Tag Archives: book or treat

A Zombie Hater’s Top Five Zombies

Okay, hater might be a strong word, but I don’t like zombies. There. I’ve finally admitted it.

The popularity of zombies is befuddling to me. It would seem that there just isn’t enough story potential in the shambling undead. They’re brainless. There are only so many reactions one can have to a fresh-from-the-grave relative. And…that’s the end of it for me. There is no potential for a sexy zombie (though I suppose one could have a sparkly zombie…) or a zombie that shows regret for the monster he’s become (as in the case of a werewolf) or a zombie that can plot a sophisticated revenge (like your average angry ghost).

To have an interesting zombie, you have to go beyond shuffling and rotting (which might mean it’s not a zombie at all). Therefore, here’s my list of favorite zombies works:

  • Night of the Living Dead – George Romero never uses the Z word. Undead that eat human flesh are ghouls (a concept that I found very disturbing when I first encountered it at an early age while watching, presumably, The Monster Club). But the best part of this classic is the relationship between the characters. I’m not sure enough can be said about a 1968 movie that has a black man taking charge of the survival of a bunch of generally incompetent white folks. Also, Romero gives me one of the best "bad endings" ever.
  • Shaun of the DeadDawn of the Dead, Romero’s follow-up, is often seen as a further critique of the "zombification" of society through evils like consumerism, but that concept doesn’t really fly with me. It comes off as a little dated and is handled much better by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s horror comedy. Or, with Pegg’s character referentially shuffling off to work in the morning, maybe I’m just too post-modern for my own good…
  • Brian of Michael Lalonde’s Orneryboy web comic. Brian is not your average zombie. He’s an MC, making excellent use of an old Speak & Spell, and has recently taken up company with the ghost cat. But Lalonde seems to love turning horror tropes on their ear. It’s spooky fun all year long.
  • Zombies in Voodoo – The concept of a man being manipulated into believing himself to be the undead servant of another is pretty fascinating. Wade Davis has written a couple of books on the possibly pharmacology behind the practice, but in many ways it’s the pliability of human mind, it terms of belief and memories, that may be the linchpin of their possible existence. We all like to believe we’re beyond mumbo jumbo, but maybe we aren’t.
  • And lastly, the best zombies ever, zombie ants. Okay, it’s more like a "possession." A fungus takes control of an ant and walks it to a place in the forest (usually up a tree) with the best environment for the fungus. And by best environment, we’re talking the right temperature and humidity with "remarkable specificity." What makes zombie ants disturbing is that this fungus isn’t the only parasite that affects behavior. Toxoplasma gondii, for example, changes the behavior of rodents and possibly humans as well.

So, there you have it. Five zombie things (roughly defined) that I find pretty cool.

Book or Treat for UNICEF
Book or Treat for UNICEF!

Wrap-Up & Reload

It’s October! The season of Hallowe’en, spookiness, short days, pumpkin-flavored everything and, eventually, cooler weather. It’s time to get my post-autumnal equinox party on!

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Wrap-Up:

Last question for 30 Days of writing:
30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

I’m not a fan of "tagging," but I am going to give a shout-out to a writer that I’ve been enjoying quite a bit: Valerie Valdes. Her poetry is sublime, her short works are lovely and witty and her Broommates serial is a hell of a lot of fun. And a barghest! Who else uses a barghest in fiction???  Valerie’s fiction is definitely worth some reading time.

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Reload:

Em of Merit Badger fame has put together Book or Treat, a fundraiser for UNICEF and a general opportunity to celebrate the season in a bloggish fashion. I’m planning on spending the month reading horror fiction, watching spooky movies, and even throwing some posts about appropriate music, food, etc. Which means I’m putting aside the current books that I’ve been reading. For some reason, the time that I put aside for reading earlier in the year has dissolved. I’m floundering around in a couple of books and not "catching up" with the reading goals I had for them. Time to reload by declaring a mulligan, as it were and starting a new book: Beware! by Richard Laymon.

Book or Treat for UNICEF

Had a good weekend. Birthday party for Betsy Saturday night, which included an interesting overlap of people from the Who Knows Whom social Venn diagram. Tried sweet tea vodka. It is too tasty. Spent the rest of the weekend gaming with Eric in a slow meandering way.

Dreamt last night of playing golf. I’ve never played golf before. I wasn’t good at it.