There’s nothing like the haunting narratives in World War Z to get my blood pumping… when I’m loading the dishwasher or running the vacuum. I’m sure I’ve listened to it on my iPod three times within the last year with the same fervor of tonight’s race through the first two volumes of The Walking Dead, shunning the aforementioned chores in favor of the undead.
I don’t know what it is about zombies, but I know it’s not healthy. Possibly contagious. I’m already afraid of the dark, and indulging in literature like this just fills it for me, the gurgle and drag of my imagination promising nightmares. Still, I can’t resist, not when these are stories that get at the heart truths of what it means to be a living person, to live, to be a person. I’m not interested in drivel, but ink that coagulates on the page like old blood, terror that resonates even when it’s a belly laugh; maybe because of it. Like the Borg or the Flood, the Cybermen and even to some degree the Shadows, what is scary and best about zombies is their singular desire, their collective agency, that they want and rot and are willed all the same. I’ve found I haven’t enjoyed as much those short stories that explore zombies who retain some sense of who they are, and zombie romance confuses the hell out of me, mostly in attempts to gross me out. Zombies who want more out of their (un)lives than brains might as well be vampires or aliens or soccer moms. I like my monsters just the way Romero intended them… and I like even better the monstrous things they inspire in soccer moms.
Bottom line, I don’t want to save them. I just want to shoot them in the head.