about issues and examine our behavior.
“That’s the point of a zombie movie, read deeper. The old way is decaying and dying.”
At the same time, it’s a romp of satire, irreverent bizarro fiction, perfect for Halloween reading. This fast-paced book bites into the apocalypse (brought on by meat-eating), post-apocalypse (what would vegans do) and utopia in 154 pages.
In this book, everyone’s a target: Portland hipsters, the overused zombie trope and factions of animal activists. Along the way, it offers a quick insider’s intro to vegan subcultures (freegan, straight edge, raw foodies) and history.
“The tension was as thick as 1990s style vegan cake.”
The main target: meat-eaters. They get skewered. The heroes: all vegan all the time.
The underlying issues are no joke. The protagonist, Dani, goes vegan moved by the idea that,
“If it’s murder in my head I need to act like it’s murder in my heart.”
As she comes to see the world with vegan eyes, eating meat becomes more and more repulsive. Meat eaters look a lot like zombies (even before they literally shift),
“Watching most people eat their lunch was as grotesque to Dani as a scene in a movie of zombies ripping someone up and eating them.”
“Dani on the other hand felt great. Vegetables. Who knew?”
There’s a lot of silliness, swearing, and, unfortunately, too many typos in this novel of vegan wish-fulfillment.
The book’s final chapters and its epilogue are memorable though. Agranoff pays attention to an overlooked aspect of the apocalypse (It’s the animals!) and also takes the time to look past the initial catastrophe. Cult classic, perhaps?
If you’ve already read Frankenstein, how about some vegan vampires? Yes, you heard right: vegan vampires. The third book in The Lithia Trilogy, The Last Mile, by Blair Richmond and published by this blog’s sponsor Ashland Creek Press is out.
For a nonfiction take on the vegan revolution try, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, Gene Baur’s account of his work for farm animal protection:
“I believe we can create a truly humane, sustainable, and health food production system without killing any animals. I imagine a revolution in veganic agriculture in which small farmers grow a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes, all fertilized with vegetable sources.”
Inspired by this book?
You will definitely want to eat vegan food in Portland, Ore. and plan a visit to the Vegan Mini-Mall, a key location in The Vegan Revolution. Go to TryVeganPDX for resources.
A reader, writer, and @Utopianista living by the Salish Sea, Shel served in the Peace Corps and earned her MFA in Creative Writing.