Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Team Daryl! Or "Aren't Zombies Supposed to Scare the Living Hell out of Us?"

To celebrate the April 1st release of

Infected: Hacked Files from the GAMELAND Archives

I'm publishing an excerpt from one of the "hacked files" in the book, a "newspaper article" from the Edgemont Daily Register titled:


(the 1st part of the article was posted yesterday here.)

Part 2:

Team Daryl!

Zombies are supposed to scare the living hell out of us. They’re supposed to gross us out and give us nightmares. Five years ago, kicking zombie booty would never have made it onto on David Letterman’s Top Ten List of Uses for a Crossbow. But times, you know, they are a-changing. Zombies have gone mainstream. Thanks in part to cartoon caricatures of zombies on The Simpsons and South Park, we can’t seem to get enough of the undead, of reveling in their glorious gore, their rotting, ruinous decay. We happily surround ourselves with the very creatures we so terribly fear and despise. And we’re having the times of their lives! What’s wrong with us?

Why do we take pleasure in eliciting shivers of frightened glee from our friends and family, in gloating at the bemused discomfort of neighbors who shudder with mock horror at the all-too-real-looking bite wounds plastered over our bodies? (They may laugh, but deep down inside we know they’re really grossed out and maybe even a little scared.) Why do we feast on jiggly lime-flavored gray matter and peeled-grape eyeballs? What’s the attraction of reenacting the distinctive lumbering gait of the newly risen, arms outstretched, stiffened hands snapping smartphone pics to share on Twitter and Facebook? So we can spread horror-porn ZA memes as quickly as swine flu breeds in an abattoir? Or could it be so we can ponder the deep philosophical questions of the day: “Daryl Dixon or Elin Nordegren with a nine iron?” “Machete or shotgun?” And, most importantly, “What is the CDC really up to these days, anyway?”

Speaking of the CDC, they’re even trying to get in on the act, jumping on the meat — er, bandwagon and spreading undead love by issuing warnings and instructions on how to prepare and survive in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Do vampires or werewolves warrant such a contingency plan? Nope. Outside of the glittery Hollywood neon glow of Twilight, blood suckers and shape shifters are about as frightening as mosquitoes and slime mold. Get yourself some crushed garlic and antibiotics, folks. Stock up on holy water and a squirt gun to shoot it with.

Team Edward, my butt.

The Real Zombie Survival Guide has only one practical instruction: Bend over and kiss your . . . .

You get the picture.

On a scale of athlete’s foot fungus to methicillin-resistant staph aureus, zombies are the equivalent of Ebola and swine flu combined — deadly dangerous, highly contagious. Totally viral.

And maybe, just maybe, our affection for them is too.

Back when zombies truly scared us

What is the cause of our deadly love-hate obsession with the undead?

Our relationship with zombies wasn’t always so . . . entertaining. There was a time when they were truly frightening. They used to instill the kind of heart-arresting terror in us that would require emergency medical intervention (artistically depicted in a recent ZA-inspired CPR public service announcement from Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation).

The zombie has had its grip firmly on the pop culture mind since George A. Romero’s seminal movie of 1968, The Night of the Living Dead. But while his monsters seem both familiar and timeless to us now, the undead have undergone a significant evolution over their relatively short-lived history. The monsters we know now only superficially resemble their origins in myth. When did they change? And why — and how exactly — did rotting corpses ever become as appealing to us as they are appalling?
[[end of part 2]]
Part 3, coming tomorrow:  Modernmagic and science

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Infected: Hacked Files from the GAMELAND Archives is a companion book to the epic cyberpunk thriller horror series GAMELAND.

Available at all major ebook distributors

For more information, visit Saul's website.

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