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Organic Vs. Toxic Vs. Supernatural Zombies

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message 1: by Mark (last edited Dec 30, 2012 09:34AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark McLaughlin (mark_mclaughlin) | 29 comments People ask: What would we do if zombies started rising up? How would we defeat them?

Having written a couple zombie books (the latest being Beach Blanket Zombie: Weird Tales of the Undead and Other Humanoid Horrors), I've had to do some research on this matter, and here are my thoughts:

It must first be determined if the zombie is organic (animated by disease, alien parasites, or some other force of nature), toxic (energized by chemicals or some form of radioactivity), or supernatural (brought to life by inhuman, perhaps demonic powers).

If it’s organic, it will eventually rot away, develop freezer-burn in cold weather, or be devoured by pests.

If it’s toxic, it will probably have incredible strength, but there’s no telling whether it will last for years or suddenly burst into a mini-mushroom cloud. You will need to enlist the aid of scientists — you probably wouldn’t have the necessary equipment on hand to deal with it. The scientists might be able to drain off some of the zombie’s power.

If it’s supernatural, the forces of darkness will keep it energized. And, that would be a much more difficult foe to defeat. You may need the assistance of the clergy.

To review: Organic zombies will eventually decay and run out of juice. Toxic zombies have an unstable structure and so, are highly unpredictable and potentially explosive. Supernatural zombies will keep on going and going, since they have an external source to energize them. And, the means of killing any of these zombies would depend on its origins.

If it’s an organic zombie, shooting it in the head, as popularized in so many zombie movies, would probably lay it to rest. But what about a toxic zombie? A bullet might kill the zombie — or enrage it — or make it explode. As for a supernatural zombie: The boundless powers of darkness might heal up a bullet wound within seconds. Fire or holy water could work better against a supernatural zombie.

As with any problem, the solution lies in preparing yourself for any contingency. If you really think the zombies are coming, you’d better stock up on enough wares and resources to defeat any kind — organic, toxic or supernatural.

Agree? Disagree? Did I leave something out?


message 2: by Doug (new)

Doug Ward (wardswoods) | 8 comments I really like the organic ones. They make it more realistic. I love a scientific approach to my zombies.


Mark McLaughlin (mark_mclaughlin) | 29 comments Doug -- Since you left your post, I realized that I needed to add toxic/radioactive zombies to the mix. I'd been lumping them in with organic zombies, but further thought made me realize they were a category of their own.


message 4: by Steven (new)

Steven Simpson (simmo837) | 13 comments I don't mind how the zombies come undead as long ad the story is well balanced interesting characters and lots of gore blood and action!! Like the zombie fallout series by Mark Tufo!


Mark McLaughlin (mark_mclaughlin) | 29 comments Steven -- Those are good points!

The one thing that bothers me about some zombie movies and books is when the writers don't explain WHY the dead have come alive. That, to me, is lazy writing.

A soldier learns everything he can about his enemy, and stocks his arsenal accordingly. If a recently released story just automatically defaults to shooting zombies through the head -- well, that's just recycling ideas generated by earlier writers.

But yes, a fast pace and great characters are equally important!


message 6: by Doug (new)

Doug Ward (wardswoods) | 8 comments I just think people would try to understand why they rose so they could try to figure a way to rid the world of the undead. I like your soldier analogy Steven. It is a great point!


Mark McLaughlin (mark_mclaughlin) | 29 comments Exactly, Doug! A method that would work with one sort of zombie wouldn't work with another.


message 8: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 31 comments In the typical story, I don't think your run-of-the-mill survivor needs to care about the big picture WHY, but they need to know about the little picture WHY. That is, what transmits the condition, how to terminate those with the condition, etc.

For example, your infirmary needs to be run a lot differently if ANYONE that dies will come back, versus just those that are bitten. Seriously injured or sick people would need to be restrained if they can turn into a zombie when they die.

And, then, you have a moral question -- what to do with those that have chronic conditions that are potentially fatal at any time.


Mark McLaughlin (mark_mclaughlin) | 29 comments Randy -- Good points! But still, you'd need to know if a zombie is organic, toxic/radioactive, or supernatural in order to succeed. For example, if the problem is disease-related, a vaccine might help. But if it's radioactive or supernatural, a vaccine won't do anything.


message 10: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 31 comments That's one of my issues with something like The Walking Dead. They almost always immediately kill someone who's been bitten. That means they will NEVER find someone that is immune to the disease that kills humans from a bite.

Since the bite doesn't transmit the condition that reanimates, it won't help eliminate zombies, but a vaccine against the bite-transmitted disease could prevent a lot of people from BECOMING zombies.

In a book I just finished, zombies have arisen because of a voodoo ritual. So it had an entirely different way of dealing with certain situations.


message 11: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark McLaughlin (mark_mclaughlin) | 29 comments Randy -- Thank you for that post! You've pinpointed one of my gripes about a lot of zombie movies: they assume a bite victim will get the disease so they kill 'em, and yeah, if someone's naturally immune, they'll never know.

And yes, a vaccine wouldn't do anything for voodoo zombies .. or radioactive zombies. But really, in most movies with radioactive zombies, the radioactive aspect is treated as though it were supernatural: for example, in the movie LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE, the "sonic radioactivity" (whatever that is) that animates the corpses also makes them super-strong and gives them goat-like eyes.

There's no basis in reality for that! Radiation poisoning usually leaves people weak and/or cancer-ridden ... and it sure doesn't give 'em goat eyes.


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