31 October 2011
Post 442: Z
Zombies. People might wonder why I like them. Or why anyone likes them. I can't speak for everyone, but maybe some of my answers will work for you.
Zombies are the ultimate plebeians. They are The People's Monster. Anyone and everyone can be and/or encounter a zombie. Depending on what type of zombie is being presented, there are usually no complicated rituals or circumstances involved in becoming a zombie and they appear wherever people are, usually starting in the cities and spreading out as delicious zombie chow becomes scarce. Because of this, zombies are as diverse as the people they feed on. It is not unbelievable to have scientist zombies, Viking zombies, or hillbilly zombies. Someone could reasonably write zombies in space without it being totally out there (it's certainly no crazier than murderous Leprechauns in Space*).
Meanwhile, it seems to take more work to become a werewolf or a vampire. Becoming a vampire is notoriously difficult. Chances are if you don't work at it, you have been made a vampire in order to act as stake fodder and gopher for an older, more established vampire, which means you won't be living for centuries and centuries like you planned. Werewolves are depicted mostly as being fairly lone animals (interesting considering that wolves are pack animals), not to mention it's awfully difficult to survive being mauled by a bloodthirsty animal in order to become a werewolf yourself.
Not zombies though. Anyone and everyone can become a zombie. There's no real pecking order either. Whoever gets to the brains first is usually the zombie that eats them. It's the one society of monsters where you don't have to worry about who's in charge or who has more power. You all start as walking corpses and end in the same condition. The zombie who eats the most brains is not the wealthiest zombie because zombies don't need to eat anyway.
But ultimately I find zombies interesting because there are so many different things you can do with them. Originally, a zombie was simply someone who has been raised from the grave with lessened mental capacity. Romero added the flesh eating element, and of course there's now the possibility of viruses (manufactured or not). We can plop zombies into all sorts of settings and see how people react to them. Zombie stories are a bit like lab rat experiments in that way and because of this they are an excellent means of reflecting how humans really react without the binding of social mores and law. We get the chance to both be and face the monster with varying levels of humanity, and that is highly appealing to me.
My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: Review copy provided via Netgalley.
*Holy shit, Guy Siner, why are you in that movie?