Greg's Reviews > Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead

Zombie Makers by Rebecca L. Johnson
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's review
Jul 09, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: books-for-kids, animals, i-walked-with-a-zombie-rawr

I can see giving this to the right kid and scaring the shit bejesus out of him so badly that he'll be in therapy until he's forty just to be able to go into nature ever again. There are funguses and viruses and creepy worms out there just waiting to parasite it up inside of a hosts body and some of these things can even hijack control of the brain and get the host to do some destructive and very out of character actions.

We don't necessarily think of a cricket as being really high on the scale of cognitive volition, they are insects and they do insect things, which from out apex of mammal-dom doesn't look all that sophisticated. (Ok, maybe it does some complex things, but did you ever think of a cricket as sitting around and wondering what it should do, being sad in the face of contemplating all it's 'free-will', or just unable to leap from one leaf to another because it can't think of what it wants to eat tonight. Yeah maybe these aren't the most sophisticated thoughts, but they are thoughts about thoughts, the basis of what we think of as our own cognitive free-will) But with the introduction of the hairworm, Paragordius Tricuspidatus the cricket's sole purpose becomes to jump in water, never mind that crickets can't swim and they instinctively avoid water. What does something like this mean for the concepts of free will? Obviously a cricket that can't swim isn't going to intentionally throw itself in water, that kind of behavior would have been easily bred out of the gene pool by evolution a long time ago. But Paragordius Tricuspidatus doesn't infect us, and make us want to drown ourselves in order for the little hairworm (well not really that little in comparison to the size of a cricket, the little (opps I almost said a dirty word, and this is a kid's book review, I'm going to be good) worm is actually three feet long!

But what about the single cell parasite Toxoplasma Gondii that lowers the fear instinct in rats to such a degree that they actually seek out and want to be around their natural predator, the house cat? Apparently 25% of all people are infected with this little zombie-maker, and it does little to humans, but isn't in conceivable that with some good old evolution T. gondii could find a use for us, all it would take is some strain of it to have a marked success at doing something that would increase it's chances of survival and we could be throwing ourselves into lion cages or something, right? Ok, that is facetious. But still it's a little chilling what a tiny microbe can do to so called free-will.

Karen wrote a review with some great visuals of some of the different zombie parasites out there just waiting to take control of unsuspecting hosts. You can read her review here if you haven't already, of just go back and read it again and be creeped out by the picture of the mice hanging out on a cat's face.

If you've read The Book of Dangerous Animals this book will give you even more reasons to never venture outside again, and maybe even not want to let things into your house (T. gondii is out to get you! You are possibly already infected from eating undercooked meat, eating unwashed vegetables or changing your cat's litter box). If you haven't read the other book you should just so you can realize the full extent of the dangers nature has waiting for you. And then read this childrens book when it is released this fall.

Shameless plug (I mean, reference for this review:
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason Is it really shameless to link your own review to...your own review?

By the way, close your parentheses, dear. We are not a codfish.

Greg I'm so embarrassed to have an open parentheses!

message 3: by Jason (new)

Jason No you aren't—you are shameless!

The Crimson Fucker dude... why you didn'nt listen to me when i asked you to play Resident Evil 4.... this is what you get! you late to the party!!! that's the plot line on that game! the parasite that makes the zombies started with fishes! and it ended up forcing a village to kidnap the president's daughter!!! it's fucking awesome!!!! still!



say hi to your cat for me!

message 5: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Jason, what about this review took your mind to Mary Poppins?

message 6: by Jason (new)

Jason Miriam wrote: "Jason, what about this review took your mind to Mary Poppins?"

Hahah. I cannot predict where my mind will go. Actually, whenever I start to say "close your mouth, dear" my mind goes to that line, or sometimes the one when Julia Roberts is a hooker in an elevator and some dude's wife has to tell him to close his mouth due to his utter shock.

So hookers and Mary Poppins are my go-to's, I guess.

message 7: by Jason (new)

Jason But anyway, back to Greg.

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