Zombies: They’re After More Than Your Brains

 In case you couldn’t tell by the title, today, I’m featuring a guest post by Tim Weaver.  I met Tim in the writing class I took last fall and he is a regular visitor/commenter on my blog.  As far as I know, Tim doesn’t have a blog or website…so, if you like what you read, let him know.  With enough interest, he might decide to write online.  Or, maybe not…I didn’t ask before I wrote this 😉

Zombies:  They’re After More Than Your Brains

By Tim Weaver

Back in 1785, famed Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid zombie plans of mice and men, oft go awry.”

He didn’t?  Well, he should have.  Because that’s what’s happened to me.  My Zombie Plan needs a Zombie Plan.

What? You don’t have a Zombie Plan?  It must be nice.

 I envy you.  The normality of your lives as you go about your day, paying bills, raising kids, wishing the world would switch to a metric day for the extra seventy-six hours it would give us, dealing with the mind-splinter that is not knowing how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop (An average of 252. You’re welcome).

How I long for such a mundane existence.  Instead, I slog through day by everlasting day, trying to come to grips with the one problem that I’ve never, ever experienced before: 

I don’t know what type of zombies to use in my zombie apocalypse novel.

“What?” you say. “That’s it? I thought it was a REAL problem.”

Gentle reader, zombies ARE a real problem.  They do exist, and I am fighting one.

Though it doesn’t fall into one of the three neat categories of the undead (the Voodoo zombie, the “Romero” zombie or the “virus” zombie), my zombie problem isn’t new…in fact, it’s plagued mankind for ages.  I just don’t know if anyone has recognized it for what it is.

It is the “procrastination” zombie; the decision that won’t die, whose stench of decomposing ideas is overpowering and a monster that will try to bite me, probably in the butt.  With zombies, though, it doesn’t matter where you’re bitten, only THAT you’re bitten.

I need to choose a type so I can metaphorically shoot the Procrastination monster in the head and get on with my book.  My choice between the “George Romero” cannibalistic reanimated dead zombie or the “”28 Days Later” virus-infected but not dead zombie isn’t as easy as you might think (I’ve ruled “Voodoo” zombies as an anachronism that doesn’t fit in a post-apocalyptic story).

On the one hand, the writer can give reanimated zombies near-superhuman power, the ability to be almost impervious to killing, and the story continuation capability of them being already dead, so they never, ever, go away.  Think sequels.

On the other hand, well, is hand sanitizer.  Virus-infected zombies, like those in Zombieland, may look like the dead, walk like the dead and even try to eat you like the dead.  But they’re not dead.  And being not-dead, they have vulnerabilities.  They can be killed more easily.  They have no super powers except maybe the inability to feel pain.  And they eventually die on their own, like all humans do.

What’s the conundrum?  Reanimated zombies may be more frightening on a longer timeline since they never die, and can be easier to write about.  However, the threat of a viral pandemic that creates cannibalistic creatures is more “real” and, I think, more frightening.

My brain tells me to go with the tried-and-true “Romero” style, since most books are about them.  At the same time, my heart (if I had one) tells me to “go viral”.  Since it’s never been done, it’ll be breaking new ground and not as easily lost in the crowds of the other undead.  But since it’s not been done before it begs the question “Why not?”

A “Zombie Plan” is the plan of where to go, what supplies to take and how to survive in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse.  It’s not as complete as I’d thought, though, since it doesn’t account for the Procrastination Zombies.   But it does now.  Let’s just hope that none of Burns’ mice become zombies.

What’s your Zombie Plan against the procrastination zombie?

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9 thoughts on “Zombies: They’re After More Than Your Brains

  1. Damyanti March 31, 2011 / 10:16 PM

    Great post, Tim. My ultimate weapon against procrastination is to just sit down and write/ revise/ edit. Also, in my schedule, I give myself a deadline which is a week before the actual one.

    I like your humour 🙂

    • Tim Weaver April 1, 2011 / 9:52 AM

      Thanks for the kind words. Throughout college, I used to wait until the last minute to do my term papers, irrespective of how long I knew they had to be done…and in the days of electric typewriters and onion-skin paper, that made for some harrowing moments during those 4-5 days.

      Deadlines might actually be a good thing here…

      Thanks!
      TimW

  2. Bill Greeves April 1, 2011 / 5:55 AM

    Awesome post Tim. I am huge zombie fan. In fact I’ve got an outline done for my own long-after-apocalypse one, but I’ve got too many others one ahead of it to give it much work these days. Re: zombie type, I say go for the virus-infected. It’s new, more plausible and I think it offers more creative freedom because there aren’t decades of “rules” already established. Plus, the virus infected ones seem to move a heckuva faster that the slovenly sloths from earlier versions, which adds to the fear factor, IMHO.

    With regards to slaying the procrastination zombie, can you try to just jump over, right into the blood and guts of it (appropriate metaphor, eh?) Maybe just try putting aside the classification and start on the story, the reaction. Maybe their characteristics will just fall into place as the story moves along. To paraphrase Stephen King, put your characters in a situation and document their struggle to get out of it, back to “normalcy”. Maybe how they got to their state is just a minor detail you can write at the end. Good luck!

    • Tim Weaver April 1, 2011 / 10:01 AM

      I am glad you liked the post…I wasn’t sure if it was too smarmy, though smarmy and smart-ass are my stock-in-trade…as are ellipses.

      I am a huge PAW (post-apocalyptic word, for the who’s-at-home) fan, both zombie and non-zombie. I’ve got about 20 of these stories, from the classic (Alas, Babylon) to current (World War Z).

      I’ve already started the story and am about 30 pages into it. I started it as a traditional zombie novel, then started thinking the viral angle after long discussions with a friend who is very into the Zombie thing, too.

      I decided to stick with traditional, since it fits the story I wanted to tell a bit better. There’s a huge issue with viral zombies, IMO, in that they will eventually just die. If you can convince people to just hole up, it will eventually end. With traditional zombies, the threat goes on forever, unless you kill every last one of them.

      There were some huge moral issues I would have had to confront with the viral kind, and still might be able to do so, since my plan is that the infection will be virus-based, but turn them into ‘traditional’ zombies. Since it’ll be a virus, there is always a chance that someone will survive the illness. Even at a 90% mortality rate, do you risk killing the 10% that would survive/get well in order to keep the society safe? (I suppose this could be an allegory for capital punishment, now that I think about it). 🙂

      Thanks again,
      TimW

  3. Tori Nelson April 1, 2011 / 8:08 AM

    Ok. I am officially a Tim fan. Off to formulate a plan against my “carb-loading” zombie 🙂

    • Tim Weaver April 1, 2011 / 10:02 AM

      I am happy to know I am not the only one fighting zombies. 🙂

  4. Tim Weaver April 1, 2011 / 8:28 PM

    I guess I’ve only got 3 fans. 😉

    p.s. Never post after drinking two bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon…which I guess isn’t enough since I spelled it correctly. 😉

    • jannatwrites April 1, 2011 / 9:28 PM

      Three is better than none, right? (The wine glass-or bottle-is half-full.)

      I wouldn’t worry about it. Our different writing styles and subject matter could have something to do with it. Or people could be busy with other things and blog reading has fallen down on the to-do list.

      Thanks for offering your guest post!

      • Tim Weaver April 2, 2011 / 1:30 AM

        LOL…I am not upset at all. People have certain tastes. My writing isn’t for everyone…in fact, as I explained to you, and not your gentle readers, this is actually PG-13 compared to my normal writing. I know I am not everyone’s cup of tea…my “space cop” story should have told you that.

        I do, thought, very much appreciate you giving me the opportunity to pen my thoughts in public.

        Thanks, JannaT…it’s been a pleasure!!

        TimW

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