Oct 11, 2012

What's this really about?

Currently, I'm gobbling up Taking on the Dead by Annie Walls, one of the many novels set around what it would take to survive a zombie apocalypse. "End-of-the-world" stories are increasingly popular these days, zombies more than ever. It's almost like people actually want it to happen ~ this drastic change that will alter the course of the world forever. I don't think I'd count myself among those who hope for an apocalypse, but I do find myself reading the same kinds of stories of survival ~ one after another after another...

The idea of a zombie apocalypse is hilariously everywhere I look. There are jokes about a man eating another man (totally not funny) in the news, books upon books in the genre, and incredibly awe-some shows (3 more days until The Walking Dead!!), and we all eat it up as this insane, twisted form of entertainment. I mean, c'mon, what is really so cool about a nasty dead dude walking around with skin hanging from his face and fluids oozing from every orifice? When I put it like that, not much is cool about that at all. But I know for a fact that I'll still be reading books like Taking on the Dead, Patient Zero, World War Z, and Hollowland. That and I'll totally be clicking play as soon as The Walking Dead is released on Amazon.

Why do these nasty, moaning, shuffling, hungry, empty souls fascinate us? I mean, our own government took matters into its own hands by urging us to prepare for such a thing as a zombie apocalypse (being that the same kind of preparations would work in case of other, more natural disasters such as hurricanes) ~ and if nothing else would, that certainly got our attention. It's a screaming riot to me, and being that I'm one to truly enjoy stories set in an era of the brain-eating dead, I got to wondering what is it, I mean really, that gets us going about these nasty suckers?

Honestly, I don't really think it's the zombies themselves that enthuse us and grab our undivided attention ~ it's the drastic way that people change and find the strength to survive.

"Some people say you can't change overnight. I'm sure this is true. Most of the time. I changed within seconds." Annie Walls, Taking on the Dead

In a world where food is no longer provided neatly on shelves and attaining medicine isn't as easy as getting a written prescription, people get back to the basics of living... or surviving. They are stripped of all the niceties they used to "need" to survive in our social world and become something almost feral ~ because that's what it takes when it's "survival of the fittest." Of course, people don't lose all their heart, but they seem to develop a coldness as they accept one horrendous sight after another ~ some of which are caused by their own once unstained hands.

Everything that seems to be important to people nowadays are possessions that can easily be destroyed. Cars, bank accounts, careers, houses, boats, fashion, even social status.... These are all objects and ideas we've created and placed on a pedestal in our artificial little world, and they're really not that important in the greater scheme of things (even without zombies...) Don't get me wrong ~ I totally dig my sweet Mac computer and my big screen TV, but my point is that I think people are hungry to see something real. Zombies may not be real, but humans living in a world where they have to provide (and I'm talking everything) for themselves is a total possibility.

People discover they need less in these environments. It would take two U-hauls to pack up my house right now, but if I had the gaping maw of a zombie on my ass, you can bet I'd find a way to travel light and fast. You can only consume and keep what you need in a zombie-infested planet, and that's when the things that absolutely matter come to surface. It reminds us of the only things that are truly permanent...

Ironically, it's almost as if the truth of human nature shines brighter in these worlds. None of us know of what we are truly capable, and in a zombie apocalypse, I'm pretty sure we'd discover strengths and abilities we never thought possible of ourselves. It's interesting to explore the possibilities through these fictitious characters, comparing their once simple lives to our own and seeing how far they will go...

Seeing people, even if they are fictitious, stripped of everything we take for granted today and surviving is kind of invigorating... And that my friends is what I think the obsession with the zombie apocalypse is all about... That burning question of "what if?" ... What if life as we knew it was altered forever? How would that world look and what lengths would we have to go to to survive?

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

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