So Patrick is a buddy of mine from the ABNA boards... Patrick and I began arguing with some regularity last spring... see... Patrick and I don't agree on much outside the writing world... Funny thing is, we both get some learning, growing and perspective out of it and we DO agree on a great many writerly things, and THAT makes for a fine friendship.
So without further ado, Patrick is going to explain to you... Why Zombies...
|Patrick with zom Bees... er.... (we agree on bees)|
A fellow author asked me this question recently, in the form of a backhanded compliment: "Why do you waste such talent on such drivel?" It's a good question. Zombies are disgusting, pestilent, cannibalistic monsters without a single inkling of that sparkly sexiness that made Edward such a hit. They've got no mojo, no verve, no flaws to exploit for dramatic tension. For those who don't "get it", a love of zombies can be hard to explain.
Gore is part of it, though for the aficionado it's quite secondary. As vivid as a pile of half-chewed intestines spilling out into the crosswalk can be, it's no more compelling when caused by a walking corpse than, say, frisky velociraptors getting their urban amok on, and it's much less interesting than the same scene caused by a knife-wielding ex-GI suffering post-traumatic stress. Blood and guts sells, but it doesn't explain the phenomenon.
The key to understanding your fellow zombie lover is to recognize that zombies aren't characters. Your head tells you they are, because they are human beings who walk and groan and occasionally talk (if only to lament for a lack of delicious braaaiiins), but your head is wrong.
Zombies are setting. The inevitable horde of mindless corpses constricts the world to a tiny place: a mall, an apartment tower, an army base, a town, somewhere that the rural audience suffocates with claustrophobia, the urban audience with crippling isolation. The collapse of order leaves the protagonists without resources, outside contact, or even hope. They are Ralph and Piggy's island, Dante's oubliette in the Chateau D'If, the very antithesis of the plugged-in modern society.
Zombies are conflict. From the thriller rush of a daring escape to the bitter arguments over dwindling resources, a good zombie apocalypse is a fight for survival that lends itself well to action as well as horror. Sacrifice is a well-loved trope in most fiction, and doubly so in a zombie yarn -- be it holding off the horde so that others might escape, or sneaking off to die of his secret bite, the hero rarely lives to see the last page.
|See, Patrick knows bees AND birds.|
Zombies are character. A good zombie apocalypse forces disparate characters together, people who might not otherwise ever come into contact, and subjects them to the crippling stress of imminent danger and the loss of everything and everyone they had. Stripped of everything and faced with hopeless death, the survivors struggle to hold on to those things that make them human.
Zombies are monsters. In an age where Bram Stoker's vision of soulless, hideous, blood-sucking beasts have been supplanted by sparkly-skinned, chiseled-chested swoon factories, somebody's got to step up and do some good old fashioned inhuman slaughter.
So next time you see that half-rotten face peering at you from the cover of a book, don't shudder and walk away; shudder and pick it up. You might just like what you find.
Blurb for Love Bites
The Uninvited Presents... from Pterotype Digital.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Freivald is an author, teacher, beekeeper, and coach of an award-winning high school robotics team. He lives in rural Western New York with his lovely wife and far too many animals. His tongue-in-cheek flash fiction A Taste for Life led to an as-yet unpublished novel of zombies and high school, to which Love Bites is a prequel.
Recovery, a crime thriller written with his twin brother Phil, is forthcoming from the Cogito Media Group in 2012.
You can find him on Facebook and Twitter. He won't bite. [blogger note: much *rubs ankles*]
And so... now we understand! Good luck with Love Bites! What do Yibus think? Zombie love out there? (I know there is some)