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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.

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.


  1. Thanks for having me over, Amanda! I also wanted to mention that Jenny Pox ebooks are currently free on Kindle, Apple, Sony, and Smashwords if anyone wants to grab a copy while it lasts. Happy Zombiepalooza!

  2. Love your work J. L.! I'm halfway through Alexander Death, and I am having a really tough time finishing (not because it is bad but because the series is so killer that I don't want it to end)! You and Amanda are my favs! :)

  3. Thanks, Ginny! I'm glad you like the Jenny Pox books :)

  4. Great novel, Jeffie (doing my walk-on celebrity thing to your D-list celebrity). I have always preferred the slow kind--the fast just seemed like a handy excuse to spin off a video game. Tell Alex to quit having all that unseemly physical contact with the Jenster and maybe he can focus on the job and it's all good. Feed him Jen Aniston instead. Or Jenster, as we walk-ons call her.

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Scottie! (That's Scott Nicholson, the editor of the Jenny Pox books!)

  6. Hey JL points for making me laugh so early in the morning that I still FEEL like a zombie. There is lots of shuffeling and groaning in my house before the coffee every morning, luckily there is a cure.

    Of course if I am fleeing zombies I hope they are slow, confused kind. Although, since I am a good shot and if I have unlimited amo, if I have the right tools I'm OK with the fast ones ;)

  7. Jeff, if you plan ahead (at least a year in advance) I think a zombie showdown is possible. Let me know if you need any help, I'm a master at negotiating event contracts :)

    PS: Good Luck on the tour next week!! I'll be sure to check-in...I'll still be on the road for mine, if you need a ride or anything.

  8. I downloaded Jenny Pox (FREE) last night and finished it in record time. I just bought the next two books in the series and am looking forward to starting Tommy Nightmare as I eat lunch. When I'm done is there a spot online where I can discuss the books with like minded fans? Would love to talk about the plots and which actor would play Seth in the movie. Thanks! ~Jeanie

  9. I dislike the brain-eating trait as applied to Zombies. It was an abomination introduced by O'Bannon for whatever comedic reasons he had. I wish we could erase that particular aspect of Zombie lore from our collective memories.

    I'd never heard of you, JL Bryan, but I'll be checking out your stuff this weekend.

  10. This just made my day. Thank you!!!


  11. And where does the Zombie Queen fit in here?? ;)

    EPIC post Jeff! LOVE it!

  12. Excellent! Let me know when the tickets go on sale for that stadium zombie knock-down. I'll be there. I'll even bring my own beer and I'll be in a pope-mobile like vehicle to ensure my safety because I'm slower than the slowest zombie (and that's never good in a stadium filled with zombies).

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  14. Seriously too bad for the zombie master - but yes the crazy horde always wins in the end.
    Fab post love it! (also 20% done with Jenny Pox) - looking forward to reading hollowland thats on my shelf! woot woot!
    Pabkins @ Mission to Read

  15. Ha! This was awesome (particularly the law firm reference, had to say it out loud though ... co workers are staring ...) Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Old vs. New zombies can raise a lot of ire - I was havign an argument with someone a couple of days ago who insisted that the Shaun of the Dead Zombies weren't real zombies because they could be fooled by a shuffling walk ... I had to shut them down. I love that movie.


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