Why Zombies?

When I tell people I write about zombies, I usually get one of two reactions.

1) “Why?”

2) “Ooooh, like as an allegory/representation of society/symbol?”

3) Like that walking dead show?

Okay, that was three reactions.

I’m so used to reaction #1 that most of the time I don’t even try to be silly about it. “I know, right? I seem so normal” is my default response. Whoever I’m talking to usually quickly backtracks at that point: “Well, I didn’t say you were normal.”

#3 is the sort of answer I get from someone who has miraculously managed to escape the zombie craze. They probably have a vague idea of what zombies are (“They’re like…gross and stuff”), but have no idea that there’s a fandom around them, or that people might write books about them, or watch them without being forced.

As for reason #2…guys, I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I’m just not that deep.

Anyway, after the latest “Why?” I started thinking about, well, why. Why, exactly, do I write about rotten dead people who wander around making life difficult for non-rotten living people? I know why I started, at least initially. Years and years ago, I watched the 1991 remake of Night of the Living Dead, and it scared the shit out of me. I think part of its appeal — and the appeal of zombies in general (if you can call it appeal) is because I’m a very visual person. The torn flesh, the staggering gait, the blank eyes…ugh.

So back then they were terrifying. I’m not really scared of them now; I’m more or less morbidly fascinated by them, and what their presence means to the people around them. Which I’m pretty sure is the premise for every zombie book, TV show, and movie out there. But even then, I don’t have a solid reason for liking them. I just do, just like some people just root for the Chargers.

(Disclaimer: I went spent a lot of time in San Diego over the course of six years before moving here in August. I am totally allowed to rag on the Chargers, even though they actually managed to win last night. Way to go, guys. At least you’re still better than the Padres.)

Anyway, that’s why I like zombies.

So — why zombies, guys? Respond here or on Twitter or Facebook — I’m curious!


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