I don’t know if “fan” is the right word when describing my interest in the zombie genre. I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on for several years now. I’m even reading Handling the Undead from an author out of Sweden, John Ajvide Lindqvist, and I have to say I kind of like where he’s headed.
It isn’t so much the blood and guts and fighting, although I have been known to enjoy a good slasher flick now and again. To me the main attraction is that surviving a zombie apocalypse is like solving an intricate puzzle. Survival on that level would require people to use their minds and bodies in ways that we don’t now – our minds mostly.
How sad is it that employers have to list problem-solving as a skill they require? Shouldn’t problem-solving be a part of everyday life for everyone?
When your very existence is on the line, then yes, problem-solving and decision-making become a huge part of your day.
So how authors/directors/screenwriters handle this and other issues involving human behavior interest me a great deal. It tells me how they view the world, what concerns them most, and how they see themselves fitting into the new scheme of things should a zombie outbreak actually happen.
I think it’s interesting that in some of the novels the characters are still concerned about nuclear warfare even after the zombies are roaming around. I can’t really say I wouldn’t be worried about bombs in that situation, but having something that wants to eat me right in front of my face seems like a more imminent concern.
Don’t get me wrong I doubt the end of civilization will be brought about by zombies or vampires or werewolves. No, it will probably be something that was easily preventable if someone had been paying attention.
Having supernatural or even tangible enemies is the part that interests me the most about our fascination with these types of stories. It indicates our craving to label and classify things. We want our troubles to be solved in 45 minutes (1 hour less commercials) with a week to rest and recuperate before the next one comes along.
But when was life ever like that and why would we expect it to be like that after the world ends as we know it?
But, and this is a huge but, wouldn’t it be nice if our enemies were real, tangible, and right in front of our faces? Oh, and mindless too. Wouldn’t it be nice if our enemies were something easily understood and explained? Wouldn’t it be nice if enemies were easily distinguishable from allies? To me that would make surviving the end of the world a teensy bit easier. Not easy, just easier.
It’s the sort of thing I can prepare for and learn to fight. No zombies wouldn’t be so bad. It would be the other so-called “normal” people left that would scare the shit out of me. The ones with a mind left. The ones who can’t deal with the end of the world and their minds inevitably snap or figure out that they could manipulate others who are left into following some weird ideology to accomplish their own sick and twisted goals.
I would dare say those people are the ones who don’t have an imagination now. They are the ones who don’t have the problem-solving and decision-making skills down pat now. They are the ones who blame everyone else for their problems now. They are the ones who feel entitled to everything without ever putting forth any effort now.
It’s funny how in the books and shows and movies these personality types always show up now. I used to think the end of the world would be some type of nirvana (weird, I know), but when I was a kid not getting picked on was my number one priority. I guess I thought the only way that would happen was if I was the last person left alive. Now I see that all those people who irritate me now would still be there. Maybe less of them, but they would still be there.
So it seems that I need to learn to deal with those people now, because I’m probably going to need them sooner than any of us think!