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13 Thoughts Author Carrie Mesrobian Had About The Walking Dead

If you follow author Carrie Mesrobian on Twitter, you know that she is a big fan of The Walking Dead. She is part of the reason that this week became Zombie Week, our shared love of zombies and The Walking Dead. So to round up Zombie Week, Carrie Mesrobian is sharing some thoughts she has about The Walking Dead.

  1. This show is based on a comic book series that isn’t exactly kid-friendly. But it also features prominently a young boy named Carl, who grows up in both worlds. I think Carl learning how to be an adult in the post-apocalypse world is a perfect vehicle next to his father, Rick, who is a sheriff in the old world. Carl must by necessity make new rules for his reality, while his father tries to grip to the old ones that were so deep in his identity.

 

  1. I don’t read the comics. Not yet. I want to have something to savor after the show ends. This is something I love about fandoms. Even if there isn’t source material for a movie or TV series you love, there’s fanfiction. You can always immerse yourself back into that world again in new ways. (Too bad Daryl Dixon’s not in the comics…)

 

  1. The Walking Dead is not a show about zombies, or the disease zombies symbolize. I think The Walking Dead is about survival, which is something all people relate to, even if our current survival may not be a hand-to-mouth one. What makes us human and what makes us inhuman?

 

  1. The Walking Dead has some sexism issues, which vacillate depending on the female character as well as the season’s focus and script writers. The character of Andrea was frustrating to many. The plot used Andrea as a device for its own purposes instead of using her character’s own motivations to drive plot. Character first, then plot, is what I would advise. It’s hard to pull off, of course.

 

  1. A lot of people decry how this show showcases “man pain” vis a vis the deaths of women or male characters of color. I think this is easily arguable. But I remain fascinated with man pain, as a viewer/reader. I don’t see a lot of visible man pain or male tears in my own reality. I think we all want to gawk at what that looks like. Instead we see a lot of male anger and the destruction that wreaks on our world. I’m tired of male anger. Give me the man pain over the male anger any day. The Walking Dead is probably not a great test-case for this dynamic, given its content.

Gratuitous Darl Dixon GIF for Carrie. GIF from PandaWhale.

  1. The Walking Dead has some racism issues. One is that the show likes to kill off characters of color constantly. It’s not that I don’t buy that characters of color wouldn’t die at the same pace as white characters. I get that. What people don’t seem to understand is that in the context of televised entertainment, enduring characters of color, ones we get to love and hate and connect with over the long-term, still remain few and far between. This context is important for television producers to understand; I’m not talking about verisimilitude. Another thing that we don’t often see on TV are long-term love relationships between characters of color, so when Bob died, I just felt like the show missed yet another chance to defy the norm. We’re getting a hefty plate of Sasha’s grief and that’s rich as well, but again: context. Context matters in any medium – I’d like to see TV writers and producers move past the “but we’re just depicting reality” explanation and remember the legacy of their medium every time they create a story arc or new episode.

 

  1. You don’t want to be a cute little kid on this show. You’re going to be a tool of sorrow and gore in short order.

 

  1. Dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories have great “unlikeable” characters. Is that part of the draw of these tales? We can finally hate people with generous gusto because the stakes are so raised? I don’t give one shit about likeability in general. We see a character like Merle Dixon, an odious person, so far from redemption, someone that makes us think, “ugh.” But this show isn’t presenting Merle Dixon as a babysitting candidate for our children. Merle Dixon is a symbol for cruelty and generational bigotry and horror and macho destruction. Michael Rooker is a very skilled actor who makes this character come alive. You might not want Merle to be your friend or neighbor, but he sure made me sit up straight whenever he came on screen. Unlikeable characters often translate to “electrifying personae” in my view.

 

  1. I don’t watch this show for gore. I don’t care about grossness and blood. It became a joke after season 2 when Daryl dug open the walker looking to see if ate Sophia and learned “this gross fucker had himself a woodchuck for lunch.” I don’t know what to say to people who can’t stand gore. It’s there. I turn away. I watch enough “behind-the-scenes” content that I know exactly how the zombie heads are made to rip away from the fake skulls anyway.

 

  1. The violence in The Walking Dead interests me more than the gore, which might sound counterintuitive. But as I mentioned in point #3, the idea of what makes us human is the constant ethic being pressed up against in this story. That we are animals isn’t something I have trouble with; I can see our needs as animals. What is harder to express is what makes someone inhuman. Being inhuman is not the same as being an animal, I think. There is some other rubric being put in play when we dehumanize ourselves and others. I don’t know what that is but it’s a question that’s constantly being examined in this show and one that I enjoy seeing depicted. So violence is a part of that recipe.

 

  1. The best part of this show is that each character is very well-rounded. That is what brings me back. Every character has a depth and a backstory and a set of motivators that marks him or her. While I want to make out with Daryl Dixon very consistently, he’s not my current favorite character. Last season, Michonne was my favorite. Right now, I’m most intrigued with Glenn. It’s hard to pick a favorite, honestly. They’re all so juicy and good.

 

  1. If this show gives me any kind of anxiety, it’s mainly that we need to stockpile seeds and keep making compost. A global food supply chain is not our friend when the world goes to hell, yall.

 

  1. The Walking Dead helped me to understand the point of fan-fiction. Now I write it and enjoy this very much. When the season ends on March 29th, I will certainly go back to writing more of it as well as reading it. In my view, the best fanfiction has sex in it, because this show is not generous about romance (except with the Governor, eww), so feel free to hit me up with your favorite fic links in the off-season.

Meet Our Guest Blogger:

Carrie Mesrobian has worked as a teacher in both public and private schools; my writing has appeared in the StarTribune, Brain, Child magazine, Calyx, and other web and print publications. She teaches teenagers about writing at The Loft Literary Centerin Minneapolis.

My first two books, Sex & Violence & Perfectly Good White Boy were published by Carolrhoda LAB.

My third book, Cut Both Ways, (HarperCollins), will be released September 2015.

 

About Cut Both Ways:

“Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.”

Take 5 for Zombie Week: Variant Zombie Tales

I like a good zombie book. I also love a good zombie book which presents a variation on the traditional zombie tale. Sure I like them dark and scary and brooding. I like a good old fashioned zombie plague as much as the next living undead person. But I also love to read a new twist or a new take. Or to add a little humor. I mean, Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland may be two of the best zombie movies out there – so it’s great to find some books that add in a little – or a lot – of humor around the edges. And of course a good zombie novel can also ask us to explore important questions, drawing some distinct parallels between othered groups in our world and how the dominant or normalized group tend to view and treat marginalized groups. See, it’s not always just about eating brains and surviving, it can also be about asking us what it means to be human, what it means to be a monster, and what it means to be different in a way that makes you outcast from the rest. Today I am rounding up a few of my favorites for Zombie Week. Some of them are funny, some of them are more serious, but they all provide some slight variations on the traditional zombie tales.

The Infects by Sean Beaudoin

The Infects is funny, sarcastic, and biting. It also has a very fun take on the zombie tale when you learn where the zombie outbreak is coming from, which I can’t tell you because SPOILERS. You’ll just have to read it for yourself to find out what makes this one so fascinating and fun. (PS, want another twisted zombie tale with a similar theme but for the MG crowd? Check out ZOMBIE BASEBALL BEATDOWN by Paul Bacigalupi.)

Publisher’s Book Description: “A feast for the brain, this gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre.

Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back.

Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read—whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten—and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.”

Reboot by Amy Tintera

Zombies are rounded up by the government and forced to serve in a kind of army where they go out and capture other zombies. These zombies are sentient, can talk, and have feelings. Underneath all the fun is some layers that ask us to examine the way we feel about othered groups and what limits we think our government should have. REBEL is book 2 in the series. (PS, want another awesome book that looks at teens being used by the government? Check out BLACKOUT by Robison Wells.)

Publisher’s Book Description: “Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.”

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

This book is dark, gothic and truly fascinating. Magic is used to bring some people back to life where they are forced to work as slave labor. In the margins of this zombie tale are some real meaty discussions about socioeconomic class, how we view the poor, and what our faith might require of us. (PS, want another dark but awesome book? Check out SERVANTS OF THE STORM by Delilah S. Dawson. It’s about demons not zombies, but man is it good.)

Publisher’s Book Description:Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder’s mother is cursed with a spell that’s driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city’s secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they’re not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don’t always seem to stay that way.”

Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

What happens when a psychic is used by the government to track down a zombie? And what happens when you accidentally turn the girl you have been crushing on into a zombie? Is there any chance she’ll fall in love with you now? There is a sequel! Don’t forget to read UNDEAD WITH BENEFITS. (PS, want more zombies falling in love? Don’t forget about WARM BODIES by Isaac Marion.)

Publisher’s Book Description: “Two teenage zombies search for brains, love, and answers in this surprisingly romantic and laugh-out-loud funny debut novel with guts.

Jake Stephens was always an average, fly-under-the-radar guy. The kind of guy who would never catch the attention of an insanely popular girl like Amanda Blake-or a psychic teenage government agent like Cass. But one day during lunch, Jake’s whole life changed. He and Amanda suddenly locked eyes across the cafeteria, and at the exact same instant, they turned into zombies and devoured half their senior class.

Now Jake definitely has Amanda’s attention-as well as Cass’s, since she’s been sent on a top-secret mission to hunt them down. As Jake and Amanda deal with the existential guilt of eating their best friends, Cass struggles with a growing psychic dilemma of her own-one that will lead the three of them on an epic journey across the country and make them question what it means to truly be alive. Or undead.

Eat, Brains, Love is a heartwarming and bloody blend of romance, deadpan humor, and suspense that fans of Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies will devour. With its irresistibly dry and authentic teen voice, as well as a zombie apocalypse worthy of AMC’s The Walking Dead, this irreverent paperback original will leave readers dying for the sequel that’s coming in Summer 2014″

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Sam learns he is a necromancer with the power to raise the dead when the head of the girl he has been crushing on shows up in a box on his doorstep and starts talking to him. Things just get weirder – and funnier – from there. Possibly the funniest book ever. (PS, if you are looking for funny books also check out A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO by Jeff Strand and The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan.)

Publisher’s Book Description: “Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

 

More zombie books on Goodreads

More Zombie Talk at TLT

Zombie Prom
Stephanie Wilkes talks about her annual Zombie Prom.  All the cool undead kids are doing it.

TPiB: It’s a Dead Man’s Party
Cool programming ideas you can do in your library whether you are a zombie or just running from them.

TPiB: Bring Out Your Dead, zombie party take 2

Zombies VS. Humans Lock-In, with a Doctor Who twist

Top 10 Survival Tips I Learned from Reading YA
Look, my chances are not good in a post-apocalyptic world.  I like to lie in bed, read a book and drink pop with either my air conditioning or heater on.  I don’t like to cook.  I do not take my indoor plumbing for granted.   Should the apocalypse happen, however, I have learned these 10 tips for survival which I am now going to share with you.  See, even zombie books are educational.

What’s the Deal with Zombies Anyway?

Zombie Book Reviews at TLT:

Reading the Zombie Apolcaypse

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin
Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry
Contaminated by Em Garner
Sick by Tom Leveen
Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

The Walking Dead: The Comics VS. The TV Show (a guest post by Geri Diorio)

Today for Zombie Week librarian Geri Diorio is joining us once again to talk about The Walking Dead graphic novel series and how it compares to the TV show.

WARNING! SPOILERS for the comic up to issue 138 and the show as of March 15, 2015

The Walking Dead may be one of the most popular television shows on the air, but it began as a black and white comic book. In fact, it remains both of these things. In 2003, Image Comics began publishing monthly issues of The Walking Dead, written by Robert Kirkman and drawn by Tony Moore and then later drawn by Charlie Adlard. The comic, which won the 2010 Eisner Award for the Best Continuing Series, focuses on a former sheriff named Rick Grimes, his family and compatriots, as they fight to survive in the zombie apocalypse.

The comic is about as far from the brightly-colored, splashy-paneled mental image one may have of comic books. There are no superheroes in tights, flying in to save the day. There are instead stark black and white images with some muted gray shading. This fits the overall vibe of the comic (and the tv show to an extent). While reading the comic, you continually think, “Things can’t get worse for these people.” And every time you think that, things get worse. Since this is a story set in the zombie apocalypse, there is not a lot to be cheery about. The black and white art does not mitigate the violence. One character’s death by a barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat was still horribly gory, despite being rendered in stark black and white. Of course the impact of that image may also have a lot to do with the emotional attachment readers had to the character.

The comic begins with Rick Grimes waking up in a hospital, having missed the beginning of the end of the world. He was injured on the job, and was in a coma. He awakens with no knowledge of what has happened in the world, making him a perfect analog for the reader. In the time that he has been unconscious, zombies have overrun Atlanta (and possibly the world). The reader discovers what has happened through Rick’s eyes and is as shocked as he is. In subsequent issues (Image has published more than 135 now), we learn more about what has happened in the world, and we see how individuals and groups are coping (or not coping as the case may be). Rick and his group move from a prison to a farm to a safe zone (a suburban development that has been secured by building enormous walls around it). They encounter people who need help, people who can offer help, and many people who offer violence and threats of death. There are two out-and-out wars that have happened over the course of the comic so far, and several major characters have been killed. While the zombies are a persistent threat, it has become clear that living humans are far more dangerous to Rick’s group than the dead.

The television series, (written by a variety of people, with Kirkman, Adlard, Moore, and former Executive Producer Frank Darabont having the lion’s share of writer’s credits), has used the comic as it’s template, but has varied and expanded from it to better suit the medium and, perhaps, to draw in more viewers.

Television is not print, and while comics are perhaps the most visually important print medium, they are still very static compared to the moving image. The tv show is literally bloodier. Special Effects Makeup Designer Greg Nicotero’s work often feature spurts of blood hitting the camera lens. It is interesting to note that the zombie blood has gone from bright red when the tv series began, to varying shades of brown now that the zombies are a year old and have decayed that much more. The only red blood seen on screen these days comes from living humans who are attacked. While the comic’s graphic black and white pictures are certainly arresting, it is the image of a wriggling, writhing, slimy well-zombie getting pulled in half on Hershel’s farm that has been burned into my retinas forever. From the very beginning, the show has gone past the blueprint of the comic to make the horror more gripping for viewers. In Days Gone By, the first episode of the show, Rick’s horse is pulled out from under him by a swarm of walkers and he manages to hide in a tank to escape the horde. This scene perfectly evoked a panel from the comic; but with the television camera’s ability to pull back, far above the herd of walkers, and show viewers the wriggling, struggling mass looking like deadly maggots converging on a piece of meat, the tv series showed viewers it was going to try and take The Walking Dead to a whole other level of visual horror. At times, nothing is as powerful as good special effects.

Of course there are many similarities between the properties. Rick Grimes is almost always center stage in both. While both the comic and the tv show have featured other characters, some of whom have become hugely popular in their own right (Hello, Jesus! Hello, Daryl!) it always comes back to Rick and his immediate family. The tv show has kept a lot of the comic’s overarching plot points: Hershel’s farm, the prison, meeting Michonne, Woodbury and the Governor, thinking Eugene can cure things, heading towards D.C., meeting cannibals, and going to Alexandria. But the show has branched out from its source material as well: taking the group to the CDC (a nice touch in my opinion, to explain the zombie apocalypse to viewers using a “scientific” basis), introducing characters like Daryl and Merle, turning Carol into a stone-cold pragmatic killer, and letting baby Judith live, while killing Andrea.

But TV show viewers who choose to go read the comic may find the most startling contrast is Rick’s lack of a right hand. In the comics, the Governor cuts it off, and Mr. Grimes has been making the best of it, living one-handed throughout the zombie apocalypse. This is something writer Robert Kirkman now regrets:

“When I’m writing a comic book, I don’t think about what I’m doing. I go, ‘Oh, it’d be pretty cool if they cut his hand off right now. That’d be pretty shocking, right?’. Then I do it, and five issues later, I write ‘Rick opens a can of beans’ and then I look at the script and think ‘He can’t do that now’. I didn’t even think that through.”1

This is just a broad comparison between the tv show and comic. If you would like to dive deeper into comparing and contrasting, may I suggest Screen Rush’s excellent take on this very topic? They look at each episode of the program and place screen shots next to comic panels so you can see how closely (or not) the show is hewing to its source material. They even compare tv scripts to the speech balloons in the comics. It always surprises me when dialog is lifted straight from the comic.

If you are a horror fan, there is certainly much to enjoy about The Walking Dead in both of its forms. And if you enjoy one version more than another, there is certainly much joy to be found in arguing about which is better!
1 DigitalSpy.com article :  http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/s135/the-walking-dead/news/a331768/walking-dead-exec-we-shouldnt-cut-off-ricks-hand.html#~p78GwhCgjbieqG

Meet Our Guest Blogger:

Geri Diorio is the Teen Services Librarian at the Ridgefield Library in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She loves zombies, science fiction, fantasy, the Ninth Doctor, and Game of Thrones. You can contact her on Twitter – @geridiorio

More Zombie Talk at TLT

Zombie Prom
Stephanie Wilkes talks about her annual Zombie Prom.  All the cool undead kids are doing it.

TPiB: It’s a Dead Man’s Party
Cool programming ideas you can do in your library whether you are a zombie or just running from them.

TPiB: Bring Out Your Dead, zombie party take 2

Zombies VS. Humans Lock-In, with a Doctor Who twist

Top 10 Survival Tips I Learned from Reading YA
Look, my chances are not good in a post-apocalyptic world.  I like to lie in bed, read a book and drink pop with either my air conditioning or heater on.  I don’t like to cook.  I do not take my indoor plumbing for granted.   Should the apocalypse happen, however, I have learned these 10 tips for survival which I am now going to share with you.  See, even zombie books are educational.

What’s the Deal with Zombies Anyway?

Zombie Book Reviews at TLT:

Reading the Zombie Apolcaypse

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin
Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry
Contaminated by Em Garner
Sick by Tom Leveen
Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

Zombie Love: Why Are Zombie Things So Popular? (A guest post by Geri Diorio)

This week we’re – and by we’re I mean people like me and author Carrie Mesrobian, not necessarily everyone here at TLT – counting down the days until The Walking Dead season finale. So while we’re counting down, we thought we would dedicate the week to zombies. We’ll here from author Carrie Mesrobian later in the week – you may have heard but she really likes The Walking Dead, particularly Daryl Dixon – and today librarian Geri Diorio is sharing with us some of her thoughts regarding the popularity of zombies.

Why do we love zombies so much? Because it seems like here in America, we REALLY love zombies. They have been all over our pop culture for more than 60 years. But if you stop to think about it, zombies have been all over humanity’s consciousness for a long time. The very idea of zombies is an old one. There seems to always have been folklore concerning the dead coming back to life. Just think of stories about vampires, ghouls, or mummies. A doctoral student I know just spent a summer in Poland digging up “vampire” graves – the final resting place of people who died in the 17th century, and were suspected of being vampires. These poor folks were buried with sharp sickles and heavy stones over their necks so that they wouldn’t rise from their graves. Humanity’s wish for life and our terror of death is very strong. We don’t want to die, but we know all things die. So if we die but come back, we are not going to look pretty. And our bodies are not going to function well. And there will be rotting. After all, people have seen have happens to meat left out too long. Thinking of all that, it is not a far leap to envisioning a zombie.

I wouldn’t normally commit the writer’s sin of quoting from a reference source, but the Encyclopedia Britannica’s word choice on this entry is simply too good to ignore. Regarding the etymology of “zombie’, Britannica says: “The word zombie itself entered the English lexicon in the 18th or 19th century, often attributed to British writer Robert Southey, although the idea of the walking dead had existed in various cultures for centuries.”1

So while the idea of the undead has been around for a very long time, the current pop culture idea of a zombie began in the middle of the last century and has become hugely popular with the start of the twenty first century. Popular zombie movies may have had their start in 1932 with White Zombie, starring Bela Lugosi. But the zombie movie movement continued with such films as King of the Zombies, I Walked With a Zombie, Plan 9 From Outer Space, and Tales of Terror. (This is a very incomplete list.)

In 1968, filmmaker George Romero changed the zombie pop culture game forever with his film Night of the Living Dead. While there had been dozens of zombie films previous to this one, Romero’s struck a chord with audiences. This independent film, made for $114,000, grossed more than $12,000,000. Zombies meant big box office. Romero went on to make half a dozen more “Dead” films, and his success seems to have launched a plethora of zombie love. There have been films such as Evil Dead, Zombieland, 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, and Paranorman. Zombie books appeared, like The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, The Benny Imura series by Jonathan Maberry, Generation Dead by Daniel Waters, Alden Bell’s The Reapers Are the Angels, Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, and Warm Bodies (Isaac Marion) and World War Z (Max Brooks) which both were turned into movies. The Walking Dead and the new show iZombie have brought zombies to television. The Resident Evil video game series continues to be popular and zombies have even invaded casual gaming. Anyone for a round of Plants vs. Zombies? There are 5K races where runners are chased by people in zombie make up (that would make me run faster!). And even the US government got into the zombie swing of things. The Center for Disease Control has an entire plan on Zombie Preparedness. Yes, it was created initially as a tongue-in-cheek look at disaster planning, but its popularity has proven to be so big, the CDC has maintained the website. Zombies also figure into the US Armed Forces’ plans for large scale operations. There is an unclassified document, “CONOP 8888”, which the US Strategic Command used as an example of a planet-wide emergency: a zombie attack on the world.

So zombies are everywhere and we do seem to love them. Why is that? Well, if you enjoy the horror genre, you enjoy being scared. Perhaps it is the endorphin buzz you get from your fight or flight reflex being triggered. Perhaps your enjoyment comes from a more intellectual place. Maybe you enjoy the mental puzzle of figuring out how to survive a monster attack without actually getting attacked. Or maybe you have a fear of loss of technology and power, a life with no modern amenities. If the zombie apocalypse happens, power plants, water treatment facilities, and mass transit are all going away. Zombies are also useful blank slates for our subconscious. They are monsters we can project our fears onto. Disease, death, relentless pursuit, it seems like you can plug a zombie into any of these fears. Other monsters (vampires, werewolves, people with chainsaws and axes) just want to kill you – zombies want to consume your brain, devour what makes you, you; this certainly fuels a fear of loss of self. And thinking along the same lines as the US Strategic Command, zombies make a great device for an apocalyptic survival story. There is a vague menace lurching about, but we look closely only at the living folks and their stories. The survivors are the only real characters. Thus the popularity of The Walking Dead in both its comic and TV incarnations. Sure the blood and guts may attract (and repel) people, much like the fascination of looking at a wreck, but it is because of the living humans that we keep coming back to a survival story with zombies.

1 “Zombie.” Britannica School. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2015. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.

Photo Credit: Mark Edwards

Meet Our Guest Blogger:

Geri Diorio is the Teen Services Librarian at the Ridgefield Library in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She loves zombies, science fiction, fantasy, the Ninth Doctor, and Game of Thrones. You can contact her on Twitter – @geridiorio

More Zombie Talk at TLT

Zombie Prom
Stephanie Wilkes talks about her annual Zombie Prom.  All the cool undead kids are doing it.

TPiB: It’s a Dead Man’s Party
Cool programming ideas you can do in your library whether you are a zombie or just running from them.

TPiB: Bring Out Your Dead, zombie party take 2

Zombies VS. Humans Lock-In, with a Doctor Who twist

Top 10 Survival Tips I Learned from Reading YA
Look, my chances are not good in a post-apocalyptic world.  I like to lie in bed, read a book and drink pop with either my air conditioning or heater on.  I don’t like to cook.  I do not take my indoor plumbing for granted.   Should the apocalypse happen, however, I have learned these 10 tips for survival which I am now going to share with you.  See, even zombie books are educational.

What’s the Deal with Zombies Anyway?

Zombie Book Reviews at TLT:

Reading the Zombie Apolcaypse

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin
Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry
Contaminated by Em Garner
Sick by Tom Leveen
Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

Friday Finds – October 4, 2013

This week at TLT

Welcome to Zombie Week at TLT!

Book reviews

Cover reveal – Sunrise by Mike Mullins!
Also, enter to win a survival band!

Carrie Mesrobian joins us to share lessons on writing from AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Take 5: Zombie Movies for the Tween Set

Read about Karen’s exciting time at this year’s Austin Teen Book Festival (she met some awesome authors!)

Also, a summary of the 2013 ATBF in Tweets (isn’t Twitter the best?)

Robin explains how to adapt the ‘One Community, One Book’ initiative for the school setting.

Sometimes people write articles that we disagree with. This time, our conversation was too good to keep to ourselves.


Previously at TLT

We talk about Zombies a lot – here’s a previous Zombie post round-up.



Around the Web

Hey, did you know Karen is going to be a Cybils judge in the 2013 Young Adult Speculative Fiction category?

Get ready to be inspired by Seventeen magazine’s finalists in this year’s ‘Pretty Amazing’ contest.

WIRED posted a detailed article about the damaging impact of EBook pricing. 

Scholastic News posted a helpful article explaining the government shutdown.

Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy Q&A is up at Teen.com

Share these stories of celebrities who overcame bullying with your teens

NPR talks about the real terror in YA Novels – the economy.