Zombies & Literature

Zombies for lack of a better phrase “are in.”  Like vampires, and a myriad of other supernatural creepy crawlies, the pop culture bubble we live in has been overrun with the shufflers, the neck biters, and everyone’s favorite, ‘the corporeally impaired.’  For me and many of my confidants this is simply amazing!  Finally a genre with a much needed popularity bump has received one.  Some have done it better than others.  For me I prefer my supernatural scoop to be of the shuffling, groaning variety instead of the heartless, shimmering ones, but regardless of your flavor it is quite stellar to see the cult darkness finally shed into the pop light.  It seemed as if only those who possessed the insatiable love for horror movies and dabbled in black humor along with the occult were the only ones inclined to partake in the genre.  But, somewhere, some zombie, let out a garbled cry that loosely translated to, “Viva la revolucion!” And, thus the genre was reborn in his rotting image.

Now you may ponder: what does this have to do with literature as your title may suggest, good sir?  Well, along with the sudden revitalization of the horror genre authors and publishing houses by the truckload have also followed suit in a mass effort to capitalization on the latest fad…after all it is the American way.  I, myself, have also dabbled in the genre in years past.  My first foray into zombism was a short story entitled, “Slaveway.”  A horrible little jaunt into the whimsies of an individual who thought he could write.  In other words…it sucked.  I desperately tried to create a tale of carnage and woe set within my little local sphere, Spokane, pertaining to the ever-interesting grocery biz.  A semi-good premise, which was poorly executed.  I ended up mashing my goofy sense of humor, with shallow grocer’s jargon, which I then finally capped up with some undead.  On the whole it was awful.

Since then I have tried my best to write in ad nauseum in order to hone what little writing ability I have into something more sharp-witted and cohesive.  With that being said I am seriously considering re-writing “Slaveway” in the hopes off creating something worth acknowledging. -As an aside, it is kind of ironic that the first bit of work that I published was actually a short story about zombies.-

With Halloween just passed and my recent reading and viewing of the “Walking Dead” graphic novels and television series I am vastly more intrigued by the premise of creating what would essentially be an entirely new property of my own.   I think Robert Kirkman said it best, “For me the worst part of every zombie movie is the end. I always want to know what happens next.”  With that in mind I plan on creating a short story (still set in Spokane) that deals with the trials and tribulations of a group of locals fending off zombies.  I’ll keep the grocer’s bit in there in order to provide humor to the niche, but regardless I think it would be great to chronicle a motley crew of Spokannites hell bent on surviving by using the history of the city as a crutch to their survival.

Everyone always kills off their main character(s); everyone always focuses on the blood and gore; and, everyone always ends the tale horrifically.  But, I ask this: Why?  Why, do these tried and true gut reactionary plot pieces have to exist?  I think zombies can be deeper than that.  Anything from social commentary to moral existence can be delved into with an apocalypse and a crowd of zombies as the catalyst.  I think the “Walking Dead” and a few others have begun to dive into this infinite pool of discovery, but on the whole the genre is still lacking.

Anyhow, I’ve ranted and raved long enough about a silly passion of mine as well as some varied story ideas that are constantly swirling about my cerebrum.

What is your favorite creature that goes bump in the night?  What are some of your favorite supernatural novels and films?

5 thoughts on “Zombies & Literature

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  1. Zombies used to give me nightmares but now I rather enjoy them. Okay…sometimes they still give me nightmares. LOL. I’m fascinated by the human element of a zombie story. Like The Walking Dead, I want to know how people survive in a world where the dead walk. And what happens next.

  2. When I was a kid (probably seven or eight-ish at the time) my dad and I sat down one Hallow’s eve and watched Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead.” It scared me so much I thought there were zombies in my closet for months! Ironically enough, as an adult I absolutely love zombie films and literature. One of my closest friends and I are always discussing the latest “Walking Dead” episode, but like you pointed out what makes that show so interesting, as well as frightening, is the human component. How would people react, and what lengths would they go to in order to survive? Is it worth surviving? There are so many great questions and interesting aspects that are forced into the limelight with zombies as the catalyst.

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