Saturday, June 25, 2016

Braaaaaaaaains...

In case the heading doesn't give it away, what I'm reading is zombies.

Not only zombies. It's the greater genre of post-apocalypse that I'm reading, but zombies are my weakness. I've been through a bunch of books lately. So many I'd struggle to list off most of them. My most recently completed zombie apocalypse book was "The Horde Rises" by T.W. Gallier. It's book one in a three-part series, and I really enjoyed it.

(Side note: there are other ones, many of which I picked up for free on Amazon, which have not been pleasing to me at all. Some of them rife with utter rule-breaking annoyances, like using ALL CAPS in prose, and even parentheses within speech... and not just using parentheses, but using them to direct a comment to the reader, while still having those words contained within the speech.)

So as I say, zombies have been pushing my buttons for a few years now, and lately more than ever. I've put some thought into why that might be, and haven't really come up with anything concrete.

I suppose it's the idea of a body still moving and craving, even after death. The way they're portrayed as mindless beasts holds a fascination for me... imagining an existence where everything that makes a person human is taken away, without the relief of death. Or at least, not any kind of lasting relief.

Probably my favorite zombie book of all time is The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell. I read it a few years back and found it achingly wonderful. Poignant and dark, but with an edge of hope running through it, too.

An honorable mention must go to The Road by Cormac McCarthy, as well. Though not zombies, it's very much post-apocalypse, and in the end, the zombies are very rarely the story when it comes to zombie fiction. They're more often a plot device than anything else. A force to reveal the nature of the human characters. So in The Road, many of the humans end up acting much as they would in a zombie apocalypse story.

I've come to realize one of the elements which makes any kind of post-apocalypse situation seem both attractive and compelling is the disenfranchisement so many of us feel with modern living. We're a society of specialists who rely on other specialists for the myriad things we never learned to do, or have since forgotten.

Post apocalypse breaks all that down. It pulls us down to the most visceral level of our abilities. Essentially, we all become stone age people. Pretty words or skillful book covers won't make a zombie stop biting my leg. The ability to wield a chunk of found wood has a much better chance.

I actually think in some ways zombie apocalypse stories touch on the same voyeuristic and self-serving parts of the human psyche as invisible man stories do. When we picture ourselves becoming invisible, one of the first ideas that seems to occur is to go hide in the changing rooms of your preferred gender for ogling. Or maybe heading into the bank and making off with stuff because you can't be seen.

Same thing in a post-apocalyptic world, really. Order has evaporated. Rules might as well never have existed. If Mikey Muscles wants to satisfy his greeds and hungers, well he's the biggest, strongest guy around... who's gonna stop him?

I'm also doing all this reading for a greater purpose. I intend to spread my wings and start publishing zombie apocalypse fiction, too. I have a bunch of stories under way, though they'll be under a different pen name. No sense in having people pick up a Willsin book only to find the characters eating brains instead of pussy...


7 comments:

  1. I don't do much paranormal at all. Seems earthbound life already offers plenty of fodder. Except the one Zombie story, "Sneak Attack" available in "Brand X". It's not the usual zombie trope, but the resolution does rely on the condition.

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  2. I've never understood the fascination with zombies, but you do make it seem more understandable. I do understand the free-for-all appeal of post-apocalyptic worlds, but I'm too old and stodgy to ignore the unlikelihood of surviving in such circumstances even though I probably have more survival skills than many younger folks (raising and preserving food, etc.) I can see zombies and apocalypses as metaphors for problems in our current society, but I'm also afraid that playing at zombie wars distracts us too much from facing up to the things that actually do threaten us--climate change and economic inequality, for instance--and working to solve those problems or at least on how to deal with them. (And then there's the threat of old codgers who grew up with the threat of nuclear war, and whose mothers studied up on constructing and stocking their own fallout shelters. Okay, I guess we all have our apocalyptic streaks.)

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  3. I'm not much attracted to zombies. It's the smell, I think. However, I can see the literary potential of the post-apocalyptic setting. Mad Max and all...

    Two of the best zombie shorts I've ever read are by Annabeth ("Silver Screen"??) and Garce (can't remember the name, but it's really creepy, because it's zombie erotica...)

    So, is there a really big market for zombie apocalypse tales? Who knew?!

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  4. A few years ago someone published a zombie romance. Her husband loved zombies and challenged her, telling her she'd never be able to write a romance involving a zombie. So she did it...it involved a voodoo curse that made him turn zombie at unexpected times. He was so horny because he never knew when it would happen! And imagine trying to explain to a woman why you're trying to eat her brain, not her pussy, because "a fit" just came on you!

    BTW, if you haven't seen "Warm Bodies" you need to. A true zombie romance, and very sweet at that. I was about 3/4 done with the movie when the balcony scene made me jump up and yell, "This is Romeo and Juliet, with zombies!" My husband told me to sit down and shut up. But I felt that realizing that similarity enhanced my enjoyment of the movie.

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    1. I second your recommendation. "Warm Bodies" is just delightful.

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  5. Thanks for the compliment on my zombie story, Lisabet! It was called "Screen Siren," and is in both Coming Together: Hungry for Love, and (in revised form) in my collection, Liquid Longing.

    Willsin, I always think it's a great idea to write in a genre you love to read. I wish you much luck!

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    1. Right...sorry to get the title wrong. I read the version in Liquid Longing. Brilliantly different!

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