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?