Zombies Don’t Work for Me

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Unless you’re using some sort of magic to make them shamble into existence, zombies don’t work for me. I know everybody is crazy about the Z-word these days, from the zombie apocalypse to the latest YA Z-Romance, but walking rotting corpses aren’t scary or lovable.

Funny, oh gawd yes!

But that is the exception to the rule.

A few reasons why zombies don’t work:

  • They are DEAD: Well duh, of course. But have you ever heard of human decay? Muscle atrophies, ligaments disintegrate, skin breaks. No way a body could walk more than day after (and that’s too long by far) they hit the ground.
  • Modern Firepower: A horde of slow moving corpses moving your way? Call in an artillery strike, line up your soldiers with heavy machine guns and assault rifles behind a series of ditches and berms or load beehive type ammo on your tanks and blast away while running them over.
  • BRAINS!: They have none and they don’t eat any. They are dead, and after the skin below the ribcage breaks, their entrails (i.e. the whole digestive system) will burst all over their own laps/feet. So eating anything is out of the question.
  • Zombies aren’t cannibals: Yes, they will eat the flesh of living humans, but never prey on each other. Really?

I’m sure that you can come up with few more, such as the fact that nobody on TV or the movies has a sense of smell, as in, they don’t smell the rotting corpses from miles away! A few movies (such as 28 Days) have bi-passed the whole “living dead” bit by making zombies just people suffering from super rabies or the equivalent, which makes some sense, but seeing how lethal rabies is, after the first 24-48 hours the first mass infection, most of the victims would be dead and it would run its course.

While I’m on the subject of “da Virus”, its effects also get exaggerated. Yes, it nothing to…sneeze at (groan!) but with modern medicine (and quarantine procedures) outbreaks can be easily contained or at least slowed down. Also, the more virulent the disease, the more likely it will mutate into a non-lethal form or need non-symptomatic carriers (Typhoid Marry-types) to continue to spread. Rotting bodies moaning about are not the best carrier form.

Again, unless we are talking about magically animated bodies or a sudden outbreak in a remote town in the Pacific north west, zombies don’t make much sense. And no, they don’t make for the best bad boy/cheerleader boy/girlfriend either. That’s what vampires are for. They too are dead, but we all know that magic is involved, so no problem there.



And one more thing:

Check out KM Weiland superb writing vidcast. This week’s cast: Two Surefire Symptoms of  a Static Character and the Writing Excuses podcast.

A big thank you to all the commentators who stop by and drop ego boosting comments on the blog. It is nice to know that my stories are liked by someone and that there is some hope for my writing. Special mention goes to:

If I didn’t mention you, please speak up so I can properly thank you!


18 comments on “Zombies Don’t Work for Me

  1. I only really like the Zombie movies that are (rotting) tongue in cheek. Stuff like Sam Rami’s Evil dead movies, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, the Return of the Living Dead. I’ve not at all been tempted by any of this latest rash of Jane Austen wth Zombies type books.


  2. I liked the original Night of the Living Dead. That also has some good social commentary. And I am curious to see 28 Days Later, which I’ve never gotten around to.

    I haven’t actually read any zombie-featured novels, so I can’t really judge. But I think they probably work better on screen.

    And thank you for the mention in your pre-post. 🙂


    • Agree on the social commentary, but now it is such a tired cliche. I liked to see it deconstructed at least (comedies work well at that level) or if someone is going to approach those subjects (such as societal breakdown, cannibalism) and the like, they should find new ways to do it than to push out more zombies out of closets.

      It’s the least I could do. 😀


  3. I like the idea of magically spawned zombies. But can’t you suspend your disbelief even a tiny bit to enjoy the gore that the zombie genre offers? 😦

    Other then that, I agree with your points. The zombie genre should try and offer something new an inspiring that follows logic.


    • The original Vaduun zombie is a body inhabited by a spirit that brings it back to life. And many undead have magical origins. It’s just that the modern zombie phenomenon tries too hard to make it look “realistic” and fails utterly. Stuff like a rampant viral outbreak are scary enough on their own.


  4. AHA! There you are. I was trying to find you/this blog post so I could give a link to it as partial inspiration for “Zombies Are Killing Me”.

    I have been really frustrated with this genre lately. I new video game will be coming out on Playstation 3 called “The Last of Us” that is basically a re-skinned zombie apocalyspe that simply uses fungus as the pathogen instead of a virus.

    I am most frustrated about the incredible reaction it gets for being so original when it is not.

    Then someone on the forums talked about how someone should “turn their story into a zombie story” (paraphrasing) to make it better.

    That was the last straw. I had to add my two cents. The logic aspect will definitely appear similar because anyone with that logic in mind or with a biology degree will complain about the same basic principles. To be honest, I saw your title and scrolled down to see pictures of geese saying something. I was confused by that and whatever joke they are making flew over my head. Then I scrolled down more and saw the part about people’s names and not the actual stuff about zombies, so I gave up.

    No offense meant. Regardless, I wanted to go back and read it and link it but I couldn’t find it; nor could I find where I had accessed your blog from. But, can I deep-link your zombie article and credit it as inspiration?


    • Sorry about that. I usually put a LOL-pic in my none short story posts. As for the shoutouts, that was a bit of a thank you to my loyal followers. Sure I don’t mind a deep link. The more the merrier. 😀

      Also, if you break down the things that people like about the zombie genre, you can take one or more of those elements and make a great story(ies) out of it/them.


    • And as I read it now, eeek similar.

      Great minds think alike?

      I think you’re is the go to article because it came first 😉 If you let me link it, I will preface mine with a comment and link to yours.

      I agree with everything you say, really.

      I just don’t understand why 28 Days Later, Resident Evil, and their ilk are so fun and frustrating at the same time >.<


    • Like I said, there are elements in the typical zombie narrative which are attractive on their own: the breaking down of social norms/ties, the danger of the unseen (viral) enemy, the randomness of life, the fragility of modern civilization, etc. In essence the Z-word has become a shortcut to all these things. You said zombie, you said it all.


  5. […] I’d like to credit Ralfast with partial inspiration for my article. Their work found here, https://ralfast.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/zombies-dont-work-for-me/comment-page-1/#comment-3917 , offers much the same insight and it came before mine. So check it […]


  6. ROFL. I admit I kinda like zombies. Sure, the zombie fiction requires a heavy dose of suspended disbelief but…I’m a fantasy writer. Pretty much everything I write requires a lot of suspended disbelief. LOL. I hear what you’re saying though. The zombie craze has gotten a wee bit tiresome. Still…I think zombies are rather fun.


  7. You need only watch the lovely Melinda Clarke in ‘Return of the Living Dead III’ to see that zombies can, in fact, be sexy. Other than that I have to begrudgingly agree with you on most points, but at least they haven’t been completely housebroken like the vampires. *cough* Twilight


    • I’ll guess I’ll have to watch it then, you know for the acting. 😉 And once they start dumping glitter on zombies, that’s when I get by shotgun! 😀


  8. […] a recent post, Rafael of Neither Here nor There pointed out that zombies just don’t work, as least not from a “realistic” explanation point of view. There’s too much […]


  9. […] explanation for zombies was. The question was brought on by another blog by Rafael Pinero called Zombies Don’t Work For Me. For Rafael, zombies require too great a suspension of disbelief to be entertaining. This got me […]


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