Welcome Margo Bond Collins to zOctober!
While her brand new release is not a zombie novel, she is a big fan of the undead in all forms and I am happy she wants to share her thoughts about zombies here. And hello, DID YOU SEE what she’s nice enough to give away? I wish I could enter!
by Margo Bond Collins
Publication date: October 8th 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.
When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city’s vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.
But she didn’t know then what she knows now: there’s a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.
So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.
But can she maintain her own humanity in the process? Or will Cami find herself, along with the rest of the world, pulled under a darkness she cannot oppose?
We’re All the Walking Dead: Zombies and the Fear of Individuality
Eventually, in most zombie tales, human ability to band together offers the only hope for humanity’s continued survival. And whether or not the band of persevering, plucky humans ultimately triumphs in any particular movie or book, the message of many depictions of zombies seems to be that our difference, this ability to band together, to use our minds and our wits, is what separates us from zombies and gives us even the slightest hope of saving the world—or at least ourselves—from the ravenous hordes of mindless flesh-eaters.
That is, you’re either smart, prepared, and able to work within a group, or you’re a meat-snack. When individual differences have been removed by (un)death in the case of zombies, the only way to meet the threat becomes the removal of human individuality.
So to protect human individuality, these works suggest, you have to suppress it for a while, much as a soldier must sublimate his own desires and identity in favor of following orders.
But the problem with this is that the “common man” can just as easily become the “common zombie,” and if individuality has been erased, it becomes more and more difficult to distinguish the human from the zombie. In Shaun of the Dead, for example, the hero can’t even recognize the difference between zombies and regular members of the working-class.
And as the humans in zombie stories—whether online, in books, or in film—become more uniform in thought and action, we’re also beginning to see the individuation of zombies. Leaving aside for the moment the discussion of whether they’re really “zombies,” in the 2007 version of I Am Legend starring Will Smith, for example, Smith’s character Dr. Robert Neville claims that the monsters surrounding him can’t think. Yet one creature—listed in the credits as the “Alpha Male”—clearly shows intelligence and reasoning when he works to trap Neville. Romero’s film Land of the Dead also gives a nod toward the idea of zombies who think, albeit simplistically, and in doing so pushes the audience to empathize with the undead rather than with the living, who are depicted as rapacious, unthinking, and untrustworthy.
Ultimately, modern zombie stories reflect our fear of loss of identity. In Shaun of the Dead and Fido, the zombies are incorporated into society rather than killed; in books like Zombie Haiku and countless zombie movies the dead obliterate the living; in World War Z, The Walking Dead, Z-Nation, and other books, films, and television shows, the living survivors function in a precarious safety with the knowledge that there are still zombies in the world that need to be eradicated—or that they’re all already carrying the disease that causes zombies to rise. In every single case, one group subsumes the other. Any simple equation in which individuality is horrific and community means survival (or vice versa) is undermined by the fact that, in a post-zombie-apocalypse world, to belong to either the living or the undead is to suppress one’s individuality in order to survive.
So what does the continuing popularity of zombie stories tell us?
We’re all already the walking dead—and maybe we always have been.
~About the Author~
Margo Bond Collins is the author of Legally Undead, first in an urban fantasy series coming in 2014 from World Weaver Press (http://worldweaverpress.com/), Waking Up Dead, first in a paranormal mystery series from Solstice Publishing (http://www.solsticepublishing.com/), and Fairy, Texas, a YA paranormal romance series (also from Solstice). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college English online. She loves paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.
Margo’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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