Spotted at World Market over the weekend.
Spotted at World Market over the weekend.
While reading Feedback, it occurred to me that Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series features the worst-case scenario of zombie design, and yet humanity survives with civilization mostly intact. That’s impressively optimistic.
I mean, look at the parameters of how zombies work in this setting:
Everyone who dies becomes a zombie, regardless of whether they’ve ever been near a zombie. This is fairly common, but there are settings where you can keep zombies out with a quarantine. Not this one.
Direct contact with a zombie is extremely contagious. Bites and scratches, sure, but imagine a zombie with late-stage Ebola. (A modified Marburg is one of the component viruses). Zombie drool landing on an open wound can convert you. The blood spatter from the zombie you’re shooting can get in your eye and convert you. The body of the zombie you just killed, lying on the ground motionless, is still a high-level biohazard that can convert you.
Anyone who goes out in the field must go through decontamination when they return. Showers include a standard bleach cycle and won’t let you out until it’s done. Outbreak sites have to be hosed down with bleach, burned, or simply condemned.
Any blood that’s been outside the body long enough will trigger conversion on exposure, even if the person isn’t a zombie. Even your own blood.
Sometimes people spontaneously convert. It’s not common, but it’s been known to happen.
The newly-infected can be as fast as a normal person before their body starts decaying. (Yep, fast zombies and slow zombies in the same ‘verse.)
Any large mammal can become a zombie. Dogs. Raccoons. Horses. Bears. Cows. Red meat is now a biohazard.
Mobs of zombies can plan ambushes. Enough zombies together exhibit just enough rudimentary intelligence to set a trap. Even across species.
There’s a really scary twist in the virus’ transmissibility late in the second novel that I won’t spoil.
The only factor that isn’t maxed-out is their indestructibility. A zombie in the middle of the desert or at the bottom of the ocean will eventually starve.
And yet humanity survives the Rising and is able to rebuild civilization in many — not all, but many — parts of the world.
That’s…well, that’s kind of inspiring.
Mira Grant has been writing yearly novellas set in the world of her Newsflesh trilogy. A generation after the zombie apocalypse, humanity has survived, adapted, and rebuilt civilization. While the trilogy focuses an a core group of characters, journalism, social media and American politics, the novellas have opened up more of the world.
“Countdown” reveals the early stages of the Rising, including a look at what two messed-up background characters were like before everything went to hell. “The Last Stand of the California Browncoats” looks at what would happen if an actual zombie plague wiped out Comic-Con. “How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea” jumps across the world to Australia, where the people take a very different approach toward managing the zombie virus. “The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell” explores the implications of life with zombies on the school system, and it’s really freaking disturbing. The newest one refers back to it (not in any detail — it goes out of its way to not describe what actually happened), and it hit me again. That story sticks with you.
“Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus” is the latest, and picks up the tale of Dr. Abbey, who runs an underground virology research lab where they’re trying to cure the zombie virus without the politics constraining mainstream organizations like the CDC (which has its own issues), as they deal with industrial espionage, hackers, and some…surprise visitors. She grudgingly accepts the label of “mad scientist,” though she insists that while she is angry, she’s not crazy.
It’s a surprisingly upbeat story considering the setting, as is “How Green This Land…”
One interesting observation: It’s now 2015. In the Newsflesh world, the Rising took place in 2014. We’ve now branched into alternate universe territory, but there are references to historic events and pop culture that happened after the first novel came out in 2010.
Another observation: I followed this up by finally reading Unlocked, a novella detailing the background of John Scalzi’s novel Lock-In. It’s an interesting parallel, in that both Newsflesh and Lock-In pick up a generation after a devastating virus has swept the globe, killing and transforming people — in one case taking over the bodies as the mind dies, in the other leaving the mind intact but cut off from the body — and the technological, social and political changes made to deal with the new normal.
iZombie has a premiere date! The comedy/horror/murder mystery show launches March 17 on the CW.
I’ve been describing iZombie as a mash-up of the Robeson/Allred comic’s premise (woman becomes a zombie, but can keep her mental faculties as long as she eats one brain a month…then starts picking up memories and personality quirks from the brains she eats) with Pushing Daisies (someone able to communicate with the dead in an odd, but limited manner teams up with a detective to solve murders) and Veronica Mars (produced by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero), all of which sounded promising, since I liked the iZombie comic, Pushing Daisies, and Veronica Mars. Based on the previews I’ve seen online and at SDCC last summer, that description is (if you’ll pardon the expression) dead-on.
CW has the first look trailer for the show.
ComicBookMovie has the official synopsis of the show. Rose McIver stars as the main character, Liv, who takes a job in the coroner’s office to satisfy her need for brains, but gets found out by her boss…who is actually quite fascinated. As she picks up memories and skills from murder victims, she helps a detective solve cases while seeking the man responsible for her own zombification.
The Hollywood Reporter has an extensive article talking with the producers and stars about the show’s tone, characterization, how Liv differs from Veronica, the nature of zombies on the show (if they don’t eat brains regularly, they turn into classic Romero-style zombies) and so on.
It looks like it will be a lot of fun, and while it’s got half-season-wonder written all over it, you never know. I mean, the fact that we got a second season of Pushing Daisies qualifies as a television miracle!
No soliciting of zombies is allowed. And definitely no soliciting by zombies!
(This was on the entrance to SF/mystery independent bookstore Mysterious Galaxy back when they had a second location up in the LA area.)