Friday, October 14, 2011

Old-Fashioned Zombies (and New-Fangled Ones)


Today’s Zombiepalooza post comes from J.L. Bryan, author of The Paranormals trilogy (Jenny Pox, Tommy Nightmare, and Alexander Death) and other novels.  Fairy Metal Thunder is the first book in his new Songs of Magic series.  On Monday (October 17), he begins The Paranormals Blog Tour, where you can win a Kindle Fire, Jenny Pox-themed jewelry, autographed books and more. Watch for a Zombiepalooza giveaway of Jenny Pox, too, later this month.
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Old-Fashioned Zombies (and New-Fangled Ones)

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I want to thank Mandy for inviting me back for Zombiepalooza II!  I don’t know if anyone actually calls her “Mandy.” I’m just doing that thing where D-list celebrities refer to A-list celebrities by unusual nicknames. (“So, I was having lunch with Tony Hopkins and Marty Scorsese the other day...”) I’ve always wanted to do that.

Which brings us right to tonight’s topic: Old-fashioned zombies versus new-fangled zombies: who would win in a fight? (This topic is totally different from my “slow versus fast zombies” guest post last year.)

This is an obvious subject to me because my Paranormals trilogy has some old-fashioned zombies.  By old-fashioned, I mean the traditional legends you would find in Haiti.  A zombie master turns people into zombies, raising them from the dead, usually for some manual labor drudgery, like working a plantation (an obvious metaphor for slavery, of course). In the first zombie movie, White Zombie, the zombie master uses zombie labor in his mill.

Those zombies lost a cultural-evolutionary rat race to the teeming apocalyptic zombie horde.  The George Romero-style zombie took over the world and ate its brains.  Amanda’s Hollowland and Hollowmen feature zombie hordes that behave in this very inconsiderate manner. 

So I thought it would be fun to build a stadium, pit a horde of my zombies against a horde of Amanda’s zombies in a colossal public exhibition, and give out free balloons.  Because balloons are nice.  But apparently we don’t have the budget to do that for this blog post, especially once you add in the balloon and helium costs, so we’ll just imagine what might happen.

At first, my zombies would seem to have the advantage.  There is a central mind, the zombie master, directing their actions. On top of that, my zombies can use simple tools, like shovels, picks, and AK-47s.  This organization and tool-slinging ability puts them ahead of the brainless brain-eaters.

However, we know how this story ends.  The hungry swarm always wins.  They inherit the Earth, and no amount of tools or human intelligence can hope to stop them.  Because, in the end, when you only have one goal, and that goal is eating brains, a goal which turns others into zombies like you...there’s just nothing that beats that level of persistence, dedication, and single-minded fixation. 

Live humans get distracted with thoughts, feelings, and other blah.  Zombie masters are only human, and so zombie-master-controlled zombies just don’t have the same intensity of focus as the feeding horde.  They can lose purpose and topple over if the zombie master is feeling depressed, sleepy, or dead.  And that’s when they get eaten by the swarms of other zombies, who are just hungry, and not subject to remote psychic control.

And that’s how the new swarming zombies beat out the old-fashioned kind.

I still wish we could have had that big zombie fight in the stadium, though.  Maybe next Zombiepalooza.