Thursday, October 16, 2008

Please Pass the Brains

You may have noticed that the recommendations leading up to this Halloween have been a little Zombified. This is not due to any great love I have for the horror genre in general, but due to a very personal fear I have of zombies specifically.

You see, right up there in the top five things that I fear above else—ranking higher than spiders and abandonment even—resides zombies.

Of all the mythical out-to-get-me creatures, I find zombies to be the most horrifying. Vampires seem like someone you might be able to reason with (or perhaps he’ll spare me due to realizing that I’m the other half of his tortured soul), werewolves can be stopped with bullets (if you shoot them, do they not yelp in pain?), but Zombies are unstoppable unless you whack off their heads and even then its questionable. With no pain censors or thought process to convince them of possible failure they just keep mwaaaaahing along, eventually knocking through walls, crashing through fences or otherwise compromising your safety zone.

Yes, I know they are not real. Fast zombies from 28 Days Later are not going to get me, I should not worry about the possible creation of a Monster Island.

Yes, I know I should worry more about the economy being in the crapper and the possibility of going broke. Even someone breaking into my apartment is a much more likely scenario, but that is not what haunts my Benadryl-fueled nightmares. That is not what lurks in the shadows and follows me down dark streets at night.

Zombies scare the hell out of me, and because they do, I’ve found myself oddly fascinated and unable to turn away from Zombie related literature. I swear, it knows my neuroses and calls to them.

At the store I became the defacto zombie expert because we didn’t have a horror fan working for us at the time, and through this I found David Wellington and Max Brooks before they became the Zombie lit go to guys they are today. And while I don’t sell books any longer, I still seem to be subconsciously on the lookout for Zombie related stuff which may very well tie in to my constant vigilance for actual Zombies.

Part of my sick fascination/fear dichotomy with Zombies has to do with a need to understand the science behind them. If you buy into the idea that they are, in fact, out to eat your brains as opposed to your flesh, then how do they create more Zombies? If the brain has been devoured what’s sending out signals to those jittery body parts to keep them moving in the drive for replacement brain sustenance? If in fact Zombie actually just crave flesh, why do they stop eating the body so that new Zombies arise? Why don’t they eat it all?

Is it like the fact that we don’t the whole pig/chicken/cow?*

And then the little part of me that contains the remnants of my biology degree starts thinking about Zombieism and how it would relate to Creutzfeldt-Jakob, Kuru, and other spongiform encephalopathic diseases. What if the need to eat brain is due to the disease’s need to replace the misfolded prions with untainted nerve matter? If so, wouldn’t that make Zombies much more likely to attack children as nerves cells continue to grow and produce up until a human is seven years old (at least I think that is the age)? And if that is the case, could you treat zombieism as a disease by injecting the infected with nerve cells grown in a lab environment?

Which makes me want to know if this would lead to Republicans finally backing stem cell research as a way to keep their kids from becoming Zombie snacks?

Welcome to my brain. Could I overthink this anymore?

Why, yes, yes I could.

But I’ll keep it to myself and instead provided some more zombie related books and merchandise that will have you craving raw brain (with or without the Chianti and fava beans):

Combine your love of zombies with that of 1950s pin up girls in: The Zombie Pin up Calendar 2009.

Canvas a zombie crime scene with the Zombie CSU.

Check out a youtube video of Max Brooks talking about Zombie Survival.

If you buy into the whole zombieism as a rage disease, then you should browse Scott Sigler's new novel Infected.

Please feel free to add your zombie recommendations and add to my related neuroses below.

*And were we to do a zombie survey, would we discover that humans taste like any or all of the above? Does it matter whether or not the person ate meat?


Ruth said...

Check out the book Zombie CSU for lots more zombie talk. This one takes you from the alleged zombie crime scene through interviews with forensics experts to military opinions on fighting zombie crime. It's filled with illustrations from a variety of disturbed artists, and contains author commentary from an avid zombie fan since childhood.

Jolie said...

You're not the only one overthinking. My best friend comes up with a Zombie Escape Plan for every place she stays overnight. She looks around the place and decides what she'll do if "28 Days Later" becomes real life. Basically, we'll get in the car and go to my parents' secluded mountain house.

Jay Montville said...

First, let me say that I love your blog and read it religiously, but I haven't commented before now, because I didn't have anything useful to add. Your perspective and advice on the business? Priceless. Your entertaining writing? MORE priceless.

I can add, however, that I went out and bought a crowbar after reading World War Z because a crowbar is the best civilian weapon against the zombies. Yep. A real crowbar. In response to a fictional book.

Hey, man, you never know!


Northwest Jane said...

Ooooo! Now I know what to get BSC for Christmas/housewarming - a crowbar!