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I can totally see why someone would really not like zombies too much. Besides the whole brain eating aspect of zombies, which most zombies are known for, they can be rather gross and scary. I get that. I do. So I understand.
In fact, there was once a time in which I disliked zombies. EEEWWW! Nasty. But the more I became involved with zombies--writing about them, researching about them, over all becoming intrigued by them--the more I started to change my mind about these monsters. There's something fundamentally unique to zombies that you won't find with any other kind of paranormal creature--vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc...
This is a view you DON'T want to see. You see this, you're screwed.
These creatures are our neighbors, our friends, our Aunt Betty, our little sister Annabelle, etc... When you lose someone to death, you want to imagine them in a peaceful place (whatever your religious belief, unless you don't believe in that kind of thing. In which case, I think you might find your zombie loved one kind of cool). Death is a finality, but with zombies that finality is taken away from us. They are there, walking, moving, moaning, and yet, that's not them at all. Their only base thought is to eat you. That's it. And that's scary.
Yes, vampires and werewolves and ghosts are our friends and loved ones as well, but it's different. They are faced with moral dilemmas that zombies don't have to face at all. Should I bite you? Should I not bite you? And if I bite you, will you still love me tomorrow--that kind of thing. Zombies will just bite you. The danger is always present. There is no chance that you can reform them (like in some vampire movies turning them into "vegetarian" vampires). Zombies can not be reformed. They are what they are.
I asked a few friends to help me with this discussion as to why you should give zombies a chance and this is what they had to say (if this doesn't convince you, then I don't know what will--this is good stuff):
Greg (good friend of mine who wants to remain secretive: "They don't discriminate. They don't care if you're rich or poor, black or white, male or female. And they don't care about your body. They love you for your brain! That's rare!"
Jenna, Making the Grade: "Zombies are the VICTIM. They didn't ASK to be attacked by an existing zombie, only to change into a mindless drone themselves, out to seek the flesh of living victims. All the while spreading the disease of the undead like a never-ending domino effect of death and decay... Who really asks to be inflicted with such a horrible disease anyway? Give them some credit. (Plus, nobody moans better than a zombie.) ;)
Rebecca Fisk, Running Amok and Other Very Serious Adventures: I must admit, there is something appealing about giving up the fight, letting the horde win, and going numb...allowing our base instinct to take over... appeasing the ravenous hunger becoming our sole desire. It makes things simple. Plus, as a zombie, I could totally forget about such tedious things like "Is the spf in my sunscreen really enough?" Or "How many vegetables do I actually need to prevent rickets or scurvy?"
Patrick Rahall: "Zombies are exactly like the jurassic park dinosaurs, jaws, Frankenstein's monster and most other scary things from our imagination. They are only doing what they need to do in order to survive. They aren't malicious, they don't get pleasure from what they do other than that of continued existence. It is only because their nourishment happens to be the flesh pod the living that we view them as evil or bad. We are to then what a pig or chicken or cow is to us-a source of nourishment."
ob Reiss, The Guilded Earlobe: "I do not love zombie fiction because of the zombies. I love it because of how it affects the survivor. There is no ethical quandry when being attacted by monsters, but when that monster is also your aunt Sally or a 12 year old girl, things are different. Zombies are us, just changed. Any work of zombie fiction that doesn't address this is missing the point. The monsters are us."
Heather Branson Jensen: "For me, the best thing about zombies in fiction is that you can't help but put yourself in the role of a person who is trying to survive in a zombie-ridden world. It makes you think about what it would take to stay alive and protect the ones you love. Also, I think there's something to be said about having humans attack humans. Zombies aren't really human anymore, but its hard to completely wrap your head around that idea which gives depth to the overall conflict."
Mark Smith, A Somewhat Silly Story: "I've loved the recent upsurge of zombie-fiction, way more so than anything vampire-related. Liked the idea behind the first True Blood book, but the story really went off the rails with the wide assortment of creatures the author brought into it. I have to agree with Bob Reiss that the appeal of the zombie fiction is how it affects the survivor. A plague that not only wipes out the vast majority of humans, but turns all the victims into monsters intent on eating the few survivors? What a great dynamic to focus on - what happens to the idea of "society" amongst the survivors. Last night's The Walking Dead dipped into that a little bit ... what do you do with someone that was shooting at you moments before, but now is wounded and trapped as zombies close in. Do you abandon him? Is his evil (the act of shooting at you) worse than the evil of the zombies? Is your survival more important than the loss of your humanity if you just leave the guy to die or leave him as bait so you can get away? That's some fun stuff."
Kristen Adler, Library-Girl: Zombie fiction is a great way of showing how society can fall apart when faced with a huge crisis. It also allows us to see what the characters are truly like and what they will do in order to survive.
Like any survival fiction, people can't help but put themselves in the characters shoes.
We may also get to see different types of zombies. It's interesting to be able to read about different authors interpretations of them, e.g. how they become zombies, whether they still keep their intelligence, whether they're re-animated dead or just brainless cannibals, etc. Zombie fiction isn't necessarily the same sort of story again and again.
J. Whitworth Hazzard, Zombie Mechanics: because they are the common man's supernatural foe. No crucifixes or silver required. Just a crowbar and courage.
Anyway, I hope I have somehow changed your mind and prodded you into giving zombies a try. There are some amazing zombie books out there, with more springing up every day (a pun).
So have I convinced you?
2/20/2012 06:58:34 am
Hey there! New campaigner here finally making the rounds.
Great blog! I hear you...no need to rip off an ear (tee hee). I think you are right about the cannibalistic undead. I think the reason I don't like them is because they are so quintessentially disturbing. 1) They're dead. 2) You knew them 3) They're falling apart and probably smell. 4) They are trying to eat you. 5) They're innocent . It just puts the hero/heroine in the biggest tub of suck ever. Totally compelling and freaky-scary. I respect the noble zombie (and zombie writer), but I must, alas, only dabble with the reading or I will use more than my fair share of lightbulbs - never never turning out the light ever.
2/21/2012 01:20:31 am
I love a good zombie apocalypse. The Walking Dead right now is my favorite show on television.
2/21/2012 10:45:15 am
I'm not the slightest bit interested in anything supernatural in books, but I do have to say, you did make a really good case! You may have changed my mind a tiny little bit. :) I'll still take realistic contemporary any day, though...
This is hilarious! Great quotes :) I have always (and I mean alwaaaays) hated zombies. Totally terrified, nightmares, yuck to walking in the dark along, hate. But The Forest of Hands and Teeth was so frickin' good that I've realized it makes for one heck of a story setting and it's top 5 for my favorite books (though zombies still make me want to throw up). Just goes to show you what a good book can do.
2/22/2012 06:17:37 am
Love this! So, so funny.
If I say I'm not convinced would you scream? ;) I hear the arguement (it's a good one at that); but I'm really not feeling the zombie-love...so instead I have decided to:
2/23/2012 02:07:20 am
Even though I love fantasy, I've never been a big fan of zombies, but this had me laughing and nodding my head so often that I just might have to give them a chance :)
I'm not a zombie fan. *hides* My reason though isn't that they are gross or scary. It's that they are mindless. I'd rather have a threat that isn't just fueled by hunger.
3/3/2012 06:15:02 am
I'm not a zombie fan (covers head). I have issues as a kid from watching a vampire movie. Who knows what could happen, if I read about zombies (but might give it a try wearing helmet in daylight).
3/12/2012 06:14:33 am
You know that Zombies can't physically bite through a skull right. I mean the human jaw just doesn't have the bite strength.
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