Friday, November 28, 2008

Why Zombies?

I never really liked zombies. They’re slow. They’re gross. But they’re not particularly frightening. Nor are they very dangerous, not unless they mob you or you do something particularly stupid. It can be argued that a sprinting crazy person (a fast zombie as in 28 days later) is dangerous, but let’s be honest here, those are not technically zombies--they’re still alive, that’s why they can run. Most zombie fiction seems to fall into one of three categories: cheesy, intentionally humorous or allegorical. None of these categories appeal to me (though I enjoy some of the allegories).

It all changed when I read World War Z. This was the first book I read in which zombies were treated seriously, with honest, insightful speculation into how the world would react if the dead rose up and tried to kill the living. It was also the first place I saw a zombie apocalypse addressed as a war, which, if you think about it, is exactly what it would be. World War Z also had an epic scope, spanning the first sign of outbreak, all the way through to final push against the zombies and the rebuilding afterward and it gave every step along the way serious thought. Great read.

After WWZ, I saw zombies as a serious speculative element instead of a farce. I started thinking about them and rather than just rolling my eyes whenever another zombie movie came out, I would watch it, analyzing the response portrayed in the film, the defenses and survival tactics used and the failure modes which inevitably doom the characters.

The inevitable conclusion of this thought process was my realization that a zombie apocalypse would be survivable (a conclusion Brooks reached years before when he started his Zombie Survival Guide), it would just be uncomfortable, require great sacrifices and would forever change our civilization. In short, it was a perfect backdrop for any number of serious stories.

WWZ Woke me up to the potential of zombies as a serious spec element and put me on the path to writing Zombie Proof Fence, but that story is for another time. So, thanks Max. As for the rest of you, if you have not read WWZ, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.

ZPF Progress:
Wrote the first scene in the Crumble (making an official start on the second half), in which Kayla meets a scavenger kid and passes along Casey’s message about the Lowe Street Tunnel.

ZPF Soundtrack for today:
28 Days Later soundtrack
Tangerine Dream: Phaedra
Midnight Syndicate: Gates of Delirium

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