Tag Archives: zombies

Mythbusting Monsters: Zombies

Once upon a time I wrote a short-lived series of articles for Dark Moon Digest I called Monster Mythbusting. The first of those articles, Monster Mythbusting: Haitian Zombis appeared in Dark Moon Digest Issue #2 in 2011. I’m going to reprint it here today in honor of the fact I’m giving my blog over to zombies this month to celebrate my the release of my latest zombie title, Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories).

Monster Mythbusting: Haitian Zombis

When Stan invited me to do a column for Dark Moon Digest first I was flattered, and then in no time at all I was stumped. What could I possibly write about from issue to issue that people would want to read? After considering and rejecting a great number of ideas I settled on this one: Monster Mythbusting.

Ever wonder if a lizard really could grow big enough to tower over buildings, if a creature could spontaneously burst into flames (or sparkle) when exposed to sunlight, or if zombies could really exist? Then stick around. These are the sorts of questions I plan to tackle in this column.

We’re going to start with the zombie. Zombies have enjoyed an upsurge in popularity recently which makes me very happy. Ever since, as a kid, I first saw George Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead I have been hooked on zombies. Whether they are shambling undead hordes, hanging out in regency novels or rage-filled “zoombies”, it doesn’t matter; I love them all. That made them the perfect monster for my first Dark Moon Digest column, but I needed a specific myth to examine.

One of my favourite zombie types is the living zombie, specifically those purportedly created via voodoo. Wade Davis, an ethnobotanist (a scientist who studies culture, plants and the interaction between the two) has spent a lot of time studying this type of zombie and the process by which they are created in Haiti. His work and theories were popularized by his novel, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and the Wes Craven movie of the same name. His work inspired the question I’ve decided to investigate for this column: do zombies exist in Haiti today?

Belief in the existence of zombies is nearly universal in Haiti and I think it’s important to note that Haitian zombies are not Hollywood zombies. They are not ghouls set on spreading their affliction throughout the human race. In fact, in Haiti people aren’t afraid of zombies, they are afraid of becoming one. It’s not the zombie that is the monster, but its creator. A Haitian zombie (or zombi) is a person who has had their soul removed from their body, leaving them a mindless, empty shell. In direct conflict with the idea of cannibalistic zombies, in Haiti it is strongly believed that zombis who have been created to be a slave must not be fed salt or meat lest their spirit be returned to them.

The belief in zombification is so pervasive in Haiti that there are laws against it. Article 249 of the penal code in Haiti equates turning a person into a zombie with murder even though the zombie is still technically alive. The fear of grave robbery and being raised from the dead is so strong that Haitian crypts are often locked and barred. Guards are set on them, to watch until the bodies are decomposed enough to be beyond resurrection or usefulness to a voodoo priest or “bokor”.

Practioners of voodoo believe zombis can be created in two ways. The first is accidental and the second intentional. Accidental zombis are believed to happen in the course of some voodoo ceremonies. During these rituals it is not uncommon for a believer to become possessed by the spirit of a god. Since a god and a person cannot be in the same place at the same time, the person’s soul temporarily leaves their body. They believe if the god’s spirit vacates the body too abruptly it may take the person’s spirit with it, leaving them a zombi. Religious accidents do not lend themselves well to being studied. Thus, for the sake of this column I am going to focus on intentionally created zombies.

Voodoo curses and zombification (or the threat thereof) are used as a means of vengeance in Haiti. A person can hire a bokor to zombify their enemies, killing them and then raising them from the dead as soulless slaves. It’s the ultimate revenge.

Wade Davis studied the powder bokors use to create zombies and found that it contained a powerful neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin which comes, primarily, from the puffer fish. Exposure to this venom can result in a comatose state that strongly mimics death. Thus, he theorized, people could be mistakenly declared dead and buried.[1] Then the bokor could dig them up.

Oxygen deprivation from their time in the grave could cause brain damage. The typical progression of this sort of brain damage (cerebral hypoxia[2]) is to first destroy higher order abilities such as speech and independent thought before it affected motor function. This would, in theory, leave people mobile and able to perform simple tasks but unable to think for themselves.

Once disinterred, they would be forced to eat “zombie cucumber”, a pasty mix of cane sugar, sweet potatoes and a powerful psychoactive substance called datura stramonium. The datura stramonium could cause memory loss and keep the newly created zombies submissive and disoriented.

There are those who find fault with Mr. Davis’ theories. Two scientists in particular, who are experts about tetrodotoxin, C.Y. Kao and Takeshi Yasumoto, took issue with his findings. They argued that Mr. Davis had hurt his scientific credibility by keeping certain information which may have cast doubt on the potency of zombie powder out of his thesis and condemned him for participating in graverobbing as part of his research. They also believed that the concentration of tetrodotoxin in the zombie powder he studied was too low to have any affect on a human subject.[3] However, the potency of the powder is likely to be highly variable—bokors don’t tend to use precise measurements and the toxicity of the puffer fish varies from season to season and even across gender. Thus, it’s conceivable that some powders might be more potent than others.

On the other hand, there is a famous case study that lends credence to Mr. Davis’ theory. In 1962, Clairvius Narcisses, a Haitian man who complained of symptoms of exposure to tetrodotoxin, was declared dead by two American-trained doctors and subsequently buried. Eighteen years later, a man claiming to be Clairvius approached his sister, identified himself and shared information that wasn’t common knowledge to attempt to prove his identity. He claimed he’d been turned into a zombi and forced by a bokor to work on a sugar plantation until the bokor’s death released him from his power.

The man claiming to be Mr. Narcisse alleged that, after being declared dead, he remained completely conscious and aware of what was going on around him but was unable to move or communicate—the same symptoms have been described for individuals poisoned with tetrodotoxin. He also claimed to be aware of his funeral and burial and showed a scar on his cheek where a nail punctured him when the coffin lid was fastened. Upon being quizzed about obscure familial and local knowledge that only someone from his village around the time of his alleged death would know and he answered them all correctly. Intriguing, no?

In 1996 and 1997 Roland Littlewood and Chavannes Douyon went to Haiti and examined three people who were purported to be zombis. They determined their first subject was a catatonic schizophrenic, the second had brain damage which was likely the result of anoxia and the third had a severe learning disability that was quite likely fetal alcohol syndrome. Most interestingly, was the fact that two of their subjects were DNA tested and found to be unrelated to the people who claimed them as family[4].

Littlewood and Douyon’s study implies that people who are brain damaged or mentally ill may be confused for zombis. However, we can’t use this case as evidence against the existence of zombis because Littlewood and Douyon would not dismiss the possibility that these people—especially the one who was brain damaged from a lack of oxygen—had been poisoned by a bokor with zombie powder. In fact, they said, “Given that death is locally recognised without access to medical certification, and that burial usually occurs within a day of death, it is not implausible for a retrieved person to be alive. The use of Datura stramonium to revive them, and its possible repeated administration during the period of zombi slavery could produce a state of extreme psychological passivity.”[5]

So, are Hatian zombis real? While I believe that some cases of zombification are actually misunderstood mentally ill or damaged people, I find that I’m unable to dismiss all cases this way. Perhaps the zombie powder doesn’t work very often, but it doesn’t have to. If it works even once in a million times that is enough. In addition, as Mr. Davis pointed out, we have to take the Haitian culture into account when considering zombis; they believe in them and in the power of voodoo, and belief is a powerful force. In the end I’m not willing to call this myth confirmed, but I definitely think it’s plausible. Perhaps we’ll never know the answer for sure but that only adds to the mystique around Haitian zombis and tightens the grip they and voodoo have upon our imagination.

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[1]E. Davis, Wade (1985). The Serpent and the Rainbow. New York: Simon & Schuster.

[2] “Cerebral Hypoxia Information Page: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,” accessed November 4, 2010. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/anoxia/anoxia.htm

[3] Takeshi Yasumoto and C.Y. Kao, “Tetrodotoxin and the Haitian zombie,” Toxicon, No. 24, (1986).

[4] Roland Littlewood and Chavannes Douyon, “Clinical findings in three cases of zombification,” Lancet, No. 350, (1997).

[5] Littlewood and Douyon, “Clinical findings in three cases of zombification.”

 

(I added the tree picture because if you squint at it in just the right way it’s almost “spooky”, I haven’t taken any zombie photographs [yet] and I really felt like there needed to be a break between the body of the article and the references. So. Yeah.)

Book Review: Ex-Heroes

This is a book review by Beth Cato. It’s meant to be a companion for her guest blog from yesterday: A Confession Regarding Zombies. Go ahead and read it first if you haven’t already.

Read it?

Good 🙂

ExHeroesBook Review by Beth Cato: EX-HEROES by Peter Clines

Superheroes, post-apocalypse and zombies. It’s either bound to be a horrid mash-up worthy of midnight cable, or something seriously awesome. I was especially critical because I’m a reluctant reader of zombie fiction. Zombies squick me, big time. But I was gifted with an Advanced Reader Copy of Ex-Heroes from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and I was willing to give it a try.

I was very pleasantly surprised.

Here’s the book’s summary:
The first in a spectacularly genre-mashing adventure series that pits a small group of courageous, flawed, terrified superheroes against hordes of undead.

Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place.

Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Now, a year later, the heroes struggle to overcome their differences and recover from their own scars as they protect the thousands of survivors huddled in their film-studio-turned-fortress, the Mount.

But the hungry ex-humans are not the only threat the survivors face. Across the city, another group has grown and gained power.

I love a good superhero story. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t translate well to novels. Post apocalypse stories? I love’em to bits because I’m morbid like that. The zombies were my big concern as I approached the book. I told myself, “If it’s bad, I don’t have to finish it.”

I finished it, no problem.

Clines has created a devastated, incredible world here. His cast of superheroes varies widely as far as powers and personalities, and while they do follow the tropes of the genre, they are all vivid and absolutely believable. Even more impressive, he skips from perspective to perspective and between the past and the current apocalyptic environment, and manages to do so in a way that’s not confusing at all. The heroes all speak in voices that are that distinct.

The setting itself is another wow factor. I’m a native Californian but only have a very basic understanding of where things are located around LA. Gauging from this book, Clines KNOWS this place. He uses the movie studios, the streets, and shows how it’s all become a battleground. It feels firmly grounded in reality. My only wish is that the front of the book included a map.

Then there are the zombies. They are as nasty and sad as one would expect. The shambling undead have taken over the world. It’s really chilling, though, when Clines breaks down the statistic to show how many zombies are staggering around LA, even after all the efforts the heroes have taken to combat them. Of course, the heroes aren’t up against the zombies alone. Their big rivals in town are the Seventeen gang, and the thugs are no longer content with peddling drugs and spraying graffiti–no, they want supplies, and they want the superhero Gorgon dead.

Again, as a Californian, this really resonated with me–I could see a gang taking over in a vacuum of power like this. It’s really weird to say, “This superhero zombie apocalypse novel won me over with its realism,” but it’s the truth. I went in with low expectations and now I really want to read onward in the series.

[I received an ARC of the book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Modifed version of this review previously published on 50bookchallenge on LiveJournal, LibraryThing, and Goodreads.]

 

Beth Cato’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER, a steampunk fantasy novel from Harper Voyager. Her short fiction is in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Daily Science Fiction. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat.

A Confession Regarding Zombies

The Clockwork DaggerBeth is one of my favourite people as well as being one of my favourite authors. Her steampunk novel, The Clockwork Dagger, is scheduled for release in September (Not to brag but I’ve had a sneak peek — you’re going to love it!). Just check out that cover, then click on it to add it to your ‘To-read’ shelf on Goodreads. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Doot doot.

Done?

Good. Now go ahead and read Beth’s confession regarding zombies…

A Confession Regarding Zombies
by Beth Cato

I recently spoke to middle graders about writing. I opened my talk by summarizing my writing in a way to get their interest–“I write about a hundred different ways to end the world, and a few ways to save it.”

This caused a boy to raise his hand with the desperate need to speak about, as he termed it, “his favorite apocalypses.” He asked for my top ten and then had to talk about his all time top five. At the top of his list: zombies. “There’s just something about the walking undead,” he said, his eyes shining with delight.

Meanwhile, I was trying to hide my shudder.

I have a confession to make: I’m a speculative fiction writer who is completely squicked by zombies.

I will not watch The Walking Dead. I try to avoid most zombie movies. I rarely read zombie-themed books–and when I like it, that means it’s a pretty big endorsement on my part. (Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines is one from the past year that I definitely recommend: it’s post-apocalyptic Los Angles with superheroes AND zombies. Great stuff.)

That said, I haven’t ignored the trend entirely. I’ve made a few contributions to zombie lit–“Brains for Breakfast,” which is in Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Presents Flush Fiction and a poem, “What Remains,” in a zombie-themed issue of Penumbra. But that’s it.

I’m not bothered by the undead in general. Liches? Awesome. I love the idea of undead wizards. Mummies are nifty, especially if they are intelligent. Really, I don’t mind animated bodies that retain some cognitive function.

That’s really the key. The thing that perturbs me about zombies is their mindlessness–no memory, no awareness, no sense of self. To me, that’s the worst fate possible, to become an empty vessel.

It’s a very real concern for me. My paternal grandfather died because of Alzheimer’s. We’ve been told, “This might run in your family. You just have to wait and see.”

I wasn’t close to that grandfather. I lived in California; he lived in Alabama. I only saw him a few times in my life, and only once after his diagnosis. It was a very sad meeting, especially for my dad who wasn’t recognized at all. My grandfather stared into space, his eyes vacant. He drooled. I never had the chance to know him, and I never would, and now he didn’t even know who I was.

And I’m left to wonder… will my own brain betray me in this way? Will I see my dad’s consciousness slowly fade from his eyes?

Zombies are the horror genre to me. The real deal. But maybe that’s exactly why people are attracted to zombies, and why they are indeed at the top of so many people’s favorite apocalypse lists. People want to understand their deepest fear. Maybe that’s why I can’t help but write about zombies sometimes, too.

***

This guest blog is part of a series of posts this month featuring zombies. I’m focusing on zombies for the month of June to celebrate the release of my book, Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories)

Something Nasty This Way Stumbles

The-Final-Formula-1600-Barnes-and-NobleI’m dedicating this month on my blog to zombies to celebrate the release of my book Waste Not. Thus, I was super pleased when Becca Andre offered to do a guest blog here today. I “met” Becca on Twitter through Beth Cato (who will have a guest post or two here next week :)) and have always found her to be friendly, professional and well-spoken. So I won’t hold it against her that she’s blogging about why she doesn’t like zombies 😉

Also, the fabulous book covers you see scattered throughout this post are Becca’s but I’m the one who decided to use them to decorate the text here, because I think they are gorgeous 🙂

Something Nasty This Way Stumbles
by Becca Andre

Zombies. It seems they’re everywhere. I run across them in the books I read, the movies I watch, and the games I play. But I don’t understand this obsession with the undead. I find nothing appealing about these rotting husks of humanity. I put them in my own stories because they disturb me. That’s what authors are supposed to do, right? Dig deep, mine your fear. Well, dead things creep me out. Dead things that can get up and move around? Now that’s shudder-worthy!

I’ve always been drawn to creepy things. There’s just something about being afraid that makes me feel alive. I love haunted houses, nighttime walks in the forest, and cemeteries. While on vacation, I seek out hotels that are reported to be haunted, and once my family and I accidentally got locked in a cemetery after dark. (The family freaked on that one, but we were in a rental car, 800 miles from home. Even so, I thought it was cool.)

But back to the reason I’m here. Zombies. To me, the true power of the zombie is the infection story. Losing a loved one is hard. Having said loved one get up and need to be killed all over again, that’s the stuff of nightmares. The horror compounds when everyone you know becomes witless, brain-slurping monsters that chase down anyone who still has a few firing brain cells. (Zombies never seem interested in chomping on each other or the wildlife.) The zombie infection story is rife with conflict and emotion, but to me, the zombie in and of itself is just, well, gross.

I guess gross is the point when it comes to zombies. You are literally staring death in the face, witnessing the decay and the loss of humanity. The outward human resemblance is just a sad reminder of the person it once was. A twisted memory.

The-Element-of-Death-1600-Barnes-and-NobleI think death fascinates and horrifies us in equal measure. I suspect that’s where my interest in ghost stories and cemeteries comes from. Which might explain why death and immortality are major themes in my current series. And you can’t explore death in a work of fantasy without zombies. (I’m pretty sure that’s a rule.)

In my fictional world, necromancers rather than infection animate the dead. Zombies make decent minions if you have the power to control them. They have superhuman strength, they run in packs, and they’re expendable. The problem is, that like a group of hyperactive preschoolers, zombies require constant supervision. You won’t be sending them off to complete missions on their own. Bank robbery? Nope. They’d eat the teller long before she could sack up the cash. But if you’re looking to strike terror in your victim, a pack of mindless flesh-eaters are sure to do the trick.

Zombies aren’t the only undead in my world. You’ll also stumble across the zombie’s twisted cousin, the lich. An animated corpse with his intellect attached makes a far more formidable opponent. If the lich is an undead necromancer who can in turn make the protagonist into a lich, that’s even better. Spending eternity bound to your rotting corpse would not be a pleasant way to go—or stay.

So no, I’m not a zombie enthusiast per se, but I do enjoy exploring the themes they represent. They also work great in black comedy (Zombieland, anyone?) and video games (I’m strangely obsessed with zombie-themed video games). But the zombie’s true horror is the mortality they force us to face.

***

Becca Andre is author of The Final Formula Series. It’s a story about a smart-mouthed alchemist who may or may not have found a potion that grants eternal life. In a modern world where magic has only recently returned, she must rely on her wits and a talent with explosives to discover the truth about a past she doesn’t remember. (The occasional zombie that stumbles into her path just makes things more interesting.)

You can find Becca at www.beccaandre.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AddledAlchemist
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeccaAndre

the-blood-alchemist1600x1000

Why Zombies? A Guest Blog from S.G. Browne

breathers-web-coverI met S.G. Browne at a World Fantasy convention oh man, in 2008! Dude, where does the time go? O_o

Anyway, he did a reading from his novel, Breathers, which was due to be out soon and I liked it *so* much I sought him out afterwards and we became friends. Scott writes about a lot of things, but since I’m dedicating this month to zombies to promote my title, Waste Not, I invited him to come hang out here today to talk about them. Happily, he took me up on the offer 🙂

What follows is a guest blog by S.G. Browne:

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Why zombies? What’s the big deal? Why do so many people like them?

I think the main reason so many people are zombie fans is that they can relate to them. After all, zombies used to be us. They are what we can all become when our humanity is stripped away and all we’re left with is an insatiable desire to satisfy our hunger. When all we’re left with is our instinct. Our id. What Freud called the “dark, inaccessible part of our personality.”

Or maybe I’m over-analyzing. Maybe people love zombies for other reasons. Maybe it’s because they’re relentless. Or socially relevant. Or tragically comical. Or because the idea of a werewolf apocalypse is just ridiculous.

Admittedly, that’s something zombies tend to fight against with mainstream audiences and the literary Nazis: the ridiculous factor. Vampires and ghosts have a history that tends to provide them with some literary caché, including Dracula by Bram Stoker and ghost stories by Henry James, Shirley Jackson, and Charles Dickens, just to name a few. Another ghost story, The Sixth Sense, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Zombies, on the other hand, have never been considered “literary” monsters and are often looked down upon by mainstream audiences (and literary reviewers) as silly and confined to genre fiction without being able to tackle any serious issues. But zombies are often used as a vehicle for satire and social commentary about discrimination, consumer excess, and alienation, among other things. While they’re not exactly performing Hamlet, zombies can still raise questions about what happens when we shuffle off this mortal coil.

I know there are numerous zombie purists out there who don’t want to see zombies getting philosophical or metaphorical or doing anything other than shuffling along mindlessly in search of human flesh. They tend to get very Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham about their zombies.

They do not like them when they run, they do not like them if they’re fun.
They do not like them to be smart, they do not like them with a heart.

While I respect the predilections of zombie purists and appreciate post-apocalyptic zombie fare like World War Z by Max Brooks and Dawn of the Dead by George Romero (though I prefer the 2004 remake by Zack Snyder), I’m a sucker for novels and films that do something new with the living dead. Novels like Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore and films like Fido. Rather than dealing with the humans’ side of the story, these stories focus more on the zombies.

If you ask me, zombies are like cowbell. As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to zombie novels and films, there should be more cowbell and less humans trying to figure out how to deal with the problem of zombies. That’s why in my zombie fiction, I write about zombies and how they deal with the problem of humans.

Rather than imagining what it would be like to be a human in a post-apocalyptic world overrun with the living dead, I wondered what would happen if I were the monster. If I reanimated from the dead, only I wasn’t your stereotypical Hollywood zombie but instead I was just a reanimated corpse with no rights who was gradually decomposing and needed some serious therapy. How would society treat me? What would my parents think? Could I join a bowling league?

These are the issues I want to deal with. Not how to kill a zombie or how to build a zombie-proof shelter and survive a zombie apocalypse, but how to survive in a world that abhorred me and treated me as a non-human. How to find my purpose in a society in which I had no purpose.

It’s all about turning things around, finding sympathy for the devil, and playing with the idea of who’s the hero. After all, everyone thinks they’re the hero of their own story. Even the bad guy. So maybe if you put yourself in the shoes of the villain, you might discover a different perspective. You might discover that there’s more to being a zombie than just being a brain-dead monster who craves human flesh.

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S.G. Browne is the author of the novels Breathers, Fated, Lucky Bastard, and Big Egos, as well as the novella I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus and the short story collection Shooting Monkeys in a Barrel. He lives in San Francisco. You can visit him at www.sgbrowne.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Ten Reasons To Not Include Zombies At Your Party

Like I said yesterday, I signed up to participate in the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour (2014 version) in order to promote my latest zombie book (Waste Not), but I find myself really enjoying the company of other zombie writers. Right along with that, I was pleased, though not surprised, to see so many other women writing zombie fiction. One of those ladies is Christine Verstraete and I’m super excited to host her guest blog here today. Christine has chosen to write about why you might not want to invite a zombie to your party. I think this one will make you smile 🙂

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10 Reasons NOT to Include Zombies at Your Birthday or Other Party

By (C.A.) Christine Verstraete

girlz-my-life-as-a-teenage-zombie (2)Look around and you’ll see zombies just about everywhere, it seems.

I know after writing my book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, I haven’t yet tired of the zombie genre. I’m still working on writing new adventures for my part-Z girl character and I’m also working on other more adult-oriented projects, as well.

So, this brings up the question of holidays and special events (no, don’t even bother trying to figure out how a writer’s mind works or makes such connections)—The Question: do zombies and other creatures belong? Do they even celebrate, or should they?

Well . . . consider this if you want to have a zombie at your birthday or other party:

  1. Zombies stink.

There’s nothing like the smell of all that rot and decay to ruin the party. Don’t expect everyone to wait around for the cake and presents.

  1. Zombies have no manners.

And speaking of cake . .

Yeah, try passing around pieces of cake without getting your own arm chewed off.

  1. Zombies don’t know how to share.

Imagine the poor birthday kid (or adult) trying to open their gifts without having them nearly snatched out of their hands (since the hands are really what this guest is after.)

Which leads to . . .

  1. Zombies don’t care about holidays.

It’s pretty hard to have a family celebration or get together with friends when everyone is running.

  1. Zombies are too grabby.

Bad enough old Uncle Elmo won’t keep his hands to himself. Now you’ve got some smelly, rotten, dead guy (no, not the ex) grabbing at you. Oh, brother.

  1. Zombies are messy.

Ugh, the dog puked after eating all that stuff the kids fed him, somebody else puked from drinking too much, and now . . .Yikes! Is that a toe or something somebody left behind? And what is that? No, don’t look too close! Oh, ick!

  1. Zombies don’t have a clue.

Zombies really are clueless. They don’t understand that your moving away doesn’t mean you’re playing hard to get. Or that the grimace on your face isn’t an uninfected person’s version of a zombie smile.

  1. Zombies don’t play nice.

They can get pretty mean and nasty when you say no or push them away. Hmm, remind you of anyone?

  1. Zombies are… just zombies. Read the previous entries.
  2. And the biggest reason for NOT including a zombie at your birthday or other party:

Consider the odds on celebrating next year’s birthday or having any other kind of party. Chances are pretty big there won’t be one.

 

Christine VerstraeteChristine Verstraete likes to write slightly different stories, as with her book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, about a 16-year-old whose fate is worse than acne. Yeah, she turns part-zombie. Read/download the Prologue and Chapter 1 at http://www.cverstraete.com/girlz-teenage-zombie-book.html. Visit her blog http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com.

GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie:

Kindle and print, Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/mwjn6v3

Amazon.uk: http://tinyurl.com/ctyd9dz

Amazon Canada: http://tinyurl.com/d8jv9hu

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/d889gzn

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Girl.Z.Teenage.Zombie.Book

 

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

https://www.facebook.com/events/286215754875261/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

SummerZombie Shirt Front

 

The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool

Kirk AllmondThis month I’m participating in The Summer of Zombie Blog Tour (2014). Originally I signed up to help promote my zombie collection (Waste Not), but I very quickly came to enjoy spending time hanging out in virtual space with all the other fantastic people participating. Wonderful dudes (which is a term I used to describe both men and women :-p) who just happen to write about zombies 🙂

One of those people is Kirk Allmond, and I’m super stoked to be hosting his guest post today — The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool!

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The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool

By Kirk Allmond

When you visit the thousands of zombie prepper websites out there on the internet, you will find thousands of posts claiming various things are “The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool.” I think they all get it wrong.

When surviving in a post-apocalyptic world, weight is of serious consideration. There is no room in my pack to carry a strawberry slicer. A tool that does one job, a unitasker, has no place in my bug out bag. Everything must be able to serve multiple functions. Therefore, a unitask item like a gun is not The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool. No matter how useful a gun is, there are other things that can do the job of killing the intended target, be it zombie, unfriendly target, or that 8 point buck that will feed you for three days.

The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool must be readily available, preferably something that almost everyone already has. Purpose made items, like that shovel that does 97 other things are cool, but expensive. Not everyone has the resources to have the top-of-the-line multitool, or a crowbar that also cooks bacon. Please note: The Apocalypse is not worth surviving if there is no bacon.

There are two distinct styles of zombie survivor. The “Bug Out” group, who at the first sign of zombies loads up the truck and heads to some remote destination they have pre-prepared, and the “Bunk In” group, who roll down the hurricane shutters and break into the stash of canned bread when they spot the first rotten, festering corpse shambling mindlessly down the street. In order to be considered “The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool,” the item must be useful to both groups.

The lone-wolf bug out guy, for all his brooding, unshaven, my skills against the world attitude, has no use for a generator. The “I have a family to protect and we are defending our home until our dying breath guy,” on the other hand could make great use of a propane powered generator. They are efficient and easy to refuel. A pair of bolt cutters will get you twenty propane tanks from that cage sitting outside every single convenience store, drug store, hardware store, and grocery store in the United States. But, as useful as it would be to the Bunk In, a generator is not The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool.

Both types of survivor will have to have water. After oxygen, it is the most important resource to the survivalist, whether Bug Out, Bunk In, country, city, suburban, desert, tundra, or prarie. Without water, you’re dead in three days, and if you’ve ever gone two days without something to drink, you pretty much feel like death. I can’t imagine what that third day feels like, or what kind of stupid mistakes you might make.

Standing water is home to bazillions of microscopic contaminants, pathogens, and pollutants. Even though I drink from every river and stream I came across, and have never had any issue, I can’t think of much worse than ingesting giardia infested water while on the run from a horde of slobbering brain eaters. “I’d really like to defend myself from those nine zombies surrounding me, but first let me go projectile vomit from both ends for the next ten minutes.”

Water filtration is of crucial importance. But there are thousands of ways to perform this task, and a water filter is a unitasker. It does its job extremely well, and makes life much easier, but it is not “The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool.”

The number one asset Humankind has against the onset of the shambling horde is our speed. They are slow. Inexorable, unstoppable, unwavering, but slow. If the survivor finds themselves face to face with four zombies, she could choose to fight. Sweep the outstretched hands away, follow up with a machete blow to the temple, cleaving the head to expose the rotten gray matter contained within. But no matter how sharp your skills, no matter how practiced you are in combat, you cannot account for all variables.

The smart solution is to run. Gain distance, which buys you time to employ other tools to do the job in a safe manner. Therefore, in my humble opinion, your feet are “The Ultimate Zombie Survival Tool.” They are the ultimate free resource. They can be silent, they can be fast, they can push zombies away, and they have a better reach than your hands. They can carry you safely away from an encounter that was too close for comfort. They take you to the food. They take you to the water.

Consider post-apocalyptic life without your feet. It would be nearly impossible to survive. Take care of your them. Keep a good pair of boots. Keep moleskin. Keep clean socks. Because without your feet you’re in serious trouble.

If you’d like to talk about zombies, prepping, writing or my books “What Zombies Fear” you can find me in all the places.

www.whatzombiesfear.com
www.KirkAllmond.com
www.facebook.com/groups/whatzombiesfear
www.twitter.com/VictorTookes
Happy surviving!

~*~

Kirk is currently promoting his zombie novel, What Zombies Fear 1: A Father’s Quest. I haven’t read this book yet, but I find the title super intriguing (what DO zombies fear?) and I really like the cover. You can check out the first few chapters for free by clicking on the cover image below 🙂

Cover-Art_for_The_ultimate_zombie_survival_Blog_Post

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

https://www.facebook.com/events/286215754875261/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

I’m Interviewed at Jay Wilburn’s Blog

Summer of ZombiesLike the subject says, I’m being interviewed over at Jay Wilburn’s blog today as a part of the Summer of Zombie blog tour. As a part of that, I’m also giving away a few copies of Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) on Facebook 🙂

And with that, I’m going to hit ‘Publish’ on what might very well be the shortest blog entry I’ve ever written 😉

Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories)

Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories)

The reason I’m giving my blog over to the zombies this month is this — Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) My newest release! 🙂 It’s not a great title, I’ll grant you, but the stories are cool. I’m better at writing stories than titles 😉 In fact, after reading it Vanessa Ricci-Thode (author of Dragon Whisperer) described Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) as, “Hit-you-in-the-gut dark humour [that] will have you howling.” 🙂

Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) is a collection of three of my previously-published zombie stories that I think will make you laugh. Now instead of having to purchase three different magazines to read them, you can get them all under one cover. The Kindle edition is $1.99 or free when you buy a paperback copy. And why did I make a paperback copy of a thirty-five page book (aside from the fact I wanted to put it on my ego shelf)? Well, because of all those times you’re shopping at Amazon and you’re like ‘Oh man, I just need $5 more to get free shipping!’ Well, lemme tell ya, have I got a deal for you!

…okay, maybe I mostly just wanted to be able to put it on my ego shelf LOL But still, it’s a fun little collection. Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) includes:

Waste Not – The coming of zombies forces humankind back to the land, to a simple lifestyle where ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ becomes more than a motto, it becomes the key to survival. And revenge.

Feeders – The zombie apocalypse will affect more than just humans, explore the repercussions of walking dead through the eyes of a cat in this story guaranteed to make you smile.

…Oh My! – What if the Wicked Witch of the West wasn’t killed by Dorothy’s house? What if she couldn’t be, because she was a zombie. Dun dun dun!

One last thing? If you check out Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) or if you’ve read any of the individual stories and enjoyed them, would you consider leaving me a review at Amazon or Goodreads? I would appreciate it 🙂

In the meantime, if zombie munchkins don’t really sound like your thing (and if that’s the case how on earth did you end up on my blog? LoL) but other kinds of zombies make you happy, check out the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour. It even has t-shirts! (Dudes, my name on a t-shirt? My ego wouldn’t LET me say no LoL) Or just check back here, I’m going to be hosting some zombi-rific guest blogs over the next few weeks. You won’t want to miss ’em 🙂

Month of Zombies

In order to celebrate the release of my book*:

Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories)Waste Not: And Other Funny Zombie Stories

I have decided to give my blog over to the shambling hordes of undead for June.

As part of that I am participating in the Summer of Zombies Blog Tour:

SummerofZombies

But as big and awesome as that is (and it is!), it’s not going to fill my blog.

So if you have anything zombie that you’d like to share here on my blog, please let me know (via comments, email, Facebook or Twitter).

I’m looking for guest blogs, book reviews, movie reviews, zombie poetry, rants, raves — whatever. If it’s zombified (and not X-rated LOL) I want to host it here on my blog next month. A few dates are already spoken for, but there are plenty left, so if you’re interested please speak up. The more the merrier!

 

*Much more about this later 😉

Translated: Waste Not

AlgernonMy fun zombie tale, Waste Not, has been translated by Silver Sära and published in the most recent issue of Algernon. This is my very first translated story and I think it’s pretty awesome that the language is Estonian. This publication is a fantastic way to start off my week. Check it out:

Ära raiska

One of my favourite discoveries from this process came when I ran part of my story through Google translate. The phrase ‘Waste not, want not’ appears in my story, but when Google translated it back to English from Estonian it became “Waste not, then do not miss seeing” which I love. I think that will need to become a short story title at some point 😉

I’d like to add a shout-out to my friend Deborah Walker. Without her I would never have thought to submit to Algernon and what’s even cooler is that it’s my great pleasure to share this table of contents with her. Thank you, Deborah!